Our city gives workers rights, including a minimum wage. If an employer violates your rights to earn that minimum wage (or violates any other labor laws), you have the right to file a complaint with the New York Department of Labor. Unfortunately, workers think that if they file a complaint, there will be consequences. What are you to do if, after reporting a labor violation, you feel like your boss or company retaliates?
What does workplace retaliation look like?
Illegal retaliation has many faces in the workplace, and it can make a tough workplace even harder. It may look subtle, like less hours on your schedule or a role reassignment to a less preferable role. Retaliation could even be harsher feedback on an annual review that leads to a lower raise or no raise at all.
Retaliation could also be more direct, like verbal abuse, termination, threats of deportation, or false reports to other authorities. Remember, this is illegal, and even if you are undocumented, you have labor rights in New York City, regardless of your citizenship status.
Is retaliation for a DOL complaint legal?
Retaliation for making a New York Department of Labor complaint about wages is not legal. New York gives you rights to pursue any unpaid or underpaid wages and take civil action against your employer.
Of course, court is not always the answer, and an attorney experienced in negotiating and bringing two parties to the table can resolve a labor dispute much quicker than a lawsuit. New York City has five boroughs, and whichever one you call home, you have legal entitlements to minimum hourly wages, file complaints with DOL and the right to return to work after exercising your rights free from illegal retaliation.