Filing a Claim with the New York Department of Labor

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 What Is the New York Department of Labor?

The New York Department of Labor is a state-operated division that processes many different NYS labor board complaints involving employment and labor. NYS labor board complaints address many legal issues, including wages and overtime, employee/employer rights, unemployment, and various other issues.

The New York Department of Labor’s mission is to “provide outstanding services to our customers – the workers and businesses that call New York home.”

The New York Department of Labor works to help New Yorkers find careers by connecting them to employment, training, and up-skilling opportunities.

What If I Need to File a Discrimination Claim With the New York Department of Labor?

One of the more common types of legal claims that the N.Y. Dept. of Labor processes is that of discrimination. Under state and federal laws, employers may not discriminate against employees. Under federal law, employers can’t discriminate on the basis of major categories such as age, race/nationality, religion, and other characteristics.’

Under New York law, discrimination is also prohibited for two other categories: citizenship/work status in the U.S.; and being a member of any program receiving financial assistance from the Federal government.

If you feel you have an employment discrimination claim, it may be possible to file a discrimination labor complaint against employers with the Dept. of Labor. The Department will launch an investigation into your claim and may require the employer to take action to remedy any losses. Alternatively, it may be necessary for you to file a lawsuit. You can file labor complaints against employers with the Department against both private employers and against the Department of Labor itself if necessary.

The Department of Labor accepts many claims and complaints related to wages owed and other employment issues. For example, you may:

  • Claim unpaid wages if your employer did not pay you for all hours worked (including on the job training)
  • Your paycheck bounced due to “not sufficient funds” (NSF)
  • You did not receive all your tips
  • Your rate of pay was lowered without prior notice

You can claim illegal deductions if your employer:

  • Deducted wages from your pay
  • Charged you for damages
  • Overcharged you for your portion of the Paid Family Leave contribution

Claim unpaid wage supplements if your employer promised you (verbally or in writing) but did not provide earned:

  • Vacation pay
  • Holiday pay
  • Bonuses

If the employer never promised to pay wage supplements, they are not required by law to pay them.

Claim unpaid wage supplements if your employer owes you (according to State Law) but did not supply earned:

  • Paid sick leave
  • Wage Parity supplemental benefits
  • Paid days of rest for domestic workers

Claim minimum wage/overtime pay if your employer:

  • Paid you less than the existing minimum wage, the fast-food minimum wage, or the tipped worker minimum wage
  • Did not pay an overtime rate for hours worked over 40 in one week (Most workers must be paid time and ½ their rate of pay for more than 40 hours worked, but there are some exceptions.)

Claim minimum wage extras if:

  • Your employer owes you extra pay for cleaning your uniform
  • You are owed call-in pay
  • You are owed additional compensation because your workday spans more than 10 hours from start to finish

Make a non-wage complaint if your employer failed to supply the required meal period, day of rest, pay stub, a notice of payments, timely payment of wages, or took an adverse action against you for making a complaint related to the Labor Law.

Send information to support your claim (if available), such as copies of a benefit policy, pay stubs, canceled checks, checks not honored, time records, etc. Do not send original documents.

What Should My Complaint Contain?

When filing with the New York Department of Labor, your NYSDOL complaint information form needs to contain:

  • Basic information (name, address, other contact info)
  • Whether you are filing for yourself or on behalf of another person (include their contact info if you are filing for someone else)
  • Contact information of the agency or person who allegedly discriminated against you
  • A brief account of when, how, and why the discrimination is believed to have occurred
  • Type of discrimination claim you are filing (age-based, race, sex, etc.)
  • Contact information of any witnesses
  • Contact info of any other persons involved in the incident(s)
  • Required signatures

Lastly, on your NYSDOL complaint form, you should include a brief written account of the incident and why you believe discrimination transpired. As you can see, this is a considerable amount of information, and an NYSDOL complaint information form may need the assistance of an attorney for the filing.

Is There a Time Limit for Filing a Complaint with the New York Department of Labor?

You must file your complaint within 180 days of the date on which the discriminatory act.

The New York Department of Labor cannot accept every claim.

The department will not accept claims if you:

  • Worked outside of New York State
  • Have filed an action to recover your wages in small claims or civil court
  • Are claiming commissions from sales.
  • Were in business for yourself, or were truly an independent contractor
  • Are owed wages from more than three years since the date you earned the wages or supplements due to you
  • Are making a claim for wages or benefits that are subject to a Union’s grievance and arbitration procedure
  • Have an employer benefit policy that excludes you from collecting accrued benefits for a specific reason (e.g., quit without notice)
  • Are owed a wage supplement, but 30 days have not passed since it became due
  • Worked as an executive, administrative, or professional employee and earned over $900 per week
  • Performed public work

Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help Filing with the New York Department of Labor?

Filing discrimination or other work-related claims generally requires the legal guidance of a qualified New York employment lawyer. It’s in your best interests to hire a lawyer if you need help filing a claim for your losses. Your attorney can guide you through the process to ensure that you receive the legal remedy you need.

If you don’t have a permanent address, give us your cell phone number or the number and address of a friend or family member who knows how to reach you.

If you are not sure of your employer’s name, some suggestions are: take a picture with a cell phone or write down the license number of your employer’s vehicle; do the same for any company names on the vehicle. Do the same for other employers on the job. If you get a paycheck, write down all the information on the check before you cash it. Make a photocopy of the check or take a picture of it if you can. Make a note of your job location by writing down the address.

If there is no record of your hours or pay, start keeping one. Every day you work, write down the time you start and finish. Write down if you took time for a meal break and how long the break was. Write down every time you get paid, with the date and how much pay you received.

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