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Attorney Michael Bace Selected as 2014 SuperLawyers “Rising Star”

Attorney Michael Bace has been selected to the 2014 SuperLawyers "Rising Stars" list.  Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in Massachusetts are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor. "It's an honor to be recognized by my peers as a Rising Star, particularly because our firm's aggressive litigation style doesn't exactly lend itself to making close friends of opposing counsel," said Attorney Michael Bace.  "Even in that adversarial environment, our firm is being recognized as worthy of a Rising Stars vote, and I'm proud of, humbled by, and thankful for the endorsement." Super Lawyers, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multi-phase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys. The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country. Super Lawyers Magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in the practice of law.


Restaurant Worker Files Unpaid Overtime Lawsuit Against Demos Restaurant

BOSTON MA (April 9, 2014) – Restaurant Worker Files Unpaid Overtime Lawsuit Against Demos Restaurant A putative collective action was filed in Massachusetts Federal Court against Delegas Brothers, Inc., the owner and operator of “Demos Restaurant” with locations in Waltham and Watertown. The suit, brought by a former Demos Restaurant employee Rafael Brooks, alleges that the ownership refused to pay overtime in violation of federal law. The litigation also alleges that the failure to furnish overtime is a pattern and company policy that is common to all of the approximately 10 Demos employees, who are all allegedly similarly situated to the single named Plaintiff. The suit alleges that from 1996 until October 2013, Brooks worked at Demos Restaurant six days a week for ten hours a day. He performed many services for Demos during that time, including cooking, waiting tables, busing tables, preparing food, cleaning, and as a general laborer. “We allege in the litigation that our client worked nearly sixty (60) hours every week, but was denied pay at an overtime rate of one and one half times his regular rate,” said co-counsel for the Plaintiff, Michael J. Bace, Esq. of Bace Law Group, LLC (www.bacelaw.com). “We also allege that the restaurant’s ownership has a policy of not paying workers their overtime pay that is common to all their employees.” According to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and the Massachusetts Wage Act, the litigation alleges that Brooks is entitled to overtime pay at a rate of one and one half times his regular hourly [...]


Commissions: When Are They “Due and Payable”?

In a recent trial Court decision, Hon. J. Woodlock has grappled with an issue this office is finding more and more common.  A sale is made, a commission is "earned," it's calculable and definite, but the employer places within the compensation plan a contingency, a technicality that must be met before the commission is payable.  The Wage Act, arguably, does not give employers unlimited discretion to dictate when commissions are earned and payable -- in fact, one could argue that the Wage Act limits that discretion in a meaningful way.  See, http://bacelaw.com/blog/?p=88. If the compensation plan includes contingencies prior to the earning of a commission, then those terms will likely be given deference by the Court If the compensation plan attempts to modify the Wage Act, then those terms are likely unenforceable. Drawing the line between the Wage Act and the creative terms employers place in sales contracts is no easy task.  Here is the language from Hon. J. Woodlock's recent ruling: Commissions are due and payable when “any contingencies relating to their entitlement have occurred.” Sterling Research, Inc. v. Pietrobono, No. 02-40150, 2005 WL 3116758, at *11 (D. Mass. Nov. 21, 2005); Micciche v. N.R.I. Data & Bus. Prod., Inc., No. 09-11661, 2011 WL 4479849, at *6 (D. Mass. Sept. 27, 2011). The Annuities Regional Coordinator Sales Compensation Plan does not specify precisely what contingencies must be satisfied to entitle McAleer to commission payments. It says only that “[a] percentage of variable annuities gross sales will be awarded monthly based on cumulative gross sales results.” The Complaint [...]


DirecTV Satellite Installers File Class Action Lawsuit Against Mastec North America Over Unpaid Wages

Boston, MA (July 19, 2013) - A putative class action lawsuit has been filed in the Superior Court of Hampden County against Mastec North America, Inc., a regional subsidiary of Mastec, Inc. (NYSE: MTZ), the multinational engineering and construction company based in Coral Gables, Florida. According to their web site, Mastec is one of the largest DirecTV installation and services companies in the United States, serving over 200,000 customers each month. The suit, brought by ten former satellite television installation technicians, alleges that the Plaintiffs installed DirecTV satellite television equipment for Mastec, and were unlawfully classified as independent contractors, rather than employees. It is alleged that the technicians were paid on a "piecework" basis, per installation, but not compensated at an overtime rate during weeks in which they worked for greater than forty hours, among other issues. The litigation alleges that by classifying the technicians as independent contractors, Mastec violated the Massachusetts Wage Act, and unlawfully denied the workers wages, overtime pay, and other benefits associated with being an employee. "We are of the considered opinion that these workers were misclassified as independent contractors, and denied overtime wages and other important benefits of correctly classified employment, precisely that which the Wage Act is designed to prevent," said Michael J. Bace, Esq. of Bace Law Group, LLC (www.bacelaw.com), co-counsel for the Plaintiffs. "We are proud to co-counsel and collaborate with Lichten & Liss-Riordan, P.C. (www.llrlaw.com), a nationally recognized plaintiff's-side class action litigation firm. They have brought and won pioneering class action cases under the Wage Act." The [...]