John Regan and Jay Livingstone Secure Landmark Ruling in Overtime Violation Case


John Regan and Jay Livingstone scored a legal victory when the Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) of Massachusetts issued a landmark ruling in favor of inside sales workers across the state.

The case, which centered on an employer’s legal obligation to pay overtime, was brought on behalf of two sales people employed by Sleepy’s Mattresses who were not properly paid for overtime hours worked. The attorneys argued that employers in Massachusetts should not be able to credit workers’ earned commissions towards their separate overtime obligations. The SJC agreed and held that the employer’s position conflicted with the purposes of the overtime statute, which includes encouraging the employment of more people, and the compensation of employees for the burden of a long work week.

“The court’s decision has far-reaching implications for a myriad of businesses — from car dealerships to retail stores — that employ thousands of inside sales workers,” said John Regan.

Massachusetts law will continue to permit employers to pay inside salespeople on a commission only basis, for hours worked under 40, provided that the employer guarantees at least the minimum wage for all regular hours worked. However, inside sales employees paid on a 100% commission basis are additionally entitled to separate pay at 1.5x the minimum wage for overtime hours worked.

“This is an important day for the rights of workers across Massachusetts,” said John Regan. “Many employers have been inappropriately crediting the commission payments that are earned by their employees for making sales against their separate obligation to pay people for working more than 40 hours a week. Today that ends.”