In my younger days, before becoming a lawyer, I was a cook in a seafood restaurant. It paid the bills, but to be frank, it was a terrible job.
Of all my issues with the job, the worst part was that the hours were so long. 10-hour days; 12-hour days; once an 18-hour day. I wasn’t always even paid for this time – on occasion, I would come to work in the morning to prep, would punch out for the lunch shift, and then punch back in and work the dinner rush.
It could be 72 and sunny outside, but I wouldn’t be able to enjoy a minute of it, because I was stuck in a hot, dark kitchen, preparing food that nobody really wants to eat and smelling like fish
Here in NY, however, the powers-that-be came up with solutions for just this type of problem: “spread-of-hours” wages and “split shift” wages.
Imagine: you’re called into your boss’s office one day. You boss tells you that “it’s not working out” or that “the company has decided to go another way”. You leave the office with an escort to go get your things before they show you to the door.
You’ve been fired.
But you’re thinking that it doesn’t make sense. Your performance has always been good, the job has never had an issue with your conduct (or no worse than anybody else anyway). What gives? Why are YOU being fired?
Unfortunately for workers in New York, it doesn’t need to make sense. Unless you are under an employment contract, your job can fire you for whatever reason they want. Or even no reason whatsoever. When you’re fired, your only recourse is usually just to go find another job.
The one exception to this is when you are fired for an ILLEGAL reason. One of the most common illegal reasons for someone’s termination is discrimination.
Anyone who has known me professionally for a while will most likely have heard me mention “wage notices”. These are written notices that all employers in New York must give every employee within 10 days of hire. These written notices MUST include some particular information and be handled in the correct way.
To help employers give this notice out right, New York State created a generic template which looks like this:
Nationwide, employers take an estimated $50 billion dollars out of their employees' wages every year.
That $50 BILLION. With a “B”.
In my experience, however, there are a number of jobs in which this “wage theft” occurs with more frequency.
Here is the top five countdown of the jobs which are most likely to make you a victim of wage theft.
Let's face it.
Chances are your job probably isn't all that fun. You work long hours. You deal with horrible bosses/customers/co-workers. You don't get paid what you're worth. But do you know what sucks even more than working in an unfulfilling and pointless job?
Working at a job that actually TAKES money out of your pocket.
Unfortunately, that is the reality that approximately 68% of all workers in New York City experience on a weekly basis. It's called "wage theft" and $50 BILLION of it happens nationally every year to workers like you. Even worse, many workers don't even realize that it is happening.
Here are the five most common ways someone becomes a victim of wage theft.