November 22, 2017

Dudley aerosol company fined $1M over wages

Courtesy/Town of Dudley
Shield Packaging's Oxford Ave location in Dudley.

Dudley aerosol manufacturer Shield Packaging, Inc. and two of its executives have agreed to pay nearly $1 million to settle overtime and minimum wage violations and for hindering the Massachusetts Attorney General's investigation.

According to Attorney General Maura Healey's office, 480 affected workers will receive restitution.

The company, which sells custom aerosol packaging products filled and labeled by workers on assembly lines at the Dudley factory, allegedly used staffing agencies to pay its workers in an attempt to protect itself from liability.

Shield Packaging President George Bates and Plant Manager A. Bruce Simpson have agreed to pay more than $564,000 for failing to pay minimum wage, hindrance and paystub violations.

In a related federal settlement with the U.S. Department of Labor, Shield Packaging agreed to pay more than $210,000 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages to workers for federal overtime law violations.

According to the AG's office, the company paid workers at an hourly rate below the state minimum wage between August 2014 and October 2016.

Overtime wages were improper because the underlying wage was below minimum wage. Further, employees were not compensated for time spent putting on and taking off safety equipment, the AG's office said.

Two employees were allegedly instructed to mislead investigators during a site inspection, the AG's office said.

The company is required to improve its record-keeping habits and monitor payroll practices of staffing agencies they work with.

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