The Obama Administration pushed for reform to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime rule. Reform is likely needed, as the current set threshold has not been updated in over a decade.
As an employee, you may sometimes be asked to work longer than 40 hours in a week. As a result, you may wonder whether you are entitled to overtime for these extra hours. The answer to this question depends largely on whether you are considered exempt or nonexempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and New York Labor Law (NYLL).
An employment rule change recently announced by President Obama is expected to expand eligibility for overtime pay to about 5 million salaried Americans. Currently, if your yearly salary is more than $23,660 and your employer has classified you as a manager or executive, then you may not be entitled to overtime pay, even if you work much more than 40 hours in a week.
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.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay non-salaried, non-exempt employees at least a minimum hourly wage of $7.25. States can set the minimum wage higher, though the federal minimum is currently $7.25. The FLSA also requires employers to pay 150 percent of a non-salaried employee's regular compensation rate for every hour that exceeds 40 in a single work week. These wage and hour laws are meant to ensure that workers receive the compensation they earn.
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."
New York employees may work for several reasons -- they enjoy the job, they would be bored if not employed, etc. -- but almost all would agree that a primary reason they work is for the money. People need money to pay their bills and enjoy life, and most expect that their jobs will provide this income for them. Unfortunately, however, some employees are taken advantage of by their employers and forced to work long hours while being denied overtime. Because there are wage & hour laws that prevent this sort of behavior, employees in this situation can file a lawsuit against their employers.
It is unlikely that many patrons of the Subway sandwich shops located in New York spend much time thinking about how much those who work there are paid. As is turns out however, in many cases the workers are not being paid enough. A recent analysis of data from the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division, found that in the course of a 13 year period beginning in 2000, Subways located throughout the nation accumulated more than 17,000 Fair Labor Standards Act violations.
When many people in New York City think about employment law, they may think of workplace discrimination. Although workplace discrimination is still a serious problem in even some of the biggest companies, a 2011 ruling by the Supreme Court has made it much harder for workers to file class-action lawsuits based on workplace discrimination. That doesn't mean that wronged employees can't still receive compensation for discriminatory practices, just that they may have to work a little harder to win them.
Imagine trying to survive in Manhattan on the minimum wage. While it may seem impossible, it apparently can be done. When employees are paid under the minimum wage, are not paid their hourly or salaried wage, or are not paid overtime, it is a violation of New York and federal employment laws.