$3 Million Settlement for Underpayment of Wages to 911 Operators in Nassau County, New York
On August 25, 2021, New York federal judge James M. Wicks approved a settlement deal that will require Nassau County, New York to pay $3 million to a collective of 911 dispatch operators for unpaid overtime. The negotiated deal comes five years after the group alleged that the county wasn’t paying the operators for the overtime they were required to work every seven weeks and that the county miscalculated their compensation rate.
The deal took the 200 opt-in plaintiffs and Nassau County nearly eight months to hammer out, and requires the County to pay $900,000 in attorney fees in addition to the sum being paid to the opt-in plaintiffs for the unpaid overtime.
This settlement showcases the importance of paying employees correctly from the start. Many times, determining the correct pay for an employee is not a simple task. There are various factors that must be considered in determining the appropriate pay and supplemental benefits that must be administered to an employee by law. It is in the interest of the employer to do the leg work up front to determine the appropriate wages and benefits.
Below are some key considerations in determining the appropriate pay and supplemental benefits for an employee:
- Is the work being performed by the employee covered by a federal, state or local prevailing wage law?
- Has the worker classification in the prevailing wage schedule that is being used to determine the hourly wage and supplemental benefits for the employee been vetted (are the employees performing the duties described in the prevailing wage schedule)?
- Is the employee an exempt employee or are they required to be paid overtime?
- Is the employee required to be paid overtime for hours greater than eight hours in a day? Greater than 40 hours in a week?
- Is the work being performed covered by any other regulations or laws that would require a change in pay?
- Are there any conflicts between state and federal wage laws?
Often, the answers to the above question are not obvious or clear, and a degree of subjectivity and experience must be used to determine the answers. If you would like more information about important wage and hour considerations for your business, please contact Brian Sanvidge, Principal and Leader of Regulatory Compliance and Investigations, or your Anchin Relationship Partner.