Skip to Content

General Laws

Section 19. (1) Any employer and his agent, or the officer or agent of any corporation who discharges or in any other manner discriminates against any employee, including any employee in the domestic service of any family or person at his home for not less than sixteen hours per week, because such employee has complained of a violation of the provisions of this chapter, or has testified or is about to testify in any investigation or proceeding under or related to this chapter, or because such employer believes that said employee or individual may complain of a violation of the provisions of this chapter, shall have violated this section and shall be punished or shall be subject to a civil citation or order as provided in section 27C of chapter 149, and shall be liable for damages which shall not be less than one month’s wages nor more than two month’s wages of such individual, and the costs of the suit, including a reasonable attorney’s fee.

(2) Any employer or the officer or agent of any corporation who knowingly pays or agrees to pay to any employee less than the rates applicable to such employee under a regulation minimum fair wage established by the commissioner, or who pays or agrees to pay to any employee less than one dollar and eighty-five cents per hour in any occupation not covered by a minimum wage regulation shall have violated this section and shall be punished or shall be subject to a civil citation or order as provided in section 27C of chapter 149, and each week in any day of which such employee is paid less than the rate applicable to him under a minimum fair wage regulation and each employee so paid less, shall constitute a separate offense.

(2A) Any employer or the officer or agent of any corporation who knowingly pays or agrees to pay to any employee in agriculture and farming less than one dollar and sixty cents per hour shall have violated this section and shall be punished or shall be subject to a civil citation or order as provided in section 27C of chapter 149, and each week in any day in which such employee is paid less shall constitute a separate offense.

(3) An employer or the officer or agent of a corporation who fails to keep the true and accurate records required under this chapter or to furnish a record to the attorney general, the commissioner, or an authorized representative of the attorney general or commissioner upon request, or who falsifies a record, or who fails to allow an employee to inspect a record under section 15, or who fails to comply with a requirement of the commissioner under the last sentence of section 16, or who hinders or delays the attorney general, commissioner or representative in the performance of his duties, or who refuses to admit, or locks out, the attorney general, commissioner, or representative from a place of employment, other than a place of employment of a person engaged in domestic service in the home of the employer, which he is authorized to inspect, shall have violated this section and shall be punished or shall be subject to a civil citation or order as provided in section 27C of chapter 149, and each day of the failure to keep a record or to furnish to the attorney general, commissioner or representative a record or other information required for the proper enforcement of this chapter shall constitute a separate offense.

(4) No person shall, for the purpose of evading this chapter, establish any arrangement or organization in his business, by contract, lease or agreement, whether written or oral, whereby a person who would otherwise be his employee does not have the status of such an employee. If the commissioner is of the opinion that any person has established an arrangement or organization in violation of this paragraph, after a public hearing, due notice whereof shall have been given, and at which a reasonable opportunity to be heard has been afforded to such person, he may order such person to cease and desist from such violation; and such an order shall be subject to review under section fourteen in the same manner and to the same extent as any decision of the commissioner under this chapter. Any person so ordered to cease and desist who fails to comply therewith for thirty days after such order has been served upon him shall have violated this section and shall be punished or shall be subject to a civil citation or order as provided in section 27C of chapter 149.

(5) Whoever directly or indirectly solicits, demands, requests or accepts from any employee any return of a portion of his wages, which would result in such employee retaining less than the rate of wages required by this chapter, or whoever threatens, coerces or intimidates any employee who has wages due under this chapter, for the purpose of causing such person to accept as payment in full a lesser sum than the full amount of the wages so due, shall have violated this section and shall be punished or shall be subject to a civil citation or order as provided in section 27C of chapter 149, and each employee so solicited or threatened shall constitute a separate offense. An employer who discharges or in any other manner penalizes or discriminates against an employee because the employee has made a complaint to the attorney general or any other person, or assists the attorney general in an investigation under this chapter, or has instituted, or caused to be instituted a proceeding under or related to this chapter, or has testified or is about to testify in the proceeding, or has taken any other action to seek rights under this chapter, shall have violated this section and shall be punished or shall be subject to a civil citation or order as provided in section 27C.

Error