New York Wage Theft Prevention Act: Effect on Small Businesses

Author: Hans & Associates, P.C.

Corporate corruption that denied low-wage workers their rightful pay led to passage of the New York Wage Theft Prevention Act, which became a law in December 2010 and went into effect on April 1, 2011. Current unemployment rates, large corporations’ greed, and government failures to handle the economic downturn are subject to protest today. The protest is obvious, as evidenced by Occupy Events and the buzz of online social media. Yet, restrictions under the new law place an added burden on small and mid-sized employers.

Details about the Wage Theft Prevention Act

The NY Wage Theft Prevention Act requires all employers to provide detailed explanations to employees about their wages translated into the employee’s primary language. Many New York restaurants and small businesses hire employees who either do not speak English or English is clearly not their primary language. Failure to provide written explanations in the worker’s primary language puts businesses at risk for Department of Labor (DOL) audits extending back as far as six years. DOL discovery of wage and hour violations can result in the following:

 Payment of back wages plus interest
 Additional 25% of unpaid wages as damages
 Payment of the worker’s legal fees

Safeguarding business through legal guidance

Stricter regulation typically increases the need for legal guidance. New York employment attorneys in Long Island City help employers safeguard their businesses by complying with government regulations so they can avoid audits and litigation. Employment lawyers can also protect business owners’ rights in legal actions brought against them.

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