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Adam J. Safer

New York provides teeth to its wage laws, codified at Article 6 of the New York Labor Law, by, among other things, requiring employers to pay the employee: (1) the full amount of any underpayment (2) all reasonable attorney fees; (3) prejudgment interest; and (4) an additional 100 percent of the wages due unless the employer proves it had a good faith basis to believe its underpayment complied with the law. N.Y. Labor Law §198(1-a). (Effective Jan. 19, 2018, penalties will increase to “up to” 300 percemt of the wages due in some circumstances.) However, the “teeth” only apply to the limited wage claims specifically provided for under Article 6. They do not apply to all claims an employee might bring against his or her employer. Gottlieb v. Kenneth D. Laub & Co., 82 N.Y.2d 457, 462-64 (1993).

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