The Massachusetts Attorney General has issued $1.5 million in penalties to the company that owns Family Dollar stores for allegedly violating labor laws on meal breaks in store locations statewide — including many on the SouthCoast.

Attorney General Maura Healey announced Wednesday that her office has issued two citations to Dollar Tree Stores, Inc. for more than 3,900 alleged labor violations at 100 stores in the state, including 14 in Bristol County.

The A.G.'s office alleges that the company failed to provide a 30-minute meal break for employees working at least six hours per day, as required by state law.

Dollar Tree, Inc. representatives could not immediately be reached for comment.

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An investigation by the office's Fair Labor Division found that more than 620 of the company's 900 employees in Massachusetts were affected.

These include workers at the company's stores in New Bedford, Fall River, Taunton, Somerset, and Attleboro.

According to a statement from the A.G.'s office, the investigation started with multiple complaints that Family Dollar employees were not given meal breaks due to staffing shortages.

Investigators found that from 2018 to 2019, the company routinely cut payroll hours, leaving stores understaffed.

As a result, hundreds of employees were unable to take meal breaks or were required to stay on store premises even when they were allowed to punch out for meals, the office alleges.

State law gives workers the right to at least a 30-minute meal break every six hours per day. During the break staffers must be allowed to leave the workplace.

“Workers give us their time, energy, and efforts to keep businesses running and our economy afloat,” said Healey.

“These citations should send a message to all companies that they need to do right by their employees and provide meal breaks consistent with the law.”

Family Dollar is based in Virginia and operates more than 15,000 stores nationwide, with locations in 59 Massachusetts towns and cities.


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