Is Mandatory Overtime Legal in NY?
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Is Mandatory Overtime Legal
Under the leadership of President Franklin Roosevelt, the United States Congress passed a series of laws during the Great Depression that constituted the New Deal movement. The laws addressed the worst economic malaise faced by Americans in the nation’s history. From public works projects to establishing a fund for retirees, the New Deal sparked an economic rebound that reverberated across the United States for nearly three decades. One of the least known laws enacted under the New Deal also represented the last law passed under the historic national initiative.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) dramatically changed the employer-employee relationship.
Prior to the enactment of the FLSA in 1938, employers possessed tight control over the American workforce. Employers could make employees work well beyond 40 hours a week, without compensating them extra for putting in the additional time. Another control exerted by employers concerned not having to pay a minimum wage to employees. The groundbreaking FLSA forced employers to pay a minimum wage, as well as compensate workers extra for putting in more than 40 hours per week.
Following the historic example provided by the FLSA, several states including New York passed laws that addressed the employer-employee relationship as well. New York became one of the first states to set a minimum wage that surpassed the minimum wage established at the federal level. The Empire State also strengthened overtime statutes to benefit American workers. One frequent question asked by the clients of Morgan and Morgans concerns mandatory overtime.
Is mandatory overtime legal in NY?
The answer is it depends on the type of occupation. Employers cannot force employees to work overtime in New York, unless the employees work in qualified positions in the healthcare industry. The state also has implemented strict regulations when it comes to the amount of time commercial truck drivers can operate a rig while transporting full loads. At Morgan and Morgan, our team of employment attorneys helps New York workers understand the state and federal laws that apply to overtime statutes.
Learn more about how overtime impacts your job status by scheduling a free case evaluation today with one of the employment lawyers at Morgan and Morgan.
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How Does the Fair Labor Standards Act Affect My Employment Status?
The FLSA set the standard for improving the work conditions experienced by American employees. As a federal law that balances the employer-employee relationship, the FLSA requires American employers to pay a minimum wage, to pay overtime wages, and to allow workers to take legal action against employers that violate one or more provisions of the monumental federal labor law. When it comes to overtime, American employers must pay workers time and half wages for any time put in that exceeds 40 hours a week.
The United States Department of Labor (DOL) enforces the guidelines established by the FLSA, as well as clarifies the rules for certain sections of the comprehensive federal labor legislation. According to DOL guidelines, a workweek consists of 168 hours to give employers flexibility on when to start and end workweeks. For example, a common workweek begins at 12:00 am Monday morning and ends at 11:59 the following Sunday evening. A workweek that runs from Thursday to Wednesday is as legally legitimate as the more common workweek that runs from Monday to Sunday.
Federal overtime laws do not place restrictions on employers when it comes to the number of hours worked per week by employees. Workers older than 16 years can work as many hours as they want to, provided that employers follow the statutes written in the FLSA. Because of the lack of legal guidance for mandatory overtime in the FLSA, states such as New York have stepped forward to place restrictions on the number of overtime hours employees can work. Many state laws also do not permit employers to establish mandatory overtime rules, except in a few unique cases.
What Penalties Do American Employers Pay for Violating the FLSA?
Although President Franklin Roosevelt and the United States Congress paved the way for more worker-friendly labor laws, the Department of Labor is responsible for creating the regulations that give laws like the FLSA legal teeth. Employers that violate the FLSA face two potential penalties.
First, American workers have the right to file a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages against employers accused of violating one or more provisions of the FLSA. The threat of filing a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages often motivates employers to address alleged labor violations. Costly legal fees and plenty of negative publicity often lead to a resolution of a labor dispute such as the illegal imposition of mandatory overtime. Consult with an employment attorney from Morgan and Morgan to determine whether you have a strong enough case to file a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages.
Second, the DOL has the legal power to impose fines on employers that violated the FLSA, as well as any other federal labor law. As a division within the DOL, the Wage and Hour Division can impose a fine of up to $10,000 for every violation of the FLSA, including every overtime violation. If investigators from the DOL discover evidence that proves an employer has repeatedly violated federal overtime laws, the DOL can file criminal charges against the employer in question.
