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A recent Massachusetts Appeals Court case reaffirms two long-held principles under the Massachusetts wage laws: that 1) certain corporate officers may be held individually liable for Wage Act violations; and 2) where employers fail to comply with the legal obligations to maintain certain time-keeping records, they should not benefit from that in litigation. 

1. Individual Liability for Certain Off...

December 12, 2018

As of January 1, 2019, the Massachusetts minimum wage will go up, and it will continue to go up each year on January 1 in the following steps:

  • January 1, 2019  -- $12.00  

  • January 1, 2020  -- $12.75   

  • January 1, 2021  -- $13.50  

  • January 1, 2022  -- $14.25   

  • January 1, 2023  -- $15.00   

The service rate is also go...

In Ives Camargo's Case, issued today, the highest court in Massachusetts confirmed that there are varying statutory tests to determine employee verses independent contractor status for purposes of the workers' compensation, unemployment insurance, wage, and tax withholding laws: 

Our laws have imposed differing, and not uniform, definitions of employees and independent contractors. Currently, ther...

March 28, 2017

It's possible. These cases theoretically implicate a couple of different laws and doctrines, including breach of contract, the Massachusetts Wage Act, and the covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

I will provide an overview of these three separate bodies of law and give some examples of how they come into play in this situation based on cases that have already been litigated.

These cases, like most e...

January 6, 2017

As of January 1, 2017, the minimum wage in Massachusetts is $11.00 for most jobs. 

There are a few -- though only a few -- exceptions to this minimum wage. 

One exception many people know about is called the service rate, which pertains to wait staff, service employees, and/or service bartenders who make tips of more than $20 per month.

The service rate allows employers of these service employees to pay...

November 23, 2016

Yesterday, November 22, 2016, a Texas federal judge issued a nationwide preliminary injunction banning the US Department of Labor from enforcing the new overtime rules that were introduced by the Obama administration in May 2016. 

Why did the courts step in? 

Well, because a coalition of 21 states and 50+ business groups sued to invalidate the new regulations. The current ruling was issued on an emergen...

November 23, 2016

As of yesterday, November 22, 2016, a federal judge has issued a nationwide preliminary injunction banning the US Department of Labor from enforcing the new overtime rules that I wrote about below back in May 2016. I cover the judge's decision in more detail here.

In the meantime, click here for continuing updates on overtime, and seek legal counsel on the current status of the law. Employment law is...

November 14, 2016

No. It is illegal for the employer to shift the normal costs of doing business -- such as an item that becomes damaged or broken in the normal course of work -- to the employee.

When I was at the AG's Office, one of my illegal deductions cases involved an IHOP restaurant where the employer was taking from the waiters' wages the cost for “breakages” of dishware. We got that money back for the emplo...

October 8, 2016

While washing the dishes this morning and listening to WGBH, I heard this story on wage theft and the work of the Attorney General's Fair Labor Division, where, until 2014, I used to work: 

According to Cindy Mark, Chief of the AG's Fair Labor Division, there are just too many cases of wage theft for the Attorney General’s office to process.

“Every year, the Attorney General’s office gets over 6,000 com...

October 6, 2016

Good question. The short answer is yes -- if the amount of wages you are seeking is $7,000 or under. 

The nice thing about small claims is that it can be much quicker than a non-small claims civil suit, and the filing fee is usually lower.

A small claims action begins when the complainant (the person filing the complaint) files out a court form called a "Statement of Claim and Notice of Trial" and...

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