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Massachusetts Employment Law Questions & Answers
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Q: Case for a rescinded job offer?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 I gave notice to my current employer. 7 days later the company I accepted the offer from rescinded the offer stating they are reevaluating the position and the needs for the position.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",...
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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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1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law and Workers' Compensation for Massachusetts on
Q: Need help with work related injury !!!

i broke my middle toe moving some PT lumber by hand, happened the 26th, nothing was done at work, 27th too much pain, smoked recreational marijuana for pain, 28th woke up with toe black, went to work to show them i was going to ER, now they want statement and drug test, 36 hours after, its now 3rd... Read more »

Jeffrey Young
Jeffrey Young answered on Jun 3, 2020

It is not clear from your question if you have already been to an Emergency Room. If not, then you should go. If you have and they want you to see an orthopedic or podiatrist then you should call one and try to make an appointment. It is very difficult to see anyone now with the virus issues. They... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Employment Discrimination and Employment Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Do I have a case for wrongful termination based on gender?

I'm a service tech for a franchisee of Panera Bread and Wendy's. I worked there for 18 years. 2 mos ago my boss announced his retirement and his supervisor chose me to take his place (email proof). Right before my supervisors retirement date his boss quit. Someone from another department... Read more »

Carrie Dyer
Carrie Dyer answered on May 20, 2020

You may have a claim for gender discrimination under Title VII and state law, but more information is needed to fully evaluate your situation. You should contact an employment attorney in your area as soon as possible to discuss your options.

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1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Due to a chronic health condition (and COVID) I have an MD letter to work from home. Can work deny this?

Work will not allow me to work from home. I need help understanding my options and the best way to proceed but getting this information from work has been exceedingly difficult. I recently requested to start paperwork for short-term disability. This paperwork was provided along with the suggestion... Read more »

Kyle Anderson
Kyle Anderson answered on Apr 1, 2020

I would recommend reaching out to an employment attorney in your state for a consultation. More information is needed on your medical condition to determine if it qualifies as a disability under the ADA. If it does, you might try to request a reasonable accommodation of working from home. Looking... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law and Products Liability for Massachusetts on
Q: Can court order me to stay unemployed

Tell me I legally can't have a job

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar answered on Mar 6, 2020

A court or a panel could make a determination that a person is disabled (and hence, unable to work), based on the findings of an examining physician, and that benefits they are slated to receive reflect the fact that they are cannot work. As such, not working would be a condition for benefits. Your... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Massachusetts on
Q: I carry specialized equipment to my work site everyday to perform inventory. This is company owned equipment I transport

In my personal vehicle. Is the driving time considered on the clock time because without the equipment I carry, the job can not be done

Carrie Dyer
Carrie Dyer answered on Jan 8, 2020

It depends. If you drive from your home to your employer's office or warehouse to pick up the specialized equipment (without which you cannot perform your job duties), then drive to the work site from there, the Fair Labor Standards Act typically requires that you are paid for time spent... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Employment Law and Employment Discrimination for Massachusetts on
Q: Can a job that already offered me a position (signed offer letter) take back their offer due to my medical condition?

As part of the job I was required to get a medical evaluation before starting, it involved me disclosing any medical conditions I have and some blood work. My blood work came back great, but I have a herniated lumbar disc. Can a job take back their offer, even though I had already signed everything... Read more »

Bruce Alexander Minnick
Bruce Alexander Minnick answered on Jul 22, 2019

In addition to certain federal agencies that may be able to help you, every state has its own set of employment laws, some of which may cover your particular situation. Contact an employment lawyer near you.

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Employment Law for Massachusetts on
Q: If my company had me sign a contract saying that everything I invent is theirs, is it binding without consideration?

I am an hourly employee. The contract was an "Updated" contract, mid employment. I am a Technician not paid to engineer or invent. Now they want to patent my idea.

Bruce Alexander Minnick
Bruce Alexander Minnick answered on May 1, 2019

If you sign the new contract your employer will probably have the legal right to seek a patent on your idea; and the consideration will be your continued employment, which they may try to make "at will."

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