Determined Advocacy in Overtime, Wage and Hours Disputes
Employment attorney in Sussex County, New Jersey protects your rights
Have you been denied overtime? Have you been forced to work “off the clock” or to pay for incidentals your employer should have provided? You put in an honest day’s work, and you deserve honest compensation. But what happens when your employer uses underhanded tactics to deny you full pay? If you’ve faced any of these situations, it’s time to call Kevin T. Kutyla, Esq. As a civil trial attorney certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey, with more than 25 years of experience in employment law, I have the knowledge and skill to litigate your case. Moreover, I am passionate about workers’ rights, so you can trust me to fight aggressively on your behalf to uphold your legal rights and deliver positive results.
Upholding state and federal wage and hour protections
The landmark federal law providing wage and hour protection was the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), first passed in 1938. Since then, the act has been amended some 20 times, adding to protections for workers. Individual states have also passed laws giving even greater protections to workers than the federal statute provides. Key provisions of the FLSA with regard to wage and hours are:
- Federal minimum wage — FLSA established a mandatory minimum hourly rate of pay for all wage workers except those who receive tips. The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 an hour, but New Jersey has a higher state minimum wage, $8.44 an hour.
- 40-hour work week — FLSA established 40 hours as a standard work week. If wage earners work for more than 40 hours in a seven-day period, they must receive overtime for the additional time. Certain industries are exempt under the federal law.
- Overtime pay — The rate for overtime pay is one and one half the worker’s standard rate.
In summary, you cannot be paid less than $8.44 per hour to work in New Jersey, and if you work more than 40 hours, you must receive an amount equal to 150 percent of your usual hourly rate (at least $12.66 per hour) for the extra hours.
Common wage and hour violations in New Jersey
Sussex and Morris counties are not known for operating sweatshops, but that doesn’t mean some employers aren’t violating state or federal employment law. Here are a few ways an employer might violate wage and hour laws:
- Misclassification of workers — Only wage earners (workers paid by the hour) are eligible for overtime. If you are earning a regular monthly salary, you are considered “exempt.” But are you? Courts look at the type of work you do to determine whether you are “management” or a “professional,” not just at how you are paid. Businesses also misclassify workers as independent contractors to avoid wage and hour laws, which only apply to employees.
- Preliminary duties — The law does not demand compensation for activities that are preparatory to work, but what is the line between preparation and actual performance of job duties? If you can’t do your job without fifteen minutes of pre-work labor, maybe you should be compensated for that time.
- On-call time — If your boss needs to reach you when you are “off the clock,” maybe the clock is still ticking. If your free time is too restricted, it might actually be work time. If you’re expected to respond to lengthy emails in the evening, you might be eligible for overtime.
- Improper deductions from salaries — Wage earners may think they’re being paid above the minimum wage until they see what the boss has deducted for uniforms or other incidentals. Suddenly, you’re earning at an illegally low rate.
- Stealing your tips — Managers are generally not allowed to participate in tip pools. If, for example, a restaurant requires you to pool tips with other servers, the owner can’t help himself to a cut simply for seating customers at your station.
Wage and hour cases vary, depending on circumstances. In some instances, employers simply don’t understand the law, so all it takes is a letter or a phone call to set the issue straight. Other times, the employers know they’re cheating their workers but won’t admit it and try to cover up the fact. Sometimes, a large corporation is systemically cheating workers, but all it takes is one worker who is brave enough to step forward for the situation to start to turn around. If your employer is infringing on your rights, I’m prepared to fight for the compensation and the respect you deserve.
Let a board-certified Sussex County trial lawyer resolve your wage and hour dispute
If you suspect your employer is violating state or federal wage and hour law, Kevin T. Kutyla, Esq. is ready to help. For more than 25 years, I have delivered positive results for my employment law clients. Call 862-354-8931 or contact me online to schedule an appointment. In addition to my office at 15 Commerce Boulevard in Succasunna, I have a Newton office at 93 Spring Street, across from the Newton Green.