Blog » Wage and Hour

  • Will Market Basket Contest Unemployment?

    Aug 12, 2014

    The Boston Globe is reporting that Market Basket workers are saying that the co-CEO’s have sent letters setting a deadline for a return to work.  The letter directs the employee to return to work or “the company will consider you to have abandoned your job, thereby ending your employment with the company.” Eligibility for Unemployment Benefits Will Market Basket contest Massachusetts employee claims for benefits for those employees who don’t show up for work?  If so, it will most certainly spark unemployment eligibility issues.  After an employee files for unemploy

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  • Cleaning Company Ordered to Pay Overtime

    Mar 7, 2014

    A Peabody cleaning contractor, Ward’s Cleaning Service, Inc. must pay its workers $1 million in back pay and damages.  The cleaning company illegally asked employees to use multiple time cards with different names, changed time cards, paid employees with checks made out to false names and paid employees in cash. Companies, like this cleaning company, trying to avoid paying overtime is all too common in Massachusetts.  Many bars and restaurants pay bouncers and waitstaff in cash, rather than paying overtime.  Restaurants often have servers punch in under another server’s number

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  • Commissions As Wages For Terminated Employees

    Nov 1, 2012

    Employees who work on a commission basis often question whether they are entitled to receive commissions upon the termination of their employment.  Massachusetts law provides that an employee who is terminated from employment involuntarily must be paid in full on the day of his or her discharge.  These wages would include earned base salary, accrued vacation pay and any commissions that have been “definitely determined” and have become “due and payable” to the employee.  Employers often make the mistake of thinking that they have until the next pay period to direct d

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  • Rights of Home Care Workers in Massachusetts

    Jul 17, 2012

    Home care workers who take care of the elderly, house bound and infirm in Massachusetts are protected by state laws on minimum wage, overtime and meal breaks.   Home care workers in New York State just resolved a class action lawsuit, claiming that they weren’t paid overtime and worked “off the clock.”  You can read about that lawsuit here. Massachusetts home care workers do have rights under the state’s wage and hour laws.  They have the right to be paid minium wage, to be paid for all of the hours they worked, and to be paid overtime at time and a half after wor

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  • Tip Pooling Practices and the 20 Per Cent Tip

    Jul 5, 2012

    When is a 20 per cent tip not a 20 per cent tip to the server?  When the server must share it with others working in the restaurant. The article  briefly notes that most servers (including a server they interviewed who works in a Boston restaurant) must share tips with other workers in the restaurant, or what is known as tip pooling.  In these instances, the servers receive far less than 20 or even 15 per cent. Many restaurants operate a tip pool where servers only share tips with others who wait directly on customers.  These tip pooling arrangements may meet the legal requirements in

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  • Tip Pooling Laws and Servers’ Rights in Massachusetts

    Jul 2, 2012

    Tip Pooling Laws Under Massachusetts tip pooling laws, waitstaff may not be required to share their tips with restaurant owners or managers.  This is true whether: (1) there is a tip jar on the counter, (2) the customer leaves cash on the table or (3) the tip is on a credit card.  The owner of the restaurant can’t require servers to give up a portion of tips to the owner or to share tips with management. Waitstaff employees may share in tips or service charges provided that the wait staff meets the following criteria: (1) the person must work in a restaurant, banquet facility

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  • Massachusetts Tip Pooling Act And Protections for Waitstaff

    Jun 25, 2012

    The Massachusetts Tip Pooling Act protects the tips of waitstaff from being distributed to employers, managers and employees who are not serving restaurant customers directly.  Three types of restaurant employees may share tips: wait staff, service employees and service bartenders. Employees who do not serve customers directly, such as kitchen staff, administrative staff and expeditors may not receive tips.  To the extent that restaurants are requiring their waitstaff to share tips with managers, kitchen staff, administrative staff, maitre d’s or other employees who do not serve cus

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  • Massachusetts Employees and Working “Off the Clock”

    Jun 18, 2012

    Many Massachusetts companies and their managers ask their employees who are not exempt from overtime to work “off the clock,” meaning that the employee isn’t being paid for all of the time spent on the company’s business.  Some of these activities include the following: (1) Attending meetings before the employee’s regularly scheduled shift; (2) Driving from one company location to another; (3) Going to the bank to make deposits before or after a shift; (4) Participating in conference calls before or after a shift; (5) Cleaning up after a shift; (6) Picking up s

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  • Massachusetts Servers Owed Wages

