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Ohio Company to Pay More than $2 Million in Back Pay

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Campbell, OHA painting company from Ohio will pay more than $2 million to settle claims it failed to pay proper overtime and wages to workers involved in a painting job in Massachusetts. Although the painting company is from Ohio, the work was done in Massachusetts and the overtime lawsuit was filed by officials in Massachusetts.

According to a news release from Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, M&J Painting, based in Ohio, was contracted to paint the Braga Bridge in Fall River in 2008. In 2011, the AG’s office learned of complaints that M&J was not paying some employees for all hours spent on the work, violating prevailing wage and overtime wage laws. An investigation determined that M&J knowingly underreported the hours its employees worked so it would appear the company was properly paying its employees. As a result, the Attorney General’s office filed a lawsuit alleging M&J and its owner purposely did not pay employees all wages and knowingly submitted false payroll records.

“This company failed to properly pay its employees and obtained an unfair advantage over its competitors,” Attorney General Coakley said in the news release. M&J reportedly agreed to settle the lawsuit. The settlement will see the employees receive more than $2 million in restitution for the unpaid wages and overtime. That money will actually come from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, which withheld money it owed to M&J.

Employees who are not exempt from overtime pay have the right to be paid overtime at a rate of time-and-a-half their regular pay for any overtime hours worked. In some cases, employers misclassify employees as either exempt from overtime pay or as independent contractors to avoid paying them the extra wages. In other cases, employers misrepresent the amount of time employees actually spend working, or order employees to work off the clock, so they do not have to pay overtime.

Loss of overtime pay can equal substantial losses for employees; in some cases, to the tune of thousands of dollars. Employers who fail to pay proper overtime to their employees may face lawsuits from their employees to recover unpaid, or underpaid, wages. Such lawsuits have been filed against a variety of employers, alleging employees were unfairly underpaid for their overtime hours worked.

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I was recently terminated for "attendance issues" because I was not available for work on a company holiday (July 5th). The company expects us to monitor our email 24/7 but they do not want to pay for being on call.

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