New York has increased penalties for employers who violate the State’s wage payment laws. The new law, which takes effect on November 25, 2009, increases the minimum civil penalty for complaints concerning wage payment violations from $200 to $1,000. The law also increases the maximum penalty for employers who retaliate against employees for exercising their wage payment rights from $2,000 to $10,000 and allows the Commissioner of Labor to award lost compensation to employees who have been victims of retaliation.

In addition, the Commissioner of Labor has the authority to commence administrative proceedings against employers to collect minimum wage underpayments and liquidated damages. The liquidated damages may be avoided only if the employer shows it had a good faith basis for believing its wage underpayment complied with the State’s labor law.