The firm’s recent summary judgment win defeating a putative class action seeking Sunday premium pay under the Massachusetts Wage Act was featured in the Feb. 28 issue Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.
David H. Rich and Lucia A. Passanisi persuaded a Massachusetts Superior Court judge to grant summary judgment to their day spa client on the basis that the client, which separately operates three day spas in Massachusetts, is exempt from having to pay its employees premium pay for work on Sunday.
The judge rejected the plaintiffs’ argument that the client is covered by the law because it also offers products for sale.
Mr. Rich told the publication that a contrary decision “would have created an obligation on the part of any business that operated on Sunday to pay premium pay to all of its employees merely by selling any goods at all to the public. [V]irtually every business that operates in today’s day and age attempts in some way to supplement their core income by selling goods, whether it be a restaurant that sells T-shirts or a kiosk at a hotel that sells snacks to patrons.”
Ms. Passanisi said a ruling in favor of the plaintiffs “could have resulted in turning the service industry into the retail industry.”
At issue was whether the client was covered by a provision under the law allowing a “store or shop” to engage in the “sale of retail of goods” on Sundays, but only if it pays its employees time and a half their regular pay at a minimum.
The firm’s client derives most of its revenue from spa services.
The judge found that ancillary retail sales did not remove the firm’s client from the Sunday premium pay exemption for salons that offer spa-related services such as massage therapy, manicures, pedicures, and skin treatments.