Davis & Davis Is on Your Side
Unpaid Wages and Overtime Claims Attorneys in Boston
We Fight to Get You the Compensation You Deserve
At Davis & Davis, P.C., we frequently represent individuals who have claims for unpaid wages.
Our firm has collected millions of dollars in wages for our clients through:
- Privately negotiated settlements
- And successful trials in the Massachusetts Superior Court
Employers in the state are required to comply with the provisions of the Massachusetts Wage Act, also known as the Weekly Wage Law. It governs how wages are paid to employees, ensures that they are paid in a prompt manner by their employers, and is a part of several wage and hour laws designed to protect employees in the state. The law includes harsh penalties for non-compliance on the part of an employer.
Despite these possible penalties, some employers either choose not to comply or cannot comply necessitating the need to retain the services of a wage dispute lawyer to assist an employee to file a suit to recover wages.
Upholding the Massachusetts Wage Act
Companies in Massachusetts need to be vigilant to comply with all aspects of the Massachusetts Wage Act (MGL 149 and 151) because violations entitle the employee to triple damages plus attorney’s fees, interest at 12%, and expenses.
Furthermore, it does not matter if the company’s violation was inadvertent or accidental – all violations mandate the triple damages. Therefore, if an employee is hypothetically owed $10,000 in unpaid commissions, the amount owed automatically increases to $30,000 once a complaint is filed in the appropriate court.
What Constitutes a Violation of Wage & Hour Laws?
Employers may violate the Wage Act by:
- Failing to pay commissions, wages, overtime wages, or wages for unused, accrued vacation
- Misclassifying employees as independent contractors
- Failing to pay prevailing wages on public works projects
- Failing to pay employees who are undocumented workers
- Misclassifying salaried employees as exempt from overtime
- Wrongfully withholding tips, typically in the restaurant/bar industry
- Failing to pay employees for working “off the clock”
Davis & Davis, P.C., has represented virtually every type of employee, from laborers making the minimum wage to well-paid surgeons and senior executives. Our Boston employment lawyers are prepared to fight to protect your rights.
You Can Sue an Employer for Several Kinds of Violations
Workers have the right to sue their employers for violations of wage and hour laws. Knows as the worker’s private right of action, employees can make a request through the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division or work with an attorney from the outset to ensure their rights are protected.
There are several types of violations that an employee can sue for, including:
- Not being paid a required minimum wage.
- Not being paid wages in full
- Not being paid a prevailing wage
- Not being paid overtime
- Being classified as an independent contractor
- Taking any part of a workers’ tips
- Violating the right to earned sick time
- Not following the rules for domestic workers
Employers who lose a suit will pay a heavy price. When an employee or group of employees win a court case; they are entitled to receive triple damages, attorney fees, and court costs.
How to Recover Unpaid Wages in Massachusetts
Starting July 13, 2008, the state of Massachusetts states that an employee will be compensated three times their unpaid wages if they take the case to court and win. In order to recover unpaid wages, it is crucial to contact a wage and hour dispute attorney as soon as possible.
The Wage Act is made so that working employees can afford an attorney. The wage and hour dispute attorneys at Davis & Davis, P.C. have experience representing a variety of employees in their unpaid wage and overtime claims. If you believe your employer has not paid you, do not hesitate to contact us today.
FAQ for Unpaid Wages in Massachusetts
Q: Can my employer make me work off-the-clock?
A: First, it’s necessary to distinguish between exempt employees, who are salaried employees that are not entitled to the overtime premium for working more than forty hours per week versus non-exempt employees (not always hourly employees) who are entitled to the overtime premium for working forty-plus hours in a workweek.
If you are a salaried employee and classified as exempt, the employer can set expectations that you will work as many hours as the employer regards as necessary and appropriate to get the work done. These employees are supposed to get paid the same amount every week, regardless of how many hours they work. Companies can require hourly employees to work more than their regularly scheduled hours are legally required to pay these employees their regular wages or the overtime rate if more than forty hours per week.
Q: When can my employer dock my pay?
A: An employer should never dock an employee’s pay without permission with very few exceptions. For example, if a company gives an employee an iPad to perform his / her job and the employee accidentally breaks the device, the employer is not allowed to deduct the cost to fix or replace the iPad from the employee’s paycheck. One example in which an employer could withhold monies from a paycheck is if the employee took a loan and quit before paying back the loan. In that scenario, the company could offset the loan in the paycheck, although the company better have documentation providing that the loan was made and not repaid.
Q: Should I file a Wage Complaint with the Attorney General?
A: We would recommend that you first consult with an employment law specialist before you file with the Attorney General’s office. There are numerous strategies and considerations that need to be taken before beginning your case. An experienced lawyer will know exactly how to fill out the AG’s form and how to obtain treble (triple) damages in court. There are many benefits to having your attorney take control over a Wage Act case from the beginning.
Q: Can I recover Paid Time Off (PTO) or vacation or sick time under the Wage Act?
A: Under the MA Wage Act, an employee is legally entitled to be paid all accrued, unused vacation, or PTO upon the termination of the employment relationship. However, an employer does not have to pay an employee any unused, accrued sick time. If the employee terminates the relationship, then the monies are due at the next regularly scheduled payroll schedule. If the employer terminates the relationship, then the monies are due that same day. Employees should be aware of any policies regarding PTO or vacation. Some companies have a policy that limits or prevents saving vacation hours from year to year.
Davis & Davis, P.C., is also willing to represent companies that need counseling or legal representation with wage disputes. Attorney John Davis uses a strict vetting process because our firm is committed to workplace fairness and equality and will not represent any companies that willfully violate labor laws.
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