What Should I Do if I Think I Am Not Being Paid Properly? You should begin keeping a journal or other record of the time you start and end work every day and how much you were paid. It is also a good idea to save all your pay stubs, or if you get paid in cash, to keep a journal of the dates you get paid and how much you are paid each time. These records may help you figure out whether you are being improperly paid. You may also consider consulting an experienced wage and hour lawyer who can advise you on whether you may have a claim for unpaid overtime, unpaid or stolen tips, or other wage violations. If I decide to meet with a wage and hour attorney, what should I bring? When you first bring your case to a wage and hour lawyer, it can be very helpful if you bring whatever documents you have from your employer. In particular, certain documents can help a wage and hour lawyer evaluate whether you may have a claim for unpaid overtime, unpaid or stolen tips, and/or unpaid wages. The most helpful documents are pay stubs or other records of the money you earned, time sheets or other records of the hours you worked, and any paperwork your employer gave you. Other important wage and hour documents include any employee handbooks or contracts with your employer, as well as tax documents such as W-2s.
It is also helpful to bring any cell phones, laptops, tablets, or other devices you used (personal or work) during the course of your employment. What if I didn't keep all of the documents you mentioned above? If you didn*t keep all (or even any) of your pay stubs and other documents from your employer, don*t be overly concerned. In most cases, employers are required to keep pay and time records for up to six years, and if you file a lawsuit for unpaid wages, your employer may be required to give those documents to your wage and hour attorney during the lawsuit. What if I didn't receive paystubs because I was paid in cash? Under New York law, your employer is required to give you pay stubs every pay period whether you are paid by check or cash. If your employer did not do so, you can still sue them for unpaid wages, and they will have to prove that they paid you in cash as well as how much you were paid. Additionally, you may be able to recover more damages if your employer failed to give you proper pay stubs and/or a proper written notice of your rate of pay at the time you were hired. What if My Employer Didn't Keep Track of the Hours I Worked? If your employer did not keep accurate time records, and your case is filed in court, your testimony regarding the hours you worked and the amount you were paid are entitled to a presumption of accuracy if a judge or jury finds it credible. While not required, it is helpful if you can identify witnesses, such as coworkers, who may be willing to give a statement about the hours you worked or how you were paid. What if I Don*t Remember the Exact Dates and Times I Worked? Don*t be overly concerned. If your employer did not keep records, you are not expected to remember the exact dates and times you worked to recover for unpaid overtime or other wage violations. Additionally, an experienced wage and hour attorney can often help you figure out the approximate dates and times you worked using information you may not have thought of. That is why it is important to preserve any phones, computers, and other electronic devices if you are thinking about bringing a lawsuit for unpaid wages. Can I Recover for Unpaid Wages if I am in the United States illegally? In most wage and hour cases, courts have ruled that workers can recover unpaid wages regardless of their immigration status. Numerous New York courts have held that undocumented immigrants have the right to recover for unpaid wages. You do not need immigration documents to bring a case for unpaid overtime, unpaid or stolen tips, or other wage violations. A capable wage and hour attorney will object to and resist any effort by your employer to discover information related to an employee's immigration status, and most New York judges have held that employers cannot ask questions about immigration status.