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New York Court Grants Summary Judgment for Plaintiff in Wage Violation Cas

October 20, 2020

Under both state and federal law, employers have to pay employees the minimum wage defined by statute and must pay eligible employees overtime, and employers that fail to do so may be held civilly liable. While many wage and hour claims must be resolved via trial, in cases in which an employer’s violations are clear, an employee may be able to obtain summary judgment on the question of liability. This was illustrated in a recent New York case in which the court found that the employer was liable for wage violations as a matter of law, and therefore a trial on the issue was not necessary. If you believe your employer failed to pay you appropriate wages in violation of wage laws, you should meet with a dedicated New York wage and hour attorney to discuss your rights.

The Plaintiff’s Employment History

It is alleged that from August 2003 through August 2018, the plaintiff worked as a sales-clerk for the defendant corporation which sold wholesale beauty products. The plaintiff did not have administrative or executive duties. He did not receive a notice from the defendant regarding his pay when he started and never completed any paperwork. He was paid a set amount every two weeks, regardless of how many hours he worked. He received his pay in cash and in a paycheck, but his paystubs did not reflect the cash amounts. Throughout the course of his employment, he worked fifty-seven hours each week. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging the defendant’s practices violated the New York Labor Law, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the New York Wage Theft Prevention Act. After discovery ended, the plaintiff moved for summary judgment on the issue of liability.

Proving an Employer Failed to Pay Minimum Wage and Overtime Compensation

Under the New York Labor Law, every employer that has ten or fewer employees must pay each of its employees the minimum wage set forth by the statute for each hour worked in New York City. In assessing whether an employer committed a minimum wage violation, a court will consider the average hourly wage of the employee, which is calculated by dividing the total pay an employee received in a workweek by the total number of hours worked during that week.

In the subject case, the documents produced by the plaintiff clearly demonstrated that he was not paid the minimum wage as established by the New York Labor Law for 2017 and 2018. The court was not persuaded by the defendant’s argument that the yearly amount the plaintiff was paid reflected a minimum wage, noting that minimum wages are required for each week, regardless of the frequency of payment. Similarly, the court found that the defendant failed to pay the plaintiff overtime wages. Thus, the court granted the plaintiff’s motion.

Speak to Trusted New York Attorney

Employees have the right to be properly compensated for their work, and if they are not, they may be able to recover damages from their employers. If you believe your employer owes you unpaid wages, you should speak to an attorney about your potential claims. The trusted New York wage and hour attorneys of Gerstman Schwartz LLP are adept at helping employees pursue any compensation they may be owed, and we will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can contact us via our form online or call us at our Manhattan office at (212) 227-7070 or our Garden City office at (516) 880-8170 to schedule a meeting.

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