Employment Law FAQS
As a worker, you have many rights protected by federal laws and protected by state laws in Massachusetts. If employers treat you unfairly or deprive you of any of your rights and wage and hour laws, you may make a claim for compensation.
An experienced Boston employment lawyer at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman can help you to pursue an unpaid wage claim or otherwise take action against an employer who has violated your rights. However, you need to understand what your employer’s obligations are under the law. The following answers to FAQ can help you to better understand the rules that protect you in the workplace.
1. What is the minimum wage requirement in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts has set a minimum wage of $8 per hour as of January 1, 2012. This is higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Your employer is required to compensate you at least $8 per hour for all hours worked.
2. What if my employer pays me less than the minimum wage?
If your employer pays you less than the minimum wage for hours worked, you may make a claim to obtain unpaid wages as well as triple damages. You have the right to make a complaint through the Fair Labor Division of the Office of the Attorney General and/or to file a civil lawsuit against your employer.
3. Is my employer required to pay me overtime?
You are entitled to receive overtime payments at a rate of time-and-a-half for all hours worked over 40 per week unless you are an exempt employee. Exempt employees include creative and computer professionals; executives and administrative staff who perform non-manual work and who receive a salary.
4. What if my employer does not pay me overtime as required?
If your employer does not pay you overtime as required by law, you are entitled to make a claim for unpaid wages and triple damages. You should keep track of the hours worked. You can also make a claim for unpaid overtime if you were deprived of this pay because your employer incorrectly classified you as exempt.
5. What are the rules when I receive tips as part of my compensation?
Your tips are your own and an employer may not take any portion of your tips except to distribute them in a tipping pool amongst employees who customarily and regularly receive tips. Your employer must pay you at least $2.13 per hour and can count your tips received as a credit towards making up the difference between $2.13 and minimum wage. However, only tips received can count as a credit. Your employer must notify you in writing of your rights as a tipped employee.
6. Can my employer ask me to do work off-the-clock?
Your employer may not ask you to do work off the clock and cannot require you to be on-call at work unless you are being paid. You must be paid at least a minimum hourly wage for all time that you are at work, that you are performing required work duties and/or that you are attending a mandatory training or orientation.
7. What are my rights as a salaried/exempt employee?
Salaried employees are exempt from overtime provided they are bona fide professionals and/or fit within the exemption category. However, salaried employees are still required to receive all wages an employer owes or promises. Salaried employees may not be furloughed and have their pay docked for days off work unless they do not work at all over the course of a week.
8. What happens if I am fired from my job?
If you are terminated from your job, your employer must pay you for all unpaid wages as well as for accrued vacation time on the day of your termination.
9. What action can I take if my employer has violated wage and hour laws?
If your employer has violated wage and hour laws, you may file a complaint with the Massachusetts Attorney General. You may also file a civil lawsuit against your employer. In some cases, you must file your complaint with the Attorney General first and then either receive written permission to pursue a lawsuit or wait 90 days after filing your complaint to sue.
10. What damages or compensation can I receive if my employer has broken the law?
When your employer violates wage and hour laws, you can be entitled to receive back pay for the amount your employer owes you but failed to provide. In most cases, Massachusetts labor laws also entitled you to receive triple damages from your employer for the labor law violation. Your employer may also have to pay for attorney fees if you are forced to pursue legal action to get the money you deserve.
11. Should I contact an attorney for help?
Navigating an unpaid wage claim or taking legal action against your employer can be a confusing process. A Boston employment lawyer can help you to understand your rights and pursue a claim to receive the money you deserve. Contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about what our attorneys can do to help.