On August 8, 2014, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed into law a far-reaching Act designed to combat the problems of domestic violence. Notably, the Act became effective immediately upon the Governor signing it into law. Though the Act is tailored largely toward law enforcement programs and training, as well as increased penalties for criminal acts of violence, it also includes a provision requiring certain private employers to provide employees who are affected by domestic violence with up to fifteen (15) days of job-protected leave.

The requirements of the new domestic violence leave law are similar to requirements of laws providing job-protected leave for other purposes, such as the Family Medical Leave Act or Small Necessities Leave Act. Important features of the new law include:

  • The law applies to employers with 50 or more employees;
  • The law affords fifteen (15) days of leave within a twelve (12)-month period to employees who are personally the victim of domestic violence or have a family member who is a victim;
  • The leave may be paid or unpaid, at the employer’s discretion;
  • Employees may be required to exhaust any available vacation, personal or sick leave before being granted domestic violence leave;
  • Employers may require advance notice of the need for leave unless the employee is in imminent danger, in which case he/she may provide notice within three working days after taking leave;
  • Employers may require employees taking domestic violence leave to provide documentation of the abuse; however, employers cannot require employees to submit evidence of an arrest, conviction, or other law enforcement document;
  • Employers must keep all information in their possession concerning an employee’s request for domestic violence leave strictly confidential; and
  • Employers must notify all employees of their right to take domestic violence leave under the Act.

To date, no regulations have been issued, and the Attorney General’s office has not issued any interpretive guidance. Massachusetts employers who may be covered by the Act should consult with counsel immediately to ensure they are in compliance.

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Photo of Scott Faust Scott Faust

Scott A. Faust is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department, co-head of the Strategic Corporate Planning Group and a member of the Labor-Management Relations Group. He focuses his practice on all aspects of labor and employment law, and regularly handles…

Scott A. Faust is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department, co-head of the Strategic Corporate Planning Group and a member of the Labor-Management Relations Group. He focuses his practice on all aspects of labor and employment law, and regularly handles collective bargaining negotiations, arbitration, mediation, counseling and litigation of labor and employment disputes on behalf of his clients.

Labor-Management Relations

Scott represents employers in collective bargaining negotiations, grievance arbitrations, union organizing campaigns, work stoppages, labor injunction proceedings and proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board. He also has extensive experience advising distressed companies and their creditors, as well as buyers and sellers involved in M&A transactions in labor-intensive industries. Scott has negotiated numerous collective bargaining agreements with the United Steelworkers in more than a dozen U.S. states as well as in Canada. He also has negotiated agreements with the United Auto Workers, Canadian Auto Workers, SEIU, Teamsters, Machinists, Operating Engineers, Carpenters, Painters, United Plant Guard Workers, Electrical Workers, Sheet Metal Workers, Chemical Workers, Food and Commercial Workers, Massachusetts Nurses Association and Typographers unions.

Employment Litigation and Counseling

Scott represents employers in labor and employment disputes in state and federal courts and administrative agencies, as well as in mediation and arbitration. Cases he has handled include matters involving wrongful discharge, ERISA, employment discrimination, related employment torts, enforcement of and challenges to non-competition agreements, and administrative proceedings before state and federal agencies. He has litigated cases in state and federal courts in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Utah, Colorado and North Carolina, including appeals to the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the First and Tenth Circuits.  He also provides day-to-day counseling on general employment matters, including equal employment opportunity and discrimination issues, development of employment policies, workplace restructuring, and employment law compliance.

Thought Leadership

Scott has published articles and given recent presentations on such subjects as Labor and Employee Benefits Issues in Corporate TransactionsIssues and Opportunities in Labor Intensive M&A TransactionsTrends in Private Sector Collective BargainingElectronic Workplace Monitoring and SurveillanceDuty to Provide Information in BargainingNLRA Compliance Issues, and Strikes in the Health Care Industry. Scott has been ranked in Chambers USA as a leader in labor and employment law.