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Wage Theft Archives

Am I an employee or independent contractor? Why does it matter?

While there are various types of employment statuses, the two main types are employees and contractors. Understanding that there are differences between these two statuses -- and what those differences are -- is crucial for workers in order to ensure they are properly compensated and protected on the job.

The importance of knowing the letter (and punctuation) of the law

Unless you work in certain jobs or industries, you may not ever think about the laws that protect workers across New York. You might not be concerned with definitions or the "legalese" of every bill and amendment proposed and in place. However, in every law, every sentence -- and punctuation mark -- has the power to affect interpretation.

Lawsuit: unfair wages in the NFL are nothing to cheer about

We often read about the multi-million dollar contracts professional football players sign every year. The story goes that if a player has performed well or shows great potential, franchises will pay huge sums of money to sign that player. In fact, there is a salary cap in place to keep teams from paying players too much.

NFL Cheerleaders: A Case Study in Wage Theft

Over the past few years, a coalition of determined activists, labor unions, non-profits and lawyers have done an amazing job of bringing the issue of wage theft to the forefront. The trend is such that the New York Times notified its readers of a "a flood of recent cases - brought in California and across the nation - that accuse employers of violating minimum wage and overtime laws, erasing work hours and wrongfully taking employees' tips."

Amazon Prime Now Drivers: Employees or Contractors?

The issue of whether certain workers should be classified as employees or independent contractors has jumped to the forefront in recent years, largely because of Uber - lawsuits have popped up around the country arguing that Uber drivers are actually regular employees, not contractors, and thus deserve the protections and benefits afforded to employees by law. Generally, this has been portrayed as a "sharing economy" issue, a byproduct of the rise of lone gunmen workers joining up with tech firms to offer a service quasi-individually. But actually, most notably with UPS and FedEx drivers, this is something that has been considered in the legal field for years now, before Uber was on the scene.

Unpaid Interns Win Another Round: Conde Naste Settles

It's been a good month for those fighting the scourge of unpaid quote-unquote "internships," which are too often simply part-time or full-time jobs in disguise. First, NBCUniversal agreed to settle with a group of former unpaid interns for Saturday Night Live, who sued as a class for labor law and wage violations. Now this week comes news that Conde Naste, publishing empire, has also decided to settle, to the tune of 5.8 million, the class action suit brought against it by its own former interns. The Conde Nast settlement is perhaps a bit more expected: the company appears to have known it had entered into some dangerous waters in its internship practices, and decided to end the program entirely this past summer.

Employers continue to fail to pay workers what they are owed

Reports and lawsuits related to employers' failure to pay workers due compensation have increased significantly in recent years. According to David Weil, who directs the wage and hour division of the federal Labor Department, his division has discovered close to $1 billion in unpaid wages owed to workers since 2010. Weil went on to point out that many of the workers who are victimized are immigrants.

Are NYC-based Reality TV Shows Hotbeds of Wage Theft?

Recently, the New York City Council held its first public hearing on the emerging issue of wage theft and exploitive working conditions on the sets of NYC-based reality television shows. The hearing was prompted by a recent report released by the Writer's Guild of America's New York subsidiary, WGA East, entitled "The Real Reality: Working Conditions in the Nonfiction and Reality Television Industry in NYC."

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