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.
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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.