HOUSE..................................... NO. 4663

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts 

——————— 

IN THE YEAR TWO THOUSAND SIX

 

An Act  TO CLARIFY THE LAW PROTECTING EMPLOYEE COMPENSATION.

 

WHEREAS, among the purposes of Title XXI of the General Laws, entitled “Labor and Industries” is ensuring that employees receive their compensation; and

WHEREAS, certain Chapters and Sections of Title XXI were amended in 1993 to provide, among other things, for treble damages for loss of wages and other benefits; and

WHEREAS, the Legislature intended that such treble damages be mandatory, in recognition of, among other things, the multiple interests of ensuring that employers comply with these important laws, ensuring that employers can maintain competitive businesses in a level environment, compensating employees for their losses including those which may be difficult to ascertain, and ensuring that the private right of action remains meaningful;

WHEREAS, the purpose of this Act is to clarify the language of the statute to reiterate the intent of the Legislature that such treble damages be mandatory.

Chapter 149: Section 27 of the 2002 official edition of the Massachusetts General Laws is hereby amended by striking out the last paragraph and inserting in place thereof the following:

Any employee claiming to be aggrieved by a violation of this section may, at the expiration of ninety days after the filing of a complaint with the attorney general, or sooner if the attorney general assents in writing, and within three years of such violation, institute and prosecute in his own name and on his own behalf, or for himself and for others similarly situated, a civil action for injunctive relief, for any damages incurred, and for any loss of wages and other benefits. Any employee so aggrieved and who prevails in such an action shall be awarded treble damages, as liquidated damages, for any loss of wages and other benefits; and such employee shall also be awarded the costs of the litigation and reasonable attorneys’ fees.

 SECTION 2: Chapter 149: Section 27F of the 2002 official edition of the Massachusetts General Laws is hereby amended by striking out the last paragraph and inserting in place thereof the following:

 Any employee claiming to be aggrieved by a violation of this section may, at the expiration of ninety days after the filing of a complaint with the attorney general, or sooner if the attorney general assents in writing, and within three years of such violation, institute and prosecute in his own name and on his own behalf, or for himself and for others similarly situated, a civil action for injunctive relief, for any damages incurred, and for any loss of wages and other benefits. Any employee so aggrieved and who prevails in such an action shall be awarded treble damages, as liquidated damages, for any loss of wages and other benefits; and such employee shall also be awarded the costs of the litigation and reasonable attorneys’ fees.

SECTION 3: Chapter 149: Section 27G of the 2002 official edition of the Massachusetts General Laws is hereby amended by striking out the last paragraph and inserting in place thereof the following:

 Any employee claiming to be aggrieved by a violation of this section may, at the expiration of ninety days after the filing of a complaint with the attorney general, or sooner if the attorney general assents in writing, and within three years of such violation, institute and prosecute in his own name and on his own behalf, or for himself and for others similarly situated, a civil action for injunctive relief, for any damages incurred, and for any loss of wages and other benefits. Any employee so aggrieved and who prevails in such an action shall be awarded treble damages, as liquidated damages, for any loss of wages and other benefits; and such employee shall also be awarded the costs of the litigation and reasonable attorneys’ fees.

SECTION 4: Chapter 149: Section 27H of the 2002 official edition of the Massachusetts General Laws is hereby amended by striking out the last paragraph and inserting in place thereof the following:

 Any employee claiming to be aggrieved by a violation of this section may, at the expiration of ninety days after the filing of a complaint with the attorney general, or sooner if the attorney general assents in writing, and within three years of such violation, institute and prosecute in his own name and on his own behalf, or for himself and for others similarly situated, a civil action for injunctive relief, for any damages incurred, and for any loss of wages and other benefits. Any employee so aggrieved and who prevails in such an action shall be awarded treble damages, as liquidated damages, for any loss of wages and other benefits; and such employee shall also be awarded the costs of the litigation and reasonable attorneys’ fees.

SECTION 5: Chapter 149: Section 150 of the 2002 official edition of the Massachusetts General Laws is hereby amended by striking out the last paragraph and inserting in place thereof the following:

Any employee claiming to be aggrieved by a violation of section 148, 148A, 148B, 150C, 152, 152A or 159C or section 19 of chapter 151 may, at the expiration of ninety days after the filing of a complaint with the attorney general, or sooner if the attorney general assents in writing, and within three years of such violation, institute and prosecute in his own name and on his own behalf, or for himself and for others similarly situated, a civil action for injunctive relief, for any damages incurred, and for any loss of wages and other benefits. Any employee so aggrieved and who prevails in such an action shall be awarded treble damages, as liquidated damages, for any loss of wages and other benefits; and such employee shall also be awarded the costs of the litigation and reasonable attorneys’ fees.

SECTION 6: Chapter 151: Section 1B of the 2002 official edition of the Massachusetts General Laws is hereby amended by striking out the second sentence of the first paragraph and inserting in place thereof the following:

  In addition, if any person is paid by an employer less than such overtime rate of compensation, such person may institute and prosecute in his own name and on his own behalf, or for himself and for others similarly situated, a civil action for injunctive relief, for any damages incurred, and for the full amount of such overtime rate of compensation less any amount actually paid to him or her by the employer. Any agreement between such person and the employer to work for less than such overtime rate of compensation shall be no defense in such action. Any employee so aggrieved and who prevails in such an action shall be awarded treble damages, as liquidated damages, for any loss of overtime compensation; and such employee shall also be awarded the costs of the litigation and reasonable attorneys’ fees.

SECTION 7: Chapter 151: Section 20 of the 2002 official edition of the Massachusetts General Laws is hereby amended by striking out the remainder of the first sentence of the first paragraph, beginning after the semicolon following the word “regulation;” and inserting in place thereof the following:

  such person may institute and prosecute in his own name and on his own behalf, or for himself and for others similarly situated, a civil action for injunctive relief, for any damages incurred, and for the full amount of such minimum wages less any amount actually paid to him or her by the employer. Any agreement between such person and the employer to work for less than such minimum wage shall be no defense in such action. Any employee so aggrieved and who prevails in such an action shall be awarded treble damages, as liquidated damages, for any loss of minimum wage; and such employee shall also be awarded the costs of the litigation and reasonable attorneys’ fees.