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MA Employment Law (Workplace/Coworkers) Questions and Answers

Welcome to our Massachusetts Employment Law Forum. Feel free to post questions, answers, or comments about hiring, firing, workplace policies, and other MA employment and labor law issues.  If you need professional legal advice, please use our Attorney Directory to find a MA employment attorney.

Have a question? Use our SEARCH feature, below, to find your answer.  For example, if you have a question about employee rights under MA law, simply enter one or two key words, such as: employee rights

Massachusetts Employment Law Basics

Before we get to the forum, we’d like to present some basic information about employment law in Massachusetts. As with some of the other topics covered in our various forums, employment law is a very broad subject that involves many topics, including wages, overtime, child labor laws, employee rights, and employment discrimination. As you read this synopsis, if you see terms you do not understand or that you would like more information about, just use our search tool to find more in-depth discussions.

The first broad area of labor and employment law, perhaps the one that is of interest to the greatest number of our readers, is employee rights regarding wages and time worked. If you use our search tool, you will find many questions and answers dealing with overtime pay, the minimum wage, tips, holiday pay, meal breaks, etc. Those who live and work in Massachusetts can also avail themselves of many government sponsored resources. There are numerous government websites dealing with employee rights, and the Attorney General has a Hotline that MA residents can call to get information about their rights on the job. (617-727-3465).

In other threads on this forum, readers will find detailed discussions on the difference between at-will employment and contract employment, and how those two broad categories of employment are treated differently under MA law. This is a key distinction because, with many exceptions (also discussed in the forum) employers are free to terminate at will employees for any legal and non-discriminatory reason. Contract and union employees, on the other hand, can only be terminated for certain, specified reasons.

Finally, readers will find a good deal of information about various types of employment discrimination. It is common for workers in Massachusetts to believe they have been treated unfairly, or even fired, because of their age, ethnicity, gender, or just because they did or refused to do something on the job. Believing you have been treated unfairly, however, and actually proving in a court that your employer violated the law are two very different things. Hopefully, readers will find sufficient information on these pages to help them assess their situation and determine whether they should contact an attorney.

Good luck in your search for legal information, and please let us know what you think about The Forum.

