If You Want Your Attorney’s Fees and Costs of Litigation, Make Sure Your Contract Clearly Calls for It

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.

Fall 2022 Newsletter

Dot Your I’s and Cross Your T’s Before Terminating an Employee

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.

June 2022 Newsletter

Employers Cannot Terminate Employees Merely For Filing a Rebuttal in Their Personnel File

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.

February 2022 Newsletter

Domestic Violence Leave Statute Allows Time Off for Brand New Employees

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.

October 2021 Newsletter

 

Can Employee Actions Trigger Unexpected Liabilities?

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.

June 2021 Newsletter

Can An Employee Be Fired For Rebutting A Negative Review? Maybe.

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.

February 2021 Newsletter

Protecting Your Business’ Reputation on the Internet

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.

October 2020 Newsletter

Understanding the New Regulations Governing Title IX for Colleges and Universities

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.

June 2020 Newsletter

Supreme Judicial Court Prohibits Extension Of Non-Solicit Period In Lieu of Awarding Damages

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.

February 2020 Newsletter

Employers Must Be Cautious When Taking Action Against Employees Who Vacation While on Medical Leave

Can a Massachusetts employer fire an employee who is on authorized medical leave but uses some of the time off to go on vacation? Not without risk. A recent case from the Supreme Judicial Court warns that employers must be cautious when dealing with employees whom they suspect to be abusing their medical leave benefits.

September 2019 Newsletter