• Remote Worker? You’re Vulnerable.

    May 22, 2019

    If you are a remote worker, you know the benefit of your job status.  First, there’s that two minute commute from your room to your desk.  You’ve stocked your kitchen with your favorite coffee or tea and snacks.  You’re allowed to arrive at your desk in sweats, a concert tee and flip flops.  There’s no email from HR afterwards reminding everyone of the meaning of business casual.  Moreover, you may have more flexibility if you are a remote worker.   Your schedule may allow you to visit an elderly relative or pick up the kids from school.  There’s a downsid

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  • Verbal and Written Warnings: 4 Things to Know

    Mar 1, 2018

    Verbal and written warnings are a head’s up from your employer that all is not well. If you’ve received a verbal or written warning, you may be anxious about your job.  Here are four things you should know if you’ve received a verbal or written warning or a performance improvement plan. warnings 1.Verbal and Written Warnings May be Progressive Discipline Many companies have written policies that include verbal and written warnings.  These policies are often contained in handbooks.  Employers typically use what’s known as “progressive discipline” to

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  • Sexual Harassment Laws Need to Change

    Oct 25, 2017

    Sexual Harassment Time Frames for Filing Sexual harassment laws need to change to protect victims of sexual harassment.  Currently, victims have a very short time frame for filing claims.  The statute of limitations is only 180 calendar days for filing with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“ EEOC”) or 300 calendar days if a state agency enforces a law that prohibits sexual harassment on the same basis. These limited time frames include weekends and holidays in the calculation. The time frame for filing with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (“MCAD”) is

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  • Wrongful Termination: When Should You Call a Lawyer?

    Apr 1, 2017

    Wrongful termination- do you have a claim? When should you call a lawyer about a wrongful termination claim? You may have received a written warning or a performance improvement plan. You may have a new supervisor and communication has broken down. There’s been a merger or acquisition and you are suddenly not needed anymore. You are anxiously awaiting the bad news – and it could happen any day.  Or maybe you’ve already lost your job. You’ve been restructured out or laid off or told there are performance problems.  When should you call a lawyer? wrongful terminatio

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  • Performance Improvement Plans

    Jul 27, 2015

    If you’ve been given a performance improvement plan (also known as a PIP) at work, you know you’ve reached a critical point in your employment. What Are Performance Improvement Plans? Performance improvement plans typically document and identify what your manager believes is poor performance.  If you’ve received one, it likely states areas where your manager thinks you are not performing as expected.  It may say that you haven’t mastered certain skills, or you need to change certain behaviors at work.  You may receive a PIP if you’ve been having a confli

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  • Executive Job Transitions

    Jun 22, 2015

    If you’ve been laid off, fired from your job, restructured out, or you’ve been told you need to leave in weeks or months, you need to manage a job transition. Executive job transitions can be managed.   You may feel that you’re alone in it, but you’re not.   Every week we advise a range of executives and professionals who either knew their job was on the line or were given their notice.  For many people experiencing job transitions, it can be a time of upheaval, dislocation and anxiety.  Here are some of the considerations for executives facing a job transi

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  • Severance Agreements: Nine Things to Know

    Feb 25, 2015

    Employees with proposed severance agreements often wonder if they can review and negotiate the agreement themselves.  Severance agreements are typically written to protect the company.  Severance agreements are legal contracts, typically drafted by the company’s lawyer.   The terms can affect you for months or years after you’ve left the company.  It is important to have your own lawyer on board to advise you on the following: Nine Things to Know about Severance Agreements severance agreements 1. Are there any potential benefits you are leaving on the table? 2. Should

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  • Massachusetts Independent Contractor Law

    Oct 27, 2014

    independent contractor The Massachusetts Independent Contractor Law makes it very difficult for companies to legally hire individuals as contractors and not employees.  There is a three part test that most companies can’t meet. The Three Part Independent Contractor Test The company must show: 1. The individual is free from direction and control; 2. The service is performed outside the usual course of the company’s business; and 3. The individual is engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession or business of the same nature as that involved

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  • Five Things Fired Employees Need to Know

    Sep 19, 2014

    fired Getting fired can be terribly stressful.  Usually there is emotional and financial fall out from a firing.  It can be hard to know to know how to deal with it.  Here are five things employees who are fired or laid off from their jobs in Massachusetts need to know. 1.   The company’s reason for the firing or lay-off.  The employee needs to know if the decision was for performance issues, lack of work, misconduct, or for any other reason.  Why is this important?  If the employer gives conflicting or false reasons for the firing or lay-off, it raises the question about th

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  • Market Basket A Game Changer

    Aug 30, 2014

    Market Basket employees and customers are celebrating a successful job action that led to the return of ousted CEO, Arthur T. Demoulas.  This dispute dominated news in Massachusetts, became a national story, and blew up social media sites.  From a lawyer’s perspective, what the heck was so unique about it and what does it mean for employer/employee relationships?  Here’s a few thoughts:  The employees controlled the conversation through Social Media.  Market Basket employees flocked to Facebook, Twitter, and used hashtags such as #MarketBasketStrong. They effectively use

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  • Will Market Basket Contest Unemployment?

