Massachusetts Retaliation Case Studies
One important exception to the "at will employment" rule is that it is unlawful to terminate an employee in retaliation for engaging in an activity that is protected under the law. These activities include: reporting or objecting to discrimination or unlawful harassment, exercising rights under the wage and hour laws, taking family medical leave or earned sick time, and more.
Below are a few of the many examples of people we have helped enforce their rights against unlawful retaliation. The names and images are fictitious, but the stories are real
Every person's story is a little different, but there are lessons to be learned from people who have gone through similar situations.
Employer Retaliation for Wage Complaint by Failing to Process Green Card Application
Ganesh was an Indian citizen working in Massachusetts for a software company on an H1B visa. He accepted a position at a new employer, based on a promise of a certain salary and a commitment by the new employer to pursue a green card on is behalf.
Ganesh was nearing the 6 year limit on his ability to work in the United States on a visa, and needed the green card application to be in process in order to remain working here.
Almost immediately after he began working, Ganesh noticed that he was not being paid as agreed. Read more here.
Retaliation for Reporting Sexual Harassment
Anna worked at a restaurant that was part of a national chain. She was hired as Assistant General Manager, and other employees were told that she would be the "future General Manager" of the restaurant, which had newly opened.
Almost immediately after she met the man who was serving as General Manager at the time, he began sexually harassing her. On the first day, he asked for her phone number. On the second day, he researched her home address and began talking to her about how close he lived to her. In the following weeks, he would repeatedly rub her shoulders, touch her waist, approach her when she was alone in the employee coat room, and on two occasions groped her inner thigh. He also asked personal and probing questions about what she did outside of work.
Anna first reported this behavior to management about two months into her employment, and was told to "lay low," and that it would be taken care of. Read more here.
Retaliation Against Health Care Worker for Reporting Unlawful Practices
Amanda worked as a Certified Nurse's Aide at a Massachusetts hospital. During her employment, she worked on a floor with many elderly and disabled patients, including patients with Alzheimers and dementia.
Amanda noticed numerous practices that she believed violated law and regulations, including improper restraint of patients, blatant neglect of patient needs, violations of staffing protocols, and more.
She reported these concerns to her supervisor, and was then subject to isolation and harassment by her co-workers. She was then scheduled for duties that were not appropriate to her job description, and management began giving her scheduled shifts to others instead of her. Read more here.
Retaliation Against Employee for Using Earned Sick Time
Maria worked as a bartender for a Massachusetts nightclub. For most of her time there, she was considered an excellent bartender and worked the most lucrative shift (Friday nights).
One day, after working there for five years, Maria informed her manager that she needed to take a sick day. The reason she needed to take the time was to attend an appointment relating to the impact of domestic violence in her family. This is one of the reasons specifically protected under the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law. Her immediate manager told her that the General Manager was going to be very angry about her missing her shift.
When she returned to work, the General Manager informed her that she would no longer be working the Friday night shift... Read more here.
Retaliation Against Employee for Workers Compensation Claim
David worked as a warehousing and purchasing manager for a Massachusetts construction company. One day in mid-2020 he was operating a forklift and caught one of his fingers in a locking channel. After he freed his finger, he was unable to move it freely.
David immediately reported this to a supervisor, who explicitly discouraged him from filing a Workers Compensation claim on the grounds that a claim would increase the company's insurance premium. Instead, the supervisor promised that the company would reimburse David for any out of pocket medical costs that were not covered by his health insurance. Read more here.
Retaliation Against Employee for Taking Family Medical Leave
Lisa worked for a chemical supply company. After the sudden death of her husband, she had to take time off from work to provide for the ongoing medical care of herself and her children. This care included existing medical conditions, but also the severe anxiety her youngest two children suffered after the death of their father.
In each instance when Lisa missed work because of the medical care she or her children required she provided notification in advance to her supervisor, describing the hours or days she would miss and the medical reason for her absence. She also followed up each appointment by providing supporting documentation from the medical professionals overseeing the care.
In mid-2020, Lisa was told she would not be receiving an annual raise because she "missed too much work." Two months later she was terminated for "taking too much time off." Read more here.
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We have years of experience representing people who have faced retaliation at work for engaging in activities that are protected under the law, and we would be happy to help you. 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.