For Immediate Release - June 15, 2011

Springfield Cleaning Company Fined for Retaliating Against Employee Who Filed Wage Complaint

SPRINGFIELD - A Springfield cleaning company has been ordered to pay $26,000 in fines and restitution for various wage and hour violations including retaliating against an employee who filed the complaint, Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office announced today.

"A worker's right to file wage complaints with our office is protected by law, and no worker should be in fear of their employer for exercising that right," AG Coakley said.

KJR Cleaning, (formerly doing business as KJR Commercial Cleaning, Inc.) and its president, Kelly Raleigh, age 40, of Springfield, have both been cited for retaliating against an employee. In addition, both were cited for violating the state's prevailing wage laws, independent contractor law, and payroll record keeping laws.

In February 2010, the Attorney General's Fair Labor Division opened an investigation after receiving a complaint alleging that workers had not been paid properly at two separate prevailing wage jobs at UMASS Amherst. During the course of the investigation, allegations were made that Raleigh retaliated against a former employee in an attempt to get the individual to withdraw the wage complaint filed with the AG's Office. As a result of the investigation, Raleigh and her company were cited and have been ordered to pay more than $4,000 in restitution and a $22,000 penalty to the Commonwealth.

The Massachusetts wage and hour laws include anti-retaliation provisions that protect employees who bring allegations of wage violations to the attention of the Attorney General. Specifically, these laws make it unlawful for an employer to penalize, discharge, or in any manner discriminate against an employee because such employee has complained of a violation of the wage statutes. It is also unlawful for an employer to threaten, coerce or intimidate any employee in an attempt to cause such employee to accept less than their full wages due.

Workers who believe they may been penalized or discriminated against for seeking rights afforded to them by the wage and hour statutes are encouraged to call the Attorney General's Fair Labor Hotline at (617) 727-3465. More information about the wage and hour laws is also available in multiple languages at the Attorney General's Workplace Rights website: www.massworkrights.com.

This matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Barbara Dillon DeSouza and was investigated by Inspector Brian Davies, both of AG Coakley's Fair Labor Division in the Springfield office.

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