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New job discovered to be "off the books" what to do?

Ronkonkoma, NY |

I just started a new job 2 weeks ago. Since they hold a payweek back i just recieved my first paycheck today only to find it was a company check with no taxes taken out. The manager was already gone so when i asked one of my co-workers about it i was informed that all of the "telemarketers" get paid off the books. I am not comfortable with this as i know it is illegal but i desperately need the job. What should i do and how do i report them? I just got off unemployment insurance when i started this position. Do i have any rights to go back on unemployment? Thank You

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Attorney answers 2


A check is usually not being paid "off the books." That is usually done in cash. What you probably have is the company is listing you as an independent contractor with no benefits and no time and half. In many cases that is illegal since most telemarketers are really hourly employees. If you are an independent contractor you may be able to get unemployment (the rules are complicated-- in some states you can get unemployment and still have some "independent self employment income" and other states do not allow it). If you believe you are being mistreated in they way you are being paid, you can report the matter to the NYS department of labor. Access their website and look up worker protection and wage and hours check their

On my profile there are several legal guides. I recommend reviewing the following which may be helpful to you:

Hiring a lawyer; Is it Legal? Is it Illegal?...Understanding the different court systems;
Legal terms used in litigation………………………………………………………..

Employer/Employee Disputes

LEGAL DISCLAIMER…………………………………………………………………..
Mr. Sarno is licensed to practice law in NJ and NY. His response here is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter in question. Many times the questioner may leave out details which would make the reply unsuitable. Mr. Sarno strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their own state to acquire more information about this issue.


Under New York law, an employer is legally required to keep written records of the wages that it pays to its employee. Also, every time the employer pays a wage to its employee, the employee has a right to receive a wage statement. A wage statement will help the employee to keep track of (a) gross wages; (b) hourly wage rate; (c) total hours worked; (d) and other information, such as allowances, deductions and net wages. Without a wage statement, the employee may have difficulty answering important questions, such as whether the employee has received correct straight-time wages, overtime wages and other employee benefits.

Accordingly, it is an employee's right to receive and an employer's obligation to provide a wage statement, i.e. pay stub, each time the employer pays wages to the employee. It is prudent to consult an attorney for assistance in such matter.

DISCLAIMER - Ms. Okoronkwo’s response does not create an attorney-client relationship. The response is generalized, and should be viewed as educational information. It is Ms. Okoronkwo’s perspective that, when a reader has a legal question of his or her own, it is prudent for that reader to consult an attorney, who is available to (1) evaluate the specific facts and circumstances of the situation, (2) to review documents and (3) to provide case specific legal advice.