Civil Litigation • Labor and Employment • Real Estate • Landlord & Tenant • Divorce

135-27 38th Avenue, Suite 127
Flushing, New York 11354
Tel: (718) 687 - 6089
Fax: (718) 228 - 2808


Civil Litigation

Labor and Employment

Real Estate

Landlord & Tenant


Labor and Employment Law

If you do the work, you are entitled to be paid. Employers can present numerous reasons for not paying you or fully paying you. Excuses like "I'm paying you in cash," “you receive tips”, "you're not a citizen", "you're not exempt because I say you're not exempt," and "you're management" are sometimes invalid and not legal reasons for not paying overtime pay and minimum wage.

The Law Office of Thomas Lai has substantial experience in representing employees in recovering overtime and minimum wage pay under New York and Federal Law. The regulations interpreting the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) have undergone substantial changes in recent years. The Law Office of Thomas Lai is on top of the latest developments under the FLSA, which requires employers to pay non-exempt employees at a rate of not less than one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of forty in a workweek. The law does not protect all employees, however, since there are certain exemptions that apply based upon the type of work being performed and/or the type of business involved. In some instances, employers misclassify employees as “exempt” from the FLSA’s coverage in order to avoid overtime pay obligations. The Law Office of Thomas Lai can evaluate whether you are, in fact, entitled to minimum wage and overtime payments and will work diligently to pursue claims for failure to recover such amounts. The Law Office of Thomas Lai only accept cases that we are confident in and will not collect any attorney fees unless we win.

The Law Office of Thomas Lai aggressively handles matters in which employees are denied minimum wage payments required by federal and state laws. In some instances, employees may not even be aware that their effective hourly rate is less than the minimum wage such as when employers require them to pay for their own work supplies and uniforms. Further, they may not be aware that employees are entitled to spread of hours, that is, one hour minimum wage pay if the employee works ten or more hours a day. Such conduct violates the Fair Labor Standards Act and the New York Minimum Wage Act, which requires that employers pay their employees a minimum hourly rate of not less than $7.25.

The Department of Labor has established strict regulations as to when an employer may claim a credit toward the minimum wage for tips. If the employer does not follow these regulations, they can be liable to pay the regular minimum wage rate of $7.25 regardless of the amount received by the employee in tips. In addition, the New York Labor Law has recently allowed for recovery of damages double what should have been paid under minimum wage and overtime laws. If the employer is also in violation of the FLSA as well, an employee may be able to recover up to triple of what should have been paid under minimum wage and overtime laws.

If you have experienced a violation of overtime or minimum wage at your place of employment within the past six years, contact us today. The Law Office of Thomas Lai will get you the money that you deserve.

Tips for Employees

If you are aware that you are not receiving the proper minimum wage, overtime and/or spread of hours, your main job is to document your hours worked. Let our firm worry about getting everything else done to get you the compensation you deserve. Here are some tips for you that will assist us in getting you that judgment:

TIP #1: Keep a daily written diary of your hours worked and the pay you receive. Overtime is calculated by the number of hours worked in excess of forty (40) per week. Spread of Hours is calculated by the number of hours worked in excess of ten (10) per day.

TIP #2: Give your attorney all of the information he needs about your employment. Even if you think some of the information could possibly hurt your case, we must be informed of everything. An experienced attorney knows how to deal with all of the facts, whether they are good or bad - but, we must have all of the facts! We will keep everything in confidence, and we will always treat you and your case with respect and dignity.

TIP #3: Don't talk to anyone but your attorney about your situation. You and your lawyer are the only ones truly interested in your success and welfare. Your employer or legal representative will be doing everything they can to keep your final settlement/judgment down - or even from getting any settlement at all. That is why you must be very careful about who you talk to. Simple comments you make may be taken out of context and used against you. You simply should not speak to anyone at all about your case.

TIP #4: Never sign your name to anything that your lawyer has not seen and approved. Your employer may try to have you sign your rights away, or agree to a smaller award than you deserve. You must tell them right away that you are represented by a lawyer, and give them our name and phone number.

New York Minimum Wage

$7.15 after January 1, 2007
$7.25 after July 24, 2009
$8.00 after January 1, 2014 (current)
$8.75 after January 1, 2015
$9.00 after January 1, 2016


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