Next week, members of the Massachusetts House of Representatives will debate and vote on the Fiscal Year 2012 budget which includes language limiting the current punitive treble-damages law to “willful” violations of the wage and hour statute only. This change has been sought by AIM since the original law passed in 2008.
AIM urges you to contact House members asking them to support this language and to oppose any amendment preventing the fixing of the treble damages law.
The current law penalizes companies that have done nothing outrageous, have not acted with an evil motive, and have not acted with reckless indifference to employees' rights. The same would be true in the case of a good-faith dispute over whether an employer owes commissions.
This House proposal mirrors Governor Deval Patrick’s language to fix a 2008 law that imposed punitive treble damages even in cases where an inexperienced employee of a Massachusetts business makes a clerical or other honest error.
Massachusetts is rated poorly by the US Chamber of Commerce because of this onerous law that mandates treble damages for any Wage Act violation. The House Ways and Means Committee proposal would bring fairness and equity to a law which is now unduly punitive.
AIM thanks Speaker Robert DeLeo and House Ways and Means Chairman Brian Dempsey for a fiscally sound House budget which benefits the Massachusetts Economy. AIM also recognizes the work of Ways and Means Committee Vice Chair Steven Kulik and Assistant Vice Chair Martha Walz on the proposed House budget and for addressing the treble damages issue.