Wage and Hour Attorney in Springfield, Massachusetts
A Springfield Attorney Representing Employees in Wage and Hour Disputes
Do you work for an hourly wage, and did your employer refuse to compensate you for the hours you worked or time-and-a-half for the hours you worked beyond 40 hours per week? Is it possible that your employer “promoted” you to a salaried position in name only to avoid paying you overtime? You may be able to file a claim by speaking with a Springfield wage and hour law attorney. To have an attorney review the facts of your case to determine whether you have a claim, please fill out our online questionnaire or call our office today.
Many employees in Springfield, Massachusetts work long hours but are not compensated accordingly for their work. This can occur in many ways, including not having hours properly calculated, having unlawful deductions taken out of a paycheck, not being paid overtime rates, and more. There are many tactics an employer can use to avoid compliance with wage and hour laws in Massachusetts and companies should be held accountable for all violations – whether they were accidental or intentional.
Wage Violations Commonly Involve Overtime Pay
Under Massachusetts state and federal laws, employers are required to pay overtime wages to a nonexempt employee for each hour worked beyond 40 hours per week. The first step to determining exemption is to look at whether the employee is unsalaried or salaried. Most hourly workers are entitled to overtime rates for time worked in excess of 40 hours. Furthermore, any employee – salaried or not – who earns less than $455 per week will be entitled to overtime rates. If a salary is above this threshold, there is a further complicated analysis that must occur.
It is important for employees in Springfield to understand that there are exemptions for certain types of employment under Massachusetts law (M.G.L. 151 Section 1A) and federal law. The following are the main overtime exemptions applied by employers:
- Executive employees, including management and directors.
- Administrative employees who provide support for business operations or management.
- Professional employees whose work requires advanced knowledge or education or involves particular talent in an artistic or creative endeavor.
- Computer employees who engage in development and operation of computer systems or programs.
- Outside sales employees who receive a certain amount of compensation and customarily work away from the place of employment obtaining sales contracts.
- Tipped employees such as servers and bartenders
Too many employees believe that simply because their job title fits under one of the above categories that they have been properly classified as exempt. However, having a certain job title is not enough to make an employee exempt from overtime pay and the actual job duties must line up with the job title for an exemption to be appropriate and lawful. Many employers misclassify employees as exempt when their job duties do not actually fit under any exemption and, therefore, unlawfully deprive them of overtime pay.
The following are some examples of jobs that are commonly misclassified as exempt from overtime:
- Retail assistant managers
- Loan underwriters
- Insurance underwriters
- Automobile damage appraisers
- Bookkeepers and fund accountants
Such employees are regularly classified as executive, administrative, or professional positions when, in reality, the job descriptions do not involve a high enough level of management, support, or educational requirements to be classified as such. Employees in these positions also regularly work long hours and maybe deprived of a significant amount of overtime pay if they have been misclassified.
In many cases, employers misclassify employees and wrongly assume that they are exempt from overtime pay. Unpaid overtime can add up quickly and some employees have missed out on thousands of dollars in pay. A Massachusetts employment lawyer can help you determine how much your employer owes you due to wage and hour violations and will assist you in seeking the compensation you deserve.
Other Common Wage Violations
Not every wage violation case centers around overtime pay. The following are brief descriptions of other ways that employee may be denied their rightful wages:
Independent contractor misclassification –Federal and state wage laws only apply to individuals who are classified as employees, leaving independent contractors unprotected by even minimum wage requirements. Some companies may claim individuals are independent contractors to avoid compliance with wage laws, tax laws, benefit requirements, and more. Our law firm can evaluate the details of your position and determine whether your independent contractor classification is proper or whether you have been deprived important employee rights.
Miscalculation of hours worked – Some companies may require an employee to spend time setting up for work or cleaning up after work. The law requires that an employee be paid for this time and all too often, a company will wrongfully exclude this time from time cards and pay calculations. Employees not only deserve their hourly wages for this extra time but, often, this time will put them over 40 hours per week, making them eligible for overtime rates
Wrongful deductions – The law sets out what type of paycheck deductions an employer can and cannot lawfully apply. If an employer takes out wrongful deductions, it can often cause an employee’s pay to fall below minimum wage, resulting in wage violations. Likewise, employers who “shift the cost of doing business” to their employees by taking unlawful deductions from their employees’ wages also violate the Massachusetts Wage Act.
Unused vacation – Many employees are provided with a certain period of paid vacation each year. Massachusetts is one of the few states that requires employers to compensate employees for accrued but unused vacation time upon termination.
Travel Time and Reimbursement of Travel Expenses – Many Massachusetts employers, such as newspaper companies and home health aide CNA/Visiting Nurse companies, require their employees to travel throughout the work day. Employers must pay their employees for non-commute time spent traveling to and from work appointments. Employees who use their personal vehicles for non-commute work travel must be reimbursed for all travel expenses, including mileage and tolls. Employers who do not make these payments violate the Massachusetts Wage Act.
No matter what led to a wage violation and the deprivation of your rightfully deserved pay, our law firm can assist you in claiming unpaid wages and overtime.
Discuss Your Case with a Springfield Employee Rights Lawyer in Springfield, Massachusetts
At Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore, we are committed to helping employees in Springfield, Massachusetts exercise their rights to proper wage and overtime payment. We can initiate an investigation into wage and hour violations at your place of employment and, if appropriate, can assist you in filing a claim. A Springfield employee rights lawyer at our firm can speak with you today. You can have an experienced Springfield employment attorney review your case by filling out our online questionnaire or by calling our office today at 413-417-7035.