The minimum wage in New Jersey is currently $13 per hour and will increase to $14.13 on Jan. 1, 2023. By law, employers are required to pay non-salaried employees at least minimum wage for certain job positions, and you have legal rights to receive minimum wage and to be paid for all time worked.
Employers cannot skirt the law by demanding employees to work during unpaid times, such as breaks or lunch, adjust pay rates based on performance, or consider you an independent contractor if you do not have an independent business and are subject to the rules and supervision of the employer. There are actions you are entitled to take if your employer is not paying you minimum wage.
Inform Your Employer
Before seeking legal remedies, address the issue with your employer. While employers should know what the minimum wage is, there are times when employers are unaware and may not realize they are violating the law. Address the issue with your employer in writing to create a record, detailing the errors in your pay and the rate you were paid, along with the rate you should be receiving under New Jersey law. Ideally, bringing your employer’s attention to the discrepancy may solve the problem if they agree to make the necessary changes to your hourly rate.
Contact an Attorney
You have the right to file your own wage claim against your lawyer, and there are different avenues for doing so. However, an experienced attorney can assess your claim, determine your eligibility, your employer’s culpability, which type of claim is appropriate, and in which agency or court system you should file. Having an attorney also guarantees your rights will be protected.
File a Claim
If your attempt to have your wages corrected directly with your employer is unsuccessful, you can file a legal claim. While it may seem daunting to file a claim against your employer while you are still employed, you are protected by wage law against retaliation for doing so. You can file smaller claims with the New Jersey Department of Labor and will be assigned a hearing with the agency. You can also file a claim against your employer in either state or federal court with legal representation.
It is beneficial if you have a record of your work hours, but it is not required in order to file a claim. If not, you can estimate the number of hours worked. Under the law, your employer is legally required to maintain this information, and you or your attorney can request a copy of your record. In cases where employers have not kept records, the burden of proof is shifted from you to the employer according to the U.S. Supreme Court.
You are also entitled to back wages for up to two years for minimum wage and overtime violations, three years if the violation was willful. In cases of non-payment for hours worked, you may be able to file back six years.
Go to Court
If your state claim is rejected, you can pursue a private claim against your employer in small claims court to seek compensation. Whichever route you choose, keep in mind the claims process can take up to several months, and there is no guarantee that you will receive compensation.
In addition to receiving compensation of your unpaid wages, federal law dictates that if your employer is found to have violated the wage law, you are also entitled to the equal amount in damages, plus attorney fees.
South Jersey Employment Lawyer at The Law Offices of Leo B. Dubler, III, LLC Represents Clients Filing Wage Claims
You are entitled to earn minimum wage, and your employer is required to pay at least the current minimum wage. If you are being paid less, you may be able to file a claim. Our experienced South Jersey employment lawyer at The Law Offices of Leo B. Dubler, III, LLC can protect your rights and fight back against your employer’s illegal practices. Call us at 856-235-7075 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Atlantic City and Mount Laurel, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Cherry Hill, Burlington County, and Camden County.