B&B Attorney Eric LeBlanc was quoted in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly’s February 25, 2022 edition concerning the recent decision in Chapoteau, et al. v. Bella Sante, Inc., et al. At issue in this case was whether massage therapists at a day spa were entitled to time-and-a-half pay on Sundays pursuant to Chapter 136, § 6, of the Massachusetts “Blue Laws,” which requires a business to provide its employees with Sunday premium pay if the business fits the law’s definition of a retail store. Judge Catherine Ham found that Bella Sante Day Spa was not properly considered a retail store because its sale of beauty products was only ancillary to its primary offering of massage and beauty services—even though the company maintains product sales goals for its workers.
Attorney LeBlanc said the judge’s conclusion was “curious and surprising” in that it seemed to declare all salons exempt from the Blue Laws regardless of whether retail sales constituted a portion of their employees’ Sunday work. He noted that businesses are required to pay full minimum wage to workers who receive tips if any portion of the work is not service-based “… whereas here it appears as if any employee who has any retail responsibilities on a Sunday, so long as they’re massaging someone or cutting someone’s hair on the same day… won’t be entitled to Sunday premium pay.”
Another concern raised by Attorney LeBlanc is the potential application of the Chapoteau rationale to other areas of wage-and-hour law. “If that occurs,” he observed, “we’ll have a situation where… a minority of [a company’s] business is created and maintained to avoid paying wages they’re otherwise legally [obligated] to pay.” Bennett & Belfort attorneys will be watching this case closely, as the Plaintiffs’ counsel have declared their clients’ intention to appeal the decision.