Roslindale Grocery Store Cited $300,000 for Failing to Pay Overtime and Sunday Wages, Hindering Investigation
Baby Nat’s Pays Restitution and Penalties for Failing to Comply with Massachusetts Wage and Hour Laws
BOSTON – A Roslindale grocery store and its owners have agreed to pay more than $300,000 in citations for failing to properly pay their employees in violation of the state’s wage and hour laws, and for hindering an investigation, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.
Baby Nat’s, Inc. has agreed to pay nearly $200,000 in restitution to workers and more than $100,000 in penalties for not paying proper overtime rates, Sunday premium pay rates, failing to keep accurate payroll records, and failing to issue suitable pay slips to employees. The penalties also include a $15,000 citation for hindering an investigation by trying to coerce employees to either lie to or refuse to communicate with the AG’s Office in connection with this investigation.
“This business repeatedly took advantage of its workers by failing to pay them the hard-earned money they were owed,” AG Healey said. “Our office will continue to make sure that workers in Massachusetts know their rights and don’t fall victim to unfair employment practices.”
In January 2015, the AG’s Office began its investigation of Baby Nat’s, following a complaint from a former employee. The office determined that, from January 2012 to February 2015, a total of 21 employees were not paid the proper overtime rate, and 23 employees were not paid the required Sunday premium pay, (a rate of pay no less than one and one-half times their regular hourly rate). Baby Nat’s also failed to keep true and accurate payroll records, and failed to provide suitable pay slips to employees.
During the investigation, Kenneth Natorelli, Jr., and Darlene Etienne Natorelli, who operate Baby Nats, allegedly told employees not to talk to the AG’s Office or provide information about their employment, hours worked, or rate of pay. These attempts to keep the AG’s investigation from materializing included the intimidation of a likely cooperating employee.
The investigation also revealed that, despite receiving inquiries from employees, Baby Nat’s historically refused to pay overtime wages to its employees, the majority of them low-income, non-English speaking Latino workers. The state’s Overtime Law requires employers to pay qualifying employees time and one half their regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a work week.
This case serves as an example of the office’s focus on providing economic security to the residents of Massachusetts, particularly vulnerable workers. The AG’s Office enforces the laws regulating the payment of wages, including prevailing wage, minimum wage and overtime laws. Workers who believe that their rights have been violated in their workplace are encouraged to call the Office’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.
This matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Drew Cahill of Attorney General Maura Healey’s Fair Labor Division.