Massachusetts Employment Law
Outside of your family, the employment relationship can be one of the most significant relationships you have.
As an employer, you can't do what you do in your business without good employees.
As an employee, you rely on your job for your financial security as well as, often, status, self-esteem and satisfaction.
And when things go wrong, it can be very difficult. We get that.
We know when you lose your job it is not just about the money. It can also be the insult, the humiliation, the anger, the fear about the future, and so much more.
When you are not paid what you are owed, or not paid at all, it can have disastrous consequences for you and your family.
We know that when you are a small business owner making a difficult decision about an employee that you are most likely doing the best that you can. You too may be feeling angry, hurt, disappointed, or anxious when an employee is not doing what you need them to do.
You most likely are also juggling many financial obligations on top of payroll.
Unlike many employment law firms, we work with both employees and small business owners. As we help people navigate the wide, varied and often complex body of laws and regulations that govern the employment relationship, we can hold both perspectives in our minds while we fight for your best result in your situation.
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Common Employment Law Problems
It would not be possible to catalogue all of the legal issues that can arise in the employment relationship. But there are some common problems that we see repeatedly.
- Employment Discrimination: this is still very real, and both employers and employees should be mindful of the rules whenever there is a termination or significant disciplinary decision.
- Sexual Harassment: when this happens, or is even alleged, there are important rights the employee has and important obligations relating to the employer's response.
- Equal Pay Laws: it is unlawful to pay men and women differently for equal or comparable work. This sounds simple, but can be complicated in its application to specific situations. There are also significant damages associated with getting this wrong.
- Family Medical Leave and Earned Sick Time: Massachusetts law on paid family medical leave and earned sick time is still relatively new, and often not fully understood by employers. But workers have significant rights under these laws, and the cost of not honoring those rights can be substantial for the employer.
- Non Compete Agreements: this has always been a complex field, made more so by the Massachusetts Non Compete Act, which places new restrictions on what non competes signed on or after October 1, 2018 can be enforced.
- Independent Contractor Classification: many employers get this wrong. Massachusetts has a strict test for determining who can legally be paid as a contractor, as opposed to a W2 employee, and potentially extensive liability for an employer who hires contractors that do not meet this test.
- Overtime Pay: the rules under both federal and state overtime law are often misunderstood by employers. Simply being salaried does not make an employee exempt from overtime pay- you need to understand what job duties are considered exempt.
- Wages, Commissions and Final Pay: the Massachusetts Wage Act is strictly enforced, and applies to commissions as well as regular wages.
- Retaliation: there are a wide variety of things that are considered "protected activities" under the law, including complaints about wage and hour compliance, discrimination, or harassment, using paid family medical leave or sick time, and many more. Termination or other negative action that is caused by an employee's engaging in a protected activity is unlawful.
How We Can Help
We can help you assess your employment situation and get clarity on your rights and obligations. You can use the button below to schedule a call back from a member of our team, or give us a call at 781-784-2322.