Archives: Massachusetts

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Massachusetts Federal Court: Discretionary Bonus Not “Earned” Commission Protected by Massachusetts Minimum Wage Act

An employee’s entitlement to incentive compensation continues to be a litigation issue. Recently, a Massachusetts federal district court held that an employer’s refusal to award an employee a discretionary bonus does not violate the Massachusetts Wage Act. Comley v. Media Planning Grp., No. 14-10032, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 76383 (D. Mass. June 12, 2015). In … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Supreme Court: Real Estate Brokers Not Covered by 2004 Independent Contractor Law Based On Continued Applicability of Real Estate Statute

Litigation regarding the status of workers as independent contractors or employees continues to be a hotbed of litigation. This is true even in industries that have long-considered workers as independent contractors, such as real estate agents. Attorneys representing workers, for example, have turned to state statutes addressing independent contractor status to attempt to upset these … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Highest Court Holds Businesses Not Required to Permit Tipping Under State Law

In 2013, New York’s highest state court considered which employees are eligible to participate in sharing tips from a communal tip jar, and even if eligible, whether the employer could nonetheless exclude them from participating. The New York court held an employer may exclude employees from sharing in tips even if they would otherwise be … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Supreme Court Permits Common Law Claims for Alleged Unpaid Wages

Rejecting a legal theory widely accepted in many jurisdictions, namely that statutory wage-and-hour laws are intended to preempt claims for alleged unpaid compensation brought pursuant to older, less-specific common law theories, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled last month that an employee whose wage claims may well be time barred under the Massachusetts Wage Act can … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Issues Employee-Friendly Decisions

In two decisions issued this spring, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, reversed decisions issued by Massachusetts lower courts and broadly interpreted the scope of Massachusetts wage law with respect to its extra-territorial reach and potential individual liability for violations. Taylor v. Eastern Connection Operating, Inc., 465 Mass. 191 (Mass. 2013); Cook v. Patient Edu, LLC, … Continue Reading

Starbucks Tip Jar Wars Rage On: First Circuit Excludes Shift Supervisors From Massachusetts Tip Jars

The Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has ruled that under Massachusetts’ unique tip statute, shift supervisors cannot participate in the tip jar-based tip pool in Massachusetts locations. Matamoros v. Starbucks Corp., 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 23185 (1st Cir. Nov. 9, 2012). Several years ago, a California Appeal Court ruled just the opposite under California … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Federal Judge Issues Decision Expansively Interpreting FLSA’s Minimum Wage Obligations

As we have discussed, federal courts generally interpret the FLSA in conformity with longstanding FLSA principles stated in, among other seminal cases, United States v. Klinghoffer Bros. Realty Corp., 285 F.2d 487 (2d Cir. 1960). Under the Klinghoffer rule, the FLSA generally just mandates: 1) the payment of overtime at the regular rate for hours in … Continue Reading

Massachusetts High Court Rules Treble Damages Provision Not Retroactive

While it is generally understood that decisions of courts apply retroactively (as interpretations of the law) while newly enacted statutes do not (as pronouncements of new law) unless expressly provided by the statutory language, challenges to these principles often arise, especially when the decision or enactment modifies recoverable damages. In a victory for employers, Massachusetts’ highest … Continue Reading
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