Wage & Hour Employer Representation
At Marcotte Law Firm, we pride ourselves on understanding that there are two sides to every coin. For every employee that feels that he/she was cheated out of pay, there’s an employer who feels taken advantage of by a system that intentionally makes these cases very expensive for any business owner.Treble Damages and Attorneys Fees
Massachusetts enacted wage and hour laws to encourage businesses to pay their employees on time. They did this by making it very expensive for a business owner if an employee sues for unpaid wages. First, the employer will be responsible for paying not just the owed wages. Instead, the employer must pay the employee treble damages, which is 3x the amount of unpaid wages. So if you owe your employee $2,000.00, a wage and hour lawsuit means you now owe $6,000.00. At the same time, the statute states that an employee who successfully wins a wage & hour claim will be entitled to having the employer pay his/her attorneys’ fees. Many attorneys take these cases on a contingency fee, meaning that the employee has no out of pocket expenses. Even so, the plaintiff’s lawyer will keep track of his/her time, and then add his hourly fees on top of the unpaid wages. Attorney’s fees can balloon quickly, especially when you have to pay the attorney on both sides.Personal Liability
Almost all businesses are incorporated. Whether it’s a corporation, an LLC, or a limited partnership, these business organizations are created in part to shield the owners from liability. In the case of a claim for unpaid wages, this protection is not available.
If an employee sues a business, the Massachusetts Wage Act states that the president and treasurer is personally liable for the unpaid wages. In addition, any officer or agent who has management authority can face individual liability as well. This means that even if all other liabilities of a company are limited to recovering from the business itself, an employee with unpaid wages will sue you personally.Class Action Prevention
If an employee makes a Wage & Hour claim against you, it can be devastating to your business. But what if 5, 10, 25, or 100 employees make a Wage & Hour claim against you? That can ruin not only your business, but also your life.
One of the ways that a Wage & Hour claim can become exponentially worse is when a single claim is pursued not only on behalf of the one employee, but also on behalf of all other employees who are similarly situated. This is commonly known as a Class Action lawsuit.
If the employee is bringing a claim on behalf of a class, it’s important to not only defend that one case, but also ensure that the Plaintiff is not able to prove to the Court that he/she is a proper plaintiff to represent a class of employees. A good lawyer knows how to navigate both types of claims to try to minimize an employer’s exposure. Sometimes it's best to prove that the unpaid employee is different from the rest of the employees. Other times it might be best to try to settle the case with the first Plaintiff so he/she won’t certify the class.Big Town Experience at Local Rates
At Marcotte Law Firm, we have experience handling Unpaid Wage claims on both the employee and employer side. With that experience, we know the intricacies of these cases. We know when to settle, and we know when to push forward.
At the same time, we understand that business owners who are defending these claims are likely paying out of pocket. Rarely does a business have insurance to pay to pay for a lawyer. That’s why we pride ourselves on providing experienced and tenacious representation at a reasonable cost. There’s no reason to pay inflated Boston prices when you can get comparable representation from a lawyer that’s local.
If you’ve been sued by an employee for unpaid wages, call the experienced Attorneys at Marcotte Law Firm for a free consultation.