When an employer fails to pay you for wages you are entitled to, it is not only frustrating and unfair, but also against New Jersey and federal law. Wage laws are in place to protect workers from being denied fair pay for overtime worked, whether through misclassification by their employer as salaried or exempt employees, refusal to pay for overtime hours, or other violations of overtime laws. Additionally, employers in New Jersey cannot take illegal deductions out of your pay or refuse to pay the minimum wage established by law. If you have been deprived of payment owed by your employer in New Jersey, you’ve come to the right place. Our dedicated employment attorneys fight for employees across New Jersey who are owed money by their employers. If you believe you can a claim for unpaid hours in Monmouth County, Ocean County, Morris County, Middlesex County, or elsewhere in New Jersey, we can help.
There are a variety of ways in which employers in New Jersey can violate your right to earn fair wages. Some of the common violations that give rise to wage and hour disputes are related to unpaid overtime, minimum wage, and withheld wages. Employers may knowingly or unknowingly go against your right to be compensated for work you have already done or benefits to which you are entitled. When this occurs, you have the right to pursue a claim for lost wages and benefits.
New Jersey law does not require employers to pay out unused vacation time. However, if your employment contract states that you are entitled to be paid for unused vacation time, that provision is enforceable. This is also true if your employee handbook explicitly states that employees are entitled to payment for vacation days they have not taken.
New Jersey law and federal law requires that most employees, with the exception of exempt employees, be paid time and a half for hours they work beyond 40 hours in a week. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), most hourly employees are guaranteed overtime pay that is one and a half-times over their hourly rate once they have worked more than 40 hours in a given week. Certain exemptions apply with regard to overtime and may affect your entitlement to pay for extra hours worked. If you are a professional, administrative, or executive employee, or exempt from minimum wage requirements, you are exempt from this requirement and not entitled to overtime pay. While most retail workers are entitled to overtime pay, certain employees such as those paid on commission, are also exempt from overtime pay requirements.
Employers may wrongfully refuse to pay employees in New Jersey overtime by miscategorizing them as exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act (the FLSA). You may also have grounds for an unpaid wage claim if your employer labeled you an independent contractor as opposed to an employee in order to deny you health benefits, a retirement plan, or other compensation you are owed. If you do not fall into one of the exempt categories, you are entitled to overtime pay, even if you are a salaried worker. An employment attorney can help you determine if you are in a position entitled to overtime pay.
It is also important to know that if your employment contract provides for paid overtime, that provision is legally enforceable, even if you are otherwise exempt for overtime pay requirements. Furthermore, employers are not permitted to provide employees with paid time off in lieu of overtime pay. If your employer tries to give you paid time off as a replacement for overtime wages, this is a clear violation of your rights.
Issues with minimum wage can arise when workers are underpaid or in unpaid overtime disputes. It is important to understand your right to earn minimum wage and what the specific amount of minimum pay per hour is in New Jersey. Effective January 1, 2019, the New Jersey minimum wage is $8.85. It is unlawful for your employer to pay you less than this amount per hour. This includes tipped workers, however, the rule is applied in a slightly different way. Minimum wage for tipped workers is calculated to include the tips they earn. In 2019, tipped workers like restaurant servers must earn at least $8.85 for every hour worked in a 40 hour work week. When considering your earned tips, if you earn more than $8.85 per hour, your employer must still pay you $2.13 per hour.
As a New Jersey worker, your rights are very important and protected by New Jersey and federal law. If you believe that your employer has failed to pay you wages that you are entitled to, you should contact an employment attorney right away. Navigating state and federal wage laws can be complicated. Our lawyers concentrate on matters in New Jersey to fully understand these complexities and deliver the best possible results to our clients. Contact the law offices of Peterpaul Law, LLP. now at 732-455-8080 for guidance and assistance in recovering unpaid wages in New Jersey. One of our experienced employment attorneys can review your wage and hour case in NJ and determine whether you have a valid claim against your employer. You can also fill out our online form and we will be happy to set up a consultation with you.