Resources for dealing with possible labor violations?

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Anonymous emails:

A friend of mine, who is a salaried employee for a local small business, is running into some pretty serious difficulties with her boss that she feels could be infringing on her rights (forced unpaid overtime, threats to slash salary, verbal abuse, etc). Do any of your readers have any experience dealing with this kind of thing or know of anywhere she might be able to turn to learn more about her rights as a worker and find an acceptable solution?

This sounds like a stressful situation, even more so if you don't know where to start in figuring out how to address it.

So, have a suggestion for resources, strategies -- maybe even an attorney -- for Anonymous and their friend? Please share. And including sentence or two about why you're recommending a resource or person can be a big help.

Comments

NYS Dept of Labor. If you find their FAQ and resources confusing, you may want to call them for clarification on the rules. That is a good place to start.
https://labor.ny.gov/workerprotection/laborstandards/workprot/viollblw.shtm

Make sure that you document every single thing that happens. If you have any HR policies, make sure you have a copy of those. Make sure to write down and date what happens. If you ever file a complaint, providing evidence is extremely important. Write, write, write!

You also may unfortunately be "exempt" from overtime pay (however, you should not have to work it) http://webapps.dol.gov/elaws/whd/flsa/screen75.asp

The NYS Office of the Attorney General can also help.
https://ag.ny.gov/bureau/labor-bureau

Labor Bureau

The New York Attorney General's Office is the chief law enforcement agency in New York State, and the Labor Bureau in the Division of Social Justice is principally charged with, and has been nationally recognized for, defending labor standards in low-wage industries by aggressively enforcing the laws protecting low-wage workers.

Specifically, the Labor Bureau investigates violations of minimum wage, overtime, prevailing wage, and other basic labor laws throughout the state, brings civil and criminal prosecutions against employers who violate these laws, and represents the New York State Department of Labor in its enforcement of state labor laws. We enforce "Right to Know" laws concerning toxic substances in the workplaces of non-federal public employees. The Labor Bureau also defends the decisions of the New York State Department of Labor, Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board and New York Workers' Compensation Board regarding wage and hour law and administration of unemployment insurance benefits and workers' compensation coverage.

If you are aware of a violation of workplace rights in New York State, whether as a victim or a concerned witness, please feel free to file a complaint with this office by filling out the complaint form under "complaint form", or by calling the Labor Bureau at 212-416-8700. Please note that filing a complaint with the Labor Bureau is not the same as starting a court case or filing a complaint with the federal or New York State Department of Labor. Please look in "references" for other agencies in which you can learn more about your rights or file a complaint.

You can also find answers to basic questions about your workplace rights at "Your Workplace Rights in New York State".

You may also contact the New York State Department of Labor at www.labor.ny.gov or the U.S. Department of Labor at www.dol.gov/

Another resource: the Labor Bureau of the NYS Attorney General's Office. Info on workplace rights, tips & advice as well as contact info @ https://ag.ny.gov/bureau/labor-bureau

Also NYS Human Rights can help as well if she feels like she is being discriminated against based on gender.

I agree with the previous posters that she should document all of her interactions with the supervisor. And make copies of all policies and procedures that may be applicable to her situation. Please contact an attorney as well. He/she can perhaps assist the employee resolve the matter or determine if they should proceed with litigation. Ryan Finn from Jones Hacker (http://joneshacker.com/) practices in this area and helped me tremendously with a labor/employment matter two years ago. I believe the initial consultation was free. Good luck!

Mario Cometti at the Tully Rinckey law firm just did a panel at the Albany Startup Law day and is very knowledgeable about the types of issues mentioned. I would recommend contacting him.

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