On April 4, 2022, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held, in Reuter v. City of Methuen, that employers are strictly liable for treble wages as liquidated damages if they fail to make timely payments upon an employee’s termination of employment in compliance with the Massachusetts Wage Act. With its holding, the Court rejected a longstanding trial court precedent that employers who failed to make timely wage payments were liable only for treble interest.
The Massachusetts Wage Act
Section 148 of the Massachusetts Wage Act requires employers to pay unpaid wages to any employee discharged from employment “in full on the day of [the employee’s] discharge.” Mass. Gen. L. C. 149 § 148. As an enforcement mechanism, the Act provides a private right of action for employees and mandates that employees who prevail on § 148 claims “shall be awarded treble damages, as liquidated damages, for any lost wages and other benefits and shall be awarded the costs of litigation and reasonable attorneys’ fees.” The Act specifically defines “wages” to include, among other things, “any holiday or vacation payments due an employee under an oral or written agreement.”
Continue reading “Massachusetts Employers Be Warned: Telling Employees “Your Wages are Coming, Your Wages are Coming” May Lead to Treble Damages”
The first quarter of 2022 continued the trend of increasing regulation of the workplace by state and local governments. Although it is not possible to discuss all state and local laws, this update provides an overview of recent and upcoming legislative developments to help you and your organization stay in compliance. (Please note that developments related to issues such as minimum wage rates and COVID-19 are not included.)
Continue reading “State & Local Employment Law Developments: Q1 2022”
*Originally published by CalCPA in the January/February 2022 issue of California CPA.
To borrow from both the Grateful Dead and Miley Cyrus, “… what a long, strange trip it’s been …” and “there’s always gonna be another mountain … ain’t about what’s on the other side, it’s the climb.” Among the lasting 2021 impacts of politics, aberrant weather and wildfires—and COVID-19— is increased regulation of California employers. More than 330 bills introduced in the most recent California legislative session mention “employer,” compared to about 560 bills in 2020. While most bills did not pass the Legislature, many were signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom, bringing more rules and risks for employers in our state dealing with COVID-19, workplace safety, wage and hour rules, worker classification, working conditions, leaves of absence, posters, Department of Fair Employment and Housing matters, settlements and nondisparagement agreements, and wage rates.
Continue reading “Employer Beware: New California Employment Laws for 2022”
The fourth quarter of 2021 continued the trend of increasing regulation of the workplace by state and local governments. Although it is not possible to discuss all state and local laws, this post provides an overview of recent and upcoming legislative developments to help you and your organization stay in compliance. (Please note that developments related to issues such as minimum wage rates and COVID-19 are not included.)
Continue reading “State & Local Employment Law Developments: Q4 2021”
On November 22, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) finalized a rule to increase the hourly minimum wage for employees of certain federal contractors beginning January 30, 2022. The final rule implements Executive Order 14026, which President Joe Biden signed earlier this year.
The final rule requires certain federal contractors to pay workers on government contracts at least $15 per hour beginning January 30, 2022. After 2022, the minimum wage will be adjusted annually for inflation at a rate set by the Secretary of Labor.
Continue reading “The U.S. Department of Labor Announces Final Rule to Increase Minimum Wage for Certain Federal Contractors”
The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) has adopted the Colorado Overtime and Minimum Pay Standards (COMPS) Order #38 and new Wage Protection Rules as well as the 2022 Publication and Yearly Calculation of Adjusted Labor Compensation (PAY CALC) Order, which became effective January 1, 2022. Below is a summary of notable changes in the new rules.
Continue reading “New Wage and Hour Rules in Colorado”