- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
- The Attorney General's Fair Labor Division
Boston — A Dudley aerosol factory and two of its executives have agreed to pay nearly $1 million to resolve intentional overtime and minimum wage violations and for hindering the AG’s investigation, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today. As a result, approximately 480 affected workers will receive restitution, some of it in double damages.
Today’s announcement is the result of a joint enforcement action between the AG’s Office and the United States Department of Labor’s (USDOL) Wage and Hour Division.
“This action resolves allegations that this employer robbed low-wage workers of money that they had earned, while at the same time gaining an unfair advantage over honest businesses,” said AG Healey. “Companies can’t cheat their workers and I am glad that through this settlement, hundreds of workers will now get paid the wages they are owed.”
The company, Shield Packaging, Inc., sells custom aerosol packaging products and workers primarily fill, label and package aerosol containers on assembly lines. The AG’s Office alleges that the company used staffing agencies to pay its workers in an attempt to protect itself from liability.
In a state settlement agreement with the AG’s Office, Shield Packaging, its president George P. Bates and plant manager A. Bruce Simpson have agreed to pay more than $564,000 for alleged violations of state laws including failure to pay minimum wage, hindrance, and paystub violations.
In a related federal settlement with USDOL, the employer has agreed to pay more than $210,000 in back wages and an equal amount (another more than $210,000) in liquidated damages to workers for alleged violations of federal overtime law.
The investigation revealed that between August 2014 and October 2016, temporary workers at Shield Packaging were paid at an hourly rate below the state minimum wage. They were also not paid proper overtime premiums because those are based on the underlying rate, which was below minimum wage. Overtime was not paid to compensate employees for time spent putting on and taking off safety equipment as required by federal law.
Additionally, the AG’s Office determined that two employees were allegedly instructed to misrepresent and obscure facts to the AG’s investigators during a site inspection.
The AG’s settlement requires that Shield Packaging strengthen their recordkeeping practices, as well as strictly monitor the payroll practices of any staffing agency that they work with.
AG Healey’s Fair Labor Division is responsible for enforcing state laws regulating the payment of wages, including prevailing wage, minimum wage and overtime laws. This case highlights the Division’s recent focus on wage and hour violations involving staffing agencies.
In March, the AG’s Office announced state and federal settlements totaling $1.2 million with a reusable bag factory resolving allegations of minimum wage, overtime and earned sick time violations.
That same month, the AG’s Office also reached a $900,000 settlement with a commercial laundry company in Dorchester for alleged violations of the state’s minimum wage and overtime laws. Both of those companies similarly relied upon staffing agencies to provide the majority of its workforce.
Workers who believe that their rights have been violated in their workplace are encouraged to file a complaint at www.mass.gov/ago/fairlabor. For information about the state’s wage and hour laws, workers may call the Office’s Fair Labor Hotline at (617) 727-3465 or go to the Attorney General’s new Workplace Rights website www.mass.gov/ago/fairlabor for materials in multiple languages.
If you are an employee and believe you have been affected by this case, please contact the dedicated settlement line at 774-214-4445.
This matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Drew Cahill, Investigator Erin MacKenzie and Supervising Investigator Greg Reutlinger, all of Attorney General Healey’s Fair Labor Division.