October 15, 2019

October 14, 2019

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Governor Cuomo Announces Proposal to Crack Down on Wage Theft

On January 24, 2019, Governor Cuomo’s office issued a press release announcing a new proposal to be included in the 2020 Executive Budget aimed at cracking down on wage theft and bolstering the State’s efforts to hold accountable employers who attempt to improperly withhold wages. This proposal would increase the criminal penalties for employers who either knowingly or intentionally commit wage theft violations to bring them in line with other forms of theft.

Presently, only employers who commit repeated wage theft can be prosecuted with a felony. The proposed legislation will amend the New York Labor Law to provide for criminal penalties for employers who knowingly steal wages, with criminal penalties ranging from a Class B misdemeanor for wage theft less than $1,000 to a Class B felony for wage theft exceeding $50,000. Notable effects of the proposal will be the enhancement of the New York State Department of Labor’s ability to make referrals for criminal prosecution to District Attorneys and the Attorney General, as well as the increased likelihood that wage theft violations will be prosecuted as crimes. In addition, the enhanced penalties may deter employers and thus reduce future occurrences of wage theft.

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About this Author

Jeffrey H. Ruzal, epstein becker green, new york, fair labor, employment

JEFFREY H. RUZAL is a Member in the Labor and Employment practice, in the New York office of Epstein Becker Green.

Mr. Ruzal's experience includes:

  • Representing employers in employment-related litigation in federal courts and before administrative agencies

  • Representing employers in the defense of putative collective actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act and class actions under the New York State Wage and Hour Law

  • ...

Carrie Anderer Employment Attorney

CARRIE ANDERER is an Associate in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the New York office of Epstein Becker Green.

Ms. Anderer:

  • Represents employers in employment disputes involving claims of discrimination, retaliation, harassment, wrongful termination, and wage and hour violations, in federal and state courts and arbitration tribunals
  • Provides strategic legal counsel and risk management advice to clients on a wide variety of human resources and employment matters, including compensation, performance management, separations, leaves of absence, discrimination, harassment, diversity and inclusion, workplace privacy, wage and hour compliance, restrictive covenants, reasonable accommodations, and employee classification
  • Drafts and reviews employment, separation, severance, confidentiality, and settlement agreements
  • Advises clients on workplace investigations of allegations of employee misconduct
  • Prepares and updates employee handbooks and related policies, procedures, and guidelines
  • Monitors and assesses the impact of employment law developments and enforcement trends at the federal, state, and local levels

In addition, Ms. Anderer has provided pro bono legal consultations through the Legal Network for Gender Equity of the National Women’s Law Center.

Before joining Epstein Becker Green, Ms. Anderer was an attorney in the Labor and Employment Practice and the Litigation Practice of an international law firm. She previously taught a legal writing and advocacy course as an Adjunct Professor at Brooklyn Law School. Ms. Anderer is also an active member of the New York City Bar Association, serving a three-year term as a member of the Sports Law Committee and a two-year term as the Secretary of the Mortgage Foreclosure Task Force.


  • Brooklyn Law School (J.D., 2011)
    • Moot Court Honor Society
    • Managing Editor, Brooklyn Journal of International Law
  • Columbia University (B.A., 2006)

Bar Admissions

  • New York

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York


  • New York City Bar Association, Labor & Employment Law Committee
  • New York State Bar Association
  • Sports Lawyers Association