Employment

Most of us seem to spend the majority of our waking hours engaged in some form of work for money. Employers have certain obligations to their employees, and employees have particular rights that employers must respect.

The employment life stage incorporates the legal issues that employees and employers face, from maternity and paternity leave, to discrimination, to employee handbooks, and more. Please review the list below and watch the videos, then contact one of our employment law attorneys for assistance with your particular situation.

Discrimination

Everyone knows that the law prohibits discrimination based on sex, age, religion, or ethnicity, but there are many other areas that can be troublesome for an employer. Before you make a decision about such things as who can and cannot take leave to care for a sick or disabled loved one, or what is or is not a reasonable accommodation, it's a good idea to consult with an employment law attorney.

Employee handbooks

There are constant and ongoing changes occurring within employment law. These changes can result from many sources including the legislature, various regulatory agencies, and court cases. To avoid litigation, your company's policies and procedures should reflect the latest state of the law. A comprehensive employee manual is a great way to start, but if you fail to regularly update that manual to reflect the current laws and standards, it isn't worth much. A company audit is an ideal way to ensure that you are in full compliance. Our attorneys can help you protect your business by keeping you apprised of current employment law.

Employment policies and procedures

In addition to your employee handbook, it is important to have written policies in place that address issues such as sexual harassment restrictions, as well as email and Internet use. Bacon Wilson provides legal advice in these areas.

Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) clarification

Many expectant parents have questions about how much leave they are entitled to after the arrival of a new child. The laws are different for expectant mothers and fathers. Depending on the employer, some expectant fathers may be unable to take paternity leave when their child is born. Conversely, depending on the employer, expectant mothers may be able to take up to twenty (20) weeks of leave under State and Federal Law.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides for twelve (12) weeks of leave, regardless of the gender of the employee, for the birth and care of a newborn child, care for a newly adopted or foster child, or leave for a serious illness to the employee. Leave can be for paternity, maternity, or specific personal health reasons, depending on the needs of the employee. But there are conditions that apply to the family and medical leave. Our lawyers can help clarify them for you.

Harassment

Massachusetts law may hold employers liable for harassment or retaliation, be it sexual harassment or for other reasons, even if it was not a supervisor who engaged in prohibited activity. If a supervisor or a managerial employee learns that a worker is being harassed by another employee, it is imperative that immediate remedial steps are taken to avoid liability. It is a good idea to consult with an employment law attorney to avoid problems.

Negligent hiring prevention/defense

An employer may be held liable for an intentional or illegal act committed by his employee. The employer's knowledge of past acts of impropriety, violence, or disorder by an employee may be sufficient to forewarn the employer that the employee may engage in future wrongful conduct. Bacon Wilson can help counsel you in hiring responsibly and what to do if you find yourself the target of a negligent hiring suit.

Non-competition agreements

Many companies find it necessary to have agreements with employees that protect against competition and the use of company trade secrets by departing employees. The laws regarding enforceability of these agreements are complicated. Bacon Wilson can offer you legal counsel in this matter.

Severance agreements

There are two primary goals of employers in offering severance packages to employees: first, extending fairness and compensation to longer-term employees and second, reducing the employer's exposure to potential liability in a lawsuit or administrative claim. Severance packages are complicated and best offered under the direction of an employment law attorney.

Termination

It is inevitable that there are times when an employer will have to perform the unpleasant task of firing one or more employees. With a little preparation, termination can be handled in a manner that minimizes an employer's potential liability. Our legal team can provide assistance with termination situations.

Wage and Hour

The way employers compensate their employees and account for their time has become a crucial issue for companies. With an increase in the penalties that courts are awarding, in addition to unpaid wages, interest, and attorneys' fees, complete compliance is essential, as penalties could be exponential. Our employment law practice group has significant experience in representing employers and employees in wage and hour claims to help you, including:

  • Defending employers in individual and class action litigation brought by private plaintiffs
  • Representing employers in disputes with governmental agencies
  • Auditing pay policies to ensure compliance with state and federal regulations
  • Advising employers in the administration of day-to-day payroll processing disputes
  • Representing Plaintiffs in actions against employers for failure to properly pay wages.

Our unique position of being capable of representing both employers and employees provides you with invaluable experience in the field of wage and hour law.

Worker's Compensation

If you have been injured on the job, or if you are an employer with an injured employee, you likely need assistance navigating the complex regulations surrounding worker’s compensation in Massachusetts. The Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) oversees the dispute process between employers and employees. Whether you need assistance with filing a claim, dealing with an insurer, conciliation, conference, hearing, or appeal to a review board, Bacon Wilson’s team of expert employment law attorneys can guide you and help you reach a satisfying resolution.

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