Column: Senate legislation to end wage theft epidemic

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Massachusetts economy is working very, very well for some people, but not nearly well enough for others. That’s why we have one of the highest rates of income inequality in the country.

Building an economy that works for everyone is one of the top priorities of the Massachusetts Senate. We are fortunate to have thriving industries in Massachusetts, like solar energy, cyber security and pharmaceuticals. We have companies that make headlines around the world for the pioneering work they do. They pay their workers well, and they make a substantial contribution to our economy.

Less well known is a persistent underground economy, with companies that never make headlines and use that to their advantage to exploit some of our most vulnerable workers. Those companies don’t pay their workers good wages, and sometimes they even refuse to pay them for the work they do. That’s wage theft, and it’s against the law.

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Justice for Irvine employees: Owner gets jail for shorting pay

OCTOBER 7, 2016

The owner of an Irvine-based heating and air conditioning company was sentenced Friday to a year in jail and five years of formal probation for failing to pay employees a prevailing wage on public works projects and pocketing the difference.

Shamseddin Hashemi-Mousavi, who was convicted exactly a year ago Friday, could have faced up to 26 years and eight months in prison.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Steven Bromberg prohibited him from working on any public works contracts through the end of his probation, according to Deputy District Attorney Donde McCament.

Hashemi-Mousavi placed $58,000 in a trust fund to be used to pay for restitution at a later date, McCament said. Bromberg will hold a hearing later to determine what restitution the defendant owes.

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Plymouth man charged with wage theft from employees

Joseph B. Kerrissey III and two companies indicted, says AG Healey

OCTOBER 11, 2016 02:12 PM |

A Plymouth man has been charged in connection with an alleged wage theft scheme that spans back to 2011 in which he owes $100,000 to workers, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today. He also faces larceny and unemployment fraud charges for failing to contribute to the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA).

Joseph B. Kerrissey , III, age 39, and his companies J. Kerrissey, LLC and Sunrise Equipment & Excavation, Inc. were indicted by a Statewide Grand Jury. The defendants will be arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court on Oct. 26 and in Plymouth Superior Court at a later date.

“This defendant allegedly engaged in a pattern of refusing to pay his workers the wages they were rightfully owed and used a variety of methods to dissuade them from seeking to obtain those wages,” said AG Healey. “We know that workers in the construction industry are particularly susceptible to abuse. People who work hard should be able to provide for themselves and their families and we will continue to hold accountable employers who exploit their workers.”

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Red Light Camera Company Sued Again For Prevailing Wage Violation

Former American Traffic Solutions electrician says he was cheated out of over $75,000 in wages while working on red light cameras.

Courtesy of the

Another former traffic camera company employee says he has been shortchanged by American Traffic Solutions (ATS). In a new federal lawsuit, George A. Felix alleges the traffic camera vendor forced him to work more than eight hours per day without being paid overtime, and at a rate far below that required under California law.

Felix worked as an electrician for ATS in California from 2009 to 2014. He earned between $20 and $23 per hour setting up and maintaining red light cameras in various municipalities across the state. Felix does not say exactly how much money he believes he is owed, but ATS lawyers estimated the likely total to be in excess of $75,000.

“ATS failed to properly compensate [Felix] for working off-the-clock and overtime,” Richard E. Donahoo, attorney for Felix, wrote in his complaint. “[Felix] did not receive compensation for all hours worked over eight per day or forty per week at the required overtime rate.”

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