The minimum wage in Massachusetts is set at $8.00 per hour and employees must be paid at least minimum wage for all hours worked. Labor laws also mandate that employees must be paid all monies owed to them by employers under the terms of an employment agreement and that employers must pay overtime for non-exempt employees who exceed 40 hours of work over the course of a week.
Unfortunately, employers sometimes fail to pay wages as promised to employees and as required by federal and state law. When this occurs, workers are entitled to take legal action. Complaints can be made to the Fair Labor Division or civil lawsuits can be filed to obtain unpaid wages. In any situation where you aren’t paid what you’ve been promised, an experienced Boston workers' compensation lawyer at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman can help.Understanding Unpaid Wage Claims
Unpaid wage claims can arise in a number of different situations including:
- When employers fail to provide a last paycheck to an employee who has quit, resigned or been terminated.
- When employers unfairly and illegally take deductions from a worker’s paycheck, such as deducting for equipment or uniforms from the money that an employee is owed and has earned.
- When employers refuse to pay workers for time spent on-site preparing for work or for time spent in mandatory orientation or training sessions.
- When employers pay less than the minimum wage or fails to pay for all hours worked.
- When employers refuse to pay an employee for accrued unpaid vacation time.
These are just a few of many different situations that can give rise to unpaid wage claims. Regardless of the employer’s motivations for refusing to pay for work performed, the employer’s actions are a violation of both federal and state law and employees have a number of options to pursue to get their money from their delinquent employer.Taking Action for Unpaid Wages
If your employer has not provided your final paycheck or you otherwise have outstanding unpaid wages, you can complete a Wage Complaint and submit it to the Fair Labor Division of the Office of the Attorney General. Instructions can be found at Mass.gov and you will need to include on the form the dates of work for which you were not paid; the employer’s complete contact information; a description of the work performed and the location where the work was completed; copies of paystubs; information on when you last demanded payment from your employer; and other details pertinent to the claim.
You can also file your own lawsuit against an employer 90 days after filing a Wage Complaint with the Fair Labor Division or sooner with permission from the Attorney General’s Office. The compensation you may receive in a civil action includes not just money for unpaid wages, but also triple damages and legal fees.