Wage and Hour Laws, Commissions, and Overtime
Under Massachusetts and federal wage and hour laws, employers must pay employees minimum wage and overtime, and must pay them in a timely fashion after wages are earned. Failure to pay minimum wage, overtime, or pay on time will lead to liability for employers, for up to three times the amount of wrongfully withheld money.
Some employers also try to illegally take advantage of employees by not paying them in accordance with the law. These tactics can include not accurately keeping time cards, not paying employees when they must drive to a location as part of their job, wrongfully deducting certain items from paychecks, and not properly reimbursing employees for mileage.
Overtime is also a particular area of abuse by employers. The law is clear on the requirement to pay overtime to “non-exempt” employees. Some employers will try to break the law by making lower-earning employees “salaried” employees, and thus seek to avoid paying such employees the full wages that are owed. Other employers may not have systems in place to accurately calculate the appropriate wages owed to employees.
Other employers fail to pay employees their earned commissions. If a commission has been earned, is mathematically determinable, and is due, the employee is entitled to the commission, usually even after he/she has left the company.
So-called “wage and hour laws” apply to both low-wage hourly workers and highly paid executives.
Settlements & Verdicts
Unpaid tips class action case against parking and transportation services company.
Misclassification as independent contractor and loss of benefits by electronic tech company.
Unpaid wages and overtime claim against local automobile repair business.
Wage and hour case against two individuals (officers and directors).
Contractor or Employee? Employers are Liable When They Wrongly Classify Employees as Independent Contractors
Another common way that employers try to dodge the strict wage and hour laws is to misclassify workers as “independent contractors.”
An employer that improperly classifies a worker as an independent contractor acts to deprive the worker of a myriad number of benefits, including health insurance, vacation time, sick time, social security contributions, worker’s compensation insurance, and 401K participation.
Massachusetts Independent Contractor Law
Massachusetts’ Independent Contractor Law requires that an employer meet three requirements in order to classify a worker as an “independent contractor” (and provide them with a 1099) instead of an “employee” (who receives a W-2):
- One, the worker must be free from an employer’s direction and control, such that the worker’s duties are performed with independence.
- Two, the worker’s job must be performed “outside the usual course of business of the employer.”
- Three, an independent contractor must have characteristics of an independent business and hold themselves out to the public in this manner.
Massachusetts has one of the strictest Independent Contractor laws in the nation, and the Legislature has made it quite difficult to legitimately qualify as an independent contractor. If you’re not being properly treated as an employee, there may be a number of benefits to which you may be entitled.
Class Actions and Individual Lawsuits
Our firm files both class action and individual lawsuits on behalf of employees.
Class action lawsuits are normally appropriate where there are a number of similarly-situated employees who have all been treated wrongly in the same manner, such as if all of the employees of a company have been wrongly denied overtime pay or tips. Class actions also make sense when the damages to any one individual would be low, making a separate lawsuit impractical.
Individual lawsuits make sense where there are not a group of employees with the same claim, and where the damages are sufficiently high such that a lawsuit is cost-justified.
We Are Here to Help You. Call Us to Learn About Your Legal Options and How We Can Help
We offer a free consultation. Many employment claims are accepted on a contingency fee basis, meaning that there are no fees for us unless you recover damages.
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