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I wanted to touch briefly on those employment policies sometimes found in employee handbooks that ban employees from discussing their pay with each other. 

The purpose of the policies is often to keep employees in the dark about what others are paid so as to, among other things, not allow resentment to creep in.

A downside to these policies, however, is that to the extent there is discrimination at...

August 1, 2016

A recent story from the LA Times on illegal wage payment practices begins by setting out the following scenario:

After a week of 10-hour days folding and packaging clothing, Jesus Francisco Moreno walked out of the factory in downtown Los Angeles on a recent Monday afternoon to collect his $450 in wages. Holding a personal check, with no required deductions, he went to a white, unmarked van parked near...

July 19, 2016

The Massachusetts Attorney General's Office enforces the wage and hour laws, including the Massachusetts Tips Law. I used to work there and enforce those laws. (Individuals can also file their own private cases.) One of my 2014 cases involved a lot of these same issues. In the 2014 case:

  • Wait staff were required to pay from their tips the full meal costs of customers who left without payi...

July 15, 2016

A New York Times editorial today highlights a sadly common issue among service workers -- "unpaid overtime, misrecording of timecards to reduce pay, failure to pay the minimum wage and failure to pay wages owed to employees who quit or were fired." This case involves a franchise of McDonald's in California. A federal district court judge certified the class action, meaning the employees could continue...

July 1, 2016

One year ago, on July 1, 2015, the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law went into effect. As of July 1, 2015 (or if you started work after that, on your first date of work) Massachusetts employees began to earn sick time. The law mandates that an employee can earn up to 40 hours in a year. And once earned (or "accrued") an employee must be able to use those earned hours for certain purposes. T...

January 30, 2016

Since one case went very badly for lunch ladies in Everett in the 1990s, advocates have been trying to tighten up the Massachusetts Equal Pay Act, M.G.L. c. 149, s 105A, a statute, among others, I used to be responsible for enforcing.  

In the Everett case, female school cafeteria workers (a/k/a "lunch ladies") sued under the Equal Pay Act arguing that the male school janitors made more for compar...

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