Recently in legal news, a corporation won an employment suit over call center employees not entitled to premium pay. The plaintiffs argue that clause 50 of G.L.c. 136 §6 gave them legal claim to time and a half pay. The call center was found to be neither a “store” nor “shop” for “the sale of retail goods therein.” And, although they take sales orders, the center does process the funds or house the goods sold. Most importantly, the lack of sales tax by the Call center indicates that no money was directly taken in exchange for goods. The client was providing all of the product shipping and transaction work, and the call center was collecting the business inquiries and orders for the client.
Why did they not receive time-and-a-half for working on a Sunday?
Massachusetts Blue Laws are restrictions on business openings on Sundays and holidays. These businesses are divided into two categories: retail and non-retail. A non-retail business that doesn’t fall under one of the 55+ clauses in Chapter 6 cannot be open. Likewise, if a retail business does not fall into one of the exhaustive clauses, they are limited to two choices for employee labor: Voluntary employment and Time-and-a-half pay. Meaning: an employer cannot force an employee to work on a Sunday, and their refusing to work that day cannot be grounds for discrimination or termination. Employers who employ 7 people must pay 1.5 times the normal pay rate for employees who qualify.
This was a case of a non-retail enterprise without sellable goods operating in a publicly-closed entity.
If you have any questions about any labor and employment law matters, please contact the attorneys at Royal, P.C.