Employment

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Labor disputes are conflict between employers and employees, including but not limited to improper dismissal, wage disputes, regulatory disputes, occupational disaster disputes, workplace discrimination, illegal harassment, theft of trade secrets, etc.


The duties of lawyers also include writing and interpreting labor contracts to ensure the rights and obligations between employees and employers. Our rich legal experience can help fight for the rights of workers, employees and employers. If you encounter labor disputes, you are welcome to contact us at any time! We will provide you with legal aid and guide you to overcome or avoid legal disputes.

Boston is a thriving city, a metropolis with plenty of industry to go around. However, employers are not always fair, and you may be forced into a hostile work environment. If you’re not getting the wages you deserve for your job or you’re facing discrimination, you may have options to recover compensation.
 
We are zealous advocates with decades of litigation experience, who are committed to protecting and fighting for employee rights. For every client we represent, our goal is to achieve the best possible results and we bring all our passion, skill, and experience to that effort.
 
The law protects workers from being unreasonably harassed and discriminated against because of their characteristics or status, and they enjoy fair remuneration. Workers in the United States are protected by federal and state laws, including Chapter VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, state human rights laws, and general laws.
 
We represent individuals facing a variety of employment-related issues, ranging from negotiation of pre-employment agreements and inquiries, non-competition agreements, obtaining properly earned wages and benefits, opposing harassment and unfair job actions, and dealing with the separation of employment, including severance agreements and litigation for discrimination and wrongful termination.

If you believe that you have been unfairly hired or fired, if you have not been properly paid, or if you need help negotiating your employment agreement, please get in touch with our lawyer team for help. Our goal is to effectively resolve disputes through mediation, litigation, or trial.

We handle a wide range of labor and employment law issues on behalf of our clients, including:

  • Discrimination based on gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, race, religion, or nationality

  • Sexual Harassment

  • Violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

  • Violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) (overtime and minimum wage)

  • Breach of labor contract

  • Unpaid wages and overtime work

  • Pension rights and employee benefits

As a Massachusetts employee, you have a justifiable expectation to be paid fair, reasonable wages, on a timely basis for the work you perform for an employer. Payment of wages is a foundational element of the employer-employee relationship, and the concept also applies to certain independent contractor or consultant relationships. When your employer fails to uphold its end of the bargain, it erodes your trust, undermines your confidence, and can put you in a challenging financial position.

Massachusetts and Federal Wage Claims and Disputes

All workers deserve to be paid in accordance with state and federal laws, or as required by the terms of an employment contract where one exists. If your Massachusetts employer does not comply with wage and hour statutes in paying you, you have options to recover the amounts owed to you. At the federal level, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) governs wage issues, including provisions on minimum wage and overtime. However, the FLSA also provides that states can enact their own laws establishing a minimum wage that is higher than the federal rate.

Massachusetts has opted to increase the state minimum wage above the federal rate, requiring most employers to pay $14.25 per hour in 2022.  For employees in the service industry who make tips, the minimum wage is $6.15 per hour in 2022. The state’s statute on overtime requires employers to pay time-and-a-half for overtime, which includes all time that exceeds 40 hours per week. There are special provisions that make employees in certain positions exempt from overtime rules, including those in administrative, and professional sales positions, as well as seasonal workers, workers who are provided with living quarters, and others designated by law.

 

Examples of Wage and Hour Disputes

Even though Massachusetts and federal laws are clear on an employer’s duties, unpaid wage claims and wage and hour disputes are common. Reviewing the following scenarios may help you recognize the signs if your employer is not complying with the law and paying you fairly:

  • Timely Payment: If your employer does not pay you according to the Massachusetts Wage Act, you may have a claim. The statute requires weekly or bi-weekly wage payments, which must be given to you within a certain number of days after the end of the pay period. Employers cannot withhold wages or fail to pay them on time.

  • Requiring “Off the Clock” Work: You are entitled to be paid for all work you perform, so an employer cannot force you to do certain tasks without pay.

