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Following are a few reminders from the Massachusetts Appeals Court in an employment discrimination case, Scarlett v. City of Boston, out last week on how a case should be analyzed at summary judgment, particularly where the employer's reasons given for the termination are demonstrated to be false. 

Summary judgment is a critical stage in any civil case. If a judge grants an employer's motion for s...

November 28, 2017

A 2013 lawsuit filed by a former high level employee of the Plymouth County District Attorney's Office recently settled and made it into the news. The case provides yet another example of how an employment law case can play out, so I wanted to write up some of the particular facts here for those employees who are looking to understand how employment litigation works. 

A former Assistant District A...

November 1, 2016

I've been speaking with a lot of people recently who have been subject to retaliation resulting from their whistle-blowing activities. The question of whether there are legal protections for that whistle-blowing activity, and against the resulting retaliation, is, like many employment law matters, complicated.

While employees in the private sector have some range of specific protections in this re...

September 13, 2016

A new case out of the Second Circuit (the federal Appeals Court in the New York-Connecticut region), Vasquez v. Empress Ambulance Serv., Inc., provides an example of a modern-day sexual harassment case as well as the further development of a doctrine called -- somewhat interestingly, for lawyers -- "the cat's paw."

The Court summarizes the facts of what happened to Ms. Andrea Vasquez (some additio...

August 10, 2016

A recent study published in Harvard Business Review found that "neutral" layoff policies can disproportionately affect women and people of color.

Sociology professors Alexandra Kalev and Frank Dobbin studied 800 U.S. companies. They found that when organizations needed to layoff workers and did so by cutting positions -- as opposed to by evaluating individual workers -- the result was "...

July 1, 2016

One year ago, on July 1, 2015, the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law went into effect. As of July 1, 2015 (or if you started work after that, on your first date of work) Massachusetts employees began to earn sick time. The law mandates that an employee can earn up to 40 hours in a year. And once earned (or "accrued") an employee must be able to use those earned hours for certain purposes. T...

January 1, 2015

The facts relating to the wrongful termination of Mr. Fernandes from the Attleboro Housing Authority are unfortunately common -- and also pretty simple.  Mr. Fernandes filed a “Non-Payment of Wage and Workplace Complaint Form” with the Attorney General's Office alleging he was being underpaid in his position. He then told his supervisor that he filed the complaint and requested certain pay records. On...

December 16, 2014

Since the drafting of the US Constitution, the intersection of religion, constitutional rights and civil legal obligations has been a source of tension. These issues recently came to a head in an employment case out of Fontbonne Academy in Milton.

Fontbonne, a Catholic high school for girls, unwittingly agreed to hire a gay man, Mr. Barrett, as its food service director. Mr. Barrett was married, and wh...

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