Numerous restaurants in a city outside of Massachusetts are being ordered by the government to provide workers with back pay. Over 100 workers will receive back income of more than $145,000 after their employers failed to comply with wage and hour laws. Reportedly, the restaurants have agreed to avoid violating the law moving forward.
The town in question is a college town. This means that a lot of college students and younger individuals are trying to find jobs to support themselves through college or to make a little bit of extra money. It is also a town where a number of temporary workers and immigrants find employment. Therefore, many of the workers in the area are less experienced, unfamiliar with their rights and the law, and vulnerable to deception by their employers.
These workers are already paid low wages, so when they are underpaid by their employers, their families suffer. Sadly, violations of wage and hour laws are common, especially in the hotel and restaurant industry. However, this does not mean that it is right or legal. It also does not mean that workers have to suffer simply because their employer does not want to abide by the law.
In this case, the employers have agreed to pay the back wages that the employees earned during their employment. Sometimes, government action is all it takes to get an employer to see the law violation, offer financial relief to impacted employees and avoid future disobedience of the law. However, in other instances, it may be necessary for Massachusetts employees to take legal action with a lawsuit citing the violation of wage and hour laws in order to recoup monetary damages.
Source: detroitnews.com, "Feds: 7 Ann Arbor restaurants to pay workers back wages", David Shepardson, June 15, 2015