Can I File a Claim for Unpaid Wages in New York State?

Most workers in New York are offered protections for unpaid wage claims. If you believe your employer is not paying you properly, you may file a claim for unpaid wages. Employers are required to pay most workers at least minimum wage. In New York, minimum wage for most employees of employers with fewer than 11 employees is $10.50 per hour; those employers who have more than 11 employees should be paying a minimum wage of $11.00 per hour.

Fast food workers and others tipped employees are an exception to the minimum wage for other employees, as are independent contractors. When employers fail to abide by minimum wage laws, you may need to know what information is necessary to file a claim for unpaid wages in New York.

Gathering Information for a Claim

The New York Department of Labor can help investigate unpaid wage claims. Before you file a claim, you must have contacted the employer to request your wages. If the employer does not respond, you may then file a claim using a form which may be obtained from the department. The claim form requires you to provide certain information and contains some important caveats.

For example, administrative employees, and those who are considered management level employees who are earning more than $900 gross per week are not offered any protections. The following information must be provided to the Department of Labor:

  • Personal Information — you will be required to provide your name, address, contact information, and social security number. This is the information the department will use to verify and track your claim.
  • Employer Information — the name, address, telephone number, and contact person for the employer will also be required. You will also be asked to provide the name of the person you reported to, and who was responsible for your hiring.
  • Job Information — employees who are filing an unpaid wage claim will also be required to provide the position they held at the company, agreed upon wages, whether they are still employed with the company, and their dates of employment. Employees who are part of a union will also be asked if they sought help from their union.
  • Wage Information — when filing an unpaid wage claim, you will have to provide detailed information about the wages you are claiming. The form provides a specific format for calculating wages you may be owed from a New York employer.

Before filing an unpaid wage claim with the Department of Labor, you must have approached your employer and advised them that you believe your pay was inaccurate. In most cases, this is when you should start working with an attorney who has experience handling wage claims.

The reason you should speak with an attorney is to ensure you are not jeopardizing your claim. In some cases, your employer may unlawfully retaliate and fire you from your job if you begin questioning your wages; they may be less likely to do so if you have hired an attorney. Contact The Law Office of Christopher Q. Davis, PLLC for help with a New York unpaid wage claim by calling (646) 430-7930; we are committed to ensuring you are being paid properly by your employer.