Frequently Asked Questions

I was paid “off the books” in cash.  Doesn’t that mean I’m out of luck to do anything about my underpaid wages?

No, absolutely not. The law puts the burden on the employer to pay its employees correctly and to keep proper records.  If they don’t, it’s their problem, not yours. While you can still pursue a claim without any records of your time worked at all, we encourage everyone to keep their own log of their hours worked — in any job, but especially where you know the company isn’t keep records. Those records may just help you out one day.

I am paid a “salary.” Doesn’t that mean I’m not entitled to extra pay for overtime?

Not necessarily!  There are some jobs that it is permissible for an employer to pay you a straight salary with no overtime. However, in many many instances, employers classify workers as “salaried” improperly!  It depends on the duties and responsibilities you have and some specifics about how you were paid. Call AndersonDodson at 212.961.7639 to discuss your particular situation.

I can’t afford a lawyer to help me out with this problem — can I?

Good news!  When a company pays you improperly, the law requires the company to pay your attorney fees — regardless of how much (or little) is owed to you.  Because of this, the attorneys at AndersonDodson are usually able to work on a contingency fee basis (meaning that the attorney fees do not come out of your pocket, but from the employer at the end of the case). We do have to be sure your claim is likely to meet with success in order to accept your case, but once we are, we are usually able to pursue your claim without you having to pay us out of your own pocket for our attorney time expended on your behalf.

I do not have my proper immigration papers or work authorization. Am I entitled to the protections of the wage laws?

Yes! All too often, immigrants are taken advantage of because of this fear. If you are here in the U.S. and working, the law requires the employer to pay you in accordance with the laws. Judges have been consistently clear that immigration status simply does not matter. The lawyers at AndersonDodson are very knowledgeable about these legal protections and actively pursue opportunities to keep your immigration status completely away from the wage claims we raise. That means the other side usually does not even get to ask the question in the first place!

I am still working for the company that I have the problem with.  If I try to do something about it, won’t they just fire me?

Unfortunately the fear of what bad things might happen keeps some people from standing up for their rights.  Some employers even prey upon this fear in an attempt to get away with underpayments. While anything can happen, it is actually pretty rare for an employer to fire you for pursuing your rights in the right way.  Why?  Not because they’re nice, but because it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against you (fire you, demote you, etc.) for your decision to pursue your wage rights. That means that if the employer does do something bad to you as a result of you standing up for yourself, you may have grounds for an additional claim against them. You are generally much safer pursuing these rights with lawyers who know this area of the law inside and out than going it alone, largely because the employer takes the situation more seriously when there is an outside force in the picture. At AndersonDodson, we know how to minimize the chance of anything bad happening to you in the first place, but if it does, we know what to do about it.  If this is a concern of yours, let’s talk through it together. Remember that all conversations are confidential.  Call us at 212.961.7639.

Can I recover anything for a job I worked a while back?

If any part of the employment happened within the past six (6) years, give us a call to discuss.  Under New York law, you can potentially recover for up to six (6) years prior to the date your lawsuit is filed. Under federal law you can recover for the past two or three years, depending on certain factors.

I have a criminal background.  Will that get in the way?

Your criminal history is irrelevant to how you have been paid for the work you have done.  In fact, some employers prey upon workers with criminal histories because they think they are easier to take advantage of. It is important to be up-front and honest with your lawyer so that we can address anything in your past before it becomes an issue, but it should not affect your ability to recover the wages the law says you are entitled to.

Other Questions?

Let us know what YOUR questions or fears are. We are here to be on your team and to inform you about what the actual likely risks and benefits of pursuing your claim are. Learn what the actual risks are – and aren’t; don’t let imagined fears get in your way of standing up for yourself and laying claim to what is rightfully yours. Call AndersonDodson, P.C. today at 212-961-7639.