Articles Posted in Labor & Employment Law

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Under the circumstances of this case, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 30, 46D did not provide Luis Spencer, who resigned under pressure as Commissioner of Correction, a right to revert to a tenured civil service correction officer position in last held in 1992. Spencer brought a complaint against the Civil Service Commission and the Department of Correction, seeking judicial review of the Commission’s decision concluding that the right to revert to a civil service position applies only to involuntary terminations, not voluntary resignations, and because Spencer voluntarily resigned, no “termination of his service” had occurred within the meaning of section 46D. The superior court affirmed the Commission’s decision. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding (1) the Commission’s interpretation of this ambiguous statutory language was reasonable; and (2) the Commission correctly concluded that Spencer’s resignation was voluntary. View "Spencer v. Civil Service Commission" on Justia Law

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Under the circumstances of this case, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 30, 46D did not provide Luis Spencer, who resigned under pressure as Commissioner of Correction, a right to revert to a tenured civil service correction officer position in last held in 1992. Spencer brought a complaint against the Civil Service Commission and the Department of Correction, seeking judicial review of the Commission’s decision concluding that the right to revert to a civil service position applies only to involuntary terminations, not voluntary resignations, and because Spencer voluntarily resigned, no “termination of his service” had occurred within the meaning of section 46D. The superior court affirmed the Commission’s decision. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding (1) the Commission’s interpretation of this ambiguous statutory language was reasonable; and (2) the Commission correctly concluded that Spencer’s resignation was voluntary. View "Spencer v. Civil Service Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the decision of the superior court affirming a determination by the Contributory Retirement Appeal Board (CRAB) that sick or vacation payments, when used to supplement workers’ compensation payments, are not “regular compensation” as defined in Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 32, 1. On appeal, the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission (PERAC) argued that CRAB erred in determining that the supplemental pay received pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 152, 69 does not constitute “regular compensation” as defined in Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 32, 1 when received in conjunction with workers’ compensation. The Supreme Judicial Court disagreed, holding that CRAB’s decision was not incorrect as a matter of law. View "Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission v. Contributory Retirement Appeal Board" on Justia Law

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The bus drivers in this case were not entitled to overtime payment because their employer was licensed and regulated pursuant to the common carrier statute. Plaintiff-bus drivers worked for Eastern Bus Company. Eastern Bus provided charter service, for which it must hold a license under the common carrier statute, and transportation of school students between home and school, which does not constitute charter service. The bus drivers, who performed both of these services, claimed that they were entitled to overtime payment because, among other things, the exemption to the Massachusetts overtime statute (see Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 151, 1A(11)) only applied during the hours Eastern Bus was providing charter service. The superior court concluded that Eastern Bus did not enjoy “a blanket exemption” for all employees, regardless of the particular duties they perform, that the overtime exemption did not apply, and that Plaintiffs were entitled to summary judgment on their claim for overtime wages. The Supreme Judicial Court reversed, holding that the bus drivers were not entitled to overtime payment because their employer was licensed and regulated pursuant to the common carrier statute. View "Casseus v. Eastern Bus Company, Inc." on Justia Law

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Payment for accrued, unused sick time (sick pay) does not count as “wages” under the Wage Act, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, sections 148, 150. The superior court allowed Plaintiff’s motion for judgment on the pleadings in this case alleging that Defendant, Plaintiff’s former employer, failed to timely compensate Plaintiff for his accrued, unused sick time under the Act. The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment and remanded the matter to the superior court, holding (1) the Act does not encompass sick pay; and (2) therefore, Defendant did not violate the Act by failing to compensate Plaintiff for his accrued, unused sick time within the time frame mandated by the Act. View "Mui v. Massachusetts Port Authority" on Justia Law

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Payment for accrued, unused sick time (sick pay) does not count as “wages” under the Wage Act, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, sections 148, 150. The superior court allowed Plaintiff’s motion for judgment on the pleadings in this case alleging that Defendant, Plaintiff’s former employer, failed to timely compensate Plaintiff for his accrued, unused sick time under the Act. The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment and remanded the matter to the superior court, holding (1) the Act does not encompass sick pay; and (2) therefore, Defendant did not violate the Act by failing to compensate Plaintiff for his accrued, unused sick time within the time frame mandated by the Act. View "Mui v. Massachusetts Port Authority" on Justia Law

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After the dissolution of Gentix, a biotech research company established as a Delaware LLC with headquarters in Boston, Johnson and Rose, former Gentix board members and investors were found personally liable under G. L. c. 149, 148 (Wage Act), for failing to pay wages owed to the former president of Genitrix, Segal. On direct appellate review, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court reversed, concluding that the Wage Act does not impose personal liability on board members, acting only in their capacity as board members, or investors engaged in ordinary investment activity. To impose such liability, the statute requires that the defendants be "officers or agents having the management" of a company, G. L. c. 149, 148. The defendants were not designated as company officers and had limited agency authority. The only officer having the management of the company was the plaintiff, not the defendants. View "Segal v. Genitrix, LLC" on Justia Law

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A patient who qualifies for the medical use of marijuana and has been terminated from her employment because she tested positive for marijuana as a result of her lawful medical use of marijuana may seek a civil remedy against her employer through claims of handicap discrimination in violation of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 151B. The Supreme Judicial Court thus reversed the dismissal of Plaintiff’s claim for handicap discrimination and related claims under chapter 151B but affirmed the allowance of the motion to dismiss as to the counts claiming an implied private cause of action under the medical marijuana act and wrongful termination in violation of public policy, holding that there is no implied statutory private cause of action under the medical marijuana act and that Plaintiff failed to state a claim for wrongful termination in violation of public policy. View "Barbuto v. Advantage Sales & Marketing, LLC" on Justia Law

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It was not appropriate to vacate the arbitration award in this case concerning the termination of a police officer. The City of Boston terminated David Williams, a Boston police officer, for using a choke hold in arrested an unarmed suspect for disorderly conduct and making false statements in a departmental investigation. An arbitrator found no underlying misconduct on the part of the officer and ruled that the City of Boston lacked just cause to terminate the officer and ordered his reinstatement. The City filed a complaint seeking to vacate the arbitrator’s award. The superior court dismissed the complaint. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that it was not appropriate to vacate the arbitration award where the award neither exceeded the arbitrator’s authority nor violated public policy and where no underlying misconduct was found. View "City of Boston v. Boston Police Patrolmen's Association" on Justia Law

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Under Massachusetts law, statutory prejudgment interest pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 231, 6H shall be added to the amount of lost wages and other benefits awarded as damages pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, 150 but shall not be added to the additional amount of the award arising from trebling of those damages as liquidated damages. The Supreme Judicial Court answered a question certified to it by the United State District Court for the District of Massachusetts regarding available statutory interest when liquidated treble damages are awarded pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, 150. This case was brought by several employees of Defendant in a class action suit against the company and its parent company. The plaintiffs alleged, among other claims, nonpayment of wages in violation of the Massachusetts Wage Act, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, 148, 150. The federal district judge granted final approval of a class settlement agreement that resolved all outstanding issues except a question of law necessitating the certified question. View "George v. National Water Main Cleaning Co." on Justia Law