Massachusetts this week enacted legislation that allows unpaid workers to seek up to triple their wages from employers.
The revamped Massachusetts Wage Act requires employers to pay workers within six days of completing a job or face paying triple the amount in penalties, or so-called treble damages.
Three years ago, the state Supreme Judicial Court ruled that employees seeking an amount in damages above their owed wages under the Wage Act had to prove an employer acted with "evil motive" or "reckless indifference," a legal standard that was stricken from the new bill.
"This law ensures fairness for employees, but also for companies who play by the rules and exercise appropriate business practices," Rep. Peter Koutoujian (D-Waltham) said in a statement. "It is vital that we reassure workers that they can rely on receiving wages for their work," he added.
Koutoujian said the new legislation was all the more important given the current economic downturn.