The Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General submitted the following press release
The Estée Lauder Companies, Inc., a New York-based cosmetics company that employs workers in Massachusetts through its Aveda, MAC, and Origins brands, among others, has agreed to pay $90,000 in wages and penalties for failure to comply with the state’s earned sick time law, Attorney General Maura Healey announced.
In a settlement agreement with the AG’s Office, The Estée Lauder Companies, Inc. (Estée Lauder) has agreed to compensate more than 500 employees who lacked access to paid sick leave, as required by the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law.
“Our earned sick time law is in place to ensure that workers in Massachusetts have the right to take time off in order to care for themselves and their families,” Healey said. “As part of this settlement, hundreds of part-time workers who were not given paid sick leave will receive payment and be able to access the time they earn going forward.”
The AG’s Fair Labor Division began an investigation in March 2017 after receiving a complaint from a part-time Aveda store employee who alleged that she had not received payment for her use of sick time. The investigation revealed that Estée Lauder paid sick leave only to full-time employees.
Along with agreeing to pay restitution and penalties, the company has implemented compliant policies and credited employees’ sick leave banks with leave time that they should have accrued.
The employees worked at various brand stores, department stores, malls, and outlets under The Estée Lauder Companies, Inc. including at the Square One Mall in Saugus, Burlington Mall, the Shops at Chestnut Hill, the Natick Mall, South Shore Plaza, the Holyoke Mall, Cambridgeside Place, and Wrentham Village Premium Outlets, among others.
The earned sick time law allows workers to use up to 40 hours of earned sick time per year if they (or their child, spouse, parent, or spouse’s parent) are sick or injured or have a routine medical appointment. The law applies to most workers, including full-time, part-time, temporary, and per diem employees. Employers with 11 or more employees must offer paid sick leave. In 2017, the Fair Labor Division assessed $230,000 in restitution and penalties against employers for earned sick time violations.
Healey’s Fair Labor Division is responsible for enforcing state laws regulating the payment of wages, including prevailing wage, minimum wage, earned sick time and overtime laws.
Workers who believe that their rights have been violated in their workplace 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 new Workplace Rights website www.mass.gov/ago/fairlabor for materials in multiple languages.
This matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Kate Watkins and Investigator Huong Phan, both of AG Healey’s Fair Labor Division.