Wage and Hour Laws, Commissions, and Overtime

Under Massachusetts and federal wage and hour laws, employers must pay employees minimum wage and overtime, and must pay them in a timely fashion after wages are earned. Failure to pay minimum wage, overtime, or pay on time will lead to liability for employers, for up to three times the amount of wrongfully withheld money.

Some employers also try to illegally take advantage of employees by not paying them in accordance with the law.  These tactics can include not accurately keeping time cards, not paying employees when they must drive to a location as part of their job, wrongfully deducting certain items from paychecks, and not properly reimbursing employees for mileage.

Overtime is also a particular area of abuse by employers.  The law is clear on the requirement to pay overtime to “non-exempt” employees.  Some employers will try to break the law by making lower-earning employees “salaried” employees, and thus seek to avoid paying such employees the full wages that are owed.  Other employers may not have systems in place to accurately calculate the appropriate wages owed to employees.

Other employers fail to pay employees their earned commissions.  If a commission has been earned, is mathematically determinable, and is due, the employee is entitled to the commission, usually even after he/she has left the company.

So-called “wage and hour laws” apply to both low-wage hourly workers and highly paid executives.


Settlements & Verdicts

Unpaid tips class action case against parking and transportation services company.

Misclassification as independent contractor and loss of benefits by electronic tech company.

Unpaid wages and overtime claim against local automobile repair business.

Wage and hour case against two individuals (officers and directors).

All Settlements & Verdicts

Contractor or Employee? Employers are Liable When They Wrongly Classify Employees as Independent Contractors


Another common way that employers try to dodge the strict wage and hour laws is to misclassify workers as “independent contractors.”

An employer that improperly classifies a worker as an independent contractor acts to deprive the worker of a myriad number of benefits, including health insurance, vacation time, sick time, social security contributions, worker’s compensation insurance, and 401K participation.

Massachusetts Independent Contractor Law

Massachusetts’ Independent Contractor Law requires that an employer meet three requirements in order to classify a worker as an “independent contractor” (and provide them with a 1099) instead of an “employee” (who receives a W-2):

Massachusetts has one of the strictest Independent Contractor laws in the nation, and the Legislature has made it quite difficult to legitimately qualify as an independent contractor. If you’re not being properly treated as an employee, there may be a number of benefits to which you may be entitled.

Class Actions and Individual Lawsuits

Our firm files both class action and individual lawsuits on behalf of employees.

Class action lawsuits are normally appropriate where there are a number of similarly-situated employees who have all been treated wrongly in the same manner, such as if all of the employees of a company have been wrongly denied overtime pay or tips.  Class actions also make sense when the damages to any one individual would be low, making a separate lawsuit impractical.

Individual lawsuits make sense where there are not a group of employees with the same claim, and where the damages are sufficiently high such that a lawsuit is cost-justified.

We Are Here to Help You.  Call Us to Learn About Your Legal Options and How We Can Help

We offer a free consultation.  Many employment claims are accepted on a contingency fee basis, meaning that there are no fees for us unless you recover damages.


Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim About a Wage or Hour Violation?

In Massachusetts, employees must file claims on wage and hour violations within three years of the incident. This timeframe is called the statute of limitations, and if you miss it, you won’t be able to pursue legal action. Given the time constraints on these cases, it’s important to act quickly and contact a skilled employment lawyer as soon as possible.

What Should I Do If I Think My Rights as an Employee Have Been Violated?

If you believe your rights as an employee have been violated by your employer, talk to a skilled employment lawyer. These lawyers have an in-depth understanding of applicable employment laws and can help you better understand your situation and legal options. If you have grounds for a lawsuit, they can help you move through the process.

How Do I Report a Labor Law Violation in Massachusetts?

If you suspect your employer has violated a labor law, whether it’s a wage or overtime violation, it’s important to report them to the proper authority. You can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office (AGO). The time you spend waiting on a response from the AGO does not count toward your statute of limitations.

Do I Need a Lawyer for My Wage and Hour Violation Case?

If you’ve tried to solve your wage and violation predicament with your employer to no avail, you may decide to pursue legal action. While you aren’t required to have a lawyer, Massachusetts employment law is complex and can be daunting for those without an in-depth understanding of its nuances. That’s where a lawyer’s help comes in handy—we’ll handle the legal intricacies so you don’t have to.


Client Review

“I have been incredibly impressed by the level of service I have received working with the legal team at Fogelman & Fogelman. They are incredibly knowledgeable and responsive and have guided me throughout the process effortlessly, making what would otherwise be a challenging situation to navigate a total breeze. I highly recommend partnering with the team at Fogelman & Fogelman!”

Google 5 Star Review – K.B.

Can We Help You?

Call 617.559.1530 or complete the form below.


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