  • Not Paying Overtime: Unless you fall within one of the job types designated by statute, your employer must pay overtime at a rate of 1.5 times your normal wages. If you are not paid on an hourly basis, your overtime rate must be adjusted to account for what your normal salary would be.

  • Failing to Comply with Agreed Compensation: If you work under an agreement that provides for a salary, vacation time, sick days, benefits, and other terms, your employer must adhere to the contractual provisions. An organization cannot unilaterally make changes to an agreement without your consent or withhold sick or vacation time already accrued.

Salaried employees are eligible to receive overtime pay much like how employees who work hourly are. Placing an employee on salary would not exclude him or her from receiving overtime payments for extra hours worked over forty (40) hours per week. However, salaried employees can get exempted from getting paid overtime wages if they make a specific amount and have particular duties that do not qualify for overtime wages. An “exempt” employee does not qualify for minimum wage and/or overtime pay. Federal and state overtime laws define which employees are eligible for minimum wage and overtime pay.

Depending on what your responsibilities are and how much you are making, an update to a federal overtime law, the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) may impact how many hours you work and whether your employer must pay you overtime for such hours worked. The update would be utilized to determine whether white-collar, salaried employees are exempted from the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime pay protections.

According to Massachusetts and Federal laws, Massachusetts executive and/or managerial employees are entitled to be paid overtime unless they are (1) paid a guaranteed salary of a law-required or higher amount and (2) perform certain types of duties.  That’s an “and” not an “or,” meaning that Massachusetts employers must satisfy both parts of this test (the salary part and the duties part) in order to avoid paying an employee overtime.

The ‘executive exemption’ is the most common duties exemption to overtime pay applied to managers, assistant managers, supervisors, team leaders, and shift leaders in Massachusetts. To satisfy the duties test for executive employees, an employer must prove the following:

  • an employee’s primary duty must be managing the enterprise, or a customarily recognized department or subdivision of the enterprise;

  • the employee must customarily and regularly direct the work of at least two or more other full-time employees or their equivalent; and

  • the employee must have the authority to hire or fire other employees, or the employee’s suggestions and recommendations as to the hiring, firing, advancement, promotion, or other change in status of other employees must be given significant weight.

All three of the duties test requirements and the salary test requirement must be satisfied in order for an employee to be disqualified from overtime pay under the executive employee exemption. If an employer cannot prove each of these elements as it relates to your duties, then you should be paid overtime.

Overview of Massachusetts Wrongful Termination Laws

Massachusetts employees generally work under one of two arrangements:

  1. Employment Contract: Under this arrangement, you would have entered into a contract for employment with your employer, which governs the working relationship. Both parties must comply with all provisions which typically include the duration, salary, performance requirements, bases for termination, and other conditions.

  2. At-Will Employees: If there is no contract, you are considered an “at-will” worker. Your employer can terminate you at any time, for almost any reason. Company cutbacks, layoffs, poor performance, and disciplinary issues are often cited as reasons for termination, all of which may be valid and legitimate or may be an attempt to legitimize a wrongful termination.

 

Under either employment arrangement, wrongful termination may be actionable under Federal or Massachusetts law if you were fired for such discriminatory reasons as:

  • Age;

  • Disability;

  • Sex, including pregnancy and similar medical conditions;

  • Color;

  • National origin;

  • Race;

  • Religion or creed;

  • Marital Status;

  • Sexual Orientation;

  • Gender Identity;

  • Criminal Record; or

  • Other characteristics as designated by law.

 

Retaliation and Wrongful Termination

Federal and Massachusetts law also protects you from being terminated in retaliation for engaging in certain protected activities, such as:

  • Asserting a legal right, such as filing a wage claim;

  • Refusing to engage in illegal activity at the request of your employer;

  • Cooperating in an investigation against your employer;

  • Filing a claim for harassment;

  • Requesting accommodations for religious purposes or a disability;

  • Filing a claim for workers’ compensation; or,

  • Other protected activities.

