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 questions asked; in turn, an employer can terminate an employee at any time without providing reason for termination.
Here is a list of some situations where At-Will does not apply:
1. Violations of Good Faith and Fair Dealing: An employer cannot terminate an employee to avoid payment of commission or compensation.
2. Violation of the Public Policy Exception: An employee cannot be fired for jury duty and other government obligations
3. Contract of Employment: A contract with the employee that states, for example, he or she can only be fired for specific reasons, such as stealing from the employer, insubordination, or committing a crime. When a company violates those terms, a breach of contract claim can arise in Massachusetts and that would be Wrongful Termination.
4. Discrimination cases: In Massachusetts, and under Federal Law, you cannot fire an employee because of his or her race, gender, national origin, age, sexual orientation, disability, or genetic disposition.
Because these laws can be confusing and/or sometimes even discouraging, make sure to contact an attorney who has specific experience with Massachusetts employment laws. In the case of At-Will states, the laws can sometimes be challenged depending on your individual situation. It is imperative to consult an attorney who deals with each case uniquely.
If you feel you have been wrongfully terminated or for any other inquiries regarding Massachusetts employment laws, please contact us.