General Information About Filing a Complaint

Choosing a complaint form

Decide which complaint form to use:

Suing on your own

Some workers want to sue on their own, without the help of this office. If you want to sue on your own you must ask for a "private right of action" letter in the comment section of the complaint form. This letter gives you the right to sue on your own.

If you win your case, your employer must pay you three times the amount of your unpaid wages. Your employer will also have to pay for your court costs and your lawyer’s fees.

How to Start Your Complaint

When you fill out your complaint, provide as much information as you can.  After you submit the form, you will have the chance to upload documents that support your claim, such as:

  • Pay stubs for the period during which the violation occurred
  • A copy of your company’s vacation or sick policy, if that is the subject of your complaint
  • Other records showing the problem you are complaining about

Even if you cannot upload these documents when you submit the complaint, please keep them available.

After You File Your Complaint

Our office will review your complaint as soon as we can. We receive many complaints, so it may take several weeks to decide whether we will investigate your claim. 

Every complaint is different. Not all complaints lead to an investigation. Depending on your information and our investigation, we may decide to:

  • Pursue your unpaid wages.
  • Give you a “private right of action” letter. This letter allows you to sue your employer for your unpaid wages and other damages.
  • Punish your employer with a civil citation. That may require your employer to pay unpaid wages and a penalty.
  • File criminal charges against your employer. If that happens, you may have to go to court as a witness. In that case, an assistant attorney general will contact you to explain what happens when witnesses go to court.
  • Or take some other action to resolve any violations we find.

Nonpayment of Wage and Workplace Complaint

Most complaints belong on this form:

  • Getting paid less than minimum wage
  • Not being paid for hours worked
  • Not getting overtime pay
  • Being misclassified as an independent contractor
  • Tips violations
  • Earned sick time violations
  • No meal breaks
  • Domestic Violence Leave violations (as an alternative, you may download and fill out the Domestic Violence Leave Act Complaint form pdf format of Leave for Victims & Relatives of Victims Complaint Form
)

But you may also use this form for other kinds of complaints, such as discrimination based on sex (like paying someone of the opposite sex more than you for comparable work). Please check “Other” as the reason for your complaint, and explain.

Note: If your case is about sex discrimination, you may also file a Civil Rights Complaint.

Click below to start filling out a nonpayment of wage complaint:

Prevailing Wage Complaint

If you worked on a public works construction project or on other work subject to prevailing wages and believe that you were not paid the proper prevailing wage, please fill out the Prevailing Wage Complaint Form below. 

The Massachusetts prevailing wage laws require that employees on public works construction projects or who perform certain other kinds of labor related to public works or services contracted by a public entity, except those who perform strictly supervisory functions, be paid a special minimum hourly rate set by the Department of Labor Standards in the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (M.G.L. c.149, § 26-27H).

Click below to start filling out a prevailing wage complaint:

Child Labor Complaint

Anyone with information about a possible violation of a child labor law in Massachusetts may file a complaint. (M.G.L. c. 149, §§ 56-105)

Complaints may be sent to the Attorney General's Office online or by mail.

Your complaint can be signed or anonymous.

Click below to start filling out a child labor complaint:

When We Receive Your Complaint

In most cases, the first step in our investigation is to have someone from our Fair Labor Division contact you. That person will ask for information about your complaint. We will also contact the employer.

Our Office will then decide what action to take.  For example, we may: