Filing a Complaint under the Prevailing Wage Law

Steve Johnson
September 20, 2011 — 1,448 views  

The federal Fair Labor Standard Act provides directives regarding the minimum wage for all employees, except those belonging to certain categories. The state may follow this, or create a law of its own in this regard. Take for example, the prevailing wage law applicable in Massachusetts.

Here is a quick look at the common questions pertaining to this law.

What does this law state? As per this law, any individual working on a public works construction project is entitled to a special minimum wage on an hourly basis. The Division of Occupational Safety working under the Department of Labor and Workforce Development sets this standard.

Who is eligible for filing a complaint? Any employee in a public works construction project is eligible. However, if your job is strictly supervisory, you may not have this privilege.

How do you file a complaint? All you need to do is download the form available on the government website, fill it out and file a complaint with the Office of Attorney General, Massachusetts. You must provide all essential details regarding the complaint, including the work you performed, the pay you received, the requests you made, and so on.

Do you need an attorney for this? You may not need an attorney foe filing a complaint under the Massachusetts Prevailing Wage Law, but you would need one if you decide to file a lawsuit.

What happens after you file? Usually, the Attorney General's Office conducts an investigation into the matter. However, because of the heavy workload, this may take some time.

What are the possible outcomes of such investigation? If the investigation leads to a finding of violation of law by your employer, the Attorney General's Office takes either of the two steps –

* Issue civil citations ordering infraction of all such practices, restitution for all affected employees, and even a civil penalty of $25,000
* File criminal charges and proceed accordingly

When do you file a civil lawsuit? In such cases of prevailing wage law violation, you have the right to file a suit after 90 days of filing a complaint with the Attorney General's Office. If your attorney suggests you to file before that, you need to request this in writing from the Office of the Attorney General.

It is possible to get treble the damages you suffer as compensation from a civil suit. However, it requires adequate legal advice and representation. Get in touch with an attorney before you take any legal action to prevent hassles later.



Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson, a legal columnist working with a magazine, offers practical suggestions for handling wage law issues. If you are looking for more details on the Massachusetts Prevailing Wage Law, she recommends you to visit