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Who is liable when subcontractors do not pay their employees?

Published By | Jan 10, 2022 | Unpaid Wages, Wage And Hour/Overtime

Wage theft and other violations are real problems for workers across New York. Too many people are underpaid or unpaid. Many of these people work for subcontractors.

If you work for a subcontractor who has not paid you correctly, you should know that new legislation in the state holds contractors and subcontractors jointly and severally liable for wage violations.

What is jointly and severally liable?

Joint and several liability means that two or more parties are responsible for a wrongdoing. In the context of unpaid wages for labor workers, this means that both the subcontractor and contractor are liable for any violations and resulting damages, even if only one of them was directly responsible for paying the employees.

In other words, if your employer is a subcontractor and they do not pay you, you can take legal action seeking payment from either or both your employer and the contractor.

Why does this matter?

By holding contractors liable for subcontractors’ failure to pay workers, the legislation makes it easier for employees to receive the wages, wage supplements and benefits they deserve.

The law also puts the burden of overseeing subcontractor payroll practices on contractors by encouraging them to conduct regular audits of their subcontractors. The contractor also can take action against subcontractors to recover any wages the contractor ultimately pays to employees as part of a legal claim.

Recovering wages you deserve

It can be complicated to determine whether you are owed money and who is liable, making pursuing legal action confusing. However, with the help of an experienced attorney, individuals can better understand their rights and collect the payment and damages they deserve.

Whether it involves unpaid overtime or improper deductions, every instance of wage theft is a serious concern. Holding the appropriate parties accountable can serve as a means of stopping unlawful behaviors and preventing others from suffering similar losses.

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