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Massachusetts Employers Must Distribute Paid Leave Notice By May 31, 2019

As the Department of Family and Medical Leave (“DFML”) prepares to issue final regulations in coming months, the Commonwealth has begun posting a number of documents to assist employers and workers prepare for the new Paid Family and Medical Leave (“PMFL” Law), including summary guides of the PFML law (one directed at employers and one … Continue Reading

Massachusetts SJC Weighs in on Wage Act Class Actions and Offers of Judgment

On Friday April 12, 2019, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court confirmed that plaintiffs seeking to bring class actions asserting Massachusetts Wage Act (“Wage Act”) violations must meet the certification standards set by Massachusetts Rule of Civil Procedure 23 (“Rule 23”), and cannot avail themselves of a lower bar to class certification. In Gammella v. P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, … Continue Reading

New Updates to Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave: Preparing for July 1st

Clock and calendarPaid Family and Medical Leave is on its way to Massachusetts.  In its latest update, the Commonwealth’s Department of Family and Medical Leave (“DFML”) published proposed regulations on March 29, 2019 for public comment.  After the next round of revisions, the final Paid Family Medical Leave (“PFML”) regulations will become effective July 1, 2019.  The … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court OK’s Attorneys’ Fees for Wage Act Settlements

As has been long anticipated, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently gave a green light to plaintiffs’ attorneys seeking a fee award under the Commonwealth’s Payment of Wages Act, even where an action ends in settlement.  The Wage Act (Mass. General Laws ch. 149 §§ 148, 150) awards costs and fees when an employee “prevails” … Continue Reading

Massachusetts SJC Holds Employers’ Denials of Lateral Transfers May Be Adverse Actions in Discrimination Cases

Massachusetts employers’ decision-making processes with regards to lateral, internal employee transfers are now subject to possible state law discrimination claims.  On January 29, 2019, the SJC issued its decision in Yee v. Massachusetts State Police, SCJ-12485, holding that when two jobs at the same level for the same employer offer “material differences” in compensation opportunity, … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Releases Draft Regulations For Paid Family and Medical Leave Law

Leave of absence formOn January 23, 2019, Massachusetts released draft regulations on the Paid Family and Medical Leave (“PFML”) Law, signed into law last summer (as previously discussed here) and set to begin taking effect this upcoming July.  The Department of Family and Medical Leave released these draft regulations for public comment only, with the deadline for publication … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Passes Non-Compete Reform Law

On August 10, 2018, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed into law a bill making significant reforms to Massachusetts’ law regarding non-compete agreements, as well as adopting the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (“UTSA”) (joining 48 other states as well as DC in adopting the UTSA at least in part, and leaving New York as the lone … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Governor Signs Minimum Wage, Family and Medical Leave Bill

Paying WagesOn June 28, 2018, Governor Charlie Baker signed “An Act Relative to Minimum Wage, Paid Family Medical Leave, and the Sales Tax Holiday” (HB 4640) into law. Last week, we covered three major changes the Act makes to Massachusetts law that employers should be aware of (available here). In short, the Act incrementally increases minimum … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Legislature Passes Compromise Bill Increasing Minimum Wage, Establishing Paid Family and Medical Leave

On June 20, 2018, the Massachusetts legislature passed House Bill 4640, “An Act Relative to Minimum Wage, Paid Family Medical Leave, and the Sales Tax Holiday.” The bill increases minimum wage, eliminates premium Sunday pay for retail workers, and establishes a state paid family and medical leave insurance program. The bill also creates an annual … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Modifies “Ban the Box” Law

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker recently signed Senate Bill No. 2371, “An Act Relative to Criminal Justice Reform,” into law. The law will go into effect October 13, 2018.  Among the Act’s extensive criminal justice reform provisions are several important modifications to the “Ban the Box” anti-discrimination laws, outlined below, which will further restrict Massachusetts employers’ … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Attorney General Issues Guidance on Updated Pay Equity Law

The Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General recently issued guidance on the new amendments to the Massachusetts Equal Pay Act (“MEPA”), effective July 1, 2018. Although the guidance is extremely detailed and should be reviewed in full, employers should take note of the following details: Coverage The MEPA and amendments are substantial in scope, covering … Continue Reading

Are You Prepared for the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act to Go Into Effect on April 1?

As the April 1, 2018 effective date of the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (“MPWFA”) draws near, it is time to ensure that company policies and practices are in compliance with the new law. Within the last few months, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (“MCAD”) has issued interpretative guidance (including initial guidance issued January 23, … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Becomes Law

On July 27, 2017 Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed into law the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (“MPWFA”), a bill which had unanimously passed in both the House and Senate. As discussed previously, the MPWFA (formerly H. 3816) ensures that pregnant workers or workers with pregnancy-related conditions (such as nursing) receive reasonable accommodations and protection … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Senate Passes Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

The Massachusetts Senate has unanimously voted to pass “An Act Establishing the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act” (“MPWFA”) in an effort to make sure that pregnant and nursing employees receive the same protections under Mass. Gen. Laws Chapter 151B as do other protected classes of employees. The bill, which had previously unanimously passed in the … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Paid Sick Leave: New Regulations

The Massachusetts Attorney General recently released final regulations clarifying the Earned Sick Time law, a ballot initiative that passed in November 2014 guaranteeing employees paid sick leave. As discussed in our previous post on the new law, beginning July 1, 2015, employers with more than 11 employees must allow their employees to accrue 1 hour … Continue Reading

Employee Gripe Apps: Should Companies Be Concerned?

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article by Lindsay Gellman on a new app by Collectively that allows users to post anonymous reviews of and complaints about their employers.  The app is cheekily called “getthememo.”  According to the article, Collectively’s mission is to create a space for workers “to speak freely about what’s happening … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Governor Signs Parental Leave Bill

On January 7, 2015, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law a Parental Leave bill, which significantly amends Mass. Gen. L. ch. 149, section 105D.  Before the amendment, the Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act (“MMLA”) provided eight weeks of job-protected leave to female employees for the birth or adoption of a child. Now, however, among other expansive … Continue Reading

No End In Sight For Wave of Paid Family and Sick Leave Laws

Employers have been scrambling to keep up with the multitude of paid sick leave laws that were passed in the last several years.  These laws vary by jurisdiction and often can’t be easily reconciled into a uniform policy — an issue for multi-state employers.  As reported in today’s New York Times, President Obama is asking … Continue Reading

EEOC Wellness Program Suits Highlight Need for Agency Guidance

The EEOC has been pursuing litigation against wellness programs of late, arguing that certain health plan penalties render participation in wellness program health screens “involuntary” and thus violate Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits medical exams unless they are  voluntary or  are job-related and consistent with business necessity.  (See recent blog post about this.)  Senate Republicans rightly criticized the EEOC general counsel … Continue Reading

Massachusetts AG Advises on Domestic Violence Leave Act

Leave of absence formThe Massachusetts Attorney General recently issued an Advisory regarding the new Domestic Violence Leave Act, which was passed on August 8, 2014. The Advisory helped to clarify some of the requirements of the Act: Because the Act broadly states that it applies to employers with 50 or more employees, it was previously unclear whether the … Continue Reading

Gender Pay Gap – What Are Companies Doing?

It is no secret to our readers that the EEOC and the OFCCP have prioritized compensation discrimination issues as an enforcement priority.  The general public, and hence employees, are also keenly aware of pay discrimination issues.  From Sheryl Sandberg’s and Nell Scovell’s “Lean In” book and “Lean In Circles” to the John Oliver skit on the … Continue Reading
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