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New York Employee Rights

New York Employee Rights


Guide to New York Employee Rights

If you work in New York, you and your employer each have rights and responsibilities in the employment relationship.  While many of these rights and responsibilities may be detailed in an employment agreement or union contract, federal and state laws also dictate NY employee rights.  This guide will teach you about some of your New York employee rights so that you'll know what your employer is required to do for employees.

Minimum Wage

Currently, NY employee rights do not give a higher minimum wage at the state level than the federal minmum of $7.25 an hour.  Tipped employees will receive less than this wage, but only if their tips would bring them up to the minimum wage or above.  If a tipped employee receives less in tips, their employer must make the difference according to New York employee rights.  These NY employee rights also ensure that workers will not be required to pay for their own uniform if the purchase and upkeep of the uniform would bring their wages below minimum wage.


If you work more than 40 hours in a week in most occupations, you are entitled by New York employee rights to be paid time and a half.  Some categories of employees are considered exempt from overtime requirements, including professionals and executives.  However, NY employee rights even make these employees non-exempt (meaning that they must be paid overtime) if they make less than $536 per week.  If employers have not paid overtime, New York employee rights give their employees the ablity to sue with an employment lawyer for damages.

Wrongful Termination

NY employee rights pertaining to wrongful termination are somewhat limited, because it is an at-will employment state.  This means that for the most part, your employer can terminate you for any cause—or no cause at all—without violating your New York employee rights.  However, NY employee rights do mean that you cannot be legally fired for a discriminatory reason.  If your employer fires you because of your race, national origin, disability, sex, or religion, they are violating your New York employee rights and you may be able to successfully file a lawsuit against them.


In the state of New York, employees working at least six hours starting before 11 AM and continuing until at least 2 PM have NY employee rights to an uninterrupted half-hour lunch period.  Meal breaks do not have to be paid, but can be if your employer chooses.  Employers are not required to offer any shorter breaks, but New York employee rights require that employers pay for any breaks of 20 minutes or less.

Day of Rest

People in several industries in New York have the right to at least one uninterrupted 24 hour “day of rest” per week according to NY employee rights laws.  If you work in a factory, a retail establishment, a hotel, restaurant, or as an elevator operator or janitor, you have the right to an entire day without working any hours every week.