Minimum Wage Violations
Unless you’re 16 years old and it’s your first job, minimum wage won’t go very far.What is the Minimum Wage?
There is a minimum wage set by the Federal Government, and there is also a minimum wage set by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The federal minimum wage is only $7.25 per hour. Luckily, Massachusetts’ minimum wage is much higher. As of January 1, 2020, the minimum wage in Massachusetts is $12.75. That amount is slated to go up every year until it reaches $15.00 per hour on January 1, 2023. During that time, it will go up incrementally as follows:
- 2020: $12.75/hour
- 2021: $13.50/hour
It’s fairly easy to figure out what the minimum wage is. You would think that all employers would make sure they’re paying at least minimum wage. However, these claims arise in a variety of ways. These include:
- Yearly Increases: For a few years now, the minimum wage has gone up every January. Sometimes, an employer forgets to increase a worker’s wages to keep up with the minimum wage increase. This leads to a claim for Unpaid Wages.
- Tipped Employees: Wait Staff and bartenders working in restaurants and bars are eligible to be paid a reduced Tipped Minimum Wage, assuming that tips bring their total earnings up to the normal Minimum Wage. But, some restaurants don’t pay the difference when a slow night leads to no tips.
- Uncompensated Hours: Sometimes employers require workers to do jobs while they’re “off the clock.” This can include sales meetings or time bartenders spend cleaning before or after a shift
- Commission Based Employees: Employees paid on commission are still subject to Minimum Wage laws. If a sales cycle is long and there are periods where no deals close, an employer could be liable for not paying the minimum wage.
- Illegal Classification: Sometimes businesses classify people as independent contractors instead of employees. On top of trying to skirt Workers Compensation laws and FICA taxes, some businesses call people Independent Contractors to not have to pay minimum wage.
Many workers who think about suing their employers worry about legal bills. How can a single worker, especially one making minimum wage, pay for a lawyer to sue the employer? That problem was addressed in the Massachusetts Wage & Hour law. That law says that if a workers wins a lawsuit for non-payment of wages, the company/employer will be responsible for paying hte employee’s attorney’s fees. That means that in addition to paying you the wages you’re owed, your employer will have to pay your lawyer’s hourly fee.
This law was put in place so that workers who are owed wages will be able to find lawyers to pursue these claims, even if the amount at stake is relatively small. The legislature wanted to make it fair so that workers won’t have to go to court on their own.Experienced Wage & Hour Lawyers
The lawyers at Marcotte Law Firm have decades of litigation experience. We know the ins and outs of the legal process, and we know how to use that to our clients’ advantage. We also understand how important this issue is. Our clients went to work every day, and their bosses took advantage of that and wouldn’t even pay the minimum wage.
If you think you were paid less than the Minimum Wage, you deserve experienced representation that will take you seriously. If your job owes you unpaid wages, call the experienced litigation attorneys at Marcotte Law Firm for a free, no obligation consultation.