Children’s Retailer Settles Claims it Violated the Massachusetts Meal Break Law
Settlement Provides More Than $460,000 in Employee Restitution and Penalties
BOSTON – A settlement has been reached with a San Francisco based children’s retailer to resolve allegations it failed to properly comply with the Massachusetts Meal Break Law, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.
Under the settlement agreement, The Gymboree Corporation has agreed to pay $463,600 to resolve all outstanding claims raised by the Attorney General.
The Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division opened an investigation into Gymboree’s meal break policies after receiving a worker’s complaint forwarded by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration alleging that managers in Gymboree’s Massachusetts stores were not given the opportunity to take meal breaks. Under the Massachusetts Meal Break Law, employers cannot require employees, including managers, to work more than six hours without a 30-minute meal break. During the 30-minute period, employees must be relieved of all duties and must be free to leave the work premises.
Gymboree fully cooperated with the Attorney General’s investigation. As part of the resolution, Gymboree agreed to pay a total of $130,000 in payments to current and former managers who worked between July 1, 2009 and July 1, 2011. The company will also pay a total of $320,000 in penalties to the Commonwealth and allocate $13,600 to update company policies to ensure future compliance with the Massachusetts Wage Act.
The Attorney General’s Office is responsible for enforcing the laws regulating the payment of wages, meal breaks, overtime and misclassification of employees in the Commonwealth. Workers who believe that their rights have been violated are strongly urged to call the Attorney General’s Fair Labor Hotline at (617) 727-3465. More information about the state’s wage and hour laws is also available in multiple languages at the Attorney General’s Workplace Rights website: www.massworkrights.com.
The matter was settled by Assistant Attorney General Lauren Goldman and investigated by Investigator Elizabete Valadao, both of Attorney General Coakley’s Fair Labor Division.