126 East 56th Street, 8th Floor, Tower 56 | New York, New York 10022
Manual Laborers Should be Paid Weekly
The New York Labor Law has long made it clear that employees must be paid on time. Section 191(1)(A) requires an employer to pay its employees no later than seven days after the wages are earned. If an employer's regular pay date is on Thursdays, that's when the employees must be paid. If an employee is paid a week late, they may be entitled to liquidated damages as compensation for being paid late. The reason behind this rule is that employees are dependent on a regular pay check, and if they don't receive it, then they are denied access to their own money and unfortunate things can happen as a result (for instance, bounced checks, in ability to pay rent, and other penalties for late payments).
This rule has existed for some time, and we here at Gardy & Notis brought a successful case for an employee who was consistently paid late back in 2015.
Recently, employees have been encouraged to stand up for their rights by the New York Appellate Division's decision in Vega v. CM & Associates Construction Management LLC.
In that case, the court said that manual workers who eventually receive full pay but are paid biweekly instead of weekly, in violation of Section 191(1)(A), have a private right of action and can recover liquidated damages equal to the amount of wages that were paid late. In other words, if your employer owed you $100 and paid late, you may be entitled an additional $100, for $200 in total. Even if you were eventually paid your wages, you still can recover that additional 100% of your damages.
In the three years since the Vega decision, dozens of class actions have been filed in federal court against large employers, claiming that their less-than-weekly pay structures violate the statute. The employers have tried to have the cases thrown out, but it hasn't worked: every federal court in New York has followed Vega and said employees can bring a lawsuit for being paid late, even though they were eventually paid their wages.
Late wage payment can cause serious problems for employees. Many manual laborers may not have the means to cover for an employer who pays them late. As a result of late payments, manual laborers may miss their rent, bounce checks, and incur late fees on medical bills or other outstanding invoices.
If you have been paid late, contact Orin Kurtz at 917-810-4303 to discuss your options.
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126 East 56th Street, 8th Floor, Tower 56
New York, New York 10022
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