Top: Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Joanne F. Goldstein addresses a standing room only crowd of MBA Labor and Employment Section members, with whom she discussed the Marriott Copley renovation that led to numerous wage/hour violation fines, the Joint Task Force on the Underground Economy and plans for introducing legislation expanding the reach of the state’s wage and hour laws.
Bottom (from left to right): Margaret H. Paget, Sherin and Lodgen LLP; Heather E. Rowe, director, Department of Labor Standards, Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development; Joanne F. Goldstein, secretary, Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development; Sheryl D. Eisenberg, chair, MBA Labor & Employment Section.
Photos by Jennifer Rosinski.
The work of the Joint Task Force on the Underground Economy and
Employee Misclassification, the investigation of the $418 million
Marriott Copley Place renovation that led to wage and hour fines,
and the possibility of legislation expanding the reach of the
state's wage and hour laws were discussed by Executive Office of
Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Joanne F. Goldstein at an
open meeting of the Massachusetts Bar Association's Labor &
Employment Section on Wednesday Jan. 8.
The task force, established by Gov. Deval L. Patrick in 2008, is
getting an increasing number of calls from businesses filing
complaints about competitors who are not following the state's
laws, Goldstein said. "Legitimate businesses are struggling to
compete," she said. The task force accepts anonymous complaints,
but would prefer to at least receive a call from the companies'
attorney to help determine the validity of the complaint, Goldstein
In her overview of the Marriott wage and hour case, Goldstein
revealed that the investigation and subsequent enforcement actions
pointed out a few problems with the current law. The state lacks
the recourses and legal reach to go after companies registered out
of state even if they are violating Massachusetts laws. In
addition, Goldstein said, it takes "a million hoops" to publicly
name companies that are violating Department of Unemployment
Assistance regulations. Lastly, current law does not allow
Massachusetts to hold a general contractor liable for violations
that come as a result of decisions made by sub contractors. "What
do you do when the only employer on record is an individual with a
cell phone in California?"
Goldstein said the task force is in its preliminary stage of
discussing possible legislation changes to deal with issues that
arose out of the Marriott case.