Wage theft in Massachusetts often goes unpunished despite state systems meant to combat it.
Most recently, a Dorchester wholesale bakery and five temp agencies that helped staff the bakery have been cited over $440,000 for 30 wage and labor violations by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.
Dutch Maid Bakery, which makes baked goods for grocery stores and other retailers, owes dozens of employees restitution for its violations, the AG’s Office said.
These violations include bad payroll record keeping, not offering employees sick time, not paying workers enough for overtime work, and paying workers less than the state’s minimum wage.
The AG’s Office said in a news release Wednesday that its investigation into Dutch Maid Bakery found that the company failed to “maintain true and accurate records of its employees.”
Some of these problems included not listing the number of hours salaried employees worked on their paystubs, not having an earned sick time policy, and not informing employees of its policies as is required by law, the AG’s Office said.
Hub Personnel Services, a Dorchester temp agency that helped staff the bakery, was also cited as a result of the AG’s investigation. The AG’s Office said the agency didn’t keep accurate timesheets and records of how much money employees earned, and that any records that were kept were incomplete and inaccurate.
Additionally, the AG’s Office said, the agency didn’t offer employees sick time, didn’t provide temp workers with work, and gave inaccurate job descriptions for the positions they did hire workers for.
Both companies also didn’t compensate workers properly under state minimum wage and overtime laws, the AG’s Office said.
“Workers deserve to be paid their rightful wage – and when they aren’t, our office will hold their employer accountable,” Attorney General Andrea Campbell said in the release. “As we push for greater economic stability for our residents, tackling the issue of wage theft will remain a priority for this office.”
In total, Dutch Maid Bakery and its president and treasurer, along with Hub Personnel Services and its president, were issued 11 citations.
These citations included failure to pay minimum wage and overtime wages, failure to furnish true and accurate payroll records, failure to keep true and accurate payroll records, failure to furnish suitable pay stubs, failure to provide workers written notice of earned sick time leave, and failure to provide adequate notice of the Temporary Worker Right to Know Law to workers.
Other Dorchester temp agencies also provided Dutch Maid Bakery with workers, including Dorchester Temp Service, General Employment Service, Amado Enterprises, and AR Services, the AG’s Office said. These companies were issued a total of 19 citations.
These citations include violations of state minimum wage and overtime laws, record-keeping laws, earned sick time laws, and temp worker’s rights laws. The temp agencies also misclassified employees as independent contractors and didn’t pay their workers on time, the AG’s Office said.
In another case, two Simco’s locations have been ordered to pay more than $210,000 in back wages and penalties after an investigation found that the restaurants did not pay some employees the minimum wage and overtime compensation required by law.
The U.S. Department of Labor that Simco’s Roslindale and Simco’s Mattapan — and owners Denise and Evangelos Fotopoulos violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to pay some employees the $7.25 per hour federally required minimum wage, failing to pay some employees overtime, and failing to maintain complete and accurate records of employees’ work hours and pay.
“Too often, we find violations like these in the food service industry,” Carlos Matos, district director for the department’s Wage and Hour Division, said in a statement. “Industry employers must understand that failing to pay minimum wage and overtime as federal law requires makes it harder for workers and their families to make ends meet and may have costly consequences for business owners.”
A federal court ordered the restaurants to pay $97,840 in back wages and an equal amount in damages. The Department of Labor also levied a $14,980 civil penalty.
Known for its hot dogs, Simco’s has been a Mattapan landmark since the 1930s.
“Simco’s is a true slice of Americana,” according to Boston’s Hidden Restaurants. “The young and old alike come here day in and day out, trying to grab the parking spots out front or over by the adjacent railroad bridge, while on Sundays, neighborhood folks pour out of the church across the street in their Sunday best, ignoring the potential for chili- or cheese-related disasters that can (and will) develop while eating Simco’s dogs.”