 

HAVE I BEEN UNLAWFULLY RETALIATED AGAINST AT WORK?

Generally speaking, workplace retaliation exists when an employer takes some sort of adverse action against an employee because that employee has done something. If you can establish that something you did caused your employer to take action against you, you may have a workplace retaliation claim.

 

IS ALL WORKPLACE RETALIATION ILLEGAL?

No. Workplace retaliation is only unlawful if the adverse action is taken because the employee engaged in a specific category of conduct known as protected activity. Complaining about a dress code is not a protected activity. Complaining about unpaid wages, not being paid overtime, unlawful discrimination, unlawful harassment, or unsafe working conditions is a protected activity. You can’t be fired for that. In fact, you can’t be disciplined or treated negatively in any way for challenging those types of things.  

 

AM I A WHISTLEBLOWER?

Practically speaking, a whistleblower is a word used to describe an employee who engages in protected activity. A whistleblower is not someone who complains about a dress code, for example, but is someone who complains about something he or she thinks is unlawful. You can’t be retaliated against by your employer for complaining about something you think is unlawful.

I’M EMPLOYED AT WILL. DOES THAT MATTER?

No. It is unlawful for employers to retaliate against an employee for engaging in protected activity, even one employed at will.

HOW DO I PROVE AN UNLAWFUL WORKPLACE RETALIATION CLAIM?

The strongest way to prove a workplace retaliation claim is through direct evidence. Direct evidence includes comments directed at you or about you that suggest your employer is reacting negatively to your protected activity.  Labeling you as a troublemaker, not a team player, or as having an attitude problem can amount to direct evidence of retaliatory intent. Another good way to prove your case is by showing that a small period of time elapsed between your protected activity and the retaliatory action.

WHAT DAMAGES ARE AWARDED FOR SUCCESSFUL WORKPLACE RETALIATION CLAIMS?

Your main forms of compensation, if you succeed on a workplace retaliation claim, are lost wages and compensation for emotional distress. You may also be entitled to punitive damages. You will also be entitled to compensation for attorneys’ fees you incur, even if you are represented on a contingent fee basis.

Additional Rights in a Wrongful Termination Claim

You have the option of removing your claims from the EEOC or MCAD and pursuing them in court. Again, you have the option of filing under state or federal law. If successful in your wrongful termination case, you may be able to recover:

  • Back and/or future pay;

  • Attorneys’ fees;

  • Punitive damages, where appropriate;

  • Damages for emotional distress; and,

  • Other amounts depending on the circumstances of your case.

 

You may also be entitled to the reinstatement of your former position, a promotion, or other remedies.

If you believe that you have been terminated, or are about to be terminated, for discriminatory reasons or in retaliation for engaging in protected activities, please call us for a free evaluation.


If you are involved in a dispute with your employer, your decision to hire an attorney or pursue the matter alone can directly impact whether your employment rights are ultimately protected. In most situations, the company, especially a large corporation, will have more resources than its employees. The company may have already legal counsel or will hire its own team of attorneys to help limit their exposure and reduce the risk of litigation. In these cases, you may need an employment lawyer who can protect your rights and improve your chances of filing a successful claim.

 

We are dedicated to defending employee rights in the workplace. Everyone deserves a safe work environment absent of discrimination. We represent a wide range of employment claims: from sexual harassment to wage disputes to wrongful termination. We assist our clients with issues arising from their exit plans, such as severance negotiations, non-disclosure agreements, and non-compete agreements.

As a boutique firm, we can offer cost-effective, flexible representation that adjusts to each client’s unique requirements. Our setting is ideal for understanding the personal objectives of our clients and the nuances of their cases.


Our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis in most employment cases, which means that you only pay a reasonable fee if we win your case. You won’t pay any upfront costs or consultation fees with our law firm at your side.

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