Employee Salary Histories

Can Employers Ask Employees About their Salary History? On May 4, 2017, the New York City Council passed a bill that limited what an employer can ask job candidates about their salary history, compensation history and other past benefits when interviewing them for a job. The law went into effect on October 31, 2017. The National Law Review explains that new law was part of the New York City Human Rights Law. What this means for employers is that violations are subject to compensatory damages, which could include back pay, front pay, punitive damages, attorneys’ fees, emotional distress, etc. What was the purpose of passing the law? The law had the purpose of preventing employers from using a job applicant’s past salary history to determine compensation. The employer cannot ask the job applicant about previous salary history for a current or prior wages, about benefits or other job compensation they have received. It is also unlawful for an employer to ask the previous employer what the individual was being paid or to ask about salary history. The employer also is prohibited from searching public records to obtain a job candidate’s salary history. When the job candidates volunteer their salary history without any prompting, the employer can legally verify the information with the previous employer and use the salary history in determining the current salary. What can an employer ask? Employers can ask about the job candidate’s previous production at the job, such as how much revenue or sales they brought in or about other production statistics related to their work. Employers can inform job candidates in writing or verbally...

More About Employee Wage Deductions

As an employer, have you ever wondered if a wage deduction you made was legal? New York Labor Law establishes what is legal and what is not for wage deductions. If you have questions, it is always wise to seek legal counsel from an experienced employment law defense attorney. The NY legislature passed an amendment to NY Labor Law 193 Deductions from Wages in October 2015. The amendment went into effect on November 6, 2015 and expires on November 6, 2018, unless the legislature renews it. Two main features of the amendment are allowing employers to deduct for over payments and salary advances. Overpayments The amendment permits employers to make wage deductions for accidental overpayments. Overpayments refer to payments made due to a mathematical or clerical error by the employer. Note that the employer must provide the employee with a notice of the overpayment deduction prior to commencing the recovery. Also, regulations govern how the deduction is made based on the size of overpayment along with the timing, frequency, duration and method of recovery. In addition, the employer must provide a procedure for the employee to dispute overpayment amounts and the procedure for recovering it. Salary Advances The employer must abide by rules the Commissioner has established for the timing, frequency, duration and method of deduction of a salary advance. There are also limitations on the periodic amount of repayment of the advance. Employers must provide employees with a notice before commencing repayment and also provide a procedure for the employee to dispute the amount or to seek delay of repayment. In addition to wage advances and overpayments, some...

Restaurant Industry: FAQs about Tips

Owners in the restaurant industry often have questions about tips. As a restaurant owner, it’s important to know your rights and responsibilities regarding tips so you can avoid disputes with employees and not put your business at risk. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA), which is federal law, and the New York Labor Law (state law) determine how restaurant owners must deal with tips. In the past, people paid restaurant bills with cash, but today credit cards are a popular and common form of payment. How must a restaurant owner deal with credit card tips? When tips are received by credit card, the owner must pay the employee the tip amount due no later than the regularly scheduled payday. Credit card companies charge a fee to the merchant for use of credit cards, and the fee is a percentage of the total amount paid on the card. The employer deducts the pro-rated share of the credit card company charge from the tip when calculating the employee’s tip. How must an employee’s wage statement reflect wages and tips? The wage statement must indicate the amount being paid to the employee in wages and the amount paid in tips. How should employers handle cash tips? Employers can allow employees to leave their cash tips with the employer during a particular pay period. However, doing so must be voluntary and up to the employee. Employers can hold tips as a service to the employee, and employers would indicate the amount in tips and wages in the wage statement. Employers cannot make their service of keeping cash tips as a mandatory hiring condition...

New York Wage and Hours Law: Wage Deductions and Payroll FAQs

New York employment laws dictate how employers must pay employees, and extensive information is available about Wage and Hours laws that require employers’ compliance. According to the New York Department of Labor, employers frequently ask the following two questions about wages. What information must an employer’s payroll records contain? Employers’ payroll records must show information for each week an employee works. Records must show the following: The total hours worked each day The total hours worked for the week The rate or rates of pay and basis (by the hour, shift, day, week, salary, piece, commission or other) Whether the employer paid more than one hourly rate and the number of hours worked at each rate Whether the employer paid piece rates and the number of pieces completed at each piece rate Gross wages Deductions Allowances or credits, if any, claimed as part of the minimum wage Net wages Overtime Records When the employee works overtime and the law requires that the employee be paid at a higher rate for overtime hours, the payroll record must show the items below (in addition to the items above): The number of regular hours worked The regular hourly rate or rates of pay The number of overtime hours worked The overtime rates of pay May employers deduct money from wages? Employers are permitted to deduct certain items from their employee’s wages, including: Taxes Insurance premiums Union dues Employers are not permitted to deduct the following from employees’ wages: Charges to employees for breakages Cash shortages Fines Other losses to the business Get Legal Help to Deal with New York Wage and Hours...

Helping Restaurant Owners Navigate the New York Labor Laws

FAQ for Restaurant Owners For restaurant owners, who are busy running their day-to-day business, New York Labor laws can seem like an added burden. Having access to a NY employment defense lawyer is often vital to navigate the laws and make your business successful. According to the NY State Department of Labor, here are some frequently asked questions employers often ask: Can you require employees to wear uniforms? Yes, you can. What is considered a uniform? Black slacks and white shirts are not uniforms. A shirt with the company insignia or custom-made slacks and shirts would be considered uniforms. If your worker’s pay is minimum wage, then the cost of buying the uniform and taking care of it cannot bring the employee below the minimum wage rate. Employers must either clean and take care of the uniforms or pay their employees to care for them. Are you limited by the number of hours an employee can work in a day? Except for children under 18, there are no limitations on how many hours in a day an employee can work. There also are no limitations on how early or late an employer can ask an employee to work. However, in the restaurant industry, an employee must have 24 hours of rest one day in a calendar week. This does not apply to small, rural restaurants. What are the rules for giving workers meal breaks? For work shifts of more than six hours that begin before 11:00 a.m. and continue until 2:00 p.m., the workers must be provided with an uninterrupted lunch period of at least half an hour between...

How to Protect Your Small Business Against Sexual Harassment

Q&A that Applies to Sexual Harassment in Small Business Environments If you are a small business owner, you may wonder how to protect your small business from sexual harassment and resulting claims that put your business at risk. Here are some questions and answers (Q&A) that are a good place to start when dealing with sexual harassment. This Q&A relates to harassment by supervisors: Who is considered a supervisor? Any individual who has the authority to recommend tangible employment decisions affecting the employee is a supervisor. Tangible employment decisions include significant employment actions that change an employee’s status, such as: Hiring Firing Promotion Demotion Work assignment Undesirable reassignment Significant benefits changes Compensation decisions When are employers liable for a supervisor’s sexual harassment? Whenever a supervisor engages in harassment that results in a tangible employment action, the employers are always liable. When no tangible employment action occurs, employers are still liable unless they can show the following: They took reasonable care to prevent and promptly correct sexual harassment. The employee reasonably failed to complain to management or failed to otherwise avoid harm. What steps should employers take to prevent and correct sexual harassment? Employers need to establish policy that prohibits harassment, put it in writing and pass it out to all employers. Employers should create procedures for making complaints and notify employees. When a business is sufficiently small that the owner is regularly in contact with all employees, the employer does not have to put policies in writing. Employers can tell employees at staff meetings that harassment is not allowed, that employees should report harassment immediately and they can even...