On June 19, 2019, Fair Work P.C. filed a lawsuit against Jordan’s Furniture, Inc. in the Massachusetts Superior Court for Middlesex County. The plaintiff who started that lawsuit was a former Jordan’s Furniture sales consultant. He claimed that Jordan’s Furniture had violated certain Massachusetts wage laws that require employers to pay time-and-a-half when certain employees work overtime (meaning, more than 40 hours in a workweek) and on Sundays. We have set up this site as a resource for information about the case and will be updating it as developments occur.
What is this lawsuit against Jordan’s Furniture about?
The claims in this lawsuit are that Jordan’s Furniture did not pay its sales consultants and sleep technicians at its stores in Massachusetts separate and additional premium compensation – sometimes called time-and-a-half – when they worked on Sundays or overtime. Instead, Jordan’s Furniture paid those sales employees on a commission basis with a recoverable draw, and with no separate or additional pay for Sundays or overtime.
Shortly before this case was filed, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, which is the highest appellate court in Massachusetts, issued a decision in a case called Sullivan v. Sleepy’s LLC, 482 Mass. 227 (2019). In that decision, the Court ruled that employers who pay their retail sales employees draws and commissions are required under state law to also pay separate and additional compensation to those employees equal to at least 1.5 times the state’s minimum wage for all hours worked on Sundays and all hours worked in excess of 40 per week.
The Court in Sleepy’s explained that its decision was required by the “language and purposes” of the overtime law and Sunday pay law, which were to disincentivize employers from having their employees work overtime or Sundays; encourage employers to hire additional employees; and compensate employees for the burden of working longer hours and Sundays. Permitting employers to “credit” their sales employees’ draws or commissions toward their overtime or Sunday pay obligations, on the other hand, would give employers an economic “incentive to have the employees work more than forty hours in a week,” or on Sundays, and “conversely lack an incentive to hire additional employees.”
What is happening in the lawsuit?
On December 21, 2020, the Court granted class certification in this case. That means the case is officially a class action and that the plaintiff, Matthew Sutton, and our law firm represent the class. The class certified by the Court includes:
All individuals whom Jordan’s Furniture, Inc., has employed in the positions of “sales consultant” or “sleep technician” at one or more of its retail stores located in Massachusetts during the time period between June 19, 2016 and August 1, 2019, and who worked more than 40 hours in any workweek or any Sunday.
If you are a current or former Jordan’s Furniture sales employee who meets this definition, you are part of the certified class – in other words, you are a class member. As a class member, you are covered by the claims in this lawsuit and are represented by our law firm and by Mr. Sutton. You do not, at this time, need to take any action.
How is Jordan’s Furniture defending against this lawsuit?
Jordan’s Furniture maintains that it did nothing wrong, that paid its sales employees fairly and appropriately, and that it is not liable under the Massachusetts wage laws. In addition to its litigation efforts, the company has – according to mandatory disclosures filed with the Secretary of the Commonwealth, available here – spent tens of thousands of dollars lobbying Governor Charlie Baker and the Massachusetts Legislature to change the wage laws so that this case will be dismissed. So far, those efforts have not been successful.
Where can I read more?
The documents that the parties have filed in this case are mostly a matter of public record (although some of the information in those documents has been filed under seal in order to protect Jordan’s Furniture’s proprietary trade information). If you’re interested in reading more about our claims and the parties’ positions in this lawsuit, you can find some of the relevant case documents below.
What are you trying to recover in this case?
In Sleepy’s, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that employees who are paid on a commission basis are owed 1.5 times the minimum wage for all overtime hours worked and 1.5 times the minimum wage for all Sunday hours worked – although starting in January 2019, the multiplier for Sunday hours has been gradually reduced over time, with the aim that it will be eliminated entirely by January 2022. You can read more about that here. This works out to the following hourly premium rates:
We’re seeking to recover the monetary damages based on the hourly rates listed above for all overtime and Sunday hours worked by the certified class members, multiplied by three to account for the Massachusetts wage laws’ mandatory tripling of all wage damages. We’re also seeking to recover prejudgment interest plus our attorneys’ fees and costs.