Mass. AG orders cleaning company to pay up

Bryan Cohen Jun. 17, 2011, 3:56am


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced on Wednesday that a Springfield cleaning company has been ordered to pay a fine for alleged retaliation against an employee.

KJR Cleaning and its president, Kelly Raleigh, were ordered to pay $26,000 in fines and restitution for various alleged wage and hour violations, including retaliating against an employee who filed the complaint. The company and its president were also cited for allegedly violating the state's prevailing wage laws, independent contractor law and payroll record keeping laws.

"A worker's right to file wage complaints with our office is protected by law, and no worker should be in fear of their employer for exercising that right," Coakley said.

Coakley received a complaint alleging that workers had not been paid properly by KJR at two separate prevailing wage jobs at UMASS Amherst. Raleigh then allegedly retaliated against a former employee in an attempt to get the individual to withdraw the wage complaint filed with Coakley's office. Raleigh and her company were cited and have been ordered to pay over $4,000 in restitution and a $22,000 penalty to the state.

The wage and hour laws in Massachusetts include anti-retaliation provisions to protect employees who bring allegations of wage violations to Coakley's attention. The laws make it unlawful for an employee to discharge, penalize or discriminate in any manner against an employee because the employee has complained of a violation of the wage statutes. The employer may also not threaten, coerce or intimidate any employee in an attempt to cause the employee to accept less than their full wages due.

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