Not getting payed overtime and threatend by manager not to contact state

About 6 months ago I started a job with a handshake stating at 30 days I would recieve a $3 raise and assistant manager status. After 3 weeks I became assistant manager but 6 months has passed without any raise. I stated when interviewed that I needed 40 or more hours a week at the rate I was told I would get at 30 days to afford my bills. I would work 40-50 hours a week without being able to take a lunch 2 or 3 of those days but yet they still deducted lunchtime out of my paycheck even if I couldnt take one. The employee handbook states all managers and assistant manager must report to work 1/2 hour before the store opens to prepare for the day. This time was also sometimes deducted from my paycheck. When I would call corporate to ask why,I was told no employee gets paid before 8 a.m. I then had to attend a mandatory meeting that took 5 hours and did not get paid for that. This time when I called corporate to ask about the meeting I was told "no one got paid for that meeting and no one better find out, or else that won't be good for you" Then,"as long as no one finds out you'll get paid for that meeting." After waiting 3 weeks and still not getting paid for the meeting I called corporate once again. I asked when I was going to get paid. I was told "do you know what your store numbers were and you still expect me to pay you" I then stated if I didnt get paid I was going to file a complaint with the state for that meeting and my overtime. I was told" The state better not get involved or else that really wont be good for you" and he hung up. I have contacted the owner of the company and notified both my manager and distract manager of these problems constantly throughout my employment. They always kept telling me I had to deal with the same person from corporate. After the last phonecall when I was told not to contact the state or else I quit. I have filed a form for unpaid wages but they need a copy of my timecards along with the exact amount owed to me. I do not know the exact amount but I have written my employer and they will not send copies of my time cards to compare to my paystubs. Can I supena my time cards without a lawyer? Is this just cause to quit? and is it harrasment? What can I do?

1 answer  |  asked Dec 31, 2005 1:19 PM [EST]  |  applies to New York

Answers (1)

David M. Lira
Laws Protecting Wages and Hours

Under federal (the Fair Labor Standards Act) and New York State law, you are entitled to compensation for all hours worked, provided that you don't fall into an exemption.

There are a lot of exemptions, but the biggest ones are for executive, administrative and professional employees. Managers are often, but not always considered executive employees.

Even if an employee would otherwise be considered an exempt employee, that employee might be entitled to overtime if the employer treats the employee like an hourly employee, doing things like docking employees for increments of less than one day.

Most employment related laws contain a retaliation provision. That is, if you take steps to enforce your rights the employer is prohibited from taking an adverse action against you. FLSA's anti-relatiation provision is limited. It won't protect you for complaining to management. It will protect you if you go to the U.S. or NYS Department of Labor, or if you file suit in court to collect for unpaid hours, including overtime.

Very often, when an employer fails to pay overtime, the employer fails to keep time records. It is the very rare employee who will keep track of their own time. So, you see there is always a problem with calculating unpaid wages.

The law has solved that by allowing employees, at least in court, to estimate their unpaid time. The theory is that the employer is required to maintain necessary time records. If the employer kept the records it was supposed to keep, it would be able to come up with a better estimate of hours worked and paid.

In a lawsuit, an employee would be able to get copies of the time records that exist through a process known as discovery.

posted by David M. Lira  |  Jan 3, 2006 09:40 AM [EST]

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