    Apr 3, 2012

    The Boston Globe is reporting that the United States Department of Labor has determined that  34 Massachusetts restaurants have violated wage and hour laws.  The restaurants violated the minimum wage laws, failed to pay Massachusetts servers overtime and made illegal deductions from wages.  Some restaurants even treated servers as independent contractors, rather than employees in order to avoid paying the minimum wage. Federal labor laws provide protections for restaurant workers.  Massachusetts also has wage and hour laws, including laws on meal breaks, tip sharing, minimum wage, in

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  • Judge Rules in Dunkin’ Donuts Tip Case

    Feb 22, 2012

    An employee at a Dunkin’ Donuts Shop in North Reading, Massachusetts has brought a lawsuit against his employer on behalf of himself and those who are similarly situated, claiming that the company’s no-tips policy violates wage laws.  According to the lawsuit, the company doesn’t allow employees to keep tips and any tips that aren’t returned to customers must be placed in the cash register. Judge Fabricant has ruled that the Massachusetts Wage Act doesn’t bar an employer from establishing a no-tips policy.   The employer must, however, communicate that polic

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  • Massachusetts Restaurant Employees’ Private Right to Sue

    Nov 18, 2011

    Restaurant employees in Massachusetts, such as servers, bartenders, cooks and hosts enjoy a private right to sue to recover unpaid wages and tips.  However, Massachusetts requires that employees who are owed wages or tips first file a complaint with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office.  The employees can then pursue the case  in court either by asking permission to pursue the case, or by waiting 90 days after filing.  This is called a “private right of action,” or a private right to sue.  The employee will want to get a “right to sue” letter from the

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  • Legal Rights of Servers and Wait Staff in Massachusetts

    Oct 5, 2011

    Although the legal rights of servers and wait staff under Massachusetts wage and hour laws are very specific, many managers and supervisors still routinely violate the laws. In order to increase the profitability of a restaurant, a manager may require a server to wait to clock in until the server receives the first table of patrons.  Or a manager may require a server to stay in the restaurant and do side work until closing although the server has already waited on his or her last table and has clocked out.  These practices – requiring servers to “work off the clock” &#

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  • Massachusetts Meal Break Law

    Jul 11, 2011

     Massachusetts law provides that employers must provide employees who work six hours or more with a thirty-minute meal break period.  The meal break does not need to be paid.  The Massachusetts meal break law states as follows: “No person shall be required to work for more than six hours during a calendar day without an interval of at least thirty minutes for a meal.”   Although there are a few odd exceptions  – including for employees who work in iron works,  glass works,  paper mills,  letterpress establishments,  print works,  bleaching works or dyeing works – mos

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  • U.S. Department of Labor Announces Wage App for Smartphones

    May 17, 2011

    Tracking wages owed and hours worked is now easier for employees with the U.S. Department of Labor’s app for smartphones.    With this application, employees can track their regular work hours, overtime hours and meal breaks for one or more employers.  Employees will have a simpler time comparing their own time records with those of their employers. Employers face triple damages for violations of the Massachusetts wage and hour laws, including failure to pay overtime, deducting for unused meal breaks and misclassifying workers.  It certainly will not be long before the employee

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  • Massachusetts Proposal Would Reverse Mandatory Triple Damages for Wage Law Violations

    Apr 18, 2011

    On April 14, 2008, an amendment to the Massachusetts wage act provided for the award of mandatory triple damages (known as “treble damages” in legal speak) where employers violated the wage and hour laws.  In other words, where an employer violates the law, for example by failing to pay an employee his or her wages or overtime pay or by misclassifying an employee as exempt from the overtime laws, judges are required to triple the award to the employee without considering whether the company’s violation was intentional.  The amendment not only raised the stakes for

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  • Employee Complaints Regarding Wage and Hour Laws

    Sep 24, 2010

      Employees’ complaints concerning wage and hour laws, including nonpayment of wages, misclassification of employees, record-keeping violations and failure to pay the prevailing wage have resulted in numerous recent investigations and citations by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office (“AG”).  A Rhode Island Construction Company has agreed to pay over $66,000 in restitution and fines for failure to pay the prevailing wage on Massachusetts projects.  A Norwood car dealership was required to pay $280,000 in restitution, as well as a $7,500 penalt

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  • Welcome: Massachusetts Employment Blog

    Jun 8, 2010

    Welcome and thank you for visiting our Massachusetts employment  blog. We are Boston employment lawyers, located on Beacon Hill.  We represent individual employees in workplace matters.  We handle sexual harassment, age discrimination, racial discrimination and other discrimination cases.  Our firm has successfully recovered overtime pay, wages, tips and commissions for employees.  We represent executives and other professionals who are transitioning out of their jobs.  We have successfully resolved glass ceiling and failure to promote cases.  We represent individuals in biotechnology,

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