Verbal Employment Agreement

My stepfather had a verbal agreement with a friend to work for him at the local County Fair in Massachusetts for 3 weeks (9am-8pm, 7 days a week). The man agreed to pay my stepfather $1000/wk, and there are witnesses that can attest to this. The fair went very well and was the busiest year the man had ever had (even bragging to my stepfather that he had made over $5000 a day). On the last day of the Fair, the man handed him $500 for all 3 weeks of work. When my stepfather confronted him about the lack of complete payment, the man simply said, "I don't know what to tell you but that's all I can give you." So my question is, are there any laws that protect a verbal employment agreement?

1 answer  |  asked Oct 3, 2006 7:15 PM [EST]  |  applies to Massachusetts

Answers (1)

Evan Fray-Witzer
Chapter 149, section 148

Hi. Most employment agreements do not need to be in writing to be enforceable. If the "friend" agreed to pay the $1,000 per week, then, under the payment of wages statute, he is obligated to do so. (The friend has some other problems as well including not meeting minimum wage, overtime, etc.)

Using the $1,000 per week, though, the friend owes your stepfather an additional $2,500. Failure to make proper wage payments can result in up to three times the actual damages, plus attorney's fees. Your stepfather should first file a complaint with the Fair Labor division of the Attroeny General's office. Complaint forms can be found online at the AG's website.

Good Luck.


posted by Evan Fray-Witzer  |  Oct 3, 2006 8:23 PM [EST]

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