Wage Theft Law for New York Construction Workers goes into Effect

 In Employment Law, Overtime Law, Wage Law

As we wrote about here, last year, New York state added significant wage theft protections for New York construction workers. Wage theft is common in the restaurant and hospitality industries. But, wage theft is just as common in the construction industry particularly because there are so many layers of businesses and workers tasked with new construction, remodeling, and repairs. Owners generally hire a general contractor business which then hires subcontractors for various sub-parts of the project. For example, the general contractor will hire plumbing and electrical subcontractors. With so many businesses involved in the project, employers try to short-change their workers’ wages and other employee benefits in many different ways.

Wage theft is, of course, unlawful and is punishable under federal and state laws. If you work in the construction industry and you think your employer has failed to pay you all or part of your wages (or has denied you other benefits), you should contact experienced wage theft attorneys like the ones at Herrmann Law. Your rights as a worker can be vindicated and your employer brought to justice.

Wage Theft Law Applies to New York Construction Workers

New York state passed wage theft laws to protect New York construction workers. There are similar laws in states – like Illinois and New Jersey – and cities around the country – like Austin and Houston. The New York wage theft law has now taken effect statewide for all New York Construction Workers.

There are several important new protections for construction workers. First, and most importantly, the general contractor is now responsible for ensuring that subcontractors are complying with labor laws. That is, general contractors must ensure that any subcontractor is complying with minimum wage and overtime laws and that workers actually receive their wages. This will help workers because monitoring by the general contractor will lessen labor law violations by subcontractors. To help with this monitoring function, general contractors are allowed to demand access to a sub-contractor’s payroll and employee records.

Note that the general contractor is now liable for any violations by subcontractors at any “tier” of the project. Thus, if a subcontractor hires a sub-sub-contractor, the general contractor is liable for wage theft committed by the sub-sub-contractor.

Second, construction workers can now bring claims and sue the general contractor directly for wage theft and labor law violations committed by sub-contractors. This is an important new protection since general contractors tend to be larger and more financially stable than subcontractors. Some smaller sub-contractors might be financially stressed so that stolen wages and benefits cannot be recovered from them. However, there is now an option to go after the general contractor. This is an expanded protection since there are now two potential businesses that can be sued to recover wages and benefits that are due.

Note that enforcement of the new law can also be carried out by the New York Attorney General and by the Department of Labor.

Call the Employee Rights Attorneys at Herrmann Law Today

For more information, call the Employee Rights attorneys at Herrmann Law. If you think that your employer has violated your rights as an employee, call us. We are proven, experienced, employee-focused attorneys representing workers across the United States in all types of workplace disputes. Use our Online Contact page or call us at (817) 479-9229. We are more than just a law firm for employees – we are an employee’s fiercest advocate, equipping employees with the legal representation needed to achieve the best result possible.


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