ossibly the most common of all wage violations are overtime violations. Both Massachusetts and federal law provide significant protections to employees who work over forty hours per week. Unless the employee is considered “exempt” under both Massachusetts and federal overtime law, the employee must be paid time and one half their normal hourly rate for all hours worked over forty in a week.
Frequently, an employer will erroneously claim that the employee is covered by one of the state or federal overtime exemptions. Professional, executive and administrative employees are exempt from overtime, as are approximately 20 other classifications of workers. The exemptions can be found in M.G.L. c. 151, s. 1A. For an employee to be covered by one of these exemptions, in many cases they must be permitted by their employer to exercise independent judgment when performing their job, and be paid on a salary basis; meaning their wages cannot fluctuate on a week to week basis based upon the number of hours they work or the quality of their work.
Just recently the Massachusetts overtime law was amended to change the statute of limitations to three years. This means an employee can go back three full years and recover any overtime wages they were not paid in this period of time. If successful in a suit to recover unpaid overtime wages, an employee is entitled to recover triple damages, attorneys’ fees and any expenses associated with the lawsuit.
DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT AN OVERTIME WAGE VIOLATION?
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