Under the Massachusetts Sunday pay statute, certain employers must pay an additional premium to employees who work on Sundays. Until this year, the premium was one-and-a-half times the regular hourly rate. In 2019, it is 1.4 times the regular hourly rate. The Sunday premium pay requirement applies to retail establishments – that is, stores or shops that sell goods at retail.
But what about companies who exclusively sell their products online or by telephone, and do not operate a “brick and mortar” store? Do they qualify as retail establishments for purposes of the Sunday pay statute? According to the Business Litigation Session of the Massachusetts Superior Court, the answer is yes.
In Galloway v. SimpliSafe, Inc., the court held that a call center whose employees sold home security systems and provided technical support was a “store or shop” and had to comply with the Sunday premium pay law. As the explained:
Nothing in the Sunday Pay Statute […] mandates that a ‘store or shop’ possess a ‘storefront’ or a ‘physical space open to the general public’ in order to be subject to its requirements, nor would it be logical in this technology-driven day and age to imply such a mandate.
Nor does the Sunday Pay Statute mandate that a retail seller physically “keep or deposit [the] goods to be sold” on its premises in order to qualify as a “store or shop.” The statute refers only to the “keeping open of a store or shop and the sale at retail of goods therein,” which, on its face, simply means that the “sale” must take place within the “store or shop,” which is certainly true with respect to the product sales transactions that routinely are carried out at [defendant’s] Call Center.
The decision is significant because it recognizes that, in today’s world, a lot of commerce occurs online, not in actual storefronts. The employees working in these online retail businesses are entitled to additional compensation for work on Sundays, the same way that employees at brick-and-mortar stores are entitled to this pay.