WAGE AND HOUR CLAIMS
The Massachusetts and Federal laws governing wage and hour claims are complicated and intricate. As a result, there are many common mistakes that employers make with regard to payment of wages. Some of those mistakes include:
Failure to Pay Overtime – Many employers fail to pay employees overtime to which they are entitled. This can happen: if an employer improperly classified the employee as exempt from the overtime laws; if an employer requires or encourages employees to work through unpaid meal breaks; if an employer requires or encourages employees to work after hours “off the clock;” and for numerous other reasons. It is notable in this regard that, even salaried employees are entitled to overtime in many instances.
Failure to Provide Mealtime or Breaks – Some employers require and/or encourage employees to work through their mealtime or breaks. Depending on the circumstances, this may be a violation of Massachusetts employment law. More importantly, the employee is entitled to proper compensation for working through her or his meal break. If proper compensation is not provided, the employee will have a claim for nonpayment of wages and/or overtime.
Tip, Gratuity and Service Charge Violations – Tips form an important part of wages for many hospitality employees. In fact, many restaurant, catering and hotel employees depend on customers’ gratuity for their livelihood. Unfortunately, employers sometimes take steps that prevent service-employees from receiving all of the gratuities to which they are entitled. This commonly comes up with “tip pools.” Employers sometimes improperly distribute portions tip pools to management (or even ownership), denying their service employees the full gratuity to which they are entitled. Tip violations can also occur when hospitality providers charge “service charges” to their clients and do not fully-distribute those service charges to their employees. It is also notable with regard to tips, that even employees who are dependent on gratuity for a significant portion of their income are still entitled to earn minimum wage. If an employee does not earn the equivalent of minimum wage in tips, the employer must make up the difference. Employers sometimes fail to make up this difference, denying employees their right to minimum wage.
If you are an employee and feel your employer has engaged in any of the above (or other improper) conduct, the Law Office of Jeffrey S. Strom can help you receive proper remuneration for wages you were wrongfully denied. Please contact Jeffrey today for a free consultation.
For employers, missteps with regard to payment of wages can be incredibly costly. Massachusetts and Federal Law are extremely punitive – both providing for multiple damages in many cases – to employers who do not follow the wage laws. Employers therefore would be wise to prevent these types of violations before they occur, whenever possible. Jeffrey’s experience representing both employees and employers can help you avoid many of the above-listed pitfalls (and others) and limit your exposure. For employers who are already in litigation involving any of the above violations, Jeffrey’s experience and exceptional advocacy can help you minimize your liability and resolve the litigation expeditiously.
Please contact Jeffrey to discuss how he can help your business avoid and/or resolve wage act litigation.