On June 26, 2017, the highest court in Massachusetts, the Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”), decided George, et al. v. National Water Main Cleaning Company, et al. This class action law suit stems from uncertainties about assessment of certain damages under the Massachusetts Wage Act (G. L. c. 149 §§ 148, 150).
Whitney Law Group, LLC Blog
On June 15, 2017, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts (the federal trial court in Boston) denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss in Campbell v. Bristol Community College. The plaintiff, Campbell, sued her former employer, Bristol Community College, alleging discrimination and retaliation on the basis of race.
As WLG's blog recently reported, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act was gaining momentum this spring. Even more recently, both chambers of the Massachusetts Legislature passed their own bills, but they differ slightly. The House passed its version of the bill (H. 3680) unanimously on May 10, 2017. The Senate passed its bill (S. 2093) unanimously on June 29, 2017.
WLG is pleased to announce that Mark Whitney was recently elected to be the Clerk of the Labor & Employment Law Section of the New Hampshire Bar Association. Mark has been an active member of the NH Bar since 1995.
Employers Under Fire for Using Noncompete Agreements to Depress Wages and Limit Employee Mobility
On June 5, 2017, the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals (the federal appellate court located in Boston, which covers Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, and Puerto Rico) decided Grant v. Target Corporation. Grant sued Target for breach of contract based on Target’s alleged failure to follow a disciplinary policy before firing him. The court found that Target’s disciplinary policy could not be relied upon as an employment contract and dismissed Grant’s claim.
The new law, the “Act to Establish Pay Equity,” was signed by Governor Charlie Baker on August 1, 2016. It replaces Massachusetts’ existing pay equity law, M.G.L. ch. 149 § 150A, in an effort to eliminate the gender pay gap by broadening the meaning of “comparable work” and implementing new rules on employees’ salaries. The new act also creates an affirmative defense for employers who conduct a self-evaluation of their pay practices. The law will not take effect until July 1, 2018, giving employers time to evaluate their policies.
In a landmark decision that is sending shockwaves through the employment law bar, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals (the federal appeals court located in Chicago, IL, which covers the states of Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin), issued a decision which holds that discrimination based on one's sexual orientation is prohibited under the Title VII of Civil Rights Act of 1964. This ruling is the first time that a federal appeals court has held that Title VII protects workers against discrimination due to their sexual orientation.
On Tuesday, April 4, 2017, the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development held a public hearing on the proposed law called the Pregnant Worker Fairness Act which, if passed into law, will provide new workplace accommodations for expecting and new mothers.