Areas of Practice
tips + service charges
If you've ever worked in the service industry, you know how important tips can be. In a lot of service jobs — for instance, in the restaurant industry — employees who receive tips can be paid as little as $2.63 per hour under federal law, or $3.75 per hour under Massachusetts law. For those employees, tips are necessity in order to make a living. What a lot of employees don't know, however, is that state and federal law protects employees who receive tips. For example, employers are prohibited from requiring tipped employees, like servers and bartenders, from sharing or "pooling" tips with certain ineligible employees. If you've been required or encouraged to share your tips with other employees, or if your employer is taking a portion of your tips from you, let us know — we're happy to explain your rights and legal options.
Commissions are common in the sales industry, but commission plans are often complicated and confusing. Sometimes it not always clear when a commission is owed, or whether an employer has paid a commission in full. If you think you haven't received all your commissions, are having your commissions incorrectly calculated, or are paid on a "draw against commission" system, get in touch with us. We'll go over your employer's commission plan and advise you about your options.
wages + overtime
The wage laws can be complex, but basically, you're not supposed to work for free. If you're an hourly employee who is not getting paid for time you spend working prior to your shift, or after your shift, your employer might be violating the law. Your employer may also be violating the law if you're required to travel to and from a job site without getting paid for that travel time, or if you're a delivery driver who is receiving less than the minimum wage for time you spend working inside a store, or if you're working more than 40 hours per week without overtime pay. If you have questions or concerns about how you're getting paid, get in touch with us. We're happy to evaluate your employer's pay system and advise you on your rights.
Your employer isn't allowed to take certain deductions out of your pay, such as by docking your pay for register shortages or broken equipment. Even permissible deductions must be calculated in compliance with the law. If your employer is taking deductions or fees out of your pay, or is simply withholding your pay for some reason, contact us. We'll evaluate your situation and let you know what can be done.
retaliation + whistleblowing
You have the right to question your employer about workplace practices you believe violate the law. You also have the right to file complaints with state and federal agencies regarding employment practices you believe are illegal. If your employer has punished or penalized you for doing either of those things, you may have been unlawfully retaliated against.
Federal and state law prohibits employers from taking adverse action against employees based on their protected status, such as their sex, race, or nationality. The law also prohibits employers from taking action against you for speaking up about perceived discrimination in the workplace. If you feel you've been fired, penalized, or denied pay or benefits due to your race, sex, gender, orientation, or nationality, give us a call — our team has extensive experience handling cases involving claims of discrimination in the workplace.
There is a growing trend among companies to classify some of their workers as independent contractors rather than as employees. But there is a difference between genuine independent contractors and workers whom a company is simply treating as independent contractors in order to avoid paying wages and benefits. If you're working as an independent contractor for a company but feel that the company is functionally treating you like an employee, you may have been misclassified. If you have questions about your employment status, you've come to the right place — our attorneys are among the pioneers in this field.