Retaliation In The Workplace – Do You Have A Case?

Massachusetts Employment Law, along with federal statutes, provides relief and protection for employees who are facing an act of retaliation from coworkers and/or employers. A claim must be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) or the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD). However, it is important to make sure you have your facts straight before you make such a claim and take on your employer. First of all, it is necessary to have a good understanding of what retaliation is and how it is viewed under Massachusetts law. Retaliation occurs when employers or other employees take measures to subject you to negative experiences related to your job because you complained about discrimination at about work or you supported another

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Employment Law: Know Your Disability Rights in Massachusetts

According to a recent U.S. Census, about 20 percent of Americans have a disability. Many Americans with disabilities are talented workers who are valuable additions to the workplace. However, sometimes employers and coworkers fail to recognize the value people with disabilities can bring to the workplace. The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”) is federal legislation designed to counteract this bias and protect the rights of the disabled in the workplace. The ADA prohibits employers from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities. A disability is defined broadly as any mental or physical impairment that limits at least one major life function. Further, people who have a history of having a disability or who are erroneously perceived as having a

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Massachusetts Employment Law -The Whistleblower

  What is a Whistleblower? A Whistleblower is a person who brings violations of the law to the attention of the appropriate enforcement authorities. But that’s risky, isn’t it? If you report that your employer is not following safety, reporting or other standards, he can just fire you, can’t he? As a society, we value whistleblowers. We need to have people willing to stand up and report these dangerous violations. That’s why, in 1989, Congress passed and President George H. W. Bush signed into law the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 (Pub. L. 101-12, as amended). Amendments in 2012 with the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (Pub. L. 112-199) added stronger protections. What Protection Do I Have? These two laws offer

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Employment Law: Massachusetts Sick Leave Law Now In Effect

If you work in a company of 11 or more people, you are now entitled to paid sick leave. The law became effective on July 15, 2015, and it requires that you receive one hour of paid leave for every thirty hours worked. According to the statute, you may use this time for yourself, your spouse, child, parent or parent – in –law for issues such as: Medical treatment for physical or mental illness; Conditions that require home care for special needs Preventative medical care; Routine medical appointments; or Physical or legal issues concerning domestic violence. In most instances, you do not have to produce documentation, or a “doctor’s note”, unless you are absent for more than 24 hours.

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What Constitutes Wrongful Termination in Massachusetts

What Constitutes Wrongful Termination in Massachusetts depends on a few factors. One first should take note of the Federal Laws that have been put in place to protect America’s workforce from wrongful termination. Discrimination comes in many forms; namely, race, color, age, disability, religion, equal pay, sex or sexual harassment, and pregnancy. Be aware wrongful termination comes in many forms that are not limited solely to discrimination. Each state in the United States has enacted particular policies to protect individuals from wrongful or discriminatory termination of employment. When discussing Massachusetts wrongful termination laws, one should take note that Massachusetts is an At-Will state. This means an employee can decide to end employment at a facility at any time with no

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A large nonprofit organization in Shrewsbury, MA has breached the contract.

Additional Information: I’ve raised money for a large nonprofit organization in Shrewsbury, MA.   The organization is owned by a private person.  Now she has breached our contract and refuses to pay my commissions.  We have a written contract and witnesses as well. What should I do? ATTORNEY ANSWER: Inasmuch as commissions are considered wages under the Massachusetts Wage Act, you should file a complaint with the Office of the Attorney General, Fair Labor Division, in order to preserve your right to sue the employer or its President or Treasurer under the Wage Act for treble damages plus attorney’s fees and costs.  The Fair Labor Division has posted its complaint form on its web page at this link: Simply print

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In the state of Massachusetts, can I be fired after giving my notice?

Additional Information: I have been at my job here in Worcester for 4 years and am moving to Florida in a few months to work for a competitor company.  I’d like to give a substantial notice so they can hire someone else and I can help get the new person trained but I’m afraid they will fire me and then I’ll be without a job until I move. Is it legal for them to fire me after I give notice? ATTORNEY ANSWER: Unless you have an employment contract or collective bargaining agreement that would establish your right to continue your employment during the notice period, the employer may terminate your employment after you give your notice, if it wishes.  This

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In the state of MA, can an employer take an unauthorized deduction from an employee’s paycheck?

Additional Information: Is it legal for an employer to take an unauthorized deduction from an employee’s paycheck for damage done to company property? ATTORNEY ANSWER: No, an employer may not take any deduction for such damage, even if ostensibly authorized by the employee under the employer’s policies, unless there has been a court determination that the employee is responsible to the employer for the damage because the deduction violates the “special contract” provision of the Massachusetts Wage Act.

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In Massachusetts, can severance payments be terminated?

Additional Information: Can my former employer terminate severance payments (salary continuation) if I gain employment prior to the severance term expiring? ATTORNEY ANSWER: There is no obligation in Massachusetts for employers to pay severance in most instances. The employer may unilaterally set the terms upon which it will pay severance, or the employer and employee may agree to the terms of the severance as part of a separation agreement. Unless the termination of the severance payments is in breach of the terms agreed upon by the parties, the employer may cease such payments upon the employee’s gaining subsequent employment.

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Are written employment offers legally binding in Massachusetts?

Additional Information: In my original employment offer letter, I was offered travel reimbursement as part of my compensation. I have submitted my travel expenses but my employer hasn’t reimbursed me. Are employers in Massachusetts legally required to pay vehicle expenses that were offered in a written employment offer? ATTORNEY ANSWER: The employment offer and your acceptance of it form a contract binding upon the employer and the employee. An employer’s failure to pay an employee’s travel expenses in accordance with this contract is a breach of the employment contract, assuming that the employee has submitted the documentation required by the contract. The employee could therefore bring a breach of contract action in court to obtain the unpaid reimbursements.

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