Depending on your perspective, the Supreme Court’s decision yesterday in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis provided much-needed certainty to employers or dealt a serious blow to employees. The vote was 5 to 4, and the Court’s newest justice, Neil Gorsuch, authored majority decision joined by the so-called conservative justices. That
Massachusetts Bill Aims to Bar Waivers of Rights Related to Harassment, Discrimination, and Wage and Hour Claims in Employment Contracts
Waivers of rights arising from harassment and discrimination claims and disputes over wages and benefits may not be enforceable in Massachusetts for much longer.
The First Circuit has recognized for the first time that sexual orientation can be the “plus” in a “sex-plus” discrimination case. The facts upon which a Rhode Island federal district court jury (and ultimately the First Circuit) found gender discrimination premised on the “sex-plus” theory are vile. The plaintiff, a
With all that is in the news recently about the alleged sexual harassment and sexual assaults perpetrated by Harvey Weinstein, and more perpetrators being identified weekly, our attention has been (or should be) re-focused on what employers can and should do to identify and respond to employee complaints of sexual
On July 27, 2017, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (the “PWFA”) into law. Massachusetts joined twenty-one states and Washington D.C. in providing protections to pregnant workers. The PWFA supplements Massachusetts employment discrimination law, by adding pregnant employees and employees with pregnancy-related medical conditions (including breastfeeding)
In a groundbreaking decision, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals extended Title VII protections against sex discrimination to LGBT plaintiffs. Prior to this decision, the provision prohibiting discrimination based on sex was narrowly interpreted and did not extend to issues of sexual orientation. In a decision earlier this week the court expanded the provision of
On November 8, 2016, Massachusetts voters approved Question 4 to legalize the possession and recreational use of marijuana. The ballot initiative passed by a 53.6% to 46.4% margin. The law comes into effect quickly: recreational use and possession of marijuana will be legal for adults 21 years old or older on December 15, 2016 while
On July 6, 2016, Governor Charles D. Baker signed into law Senate Bill 2407: An Act relative to transgender anti-discrimination, codified at G.L. c. 272 §§ 92, 92A, and 98. Effective October 1, 2016, this new law formally prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity in places of public accommodation. Gender identity is now
Retaliation is now the most frequently alleged basis of discrimination. The number of retaliation claims has doubled since 1998. In fiscal year 2015, retaliation accounted for nearly 45% of the claims the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received. Despite this, the Commission had not revised its guidance on retaliation since it was first issued in 1998.