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Firm obtains summary judgment defeating MA Wage Act claim for Sunday premium pay

David H. Rich and Lucia A. Passanisi persuaded a Superior Court judge to grant summary judgment to their day spa client, defeating a putative class action seeking Sunday premium pay under the Massachusetts Wage Act.

The judge held that the firm’s client, which separately operates three day spas in Massachusetts, is exempt from having to pay its employees premium pay for work on Sunday – rejecting the plaintiffs’ argument the client is covered by the law because it also offers products for sale.

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 at minimum time and a half their regular pay.

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.

“If the Legislature,” the judge wrote, “intended to require premium pay for all retail activity allowed on Sunday, it would have attached the premium pay requirement explicitly to all the [exemptions],” which it did not. (Emphasis original)