How to Win Your New York Wage and Hour Case: Adopt a “Bias for Action”

Perhaps you’re a server or bartender at a fancy Manhattan establishment, who hasn’t been paid in three weeks; or maybe you’re a Long Island technical employee whose boss keeps unfairly docking your paycheck for other people’s mistakes.

Why haven’t you done anything about your potential New York wage and hour case?

The sad reality is that too many people tolerate unfair, unwelcome situations for far too long. In his groundbreaking 2004 movie, An Inconvenient Truth, former Vice President Al Gore discussed an apt metaphor: The Boiling Frog. If you plop a frog into a pot of boiling water, it will instantly leap to safety. But if you put a frog in mild water and then heat that water up to boiling temperature, the frog will never escape and will instead boil to death.

This problem of “becoming numb to the intolerable” may be happening to you.

After all, wage and hour issues don’t typically emerge right away. If you worked for a boss who refused to pay you right out of the gate, odds are, you’d eject yourself from that job quickly. But if you work for someone for several months or years — and only slowly find yourself subjected to unfair treatment — you might be far less likely to act to preserve your rights.

For instance, let’s say you’re a server at a top-caliber Manhattan restaurant. You worked hard to get the job; it’s a competitive environment out there for servers. You want to be on good behavior — be a team player. So when manager asks you to share tips or work a few extra shifts unpaid, you might be inclined to go along.

Over time, however, this acquiescent behavior can cost you thousands of dollars. What’s more, if you work in a place where wage and hour violations occur often, you may be subtly or even overtly dissuaded from protesting. You may fear the threat of retaliation, for instance. Or you may worry that you won’t be able to get another job. So, instead, you live by the philosophy that “half a loaf is better than none.” Even if you do want to stop the violations, you might not know how, when, or even whether to take action – and whom to trust to help you move forward.

The team here at the Joseph & Kirschenbaum has extensive and diverse experience with your type of wage and hour situation. Our team has won wide renown (or infamy, in some circles!) for having the courage to take on some of the biggest and most famous restaurants in New York City for wage and hour violations. We can fight for you. Call us now for a confidential and free consultation at (212) 688-5640, or learn more about what sets us apart – and why we win – at www.jhllp.com.