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New York Amends Labor Law to Expand Employees’ Ability to Bring Wage Claims

New York’s labor law gives all employees the right to recover the full amount of wages, benefits, wage supplements and liquidated damages they are due if an employer makes improper pay deductions.

On August 20, 2021, former Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill (S858) which amends the New York Labor Law to make it easier for employees to bring claims against their employers for unpaid wages. The legislation, titled the “No Wage Theft Loophole Act,” is designed to eliminate what has been seen as a “judicially created loophole” regarding whether the Labor Law’s sections prohibiting improper deductions and enabling employees to bring private lawsuits against their employers apply when an employer withholds an employee’s pay entirely versus just a portion of it. The amendments also provide that there is no exception to an employer’s liability for the unauthorized failure to pay wages, benefits or wage supplements.

The new law took effect immediately upon the signing.

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