Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey released her fourth annual Labor Day Report this week. As in past years, the report summarizes the AGO’s Fair Labor Division’s enforcement activities over the past year, and provides insight into the office’s priorities and initiatives in the enforcement of the Commonwealth’s wage and hour laws.
The report offers some interesting statistics, including the top violation categories (non-payment of wages, prevailing wage, overtime, recordkeeping, misclassification, child labor, minimum wage and earned sick time), and industries where violations were most often found (construction, services, retail, healthcare, hospitality, and cleaning). The report notes that AGO’s Fair Labor investigators conducted 165 site visits in 72 cities and towns throughout Massachusetts. The office assessed $5.8 million in restitution and $4.0 million in penalties for wage and hour violations affecting more than 11,000 employees.
Interestingly, the report points out that, last year, the Fair Labor Division began collecting employment applications as part of its site visits in order to evaluate employees’ compliance with recent laws prohibiting certain application questions about criminal history (“ban the box”) and salary history (equal pay).
Finally, the report includes information about some of the AGO’s outreach efforts, including its partnership with eight other state and federal agencies as part of the YES Team (Youth Employment Safety Team), which aims to keep young workers in the state safe and healthy, and the office’s free Wage Theft Clinics, which provide workers an opportunity to get free legal assistance with wage and hour claims.
Overall, the report is a wealth of information, and is a worthwhile read for any employer or HR professional. You can download a copy at the AG’s website.