Overtime Lawyer in Massachusetts
Under federal and state labor laws, employees are entitled to overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours per week. Unfortunately, employers sometimes try to avoid their overtime obligations by using dishonest tactics that result in employees receiving less compensation than they are legally entitled.
If your employer has failed to pay overtime for excess hours worked, you can make a legal claim for compensation. An experienced Boston workers’ compensation lawyer at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman can help with your case. Give us a call or contact us online today to learn more about how we can assist you.Massachusetts Laws on Overtime Pay
In Massachusetts, workers are protected by the Massachusetts Weekly Payment of Wages Law, G.L. c. 149 § 148. The law specifies how wages must be paid.
The typical schedule for an employee to work is eight hours per day, five days per week. Massachusetts' law does not require overtime pay when an employee works more than eight hours per day. While some states require overtime pay if an employee works more than eight hours a day, Massachusetts' overtime rules measure hours worked per week. In Massachusetts, overtime pay is required when a worker has completed 40 hours of work in a single week. Any excess hours must be paid at an overtime rate of time-and-a-half. For example, a worker who is paid a regular rate of $12.00 per hour must be paid $18.00 per hour for each hour or portion of an hour that they work over 40 hours per week.
Employees are entitled to mandatory triple damages for weekly wage law violations, according to G.L. c. 149, § 150.
It’s important to note that some jobs are excluded from overtime pay under Massachusetts law. For example, golf caddies, fishermen, agricultural workers, and restaurant workers are not entitled to overtime pay in Massachusetts. A complete list of overtime-exempt jobs can be found at G.L. c. 151, § 1A.
However, employees who don’t have a right to overtime pay under state law may be entitled to overtime pay under federal law. Information about federal overtime laws can be found on the U.S. Department of Labor’s website.Filing a Workplace Complaint or Lawsuit for Overtime Pay Violations in Massachusetts
A worker who believes that an employer has failed to comply with workplace overtime laws can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office. The worker should provide as much information as possible when completing the complaint form. Pay stubs, company handbooks, and other documentation will help prove a violation of overtime laws.
The Attorney General's Office will review the complaint and decide whether it will investigate it further.
After investigating a complaint, the office can take a variety of actions, including:
- Sending a warning to the employer;
- Penalizing the employer with a civil citation that requires the employer to pay unpaid wages plus a penalty;
- Filing criminal charges against the employer; or
- Providing the worker with a “private right of action letter” that allows the employee to sue the employer for unpaid wages and other damages.
Employees who sue their employer and win may receive:
- Triple damages
- Attorney fees
- Court costs
In Massachusetts, employees have three years to sue for an overtime violation or other wage-and-hour violations. Time spent waiting for the Attorney General's Office to respond to a complaint does not count toward the three-year statute of limitations.Employer Violations of Labor Laws Related to Overtime Pay
Employers often use several tactics to pay workers less than they should for excess hours worked. For example, employers may:
- Incorrectly classifying a worker as an independent contractor or exempt employee to avoid paying any overtime.
- Asking employees to do a little bit of extra work or "hang around" off-the-clock. Employees must be paid for all of the time they are at work.
- Asking employees to come into the office and be "on-call" with no payment for the time spent waiting.
- Calling employees back to work after hours to complete a quick job.
- Requiring employees to complete "unfinished" work after hours without being on-the-clock.
- Asking employees to perform tasks off-the-clock such as getting tables set or getting dressed at work in a company uniform.
If your employer engages in these or any other behaviors that deprive you of overtime pay, you may be entitled to receive the wages you should have been paid as well as triple damages.Worker Protections Against Retaliation for Speaking Out About Excess Hour Violations
It’s against the law for an employer to punish or retaliate against workers for enforcing their rights under the wage-and-hour laws. In the employment context, retaliation occurs when an employer punishes a worker for engaging in legally protected activity. For example, an employer can’t retaliate against a worker for complaining to the Attorney General’s Office or government institution about a violation of overtime laws or other employment laws.
Some examples of retaliation in the workplace include:
- Firing an employee
- Demoting an employee
- Taking away pay or hours
- Giving the worker undesirable job assignments or shifts
- Taking other adverse actions
Workers who believe that their employers have retaliated against them should contact an experienced employment lawyer as soon as possible.Getting Legal Help for Overtime Pay Violations
Our experienced legal team can help you to take legal action if your employer has not fairly compensated you for your overtime hours. To learn more about how our employment attorneys can help you with your excess hours claim, contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, L.L.C. today at (617) 367-2900 or using our online form.