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Almost 25% of NYC Diner Employees Experience Wage Theft

January 16th, 2019 Victoria Breese

According to the New York City Health Department, workers at diners and coffee shops have sued nearly 25% of these employers for underpayment over the last decade. Of the 92 suits, only 12 have been ruled on or settled. This lengthy legal process may deter workers from even filing lawsuits in the first place. Too often, diner owners escape having to pay their employees. For example, they declare bankruptcy, transfer assets to friends and relatives, or even sell the business altogether. According to a 2015 study, employers have not paid $125 million in violations and settlements in New York City alone.

Recent Wage Theft Claims

Court records reveal a multitude of recent wage theft claims in New York City. For example, at the Galaxy Diner in Hell’s Kitchen, former servers and busboys claim that they were only paid between $2.50 and $3.50 per hour, including overtime. At the D&D Coffee Shop in Borough Park, a former worker alleged that she was paid only $20 per 8½ -hour shift. Finally, at the Tick Tock Diner on 34th Street in Manhattan, former employees claim that they were only paid for 30 to 40 hours of work each week, even though they actually worked over 60 hours per week. Unfortunately, many more wage theft violations often go unreported. This issue particularly affects immigrant employees, who are more likely to work for less than minimum wage. Immigrants make up 64 percent of all industry workers in New York City, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

Types of Wage Theft

Workers in all industries can suffer from wage theft. There are a variety of different ways that wage theft can occur. For example, employers must pay workers overtime: at least time and a half of the usual hourly pay rate for any hours worked in excess of 40 during a given workweek. It is illegal for employers to not pay workers the proper amount for overtime hours. Another wage theft violation can occur when an employer does not pay workers the minimum wage. The New York State minimum wage increased on December 31, 2018. In New York City, the minimum wage is $13.50 per hour for businesses with 10 or fewer employees and $15.00 per hour for businesses with 11 or more employees. Another common wage theft violation occurs when workers are asked to complete “off the clock” work. Work should start when you enter the workplace and end when you leave the workplace. Off the clock work occurs when employees are asked to work before and/or after their set hours without any additional pay. This violation can also occur when employees are asked to work through breaks without additional pay.


Seek Legal Assistance Today

If you have experienced wage theft in the workplace, seek legal assistance today. The Working Solutions Law Firm, located in New York City, can assist you. Contact us today at (646) 430-7930 to schedule a free case evaluation and receive experienced legal counsel.