Many retail employees are unaware of their rights under The Wage Act regarding performing work on Sundays. Though a retail establishment may choose to operate on Sunday, and require you to be available to work, they are still liable to compensate you at one and one-half times your regular pay rate. Triton Technologies, Inc., a retail operation, challenged this statute in Court upon being sued by several employees for unpaid wages.
In Bassett, et al. v. Triton Technologies, Inc., et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 12-032-17)
(Salinger, J.) (Suffolk Superior Court) (Docket No. 1684CV03475-BLS2) (March 6, 2017) Plaintiffs (employees) claimed that Triton Technologies, Inc. owed them unpaid wages. Specifically, “time and a half” for retail work on a Sunday.
In this case, the business attempted to argue that its employees could not sue it for such, simply for the fact that as a retail business, Sunday hours were a regular part of operations. The Judge ruled on behalf of the employees, and determined that they could pursue unpaid wages.
The Wage Act determines that all wages earned by an employee are to be paid promptly, including those higher wages earned under G.L. c. 136, § 6(50), for work on Sundays. While an employee is permitted to bring a private action (lawsuit) against a company for unpaid wages, they may not simultaneously ask the Court to prevent that business from operating on Sundays.
So what does this mean for you? If you have worked in a retail setting on a Sunday, and your employer refused to compensate you at one and one-half times your regular rate, then the answer is YES… you may pursue those unpaid wages in a private court action against your employer for violation of The Wage Act. However, you cannot use that action to argue that your employer should not operate on Sundays.