Massachusetts Wage Act Case Studies
The Massachusetts Wage Act requires timely payment of wages, including earned commissions, and has strict penalties for employers who violate its provisions.
Every person's story is a little different, but there are lessons to be learned from people who have gone through similar situations.
Below are a few of the many examples of people we have helped enforce their right to payment under the Wage Act. The names and images are fictitious, but the stories are real.
Wage Act Violation: Unpaid Work During COVID Furlough
Nathan worked as a consulting engineer for a cloud storage company. When the pandemic hit, he and his team were furloughed, like many other employees.
He and his team, however, were explicitly asked to continue to work off-site. They were told that they needed to continue maintaining and updating code for customer use even while on furlough.
When they asked why they should continue to work without pay, they were told it was so that they would "have a place to come back to" when the shutdown ended. They were also told not to tell customers that they were on furlough.
Nathan and his team did as instructed, and continued to work for a little over two months. At that point, instead of recalling Nathan and his colleagues from furlough, the company announced that it was laying them all off. Read more here.
Wage Act Violation: Withheld Wages
Matthew worked as an engineer/quality manager for a Massachusetts company that developed and manufactured armor for military, civilian, and law enforcement applications. After approximately two years of employment, the company started having difficulty meeting its financial obligations, and decided to prioritize paying vendors over paying employees.
Matthew continued to work for another two months despite not being paid. He also worked overtime hours on a new product the company was developing... Read more here.
Wage Act Violation: Simple Non Payment of Wages
Louis worked part time as an instructor in an adult education program. Though this was part time and a second job for him, it was still an important part of his income.
His employer was chronically late with payments, a situation that only got worse over time. Louis frequently requested payment and tried to resolve the situation, without any meaningful response. For a long time he believed that there was no point in getting a lawyer, because the amount of money at issue was not large. Read more here.
Wage Act Violation: Unpaid Vacation
Bill worked as a sales representative for an out of state company with a location in Massachusetts company that supplied medical equipment. While he was battling some significant health issues, the company terminated his employment. They offered him a severance agreement to consider, which would release any claims he had for age or disability discrimination.
While he was considering the severance agreement, however, the company withheld payment for his accrued but unused vacation, taking the position that this was part of the severance package and he would not be entitled to it unless he signed the release of claims. Read more here.
Wage Act Violation: Retroactive Change in Commission Policy
George worked as a sales representative for a national telecommunications company. He and his team were on a commission plan that paid based on quarterly earnings, and these commission payments were a substantial portion of their compensation.
Two months into a quarter, the company changed the caps and quotas on the commission plan, resulting in an almost six figure decline in his compensation for that quarter, most of it on sales already made when the change was announced. Read more here.
Wage Act Violation: Unpaid Commissions at Termination
Paul worked as a salesperson for a company that sold employee inventive rewards platforms to employers. He was paid a salary plus commissions that were paid out on a quarterly basis.
After the first quarter of 2019, Paul's employment was terminated. The company refused to pay him any of his commissions for Quarter One, claiming that there had been a refund issued that was equal to his earnings in that quarter. Read more here.
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We have years of experience representing people with claims under the wage and hour laws in Massachusetts state and federal courts, and we would be happy to help you. You can use the button below to schedule a call back from a member of our team, or give us a call at 781-784-2322.