MASSACHUSETTS UNPAID WAGES CLAIMS
You work to make a living and take care of your family and are entitled to payment of your wages. The Massachusetts Wage Act is a very powerful law for employees. It requires employers to pay wages and protects the rights of workers who are not properly paid, or not paid at all. Swartz Law represents clients with unpaid wage claims in Boston and throughout Massachusetts. With more than fifteen years of experience, Attorney Tara Swartz has the knowledge, insight and skill to make sure you get paid.
What are Wages?
Wages are money paid for work or services. In Massachusetts, wages include hourly income (minimum wage and overtime), salaries, earned vacation and holiday pay, earned commissions, non-discretionary bonuses, and any other form of ‘pay’ such as tips.
Commissions and Bonuses
Commissions are ‘pay’ under the Massachusetts Wage Act when the commission is ‘definitely determined’ and ‘due and payable.’ A commission payment is ‘definitely determined’ when it is arithmetically calculable. Employers generally (or should) outline the timing and the circumstances under which commissions will be ‘due and payable.’ If they fail to do so, past actions and practices will be used to determine the agreement with respect to commissions. Bonuses can be wages if they are non-discretionary. However, employers are often careful to ensure that there is an element of discretion in the issuance of a bonus in an effort to ensure it is not considered pay.
What if you are terminated just before a large commission is coming due and payable, or just before bonuses are to be paid? This situation can and does arise and it is a case-by-case fact intensive analysis as to whether you are entitled to the commission or bonus including under legal theories such as bad faith by your employer. If you find yourself in this situation, you need to speak with an experienced employment attorney who can assist in evaluating whether you have a claim.
Triple Damages for Unpaid Wages
Under the Massachusetts Wage Act, if your employer fails to pay your wages or misclassifies you as an independent contractor, you can sue for three times the amount owed and your attorney fees. Employers are thus incentivized to resolve these claims. It is important to note that while employees must file wage claims with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office before going to court, triple damages do not attach to your claims until you are in court. An experienced unpaid wages lawyer can assist you through the process to be preserve your claims and damages.