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Clock Runs Out On Overtime Claim

Congratulations to Melick & Porter attorneys Laura Terrasi and Michael Mazurczak for winning summary judgment on the sole remaining count of a protracted employment dispute!

The plaintiff, an employee of a municipal police department, filed suit against the town, her former supervisor, and various other employees, asserting claims for violations of the Massachusetts Whistleblower Act and the Massachusetts Wage Act, among others. All of her claims against the individual defendants were dismissed, along with most of her claims against the town. However, a single count against the town survived dismissal, seeking recovery for unpaid overtime under the Wage Act.

The plaintiff claimed she did not recall being informed that she should take a 30-minute lunch break each workday, and as a result, had purportedly worked two and a half hours of “overtime” each week for several years. However, she never requested to be paid for the additional time, nor did she file a grievance, as required by the collective bargaining agreement which covered her employment.

Laura and Maz moved for summary judgment, and the Superior Court agreed that the Wage Act claim was “doomed” by the plaintiff’s failure to comply with the grievance process. In addition, the Court pointed out that the statute of limitations barred most of the recovery sought by the plaintiff, and that her demand for treble damages and attorneys’ fees was legally groundless.

Hard work pays off – for the defense, at least!

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