    Aug 12, 2014

    The Boston Globe is reporting that Market Basket workers are saying that the co-CEO’s have sent letters setting a deadline for a return to work.  The letter directs the employee to return to work or “the company will consider you to have abandoned your job, thereby ending your employment with the company.” Eligibility for Unemployment Benefits Will Market Basket contest Massachusetts employee claims for benefits for those employees who don’t show up for work?  If so, it will most certainly spark unemployment eligibility issues.  After an employee files for unemploy

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  • Tech Start-ups and Sexual Harassment

    May 2, 2014

    Sexual harassment and discrimination in tech start-ups is now being reported in the media.  Described as a “bro culture” or “frat house” atmosphere, the behavior and conduct of many employees crosses the line from inappropriate conduct to illegal conduct.  In many instances, the company founders participate or turn a blind eye to it.  In a recent New York Times article, women in the tech industry described a hostile work environment. tech start-ups Why are women in tech start-ups subjected to sexual harassment and discrimination?  I see a number of factors t

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  • Sexual Harassment at Car Dealership

    Apr 3, 2014

    A car dealership has settled a sexual harassment lawsuit for over $2 million.  Male employees claimed that the former male lot manager sexually harassed male employees for over ten years.  The conduct included sexual comments, inappropriate grabbing and touching of male employees and frequent solicitations for oral sex.  Over 50 male employees were subjected to sexual harassment.  Male employees at the car dealership had to come forward to complain in order to stop the sexual harassment. Federal and state laws protect both male and female employees from sexual harassment.  Employees can

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  • Cleaning Company Ordered to Pay Overtime

    Mar 7, 2014

    A Peabody cleaning contractor, Ward’s Cleaning Service, Inc. must pay its workers $1 million in back pay and damages.  The cleaning company illegally asked employees to use multiple time cards with different names, changed time cards, paid employees with checks made out to false names and paid employees in cash. Companies, like this cleaning company, trying to avoid paying overtime is all too common in Massachusetts.  Many bars and restaurants pay bouncers and waitstaff in cash, rather than paying overtime.  Restaurants often have servers punch in under another server’s number

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  • Why You Need a Will: Ten Great Reasons

    Nov 16, 2013

    Estate Planning Matters You know you need a will.  You’ve managed to put estate planning off for years.  Not because it wasn’t important, but other things were your priority.   Like getting the kids to soccer practice.  Or making it to work on time.  When is it a good time to talk to a Massachusetts lawyer about a will and  estate planning? A better question is: seriously, when isn’t it a good time?  When you get married?  Good time to get a will or update one.  When you have a child or adopt a child?  That’s a great time to put a will in place.  When you

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  • Lesbian, Gay, and Transgender Discrimination in the Workplace

    Nov 13, 2013

    Historically, state and federal non-discrimination laws have not afforded protection to lesbian, gay and transgender individuals in the workplace.  In recent years, however, more and more states have passed laws prohibiting such discrimination the workplace.  As a recent Washington Post article reports, only 21 states and the District of Columbia have laws that prohibit discrimination of lesbians and gays in the workplace.  And only 17 states and the District of Columbia have laws that prohibit transgender discrimination in the workplace. Massachusetts has laws in effect that protect ag

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  • Top Ten Severance Agreement Don’ts

    Nov 1, 2013

    A Severance Agreement is usually drafted in the company’s favor.  The agreements and releases in it are not typically for the benefit of both sides.  What are some of the mistakes employees often make when handed an agreement?  Here are the top ten severance don’ts: 1. Do not sign an agreement without fully understanding it.  It is a contract.  It can affect your employment, sometimes for several years into the future. 2. In most cases, you need time to read the severance agreement and understand it.  Most agreements are several pages long.  They have been written by a la

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  • Family Leave Requirements under Massachusetts and Federal Law

    Oct 28, 2013

    Both Federal and Massachusetts laws provide women with job leave rights when they give birth or adopt a child. A bill recently filed in the Massachusetts legislature proposes amending state law to give men paternity leave rights. This would bring Massachusetts more in line with federal law on family leave, which is gender neutral. In Massachusetts, under the Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act (MMLA), women are allowed to take 8 weeks of unpaid maternity leave.   An employee who has given birth to twins is entitled to eight weeks unpaid leave for each child. Maternity leave can be taken for

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  • Supervisors and Sexual Harassment in Massachusetts

    Oct 16, 2013

    Massachusetts has very strict laws that protect employees from supervisors and sexual harassment.. An employer may be held responsible when a supervisor sexually harasses an employee. The company can be held responsible even if others in management didn’t know what was happening. The United States Supreme Court recently held that a supervisor is someone who can take the following actions against an employee: hire fire fail to promote reassign, or make a decision that would cause a significant change in benefits It is important to know that claims relating to superv

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  • Sexual Harassment in the Massachusetts Workplace

    Jun 20, 2013

    Massachusetts law forbids sexual harassment in the workplace. Sexual harassment is either “Quid pro quo” sexual harassment or hostile environment sexual harassment. Quid pro quo is a latin term that means “this for that.” This type of sexual harassment occurs when an employer or manager gives a promotion or demotion or otherwise changes the terms of employment based upon the giving of sexual favors (or the refusal of sexual advances). An example of Quid pro quo sexual harassment is where a manager tells an employee that the employee will get a promotion if she sleeps wi

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