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.
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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...
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.
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.
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).
WLG is pleased to announce that Marcie Vaughan has joined the firm as Of Counsel. Marcie brings many years of employment law experience to WLG. She is a cum laude graduate of Bates College (B.A.), a cum laude graduate of Suffolk University's Sawyer School of Management (M.S.), an received her J.D. from Suffolk Law School in 2006, also cum laude. Marcie's addition to WLG adds much needed additional capacity to WLG's growing practice, especially in NH.
Status of Mass State Efforts to Roll-Out Retail Sales
Mark Whitney was recently quoted in an article appearing in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly concerning severance agreements and their impact of release language on equity rights of senior executives. The article entitled "Severance terms extinguished exec’s right to shares, options" discussed a recent Massachusetts Appeals Court decision which ruled against a former executive of a software company.
NH follows the vast majority of states in the US with respect to the enforcement of non-competition agreements (“NCAs”). NH courts will enforce NCAs that are narrowly drawn to protect employers’ business interests in protecting confidential information and goodwill (or, business relationships).
Late in 2017, a Norfolk County Superior Court jury awarded a 65-year-old plaintiff, James Beresford, $1.2 million in an age discrimination lawsuit against his former employer, Charles River Automotive (“CRA”) and CRA’s general manager Mark Gentile. The jury verdict awarded Beresford $317,780 in back pay, $285,000 in front pay, and $602,780 in punitive damages.