Internet-Based Retail Employers Must Comply with the Massachusetts Wage Act

Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
In Galloway v. SimpliSafe, a putative class action of customer support representatives sued their employer, SimpliSafe, Inc., alleging various Massachusetts Wage Act violations, including failure to pay the plaintiffs “Sunday Premium Pay” as required by the “Sunday Pay Statute.” The defendant argued, among other things, that it was not subject to the “Sunday Pay Statute” because it was not a “store or shop.” The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment. Judge Davis held that internet-based retail employers operating in Massachusetts must comply with the “Sunday Pay Statute.”

SimpliSafe sells and maintains owner-installed wireless home security systems, primarily sold online. SimpliSafe employs customer support representatives to work in its Boston call center. The defendant trained all customer support representatives to help users install and operate their security systems and to sell the systems to customers. The call center was open seven days a week, yet employees who worked on Sunday did not receive “Sunday Premium Pay.”

While acknowledging that the defendant’s business model differed from traditional “brick-and-mortar” retail stores, Judge Davis found it illogical for the “Sunday Pay Statute” to require that a store or shop possess a storefront “in this technology-driven day and age.” The customer support representatives were not merely technical support: The record demonstrated that while the named plaintiffs were working on the technical support team, they sold more than 400 products worth approximately $32,000. Because the plaintiffs were “directly connected with the sale of retail goods,” Judge Davis rejected the defendant’s attempt to narrow the applicability of the “Sunday Pay Statute” to the customer support representatives working on the sales team only. Judge Davis therefore entered partial summary judgment for the plaintiffs and denied the defendant’s motion for summary judgment. 

The Business Litigation Session of the Massachusetts Superior Court:  BLS-1

Docket Number: 1784CV03796-BLS1

Case Name: Galloway v. SimpliSafe, Inc., et al.

Date of Decision: December 18, 2019

Judge: Brian A. Davis

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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