AG Coakley Recovers More Than $649,000 for Workers at Woburn Bakery
Settlements Resolve Multiple Allegations Against Staffing Agency and Client Company
BOSTON – Settlements have been reached with a temporary staffing firm and its client company to resolve allegations they failed to properly pay more than 1,200 workers at a Woburn facility, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today. The companies will together pay more than $649,000 in restitution as well as civil penalties to the Commonwealth.
The settlements were achieved with significant assistance from the Chelsea Collaborative and Greater Boston Legal Services, both of which provided information to help identify violations and facilitated communication with the workers.
“Our office receives many complaints every year from workers employed by temporary staffing firms,” AG Coakley said. “Employers cannot offload their wage obligations onto temp agencies or simply look the other way. Temp agencies and the companies that use them have serious obligations and will be held equally liable as joint employers.”
Workers at what was formerly Titterington’s Olde English Bake Shoppe, Ltd., were jointly employed by the bakery’s new owner, CSM Bakery Products NA, Inc. and a Foxborough based staffing agency, EDA Staffing, Inc. Workers initially sought assistance with wage and hour concerns from the Chelsea Collaborative and Greater Boston Legal Services. The workers claimed that they were not being paid for all hours worked and that they were subjected to unlawful wage deductions.
After learning of the workers’ concerns from those organizations, CSM contacted the Attorney General’s Office in December 2010 to report that workers did not receive all wages owed to them by Titterington’s. CSM informed the AG’s Office that after acquiring Titterington’s, it implemented managerial and procedural changes to address payroll and time-keeping issues based on pay practices in place prior to the acquisition by CSM.
The AG’s Office determined that both the direct employer, EDA, and its client company, CSM, were jointly liable for the workers’ unpaid wages. CSM fully cooperated with the AG’s investigation and agreed to pay $520,000 in restitution to workers, as well as a civil penalty to the Commonwealth.
The AG’s Office also investigated claims that the workers were charged illegally excessive fees to transport them to the Titterington’s facility. The AG’s Office determined that EDA was responsible for requiring workers to pay more than the maximum allowable amount that can be charged to transport temporary workers to a job site and for failing to maintain records of these charges.
In December 2011, EDA previously agreed to reimburse 39 workers through a settlement agreement with the AG’s Office, paying more than $51,000 in restitution and a civil penalty to the Commonwealth. Following that settlement, the AG received 67 additional complaints. EDA has now agreed to pay full restitution to these additional workers totaling more than $77,000, as well as a civil penalty to the Commonwealth. The settlement agreement also requires on-site training for EDA supervisors and managers on wage and hour laws, and the distribution of job notices to current and future employees to provide workers with important information as to their work assignments and rights on the job.
The Attorney General’s Office is responsible for enforcing the laws regulating the payment of wages, minimum wage, prevailing wage, overtime, tips, child labor, vacation pay, retaliation, and misclassification of employees in the Commonwealth. Workers who believe they have not been paid all their wages or 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 wage and hour laws is also available in multiple languages at the Attorney General’s Workplace Rights website.
The matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Lisa Price and Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn B. Jones, Deputy Division Chief, and was investigated by Investigator Nora Saint-Martin, all of Attorney General Coakley’s Fair Labor Division.