The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court handed down their opinion in the Reuter v. Methuen, 489 Mass. 465 (2022), case on April 4, 2022. This case establishes a new strict liability standard for employers who fail to pay an employee on their day of termination.
Under G.L. c. 149, §148, an employee must be paid in full on the day they are discharged by their employer. This payment includes not only wages but unused vacation days as well. Failure to comply with this statute means an employer is strictly liable for the amount owed under the statute, which includes triple damages and attorney’s fees.
This category of payments is only for when an employer terminates their employee for any reason. If, instead, it is the employee that seeks to sever their employment, the employer must pay them within their next pay period.
Under G.L. c. 149, §150, employees who have not received payment on the date of their termination may bring a private action for relief by the court, for both damages and lost wages and benefits. The statute stipulates that the remedy will be “treble damages, for any lost wages and other benefits.” This means that an employer who fails to pay on the date of discharge owes triple what they owed the employee. Additionally, the employer must cover the reasonable attorney’s fees and costs for such a suit if their former employee prevails.
If your employer failed to pay you on the day you were discharged or let go, the Law Office of John H. Prettyman can help. The law is on your side and Attorney Prettyman will guide you through the law and litigation process, assisting you in getting the money you are owed.
Authored with the assistance of John Walden, Candidate for Juris Doctor, 2024