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Massachusetts Employment Law Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law and Employment Discrimination for Massachusetts on
Q: I was suspended from my job for 3 days no reason why was told Hr would contact me. I feel as though it's retaliation

I had reported that my accomodations for light duty were not being made and a few days later I was suspended and haven't been told why

Rhiannon Herbert
Rhiannon Herbert answered on Oct 6, 2021

You should contact a Massachusetts employment attorney to discuss your situation. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, it is unlawful for employers to retaliate against employees based on requests for accommodations (or, in your situation, complaints that the accommodation requested is not... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law, Workers' Compensation and Health Care Law for Massachusetts on
Q: If many former employees are suing the administrator of my job and it's a valid case if I join in would I be fired?

The administrator had us working with no PPE and we all got covid. I still work at the place but people are suing the company. Would I be fired if I joined the lawsuit.

Michael Brevda
Michael Brevda answered on Aug 29, 2021

This is a Workers Compensation question. My specialty is nursing home abuse litigation. Since you were injured in the course and scope of your employment, seek out a Work Comp lawyer. Best of luck.

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Massachusetts on
Q: I need help and advice about the issues I'm having with pandemic unemployment

Had breast cancer, chemo, radiation. Applied for a job, then covid hit. My immune system was really low as it was. Then went blind for over 6 months. Found out I have type 1 diabetes. Insulin 4 orore times a day. Immune system even lower. Trying to look for a job but they want me to pay them back... Read more »

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar answered on Jul 8, 2021

I'm sorry for your ordeal. This is something that a Massachusetts attorney could advise best on, but your post remains open for three weeks. You could repost under Employment Law. If you still don't get a response, try reaching out to attorneys to see if you could arrange a free... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Massachusetts on
Q: can an employee legally waive their break if working six hours or more?

would my employer get in trouble if i waived my breaks? i work 8 hours a day in MA and prefer to not take breaks

Rhiannon Herbert
Rhiannon Herbert answered on May 26, 2021

Federal law does not require employers to offer any break periods to employees, so whether you are offered or take breaks does not give rise to any legal claim in and of itself. However, if you are told you must take breaks, then you can disciplined if you do not do so. In addition, while employers... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Discrimination, Employment Law and Libel & Slander for Massachusetts on
Q: Can I take my employer to court for releasing personal information to outside customers and vendors without my consent?

I recently had a baby prematurely. I shared this information internally with my employer. Within a few hours of sharing, I received an email from a co-worker to a group of customers, (some of which I do not know) detailing not only the birth of my son but also his full name and that he was born... Read more »

Carrie Dyer
Carrie Dyer answered on May 12, 2021

More information is needed to analyze your situation. Is your employer requiring you to take a leave you otherwise are not intending to take? Additionally, there is no private cause of action under HIPPA. Only the Department of Health and Human Services and state attorneys general have the power... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Massachusetts on
Q: I own some rental properties that I manage myself. From time to time I need an extra hand to do routine chores

as lawns, hedges, painting minor repairs..... This entails 20-30 hrs per month. How do I pay this person if I direct his activities, He does not live in one of the units.

Kyle Anderson
Kyle Anderson answered on May 6, 2021

Hi, more information is needed here. Generally speaking you will need to make sure the person at least the federal and state minimum wage for all hours worked. As well as overtime for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. I would reach out to an employment law attorney in your state for a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Massachusetts on
Q: My company is being taken over by another company. What are my rights as an employee

They are saying nothing is changing but that is far from the truth.

Carrie Dyer
Carrie Dyer answered on Apr 28, 2021

If you are an at-will employee, then your company or the new company taking over can legally change your job title, compensation, and/or benefits at any time for any reason, so long as it is not for an unlawful reason.

1 Answer | Asked in Business Formation, Business Law, Contracts and Employment Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Could an associate of a law firm like Latham & Watkins provide legal services outside of their law firm?

For instance, say I need legal help with a start-up I'm trying to launch. I reach out to an attorney who works for a law firm who who says he's offering pro-bono legal services. I develop a relationship with this attorney and we agree on a deal that says he will take equity in my company... Read more »

Richard Gaudet
Richard Gaudet answered on Mar 26, 2021

The answer depends upon the relationship that this attorney has with the law firm. It is possible that this attorney has some type of non-compete clause, or some other provision in a contract with the employer preventing the lawyer from self-dealing. So much of the answer to your question depends... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Case for a rescinded job offer?

I accepted an offer for a position. I gave notice to my current employer. 7 days later the company I accepted the offer from rescinded the offer stating they are reevaluating the position and the needs for the position. My current employer will not retain me as they have already reorganized the... Read more »

Matthew J. Kidd
Matthew J. Kidd answered on Mar 23, 2021

The question is how was the offer worded ? We would need to determine whether you were an "employee at will" or had an enforceable contract.

Unless you have a specific contract to work for a period of time (years), you, and most employees, are "employees at will",...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Massachusetts on
Q: After furlough, I am being offered a lower salary or quit and lose 2020 bonus due to voluntary leave, is this legal?

My employer furlough me, and now they are offering either to go back with salary reduction, or quit! in case I quit I would not take the previous year annual bonus which is due by the end of March. Is this legal?

Rhiannon Herbert
Rhiannon Herbert answered on Mar 10, 2021

While your situation seems unfair, there is nothing inherently unlawful about reducing your pay (as long as you still make at least minimum wage for all hours worked).

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law and Employment Discrimination for Massachusetts on
Q: I work in a assisted living cna, with 2 floors and memory care is the floor no one see's when they come in the entrance.