What Are New York Overtime Laws?
Although the FLSA developed the legal foundation for every employment law passed at the state level, New York is one of several states that have taken what the FLSA provides and enacted tougher statutes that favor workers in the employer-employee relationship.
For example, New York has set the statewide minimum wage in 2022 at $13.20. New York City has established a minimum wage of $15.00, which is more than double what the federal government has set for a minimum wage. New York follows the FLSA by defining overtime as every hour worked over 40 hours per week. Unlike some states, New York does not define overtime on a daily basis. For example, some states allow employees to receive overtime for every hour worked over eight hours in a 24-hour workday.
Is Mandatory Overtime Legal in New York?
According to New York labor laws, employers can demand employees work as much overtime as they want, as well as terminate workers for refusing to work overtime. Nonetheless, New York employers must follow every overtime statute such as paying time-and-a-half the standard wage for every hour worked over 40 hours per week. New York does regulate mandatory overtime hours for nurses and other healthcare workers. Overtime statutes in the Empire State apply to nurses that work in any healthcare setting, instead of just nurses that work exclusively at hospitals.
The state also has created a labor law called “one day rest in seven.” This employment law requires employees in certain occupations to rest for 24 consecutive hours at least one time over a seven-day workweek. Some of the occupations covered by this law include employees at hotels, factories, restaurants, and transportation hubs.
How Much Time Do I Have to File an Overtime Complaint?
Both state and federal laws have established deadlines for workers to file overtime complaints. According to federal law, you have two years from the date of an overtime violation to file a formal overtime complaint with the Wage and Hour Division. If your employer committed multiple overtime violations, you have three years to file a formal complaint. The Wage and Hour Division highly recommends workers take immediate action when it involves filing overtime complaints. Ideally, you should wait no more than 18 months to file a formal complaint with the Wage and Hour Division.
Working with an experienced employment lawyer at Morgan and Morgan expedites the complaint process. Your attorney gathers the evidence you need to prove your employer violated one or more provisions of state and federal overtime laws.
What Should I Look for in an Employment Attorney?
Fighting back against overtime abuses on your own will turn out to be an exercise in futility. Your employer has at least one employment lawyer on payroll to defend against accusations of overtime violations. This means you should conduct an extensive search for the best litigator to represent you when you file a formal complaint, as well as if you decide to file a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages.
Here are some of the qualities to look for in an overtime attorney:
Experience Winning Overtime Complaints
Your employment attorney must present you with testimonials that show the success rate at winning overtime complaints. An experienced lawyer with a proven record of success has a deep understanding of how to persuade the Wage and Hour Division that you have a legally valid complaint against your employer for violating one or more overtime laws.
You can expect the employment lawyer that you hire at Morgan and Morgan to possess the level of experience you need to receive compensation for lost overtime wages.
Experience Litigating Civil Lawsuits
Just because an overtime lawsuit costs your employer money and a bit of the company’s reputation does not mean your employer backs down when faced with the threat of a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages. This means you should search for an experienced employment attorney who has compiled an impressive record of winning civil lawsuits. The attorney you hire from Morgan and Morgan knows how to argue cases in front of a civil court judge, as well as knows when to request negotiations in an attempt to avoid costly and time-consuming litigation.
With You Every Step of the Way
You have too much on the line to afford to work with an employment attorney who delegates most of the legal responsibilities to subordinates such as paralegals and less experienced lawyers. When you hire an employment lawyer at Morgan and Morgan, you can expect your legal counsel to be with you every step of the legal process.
Fighting back against your employer for violating one or more overtime laws can considerably increase your stress and anxiety levels. Working with an unresponsive attorney boosts the stress and anxiety to another level. At Morgan and Morgan, our clients praise the responsiveness of our team of employment lawyers. You can expect a response to an email, phone call, or text message within the same business day, and if the communication occurs late in a business day, you hear back from us the following morning.
Is mandatory overtime legal in NY? Learn more about the answer to the question and other New York overtime laws by scheduling a free case evaluation with an employment attorney at Morgan and Morgan.