All employees in New Jersey are entitled to be compensated fairly, however, wage violations are not uncommon. Although state and federal laws require employers to pay the applicable minimum wage, overtime pay, commissions, and other forms of earned compensation, wage theft is commonplace in many industries. At Castronovo & McKinney, LLC, we prosecute wage and hour claims on behalf of employees. Well-versed in the applicable wage and hour laws, we know how to fight back against wage theft and hold employers accountable.
Our employment law practice is dedicated to helping clients achieve positive outcomes through alternative forms of dispute resolution, such as negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. We also have the skills and resources to handle wage and hour disputes that rise to the level of litigation.
From minimum wage and overtime violations to employee misclassifications and unpaid commissions, we are the informed choice in wage and hour claims. Please contact our Morristown or Manhattan office today for a consultation.
What is the Fair Labor Standards Act?
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes minimum wage and overtime pay standards. The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour; however, the rate in New Jersey and many other states is higher.
Also, employees classified as nonexempt are entitled to overtime pay at a rate of time and one-half for all hours worked after forty hours per week. On the other hand, employees are exempt from the overtime pay requirements of the FLSA if they:
- Earn less than $684 per week
- Are paid a salary rather than an hourly wage
- Work for exempt employers (e.g. restaurants, hotels, nonprofits)
- Perform exempt job duties, including administrative, professional, or management
Despite the requirements of the FLSA and applicable New Jersey wage and hour laws, wage violations occur when employers fail to pay the minimum wage, misclassify employees, miscalculate rates of pay, or fail to pay commissions or other forms of earned compensation.
Whether you believe you were denied wages you have earned or your business is involved in a wage and hour dispute with a group of workers, it is crucial to have the informed representation Castronovo & McKinney provides. We have a proven history of achieving positive outcomes in wage and hour claims in and out of the courtroom.
Minimum Wage and Overtime Pay in Laws in New Jersey
Currently, the minimum wage for most workers in the state is $12 per hour, which is scheduled to be increased to $15 per hour by 2024. Also, most employers are required to abide by the FLSA’s overtime requirements and pay non-exempt employees overtime pay at a rate of time and one-half for hours worked over 40 per week.
Additionally, tipped employees must earn at least the state minimum wage per hour, with employers paying a suggested minimum base rate of $4.13 per hour, according to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL). In any event, the base rate combined with tips received by the employee must be equal to the minimum wage, otherwise, the employer is required to make up the difference.
Certain employees, such as salespersons and minors under the age of 18 (with exceptions), are exempt from the New Jersey minimum wage law. Finally, state law does not require employers to provide meal or rest breaks, but they must pay employees for time spent working, as well as shorter breaks (from 5 to 20 minutes) taken during the day.
Under state wage law, employers are required to pay wages employees have earned– bonuses, commissions, fringe benefits, and overtime — on a regular basis. Salespeople who have had their commissions withheld improperly or payment rates recalculated after signing an employment agreement may have a legal basis for a wage and hour claim.
New Jersey Wage and Hour Claims Our Firm Handles
Whether you need assistance pursuing or defending a wage and hour claim, it is crucial to have proper representation. At Castronovo & McKinney, we work with clients on both sides to find innovative solutions to a wide range of wage and hour issues, including:
- Off-the-clock wage violations — These claims involve hourly employees who work off-the-clock, skip rest and meal breaks, or work overtime while not being compensated for all their time.
- Employee misclassifications — Employers are required to properly classify workers as contractors, non-exempt or exempt employers, and pay overtime to non-exempt workers per state law and the FLSA.
- Withholding bonuses or commissions — Employers must pay all wages, including earned commission and bonuses, to sales employees, including those who leave their job.
- Illegal tip-sharing schemes — All tipped workers (e.g. restaurant, hospitality) must be paid the minimum wage, and employers cannot take tips earned by workers. Tip-pooling is permitted, however.
- Illegal wage deductions — Employers are prohibited from taking unauthorized deductions from employees’ pay (e.g. cost of a uniform, accidental breakage, cash, and/or property shortages).
Employees who complain about wages are protected against retaliation and can take legal action to recover compensation, including back pay, bonuses, and benefits as well as liquidated damages, attorneys’ fees, and court costs. While wage and hour claims are often heard by the NJDOL, state law permits employees to bring collective actions on behalf of similarly situated individuals.
Regardless of the wage and hour issue facing you, we will leverage our skills and experience to guide you through the process. Above all, our legal team will always work in your best interests and help you achieve a positive outcome, whether through negotiation, arbitration, or litigation.
Contact Our Experienced New Jersey Wage and Hour Claims Attorney
Wage and hour disputes can and should be resolved through negotiated settlements, but class-action lawsuits alleging wage violations are becoming increasingly common in New Jersey and throughout the nation. Whether at the bargaining table or in the courtroom, it takes a skilled wage and hour lawyer to protect your rights. Contact us today for a consultation.