Upstairs have they have food servers totally different job description, down stairs they force the cna's to do it, but cna's upstairs do not. They have activities up and down stairs when they go home, they are now trying to add that to do when they go home, when upstairs cna's do not... Read more »

Carrie Dyer
Carrie Dyer answered on Feb 24, 2021

Unless you have an employment contract dictating otherwise, your employer can generally add to or change your job duties at any time for any reason, as long as it not for an unlawful reason. What you are describing sounds unfair, but it is not unlawful. However, your employer must pay you for all... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Should I pursue my Massachusetts employer for mileage reimbursement since I use my personal vehicle every day for work?

After hire, I was told that apparently I will need a vehicle to get the job that I was hired for done. I ended up buying a car just for this job to be used at work only. Apart from commute to and from work, I spend the whole work day needing my car to oversee areas of the property. I didn't... Read more »

Rhiannon Herbert
Rhiannon Herbert answered on Feb 10, 2021

Generally, employees do not need to be reimbursed or paid during travel time to and from work. However, miles driven during work (after you clock in and before you clock out) need to be reimbursed if your vehicle expenses would bring your hourly rate below the state and federal minimum wage. For... Read more »

Q: Employer in MA wants to send temp. employees out to get DOT physical exams/certifications. I interpret this as a Hipaa

violation at the very least, since these are employees of staffing agencies, who are the real "covered entities" here. They supply the WC insurance, payroll, are the holders of their personnel records, etc. They also almost all have provisions written into their contracts that state... Read more »

J. Heath Dillon
J. Heath Dillon answered on Dec 29, 2020

The employer can communicate directly with the temp employment agency that supplied the employees of the employer's requirement that the temp employees obtain and pass a DOT physical. It is, likely, not appropriate for the employer to communicate this need directly to contracted employees... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Employment Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Hi I have been working for a temp agency since December 2019. I am working at a retail store in Massachusetts.

The temp agency is out of New York. I know that New York does not offer time and a half on Sunday's, but I was wondering since I am working at a retail store here in Massachusetts should I be getting paid time and a half? I know there is some law about time and a half on Sundays working in... Read more »

Rhiannon Herbert
Rhiannon Herbert answered on Nov 25, 2020

Federal law only requires that you be paid time and a half for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek (regardless of which days you work). While your employer may offer time and a half or increased pay on weekends as an incentive to work these days, they are not required to do so.

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law, Immigration Law and Employment Discrimination for Massachusetts on
Q: Can an employer refuse to hire you on OPT?

I am a Masters' graduate from a STEM degree. I graduated in May 2020 so I am currently on OPT. I was given a confirmed written offer by a company, but when they were doing background checks etc, they asked me about my visa status. I told them I was on STEM OPT so I officially had 3 years of... Read more »

Hector E. Quiroga
Hector E. Quiroga answered on Nov 11, 2020

If employment is at will, then there is probably nothing you can do about it. It is hard to say if discrimination based on visa status is valid, given a company’s long-term goals. Your best option would be to discuss your case with an attorney with knowledge of workplace issues.

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Massachusetts on
Q: FMLA usage and retaliation

Can an employee who already has intermittent FMLA attempt to use it after missing work for condition even if it wasn’t approved as it was reported late, but manager encouraged it. Then fires them for attempting to use it months later?

Kyle Anderson
Kyle Anderson answered on Nov 11, 2020

More information is needed here. An employee is usually required to follow the employer's defined protocols when using FMLA leave. I would reach out to an employment law attorney in your state.

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Is attempting to use FMLA considered a right?

Does an employer have the right to terminate your employment for attempting to use FMLA for a day of work when you already have FMLA benefits?

Could this be considered retaliation?

What is considered by law FMLA retaliation?

Kyle Anderson
Kyle Anderson answered on Oct 26, 2020

Hi. If you can show that your attempt to use FMLA was the reason for your termination, you may have a claim for retaliation. Retaliation can be shown through different factors: the proximity in time between your attempted FMLA use and your termination, hostility towards you after FMLA use/attempt... Read more »

Q: Do I get a share of money if some patents that I co-invented when I was a student is now sub-licensed by a company

I was a Ph.D. student working with my professor at University. We together applied for two patents, which were approved in the U.S. and Europe. My professor later started a company and licensed these patents from the University. Recently on the news, a large company sub-licensed these patents again... Read more »

Peter D. Mlynek
Peter D. Mlynek answered on Oct 15, 2020

Sorry, I wish I had better news, but you very likely are not entitled to any money from the patent.

Generally, when you are a Graduate Research Assistant, you are getting paid, either as a salary or in lieu of tuition, to do research. You were getting paid. As with any university in the...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Massachusetts on
Q: my employer has failed to pay me for hours I worked 6 weeks ago, what are my options?
Carrie Dyer
Carrie Dyer answered on Jun 17, 2020

Generally, you must be paid at a rate of no less than minimum wage for all hours worked. Failure to pay you for work you performed 6 weeks ago is a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. You should contact an employment lawyer in your area to discuss your situation and inquire about violations... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Consumer Law, Divorce, Employment Law and Family Law for Massachusetts on
Q: What can I do to recover damages? Anything?

My now ex wife worked with me in my business. She ended up having an affair with one of our employees. During her deposition she did not admit to a relationship with the employee but as soon as our divorce was final he moved in and made it public through social media. She has posted damaging... Read more »

Tanesha R Wright
Tanesha R Wright answered on Jun 14, 2020

As counsel has already stated if she's making defamatory statements about your business that is an issue outside your divorce. However, I do think there are issues you could address in your divorce on other matters. First, would be a potential modification if you are unable to make payments... Read more »

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