Governor Cuomo Announces More Than $35 Million in Stolen Wages Returned to Workers in 2017

Andrew M. Cuomo announced that $35,370,000 was returned to 36,446 victims
of wage theft in 2017. In addition, $1 million in continued
funding was secured in the FY 2019 budget to support the expansion of the
Department of Labor’s staff of investigators. In 2016, $34 million was returned
to 27,420 wage theft victims, marking an increase of over $1.3 million returned
to an additional 9,026 victims. Since Governor Cuomo took office, the
Department of Labor has recovered and returned $258.4 million to
215,335 workers – the highest total in the nation. 

“We have
zero tolerance for those who seek to rob employees out of an honest day’s pay
for an honest day’s work,” Governor Cuomo said. “These
workers are commonly among the most vulnerable members of the New York family
and I want them to know this administration is and will continue to do
everything in its power to protect them from these unscrupulous tactics and to
ensure they are paid what they are owed.” 

Building on
the success of the first-in-the-nation Exploited Workers Task Force created in
2015, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 159 in July 2016, establishing a
permanent Joint Task Force on Employee Misclassification and Worker
Exploitation. The Executive Order merged three existing multi-agency task
forces to coordinate cross-agency efforts designed to protect workers in a
variety of industries where victims of abuse do not come forward for fear of
retaliation, many of which are immigrants. These individuals are
often subjected to unsafe or unsanitary working conditions; long and irregular
work hours; and illegal deductions for supplies, training, and
uniforms. Additionally, they tend to work off the books, have dangerous jobs,
and are often geographically isolated. 

To further
wage recovery efforts, Mediation and Anti-Retaliation Units were developed
within the Department of Labor. The Mediation Unit attempts to expedite
resolutions so that workers receive the money they’re owed more quickly, while
the Anti-Retaliation Unit acts on behalf of workers who are subject to
unfavorable action against them for filing a complaint about labor law
violations or reporting them to the authorities. 

State Labor
Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, “The New York State
Department of Labor is committed to the protection of workers. Under Governor
Cuomo’s leadership, we’ve taken unprecedented action to ensure that those who
have wages stolen get what they’re owed and I
applaud the dedicated investigators who have helped build New York’s reputation
as a national leader in the fight against wage theft.” 

Some of the
most common ways employers steal wages include: 

Paying tips only; 

Paying a day rate for work performed that
is sub-minimum wage when hours worked are counted; 

Not paying an overtime rate for hours
worked over 40 in a payroll week; 

Failure to pay the correct prevailing

Not paying for travel time between work
assignments in the same day; 

Withholding final paychecks; 

Not paying for “training”
time; and 

Charging employees for required uniforms
or equipment. 

If you
believe you have been a victim of wage theft, please reach out to the
attorneys at Pechman Law
see if we can help.  




Share this article


Related Articles