FACT CHECK: Bernie Moreno’s Defense For Committing Wage Theft Ruled “FALSE”
February 13, 2024
WKYC: “We can verify that Moreno’s claims are false”
Columbus, OH – A new WKYC “Verify” report found that Bernie Moreno’s defense for refusing to pay his employees the overtime wages they had earned is “false” and that Moreno was “required to pay for overtime worked” beginning in 2015.
When reports found Moreno destroyed evidence after he was sued for withholding his employees’ wages, Moreno falsely claimed a 2019 Massachusetts court decision “retroactively” required him to pay his employees overtime. Moreno has also blamed “liberal,” “activist,” “lunatic” judges for losing the jury trial in the case – which separate reports found “isn’t true.”
“Once again, Bernie Moreno has been caught lying through his teeth about destroying evidence he was legally required to keep to get out of paying his employees the wages they earned,” said ODP spokesperson Katie Smith. “Moreno has made it clear that Ohioans can’t trust him and that he will only look out for himself.”
WKYC: No, Bernie Moreno’s claims that Massachusetts courts overturned federal law in wage theft lawsuits and made rulings retroactive are not true: VERIFY
By Stephanie Haney
February 12, 2024
- Republican candidate for an Ohio US Senate seat Bernie Moreno recently dismissed the outcome of a Massachusetts lawsuit that he lost related to overtime wage theft, by making false claims about the result.
- Moreno was sued in 2017 for failing to pay overtime wages to two car salespeople. This lawsuit was based on the 2015 Massachusetts state regulation 454 CMR 27.03(3).
- What that means is that the Massachusetts Department of Labor started requiring employers to pay workers separately for overtime hours, even if those employees earn commission.
- While the 2017 lawsuit against Moreno was proceeding, a separate lawsuit was decided in 2019 by the Massachusetts Supreme Court. Moreno was not a part of this lawsuit, but before the lawsuit against him was decided, that court confirmed that employers must pay workers separately for overtime, even if those employees earn commission on sales, based on the 2015 state regulation.
- Based on all of this, we can verify that Moreno’s claims about the outcome of the lawsuit against him are false.
- …nothing new and unexpected was retroactively required of employers, in either court’s verdict. Once the 2015 state regulation went into effect, employers were required to pay for overtime worked, even for workers who earn commission on sales.
- To add additional context here, Moreno was sanctioned by the court in the lawsuit against him for destroying overtime records that he was ordered to keep while the case moved forward.
- Those records were destroyed in 2020, after the Massachusetts Supreme Court affirmed that workers who earn commission must be paid separately for overtime.
- As punishment for destroying those records, the judge instructed the jury members that they could assume that the destroyed evidence would have hurt Moreno’s defense.
- Moreno lost that lawsuit, and he was ultimately ordered to pay $416,160 to his former employees, after having been found liable for stolen overtime wages. He went on to settle more than a dozen similar lawsuits, before announcing his candidacy for Ohio’s US senate seat in 2023.