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Massachusetts Laws

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Selected Cases

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Massachusetts Laws

MGL c.149 s.148 Weekly Wage Law. Provides details of how wages must be paid. Includes the following about employees who leave their employment: "any employee leaving his employment shall be paid in full on the following regular pay day, and, in the absence of a regular pay day, on the following Saturday; and any employee discharged from such employment shall be paid in full on the day of his discharge..."

MGL c.149, s.150 Provides for mandatory triple damages for weekly wage law violations.

MGL c.149, s.152A Service Charges and Tips

St.2016, c.177 An Act to Establish Pay Equity, Effective July 1, 2018

Forms

Nonpayment of Wage and Workplace Complaint Form, Mass. Attorney General

Selected Cases

Blake v. CRNC Operating, LLC , 2015 Mass. App. Div. 156 (2015)
A non-payment of wages claim may be brought in Small Claims Court when the amount claimed is up to $7000, even though the amount, when trebled, would exceed the $7000 limit.

Camara v. Attorney General , 458 Mass. 756 (2011)
Wage Set-Offs. The employer violated the Wage Act by implementing a policy in " which a worker found by ABC to be at fault in an accident involving company trucks may agree to a deduction from earned wages in lieu of discipline." " An arrangement whereby ABC serves as the sole arbiter, making a unilateral assessment of liability as well as amount of damages with no role for an independent decision maker, much less a court, and, apparently, not even an opportunity for an employee to challenge the result within the company, does not amount to 'a clear and established debt owed to the employer by the employee.'"

Crocker v. Townsend Oil Co , 464 Mass. 1 (2012)
Release of Wage Act Claims. A general release doesn't free you from wage act claims unless they are specifically waived. "In light of the important public policy considerations underlying the Wage Act, we conclude that although claims arising thereunder may be released retrospectively as part of a settlement agreement,(3) such a release is valid only if it is voluntary and knowing, and, more specifically, absent express language that Wage Act claims are being released, a general release is ineffective to waive them."

Melia v. Zenhire, 462 Mass. 164 (2012)
Forum Selection and Wage Act Claims. "We now recognize a presumption that forum selection clauses are enforceable with respect to Wage Act claims. A party seeking to rebut this presumption must produce some evidence indicating that (1) the Wage Act applies; (2) the selected forum's choice-of-law rules would select a law other than that of Massachusetts; and (3) application of the selected law would deprive the employee of a substantive right guaranteed by the Wage Act. On the introduction of such evidence, the proponent of the forum selection clause would retain the ultimate burden of demonstrating that the clause does not operate as a "special contract.""

Meshna v. Scrivanos , 471 Mass. 169 (2015)
No-Tipping Policy. The SJC concluded that "an employer would not be liable under MGL c.149, § 152A if it clearly communicates a no-tipping policy to customers, who nonetheless leave tips that are retained by the employer."

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Last update: July 10, 2017

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