Alerts and Updates

Wage and Hour Violations Now Result in Triple Damages Under Massachusetts Law

April 25, 2008

On April 14, 2008, Massachusetts enacted a new law (Senate Bill 1059) which mandates triple damages, in addition to attorneys' fees and costs, for all violations of the Massachusetts wage and hour laws. The law applies to every case in which a plaintiff prevails on a wage and hour claim, and includes wage and hour violations that occur inadvertently or where the employer acted in good faith. The new law eliminates any discretion on the part of judges hearing these claims to determine the appropriateness of multiple damages.

The Massachusetts wage and hour laws govern the timely payment of wages, minimum wage, overtime, vacation pay, tip payment and wage payment at employment termination. The new law will have the effect of increasing the frequency of wage and hour claims brought in Massachusetts and the monetary amount of those claims.

This new law, which will be effective July 13, 2008, states that it is a clarification of existing law. Accordingly, plaintiffs with pending wage and hour claims will likely argue that it applies to them as well.

Employers may want to review their payroll policies with counsel to confirm that they are in compliance with the strict wage and hour laws in Massachusetts.

For Further Information

If you have any questions about revising your payroll policies to comply with the Massachusetts wage and hour laws or would like more information, please contact any attorney of the Employment & Immigration Practice Group or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Disclaimer: This Alert has been prepared and published for informational purposes only and is not offered, nor should be construed, as legal advice. For more information, please see the firm's full disclaimer.