A Massachusetts cannabis company will pay almost $300,000 in restitution and penalties for violating state wage and hour laws, the state Attorney General’s Office announced on Thursday. Theory Wellness, which has three locations in the state, failed to pay hundreds of employees premium pay and covered holidays, in violation of state law.
In a press release, Attorney General (AG) Maura Healey (D) said nearly 300 employees were not paid properly by the cannabis company and “will now be made whole.”
The AG’s Fair Labor Division began its investigation in December 2020 following a worker complaint. The investigation found that 282 employees were owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in premium pay—1.2 times their hourly rate—for Sunday and holiday work. In 2018, Massachusetts lawmakers passed a bill that will see those rates go down to 1.1 times employee pay next year, and premium pay will be eliminated in 2023.
Under the terms of the settlement, Theory agreed to pay in full all wages owned to its employees. The AG’s Office said the company “cooperated with the investigation and has since come into compliance with the premium and holiday pay laws.”
In a statement to MassLive, Theory described the situation as “inadvertent payroll errors” and said they “worked closely and openly” with the Attorney General’s Office “as soon as they were made aware” of the claims.
“Most importantly, we had the opportunity to provide additional compensation to the former and current members of our team who were affected to resolve this matter swiftly,” the company said.
“The complexities of a cannabis company are vast with a litany of traditional business-related resources, such as mainstream payroll providers that handle setting up pay rates, unwilling to provide services due to our classification federally,” Theory said in the statement. “This audit has been an opportunity to correct our policies and reaffirm our commitment to our team members, who make Theory what it is today.”
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