Massachusetts Wage and Hour Laws - What Every Manager Needs to Know

August 14, 2007


Much has been written about, and many training programs have focused on, equal employment law issues in the workplace, such as sexual harassment and race discrimination. In recent years, courts have issued many decisions clarifying an employer’s legal duties in these areas. Consequently, the potential for successful lawsuits has decreased. An employer’s duties under wage and hour laws, and in properly determining whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor, have been much less publicized in the recent past. Yet cases have arisen, including a significant Microsoft decision, where employees (mis)classified as independent contractors have successfully sued their employers and were awarded damages, such as stock options they would have been issued if classified as employees all along. As employees and the attorneys who represent them search for easier targets, wage and hour laws are becoming more of a breeding ground for lawsuits. The American Bar Association recently reported a "marked increase" in such suits. Employers should expect this trend to continue. They should know their duties under these laws to avoid potentially devastating lawsuits. This guide is intended to provide Massachusetts employers with information about the basic requirements of federal and state wage and hour laws, as well as employer responsibilities regarding the proper classification of workers. It is a primer and a quick reference guide, not a comprehensive or exhaustive description of all the laws with which Massachusetts employers must comply.

Topics covered:

  • Federal Fair Labor Standards Act and Massachusetts Wage and Hour Laws
  • Wage Payment Processes
  • Independent Contractors vs. Employees
  • Temporary Agencies and the "Joint Employer" Doctrine
  • Equal Pay Act
  • Class Actions and Collective Actions

Download the Foley Hoag Massachusetts Wage & Hour Laws eBook (.pdf)