Bryan Cohen Jan. 9, 2013, 8:25pm

BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced a $270,000 fine Monday against National Grid for leaving hundreds of workers unpaid after more than nine weeks.

National Grid previously gave itself a target date of December 14 to correct its pay issues to Massachusetts workers. Coakley sent a letter following the date's passage calling for the energy company to fix all wage issues no later than December 21 or face penalties.

"These workers provided a vital service during a storm that knocked out power for thousands of families across the eastern seaboard, including here in Massachusetts," Coakley said. "The continued delays in paying workers their hard earned wages is unacceptable and National Grid should do whatever it can to resolve this matter immediately."

In November, National Grid's new pay system experienced technical difficulties resulting in various pay-related issues, mostly in connection with compensation for work during Hurricane Sandy. The problems included the failure to pay wages in a timely fashion to approximately 2,000 workers in Massachusetts who worked to restore power to residents of Massachusetts and neighboring states.

Multiple workers suffered financial hardship and stress from not getting paid on time, sometimes for weeks. After nine weeks, hundreds of workers continue to suffer pay-related issues, in violation of Massachusetts wage and hour laws.

Coakley's office reserves the right to issue further penalties in the future if National Grid fails to rectify the violations in a timely fashion.

Massachusetts law dictates that wages must be paid no later than six days from the end of the pay period during which wages were earned. Coakley has the authority to issue fines for failure to comply with the law.

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