Increased Penalties for Wage and Hour Violations

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The New York State Labor Law has been amended to increase the penalties that can be assessed against employers in cases of wage and hour violations. The new law, effective November 24, 2009, will make the state law consistent with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act by permitting an employee to automatically recover "liquidated damages" upon proving a violation, unless the employer provides a "good faith basis" to show that it believed its wage underpayment was in compliance with the law. Under New York law, liquidated damages equal 25% of the amount recovered. In light of the six-year New York statute of limitations, a 25% premium on monies due could be considerable.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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