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In this regard, this blog is Part X of our series on “Remedies under Major New York Labor and Employment Laws.” In Part IX, we discussed the various remedies available under Employee Privacy Protection Laws and mentioned that some of the remedies available under this act include economic damages and reasonable attorney’s costs and fees.
To move this discussion forward, this blog is titled “Remedies Available under New York Laws Regulating the Payment of Wages” and is a review of the remedies available under laws that regulate the payment of wages in New York pursuant to N.Y. Lab. Law §§ 190 et seq.
Remedies Available under New York Laws Regulating the Payment of Wages
As mentioned in the previous blog, the payment of wages (particularly as it concerns the minimum wage in New York City) is still a highly contentious issue in the state, especially now that businesses are picking up speed to recovery several months of total business shutdowns following the COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless, the law provides several remedies should an employer fail to pay the required minimum wage.
Firstly, an employer who violates N.Y. Lab. Law § 195(3) can be required to pay damages of $250 for every day worked up to a maximum of $5000. Secondly, an employer who violates notice requirements as codified under N.Y. Lab. Law § 195(1) can be required to pay a maximum of $5000 and $50 for every day worked in damages. Thirdly, pursuant to N.Y. Lab. Law §§ 218(1), 219, an employer may be required to pay any wage supplements, benefits, or wages due and an annual interest starting from the underpayment date to the payment date. Fourthly, pursuant to N.Y. Lab. Law § 198(1-a), an employee may recover the full amount of any underpayment. Finally, pursuant to N.Y. Lab. Law § 198(1-a), an employee may also be granted prejudgment interest when the action is civil.
Additionally, an employee may be awarded, as compensatory damages, any relief deemed just, equitable, and proper by a court of competent jurisdiction in a lawsuit where sections 195(1) and 195(3) of N.Y. Lab. Law § 198(1-b), (1- d) have been violated.
Further, an employee may be awarded, as punitive damages, any relief deemed just, equitable, and proper by a court of competent jurisdiction in a lawsuit where sections 195(1) and 195(3) of N.Y. Lab. Law § 198(1-b), (1- d) have been violated.
Attorney’s Fees and Costs
Fourthly, pursuant to N.Y. Lab. Law § 198(1-a), (1- b), (1-d), an employee is entitled to recover all reasonable attorney’s costs and fees as deemed just, equitable, and proper by a court of competent jurisdiction.
In addition, an employee may be awarded declaratory and injunctive relief in a lawsuit where sections 195(1) and 195(3) of N.Y. Lab. Law § 198(1-b), (1- d) have been violated.
Finally, there are “other” remedies available under laws that regulate the payment of wages in New York pursuant to N.Y. Lab. Law §§ 190 et seq. For instance, as codified under N.Y. Lab. Law § 197, an employer may be fined a $500 civil penalty for every violation. In addition, pursuant to N.Y. Lab. Law § 198-a, some violations may be found to amount to criminal offenses. Moreover, pursuant to N.Y. Lab. Law §§218(1), 219, an employee may recover liquidated damages amounting to 100% of any wages that an employer did not pay.
Additionally, pursuant to N.Y. Lab. Law §§ 198(4), 218(1), if payments are made 90 days after the appeal time has expired or fails to pay all amounts within 90 days after the judgment, the employer may be fined an extra 15% of the total amount of judgment. Notably, as codified under N.Y. Lab. Law § 198(1), an employee may also recover, in a civil action, a reasonable sum and ordinary costs to a maximum of $50 as cover for expenses.
It is also crucial to note that additional liquidated damages are also available under New York laws that regulate the payment of wages. For example, pursuant to N.Y. Lab. Law § 218(1), an employer may be fined a civil penalty ranging between $1000 and $3000 depending on how many times it has violated the protections other than failing to pay wage supplements, wages, or benefits. Still, an employer that is found to violate wage payment protections egregiously, willfully, or repeatedly may be fined a civil penalty that does not exceed twice the whole amount due.
Finally, while it may be fined up to 300% of the total amount due if found to have willfully violated the equal pay provision, an employer could also be fined, in an administrative action, liquidated damages not exceeding 100% of the total wages due, as well as liquidated damages equal to 100% of the total wages due in a civil action pursuant to N.Y. Lab. Law § 198(1-a).
However, employers and employees alike should be aware of a carveout in the law when a claimant wishes to recover liquidated damages. As ruled in Rana v. Islam, 887 F.3d 118, 123 (2d Cir. 2018), liquidated damages are not recoverable under both the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and the New York Labor Law during the same wage periods and for the same course of conduct.
In Part XI of the series and our blog titled “Remedies Available under the New York Election Law,” we will review and discuss the various remedies available under this law pursuant to N.Y. Elec. Law §§ 3-110, 17- 118.
As usual, stay tuned for more legal guidance, training, and education. In the interim, if there are any questions or comments, please let us know at the Contact Us page!
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