A jury awarded damages to a group of employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Massachusetts Wage Act even though there was no violation of state law. No overtime rule under state law applied to restaurants. State law requires the payment of triple damages, while the FLSA only allows for double the amount due. The Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that the FLSA rules applied to the exclusion of the state remedy.
Why This Is Important…Effectively, this ruling prevents applying the more liberal state damage rule to a claim limited to federal law. Since there was no overtime requirement under federal state law, only federal law could provide the remedy. Although important, this ruling is limited to cases where federal law provides a right that state law does not provide, which is rare.