BOSTON – Eversource Energy Service Company will pay $250,000 for a violation of the Massachusetts wage and hour laws that impacted 3,000 Massachusetts workers, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.
Eversource, a New England-based energy company that provides retail electricity, natural gas, and water service to 4 million customers in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, has been cited for failing to make timely payment of wages to its workers. The AG’s investigation ensured workers have been paid in full.
“Companies have a duty to pay workers their wages on time and in full,” said AG Healey. “As a result of our investigation, Eversource has made needed changes to its payroll system to ensure that employees are paid properly going forward.”
The AG’s Office began investigating Eversource after receiving several complaints alleging workers were consistently paid incorrectly due to changes in the company’s payroll system. The investigation revealed that Eversource was paying many workers the incorrect rates for hourly, overtime, Sunday, nighttime, and emergency work. Eversource failed to enter codes for the differing rates in the new system, resulting in errors in processing the various hour and pay rates. The company began paying employees back for the errors prior to the start of the AG’s investigation when it discovered issues with the new payroll system.
As a result of the AG’s investigation, Eversource conducted a comprehensive self-audit to determine how much money had been underpaid, how many employees were affected, and whether any wages were outstanding. The audit found that Eversource underpaid workers at least $828,000 from June to December 2016. The company paid back all restitution between July 2016 and October 2018 and allowed workers who were overpaid as a result of the payroll system errors to keep those funds. The company has also agreed to pay a $250,000 penalty to resolve the AG’s investigation.
Eversource cooperated with the AG’s investigation.
Cape Cod Today contacted Eversource spokesman Reid Lamberty, who issued the following statement on behalf of the company:
"After implementing a new payroll system in June of 2016, we found payroll system errors due to the complicated coding of pay rules and their interactions. We started to identity the defects and took immediate action. All employees affected were appropriately compensated, most of whom were paid by the next paycheck after the error occurred. Simultaneously, the Attorney General’s Office initiated an inquiry and we fully cooperated.
We regret these unfortunate circumstances that impacted our employees. We have worked with our payroll technology provider to prevent this from happening again."
Workers who believe that their rights have been violated are encouraged to file a complaint at www.mass.gov/ago/wagetheft. For information about the state’s wage and hour laws, workers may call the Office’s Fair Labor Hotline at (617) 727-3465 or go to the Attorney General’s Workplace Rights website www.mass.gov/ago/fairlabor for materials in multiple languages.
This matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Amy Goyer and Supervisory Investigator Jen Pak, both of the AG’s Fair Labor Division.