What is a “Wage and Hour Complaint”? Where do I find the Massachusetts Labor Board?

If you are owed wages from your employer in Massachusetts, one avenue of relief is to pursue litigation (a lawsuit) in order to recoup those wages as damages. Prior to the filing of any lawsuit in Massachusetts that seeks damages pursuant to a violation of the Wage Act – a “wage and hour” complaint must be filed. This relatively simple complaint is filed with the Attorney General’s office. If you retain an attorney to help you pursue your issue, your attorney will submit this complaint for you.

If you are looking for the “Labor Board,” the chances are very good that you should speak to an attorney who can evaluate your claim and advise as to the most effective avenue of relief.

Why File a Wage and Hour Complaint?

The purpose of filing the wage and hour complaint is to satisfy the prerequisite contained in M.G.L. c. 149 Section 150, which states in relevant part that…

An employee claiming to be aggrieved by a violation of sections 33E, 148, 148A, 148B, 150C, 152, 152A or 159C or section 19 of chapter 151 may, 90 days after the filing of a complaint with the attorney general, or sooner if the attorney general assents in writing, and within 3 years after the violation, institute and prosecute in his own name and on his own behalf, or for himself and for others similarly situated, a civil action for injunctive relief, for any damages incurred, and for any lost wages and other benefits. An employee so aggrieved who prevails in such an action shall be awarded treble damages, as liquidated damages, for any lost wages and other benefits and shall also be awarded the costs of the litigation and reasonable attorneys’ fees.

What Happens Next?

Generally speaking, the Attorney General’s office issues a private right of action letter, which entitles you to file litigation. If you retain a Massachusetts employment lawyer, that office will file the complaint on your behalf.