A lot of law firms do a little bit of everything. Not us. The only thing we do is represent employees. Why? Because we believe employment law is supposed to level the playing field between the bosses and the rest of us. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way. Employment law can be complicated. Many employers have the resources to exploit that complexity to their advantage. We don’t think that’s fair. Workers have rights! Our job is to vindicate those rights. Find out if we can help you do just that.
We sued a home security company on behalf of customer service agents who were not getting paid time-and-a-half for working on Sundays. The company argued that it didn’t need to pay time-and-a-half for Sundays because that the Sunday pay law only applied to salespeople who worked in brick-and-mortar stores that sold retail goods. The court rejected that argument, ruling that “(n)othing 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.” The court also rejected the company’s argument that it did not owe time-and-a-half for Sundays because the customer service representatives primarily engaged in tech support, not sales. “This argument,” the Court held, “ignores the undisputed fact that the (customer service representatives) who are employed on the Company’s tech support teams routinely sell (the Company’s) products to customers who contact the Call Center for whatever reason.”
Ever wonder what those delivery charges are for when you order food online? Despite what their name might suggest, such charges rarely go to the person who actually delivers your food! In one such case, our client was a delivery driver for worked for a national pizza chain. The pizza chain charged a $2.50 “delivery fee” but did not pay that money to the employees who made the deliveries. We filed a lawsuit claiming that this practice violated the Massachusetts tips law. Rather than fighting the case on the merits and facing potential class liability, the pizza chain agreed to pay a judgment for the full amount of our client’s damages plus our legal fees and costs. In a number of similar cases, we’ve recovered damages for delivery drivers who were paid less than the minimum wage for time they spent in their assigned stores waiting for delivery orders. Because the delivery drivers worked in a “tipped occupation,” the pizza chain paid them less than the minimum wage and relied on tips to “make up” the difference – even though the drivers couldn’t make tips while in the store.
Many state and federal workers are protected by specific laws that are applicable only to government employees. For instance, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination against federal employees with disabilities. We’ve pursued many cases on behalf of clients who’ve worked in government and experienced discrimination due to their race, sex, disability, or whistleblower status. This includes challenging government agencies’ decisions to deny promotion or placement to workers with disabilities who are capable of performing the essential functions of their job and litigation targeting police promotion exams that have an adverse racial impact on minority officers.
We helped pioneer litigation to protect the wage rights of wait staff employees like servers, bartenders, and bussers. In one such case, a server who worked at a popular Boston restaurant came to us because the restaurant was requiring her to “tip out” (i.e., share her tips with) employees called “bar leads.” The bar leads performed regular bartending work – making drinks, taking food orders, and so on – but also had keys to the restaurant, handled and accounted for cash receipts, could send employees home if the restaurant wasn’t busy, assigned servers to their stations, and generally acted as the “person in charge” in the absence of a manager. The Massachusetts tips law prohibits such arrangements and employers who violate that prohibition may be required to pay back the amounts the wait staff tipped out to the managerial employees plus the difference between that hourly rate they paid to the wait staff and the full minimum wage for all hours worked. On top of that, Massachusetts law provides that all damages for tips law violations get automatically tripled.
Many people who work in retail sales are paid on a commission basis, meaning they only get paid based on how much they sell, but with no additional pay for working overtime. In a case that we helped pursue against a local furniture and mattress retailer, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that this practice was illegal and that retailers must pay their commission-based salespeople separate and additional hourly compensation for overtime, Sunday, and holiday work. The Court ruled that employers cannot “credit” commissions towards their employees’ overtime and Sunday pay, but must instead make those payments independently of any sales-based incentive compensation the employees receive and that the rate employers pay must be equal to at least 1.5 times the state’s minimum wage. Following that decision, we pioneered a number of cases against several automobile dealerships and furniture retailers challenging their overtime and Sunday pay practices, resulting in millions of dollars in recovery for the sales associates who work for those companies.
Workers’ rights abuses in America’s trucking industry are well documented. We’ve pursued numerous cases on behalf of truck drivers who’ve experienced such problems, which can include unfair and deceptive recruitment practices, failure to pay wages for all hours worked, misclassification of employee drivers as “independent contractors,” and violations of the federal Truth-in-Leasing regulations (which govern how trucking companies are supposed to operate). In one such case, we successfully sued a major national trucking company for failing to pay drivers during orientation and for engaging in deceptive advertising and marketing practices. The court held:
Leaving drivers with the impression that (the company) loaned them $6,500 for the cost of driver training school, when in fact the cost was thousands of dollars lower, is a deceptive practice …
The court issued an injunction prohibiting the company from collecting on these “loans” and from attempting to enforce the non-compete clause found in the drivers’ employment contracts. Such conduct, the court ruled, “negatively affected (the drivers’) credit scores and ability to secure loans and … prevented them from obtaining employment. These harms … are immediate and ongoing and carry particular weight during the present period of national economic strain.”
Wondering if you have a claim? Read up on some of the legal services we provide to employees.
Answers to such common questions as: What are my options? How does a lawsuit work? How do we get paid?