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Essex Waste Hauling and Disposal Company to Pay More Than $250,000 for Failing to Make Timely Payment of Wages  

BOSTONAn Essex Waste Hauling and Disposal Company and its owner will pay more than $250,000 in restitution and penalties to resolve allegations that they failed to make timely payment of wages to 61 workers, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.

Dynamic Waste Systems, Inc. and its President, James Georgoulakos, Jr. were issued a citation from the AG’s Office for failing to make timely payment of wages after the company automatically deducted 30 minutes from drivers’ wages each day for meal breaks, without confirming that employees took such a break, in violation of Massachusetts hour and wage laws.

“Under our laws, employees in Massachusetts must be paid for the work that they do,” said AG Healey. “As the result of our investigation, we are pleased to be able to compensate dozens of drivers who have been affected by this company’s bad practices.”

The AG’s Fair Labor Division began investigating Dynamic Waste Systems after receiving two complaints filed by employees of the company alleging that they were instructed by supervisors not to take meal breaks, despite the fact that the company was deducting 30 minutes per day for the breaks. The company cooperated with the AG’s investigation and performed a self-audit of its own payroll records.

Massachusetts’ Meal Break Law provides workers with a right to at least a 30-minute unpaid meal break for each six hours worked in a calendar day. During this period, workers must be relieved of all their duties and be permitted to leave the workplace. Any requirement to remain on the employer’s premises is considered working time, and such a “meal break" does not comply with the law.

Under the terms of the agreement, Dynamic Waste Systems has agreed to pay restitution and penalties and modify its business practices.

The AG’s Office takes seriously any violations of the state meal break law and has taken enforcement actions against companies for refusing to provide meal breaks to their employees. In February, the AG’s Office cited Family Dollar for $1.5 million for thousands of meal break violations against employees across 100 locations in Massachusetts.

Any workers, who believe their rights have been violated in their workplace, are encouraged to file a complaint at www.mass.gov/ago/wagetheft. For information about the state’s wage and hour laws, workers may call the Office’s Fair Labor Hotline at (617) 727-3465 or go to the Attorney General’s Workplace Rights website for materials in multiple languages.

This case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Alex Sugerman-Brozan and Investigator Kevin Shanahan, both of the AG’s Fair Labor Division.

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