- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
- The Attorney General's Fair Labor Division
Media Contact for West Springfield Father and Daughter Cited More Than $77,000 for Violating Child Labor and Minimum Wage Laws
Boston — A West Springfield father and daughter and their companies have been cited $77,578 for failing to pay employees properly and violating child labor laws, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.
The AG’s Office issued four intentional civil citations against Shruti B. Oza, her father, Bharat V. Oza, and their company Shreeji Group of Longmeadow LLC, which operates a Subway restaurant in Longmeadow. The employers were cited for child labor violations, failure to pay minimum wage, non-payment of wages and failure to furnish records for inspection. The Office also issued one intentional civil citation against Ritz Management Group LLC, which operates a Regency Inn in West Springfield and is solely owned by Bharat V. Oza, for failure to furnish records for inspection.
“These employers took advantage of their workers, deprived them of the wages they were owed, and put a young employee in danger by asking her to work too long, too late, and without a proper work permit,” said AG Healey. “Where we see wage theft and other violations of labor laws, we will take action to get workers the wages they are owed and protect them from exploitation.”
The AG’s Fair Labor Division began an investigation after receiving a complaint from an employee who alleged she had worked numerous hours for these companies for which she was either not compensated or was paid below the state’s minimum wage. The employee also alleged that her 14-year-old daughter was illegally employed by these companies without the required work permit and performed work for which she was not paid.
According to the investigation, the victim, who was employed at the Subway restaurant, routinely received late pay checks beginning in 2015 and was paid below the state’s minimum wage for several months in 2016. The investigation also found that the Ozas employed the victim’s 14-year-old daughter to work at the Subway without securing a permit, and that neither she nor her daughter were paid for any work in 2017. According to the investigation, the victim’s daughter also frequently worked unsupervised and beyond the latest permissible hour and maximum daily hours that minors can work.
During the course of the investigation, the AG’s Office issued payroll demands on both companies to which Ritz Management failed to respond and Shreeji Group only partially responded.
The citations include $19,378 in restitution to the victims and $58,200 in penalties. The companies and their owners have appealed the citations.
AG Healey’s Fair Labor Division is responsible for enforcing state laws regulating the payment of wages, including prevailing wage, minimum wage, overtime, and earned sick time laws. Under Massachusetts labor laws, all children under 18 must have a work permit, and during the school year, 14-year-old children cannot work more than three hours per day or later than 7 p.m. All employees must be paid in full within six days of the end of a pay period. The minimum wage in Massachusetts is now $11.
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.
This matter is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Amy Goyer and Investigator Christina Proietti, both of AG Healey’s Fair Labor Division.