A term in a contract, even if clearly stated, does not guarantee that a court will enforce it when a dispute arises between the parties. A recent decision by the Appeals Court on the issue of rent acceleration clauses may substantially affect commercial landlords and tenants.
Earlier this year, the Massachusetts Superior Court held that the mere existence of an indemnification provision in a contract does not authorize the court to award attorney’s fees to the party that prevails in litigation. Instead, a clear and unambiguous “fee shifting provision” must be included in the contract before a court can require the losing party to pay the prevailing party’s fees.
Employers in Massachusetts should be aware of a recent case out of the Supreme Judicial Court that cautions employers to ensure that before terminating any employee, full payment is made for all unpaid wages on or before the date of termination. A failure to do so may subject the employer to multiple damages under the Massachusetts Wage Act.
Early last year, the Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed a controversial ruling that an employer could terminate an at-will employee for exercising the right to file a rebuttal in their personnel file. Employers should be aware that the Supreme Judicial Court has since reversed that ruling in Terence Meehan v. Medical Information Technology, Inc., protecting the rights of employees to file rebuttals without the threat of termination.
Employers should be aware of a new decision from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court that defines two key concepts concerning the Domestic Violence and Abuse Leave Act (aka “DVLA” or the “Act”). The Act prohibits employers from taking adverse action against employees who take time off to address issues arising from domestic violence or abuse. In the new decision, the Court clarifies the definition of an “employee” for the purposes of DVLA and confirms how employees may assert their rights under the Act.
Employer-employee relationships can be complicated, and sometimes strained relationships become liabilities that trigger lawsuits. This was certainly the scenario spurring a recent case, Governo Law Firm LLC v. Kendra Ann Bergeron & others. A group of employee attorneys from Governo Law Firm (“Governo”) stole firm-owned databases while still employed by the firm. They used those materials for their own benefit to start a competing law firm. This case teaches us some interesting things about liability under G.L. c 93A, §11— the Consumer Protection law that protects individuals and businesses from “unfair and deceptive” behavior in the marketplace.
A new decision from the Massachusetts Appeals Court has called into question the breadth and scope of an employee’s right to rebut negative information put into her personnel file by an employer.
Under G.L. c. 149, §52C, if an employee disagrees with the employer regarding negative information being added to her employee file, the employee has a statutory right to have her side of the story included in the file by way of a rebuttal. In doing so, the employee is able to protect herself by ensuring that the information contained in her file includes both sides of the dispute. On January 20, 2021, however, the Massachusetts Appeals Court held in Meehan v. Medical Info. Tech., Inc. that an employee may be fired for filing a rebuttal under the statute.
As businesses and executives accelerate their transition to a primarily online environment, a greater need has arisen to monitor one’s online reputation. A recent opinion by the Massachusetts Appeals Court warns that one must act quickly when that reputation is wrongfully maligned.
On May 6, 2020, the United States Department of Education released new regulations governing the application of Title IX, which prohibits discrimination based on sex in educational institutions. These regulations become effective on August 14, 2020. Although these regulations also govern the application of Title IX at elementary and secondary schools, this alert focuses on the impact in the college and university setting.
On January 14, 2020, the highest court in the Commonwealth held that, while a former shareholder and employee of a closely-held company breached a restrictive covenant with the company, the trial judge’s decision to extend the restrictive covenant beyond its plain terms was erroneous under the circumstances.
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- No Double Dipping: Putting the Brakes on Acceleration Clauses in Commercial LeasesJanuary 26, 2023 - 3:17 pm
- If You Want Your Attorney’s Fees and Costs of Litigation, Make Sure Your Contract Clearly Calls for ItOctober 5, 2022 - 3:24 pm
- Dot Your I’s and Cross Your T’s Before Terminating an EmployeeJune 27, 2022 - 11:20 am
- Employers Cannot Terminate Employees Merely For Filing a Rebuttal in Their Personnel FileFebruary 9, 2022 - 5:08 pm
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