Fired for Complaining About Wages
Employers enjoy a great deal of power and control over their employees. They can set the time, location, and scope of an employee’s tasks in addition to increasing or decreasing his or her wages. Unfortunately, many employers abuse this power to circumvent well-established wage and hour laws in order to pay workers less than what they deserve. At Phillips & Associates, our wage law attorneys have represented many New York City employees who have been fired for complaining about an employer’s failure to comply with applicable requirements. We can guide you through every step of the process and zealously advocate on your behalf.Seeking Compensation for Wrongful Termination by an Employer
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) makes it unlawful for an employer to “discharge or in any other manner discriminate against an employee because such employee has filed any complaint or instituted or caused to be instituted any proceeding under or related to [the FLSA]….” In addition, the FLSA provides protection for employees who provide testimony against an employer regarding alleged wage and hour violations. These protections apply regardless of whether the employee’s complaint is verbal or in writing. There is ample case authority providing that an employee’s written or verbal complaints are also protected when made internally to an employer and not through the FLSA system.
In addition to these federal protections, there are many New York State laws that prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who make complaints about an employer’s unfair payment practices. For example, New York law makes it a crime for an employer to discriminate or retaliate against an employee for making a complaint to the New York Department of Labor, making complaints about possible labor law violations to the employer, testifying in an investigation or proceeding, or exercising any rights protected under the state labor laws. If an employer violates these laws, the employer may be subject to monetary penalties and may be required to pay lost compensation and additional damages to the employee.
An employee who has suffered retaliation in any form as a result of his or her complaint regarding an employer’s unfair wage and hour practices can file a claim with the federal Wage and Hour Division. The mistreated employee also has the option of filing a lawsuit against the employer. There are many forms of compensation available to an employee who was terminated in response to his or her wage-related complaint, often including employment, reinstatement, lost wages, and additional funds as a form of liquidated damages.
In a retaliation claim, there may be many ways to establish that an employer’s decision to terminate you was motivated by the complaint, including both direct and indirect evidence. Direct evidence would consist of statements or writings indicating your employer’s intent to terminate you as a result of your complaint. This type of evidence is less common than indirect evidence, which involves circumstantial indications of your employer’s intent. For example, if your employer terminates you shortly after you make a complaint, an inference can potentially be drawn that the employer’s action was in response to your complaint.Contact a Wage and Hour Attorney in New York City
If you have been fired from your job after making a complaint against your employer for failing to pay you the wages that you deserve, you may be entitled to compensation. At Phillips & Associates, our New York City lawyers can assist employees with investigating a potential retaliation claim and collecting the evidence that they need. We have helped many individuals from throughout the five boroughs of our city, including the Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island. We offer a free consultation, so you have nothing to lose. Call us at (833) 529-3476 or contact us online to set up an appointment.