New York Tips and Tipped Employees Attorneys
A tip, or gratuity, is money given by a customer to an employee for service provided to the customer. While the vast majority of wage issues regarding tips involve restaurant and hotel workers, tipped employees can include hairdressers, aestheticians, car wash attendants, golf or tennis instructors, valet parking attendants, doorpersons, and more. Refusing to fully compensate tipped employees is a form of wage theft.
If you receive tips as part of your compensation, a number of specific state and federal wage and hour laws protect you, in addition to those that protect all workers. At the federal level, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) protects tipped workers, while at the state level, New York Labor Law § 196-d and the New York Department of Labor Hospitality Industry Wage Order (12 NYCRR § 146) apply to tipped employees.
A New York employment lawyer can help protect your rights.
How to File a Claim
Tipped employees have several options if they have been the victims of wage theft or other illegal conduct by their employers.
If your employer has violated the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, you can file a claim with the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor. The WHD can oversee the payment of back wages by your employer. In addition, the Secretary of Labor can file a lawsuit on your behalf seeking back pay and liquidated damages.
For violations of New York law, you can file a claim with the Division of Labor Standards at the New York Department of Labor. Similar to the WHD, the Division of Labor Standards can approach your employer and demand back pay or file a lawsuit on your behalf.
Both agencies provide the claim forms online.
You can also file your own lawsuit in court. Under federal and state law, if you win your case your employer must pay your attorney fees.
You do not have to file with an agency before you can take your claim to court.
It is possible to file a claim without an attorney. However, the ways in which these laws apply to your particular situation can be complicated. You may want to speak to a New York employment lawyer before taking action.