On August 26th, 2021, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division officially announced sanctions against Theory Wellness, Inc., a marijuana dispensary with three locations across the Commonwealth, including in Chicopee. The company will pay nearly $300,000 in back wages for “premium pay” that was improperly denied under Massachusetts law. Here, our Massachusetts wage and hour attorneys provide a more detailed overview of the investigation and the sanctions against the employer.
Allegations: Massachusetts Employer Failed to Pay Wage Premiums for Sundays, Holidays
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced a wage and hour citation against Theory Wellness, Inc., the company’s CEO Brandon Pollock, and Treasurer Nicholas Friedman. Theory Wellness is a marijuana dispensary with retail locations in Great Barrington, Bridgewater, and Chicopee. The employer will pay almost $300,000 in back wages and civil penalties due to its failure to compensate workers for “premium pay” earned by employees working Sundays and holidays.
According to the information provided by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the investigation into the wage and hour practices of the employer was initiated in December of 2020. In total, 282 employees were affected by the premium pay violations. Under the terms of the settlement, all workers who were due premium pay will be fully compensated through the payment of back wages.
What to Know About Premium Pay in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, certain types of retail workers are entitled to additional pay—called “premium pay”—when they work on a Sunday or a state/federal holiday. The premium pay laws in Massachusetts are often referred to simply as “Blue Laws.”—and they date back to a time when Sunday/holiday work was a far less common practice. As of 2021, the Massachusetts premium pay laws are still in effect. However, they are being phased out due to legislative changes that were made in Boston back in 2018. Here is a basic overview of how the Massachusetts premium pay laws will work over the next few years:
- 2020: Non-exempt retail workers should have been paid 1.3x their standard wages when working on a Sunday.
- 2021: Non-exempt retail workers are entitled to 1.2x their standard wage when working on a Sunday.
- 2022: Non-exempt retail workers are entitled to 1.1x their standard wage when working on a Sunday.
- 2023: Premium pay laws are set to be phased out in Massachusetts. In 2023, retail employees will no longer get guaranteed premium wages for Sunday work.
Schedule a Confidential Consultation With a Massachusetts Wage and Hour Lawyer
At Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore, LLC, our Western Massachusetts employee rights advocates have deep experience handling complex wage and hour claims. If you have any questions about premium pay laws, we are more than ready to help protect your legal rights. Contact us now to set up an appointment with an attorney. From our offices in Northampton and Springfield, we represent employees in wage and hour claims throughout the Commonwealth.