Wage and Hour Law

The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers of covered employees who are not otherwise exempt to pay these employees a minimum wage of not less than $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. Youths under 20 years of age may be paid a minimum wage of not less than $4.25 an hour during the first 90 consecutive calendar days of employment with an employer. Employers may not displace any employee to hire someone at the youth minimum wage.

The FLSA does not limit either the number of hours in a day or the number of days in a week that an employer may require an employee to work, as long as the employee is at least 16 years old. Similarly, the FLSA does not limit the number of hours of overtime that may be scheduled. However, the FLSA requires employers to pay covered employees not less than one and one half times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek, unless the employees are otherwise exempt.

The New Jersey Wage and Hour Law

The New Jersey Wage and Hour Law (NJWHL) requires employers to pay employees “not less than 1½ times such employee's regular hourly rate for each hour of working time in excess of 40 hours in any week, except this overtime rate shall not include any individual employed in a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity.” N.J.S.A. 34:11-56a4. If an employer violates this provision, the NJWHL authorizes private causes of action in which an aggrieved employee can be awarded the amount of unpaid overtime compensation, costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees. N.J.S.A. 34:11-56a25 and 34:11-56a25.1. The quantum of damages need not even be certain to establish a viable NJWHL claim. Mosley v. Femina Fashions, Inc., 356 N.J. Super. 118, 128 (App. Div. 2002). “[W]here a wrong has been committed, and it is certain that damages have resulted, mere uncertainty as to the amount will not preclude recovery--courts will fashion a remedy even though the proof on damages is inexact.” Quoting Kozlowski v. Kozlowski, 80 N.J. 378, 388 (1979).

When an aggrieved employee presents proofs that he or she is entitled to unpaid overtime wages, the burden then shifts to the employer to establish “the right to an exemption from the ‘overtime’ obligation based upon the employee's salary, duties and work.” Marx v. Friendly Ice Cream Corp, 380 N.J. Super. 302, 309 (App. Div. 2005) (citing N.J.A.C. 12:56-7.1 to 7.6). "[I]f the record is unclear as to some exemption requirement, the employer will be held not to have satisfied its burden." Martin v. Cooper Elec. Supply Co., 940 F.2d 896, 900 (3d Cir. 1991).

New Jersey Wage Payment Law

The New Jersey Wage Collection Law (NJWCL) provides a private cause of action to allow aggrieved employees to demand and collect all “wages” due and owing to him, including commissions and bonus payments. N.J.S.A. 34:11-66 (“Nothing in this article shall prevent the claimant from instituting an action for his claim in any court of competent jurisdiction or be construed to deny or limit the right of the plaintiff or defendant to a trial by jury … The judgment shall be docketed in the Superior Court as are other judgments of the wage collection division”); see also B & H Securities, Inc. v. Pinkney, 404 N.J. Super. 42, 43-44 (App. Div. 2008). Further, “if a reasonable jury could find that [an employer] did not meet its burden with respect to just one element of the relevant exemption, it would be compelled to return a verdict in favor of [the plaintiff employee] as to that exemption.” Hickton v. Enter. Rent-A-Car Co., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136252 at *42 (W.D.Pa.).

If you suspect your employer has violated the FLSA, NJWHL and/or NJWCL call us at Mashel Law (732) 536-6161 or fill out the contact form on this page. Mashel Law located in Marlboro, New Jersey, is dedicated exclusively to protecting the rights of employees.

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