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TopicRepliesCreatedLast replysort icon
2nd Offense DUI on CORI Report after 5 years - why?
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1 3 days 18 hours ago
by OwnWorstEnemy
23 hours 26 min ago
by dmowens
Can a Ma Employer Force Time off
Can an employer force time off to an employee if the employee Voluntarily Surrenders unused vacation time back to company and it is past the posted de...
1 1 day 1 hour ago
by anon2
1 day 13 min ago
by dmowens
FMLA - Military Leave Act
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2 5 days 2 hours ago
by chandraanne
4 days 3 hours ago
by Jack
part time student waiter told I must work major holidays
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1 2 weeks 6 days ago
by lrgcindy
1 week 1 hour ago
by dmowens
Pay wage issue
I've worked at a restaurant for 6 years now. Leaving briefly to have a child. Upon returning, I was rehired, and was told I was at my previous rate. I...
1 2 weeks 1 day ago
by Dclrkbos
1 week 4 days ago
by dmowens
Staffing agency is would not pay me for Labor Day Holiday.
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1 4 weeks 4 days ago
by lazulfila
3 weeks 10 min ago
by dmowens
Over worked under paid
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1 3 weeks 1 day ago
by Legendz413
3 weeks 19 min ago
by dmowens
Lunch Requirements for meal break....
I have recently been told by my employer that even if i choose to work without taking a 30 minute lunch i would still have to punch out for 30 mins. b...
2 4 years 14 weeks ago
by JustLa
4 weeks 3 days ago
by Cheffy54
Product Fees for Employees
I worked as a hairdresser in a salon that charged employees a 10% product usage fee. This fee was used to help cover the costs of business supplies su...
0 4 weeks 6 days ago
by kblevins019
Termination, final pay, accrued vacation and commissions
I was terminated from my job on 8/20. The next day I received my normal bi-weekly paycheck which paid me up until 8/16. Since then I have not gotten a...
0 5 weeks 6 hours ago
by Smilingdingo
Travel Time between locations
I do security work in Framingham for my regular work place and sometimes my employer has me work in either Canton or Northborough. Sometimes it is for...
0 5 weeks 6 days ago
by GenericScreenName101
Employee Rights when leaving shift
Within several months I have been told as my scheduled shift was ending that I "was not allowed to leave". Understanding that certain projects and tas...
0 6 weeks 6 hours ago
by 413robinson
Employer Overpaid but questionable on repayment
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0 7 weeks 2 days ago
by Mare0175
On Call pay difference between employees
When hired I was told I would get on-call pay of 50.00 a week. Several years later I found out that others in my department were getting 150.00 a wee...
0 7 weeks 5 days ago
by Murphy321
Are salary restraunt managers elligable for breaks in mass
0 8 weeks 2 days ago
by shine
SIgn on bonus payback if leave question
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0 8 weeks 4 days ago
by December1973
Maximum time a job can require you to give notice before leaving
I am leaving an employer whose contract states that I am required to give 6 months of notice, which seems excessive. Are they allowed to require su...
0 9 weeks 5 days ago
by hocuspocus
property management
I work for a very wealthy family in mass. My job is property management, security and pretty much whatever they ask. Currently they have me employed a...
1 10 weeks 3 days ago
by Captaincheeks
10 weeks 1 day ago
by Kevin M. Kinne
Hospital Closure and accrued sick benefit
I have accrued sick time (142 hours) and the Hospital I was employed for is closing. This time was accrued when I was a full time employee. I had be...
0 10 weeks 5 days ago
by marley_dog
Decrease in pay notification on start of employment.
I accepted an employment offer and received a confirmation and start date. I payed to move across the country and am now trying to get a mortgage. I u...
0 10 weeks 6 days ago
by smlrwd
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0 11 weeks 4 days ago
by J007160
All pay from pay period pushed back to next paycheck.
Hello, I am a student employee working for a state university. Yesterday I heard that I may not be receiving a paycheck tomorrow (Friday, July 17) f...
0 11 weeks 4 days ago
by BrianSS
Overtime Pay Commission
If you work and you get paid hourly wage but you also sell gym memberships and receive a commission on the memberships you sell. Do you get paid over...
0 12 weeks 20 hours ago
by questionsoflaw
getting a raise in workplace
I was diagnosed with a rare condition and have had two different short term disabilities. i am always on time for work but in my review i was told i ...
0 12 weeks 4 days ago
by emilyaransky
Having surgery
I started my job 3 weeks ago and just found out I might be having surgery in a few months. Can I be fired?
0 12 weeks 5 days ago
by Daviles73
Employee has two black eyes and works in the public eye
We have an employee who works at our front desk. She recently notified that she's been injured and has two black eyes. We do not want her working the...
0 13 weeks 1 day ago
by Creed
Hours Cut Without Being Told
Hello there. I have worked at my job for over a year and a half and for that time I have always worked alone (cleaning). Since i started, I was schedu...
0 13 weeks 4 days ago
by SaiyanPrince
MA Labor Question
I work in a Hospital where all employees fill out time cards. One department manager is installing an automated "punch clock" system. Is it legal for...
0 13 weeks 6 days ago
by John Gomes
Boss embarrassed me twice
My boss has twice now reprimanded me in front of other employees . This has embarrassed me and humiliated me. Are they allowed to do this ? The 1st ti...
0 14 weeks 8 hours ago
by AmiRoii
Being charged for damage due to faulty equipment
At work we have a freezer for frozen food. The refrigerator has had a broken shelf for years that prevents the door from closing completely and custom...
0 14 weeks 3 days ago
by areteIII
Restaurant Salaried Employees
I was a salaried restaurant manager. The restaurant went out of business and closed (Friday June 19th) five days after notifying the staff (Sunday Jum...
0 14 weeks 4 days ago
by map1120
employer disciplining employees for things from 5 years ago
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0 14 weeks 6 days ago
by phillypcp
Fired for hospital visits?
I have been hospitalized twice in the last 2 months for an illness for a week at a time. I have not worked at the company long enough to file for FMLA...
0 15 weeks 1 day ago
by Pari40
my boss doesn't want to pay me for all time that i work
I work in a dr.s office in Massachusetts. We open at 8:30, but I am required to be there 10 to 15 minutes early to turn on all of the equipment and se...
3 2 years 18 weeks ago
by kelanor
17 weeks 5 days ago
by shannandunn
Employer Threatening
My boss told us today if anyone calls in sick next week, he will investigate them . He is saying this because we have a inspection next week from Feds...
2 2 years 30 weeks ago
by Ami Roi
18 weeks 3 days ago
by Ami Roi
Legal to contact new employer about two week notice?
My friend decided to change jobs after being treated poorly at the current place of work. When he got a new job he gave a verbal notice of two and a ...
0 18 weeks 6 days ago
by criddle3
Salary worker
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1 20 weeks 1 day ago
by Miguelomi
18 weeks 6 days ago
by Alan D. Meyerson
unfair unemployment decisions
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1 3 years 30 weeks ago
by kevinjamescerce...
19 weeks 4 hours ago
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Termination of At Will Employee, working remotely, and Payment of final paycheck
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1 20 weeks 4 hours ago
by Serafina
19 weeks 4 hours ago
by Alan D. Meyerson
Threats from an ex coworker, just recently fired.
A Co worker recently fired believes it was me who was responsible for her firing. she and her sister are now sending me harassing, threatening texts o...
1 19 weeks 1 day ago
by jesamel
19 weeks 4 hours ago
by Alan D. Meyerson
constract law
6 years ago, I agreed to change position in my job. Principal to teacher. One of the agreed points was a letter of recommendation from the supt and ...
0 19 weeks 5 days ago
by ralph slavik
Not paid overtime for training?
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0 20 weeks 4 days ago
by HELP123
Refusing to pay mileage reimbursement due to late paperwork
Hi. I work in home health as a salaried employee. We receive a certain amount per mile for mileage. I recently noticed a discrepancy in my reimburseme...
0 20 weeks 5 days ago
by jillmac500
I work for a municipality, I was issued a direct deposit for 21 hrs overtime INSTEAD of 21 hrs regular time on a Thursday. I was told that the ONLY wa...
0 21 weeks 3 hours ago
by Catlib
job requirement
I was hired as an occupational therapist and am being forced to work as a teacher's assistant. Is this legal?
0 22 weeks 4 days ago
by note4ash
Suspended for 3days without pay while on vacation
I started vacation Thursday, Saturday my boss called me and me too come in Sunday, I told her I was out of town she told me I better be there. Sunday ...
0 22 weeks 5 days ago
by Crystal
Labor/paid time off
My company has recently changed how Paid time off is accrued. Employees were not notified, and nothing was signed acknowledging the change I now earn...
0 22 weeks 6 days ago
by Anfstp
Worker Responsibility to divluge infection
My boss recently casually mentioned she had shingles a week and a half ago. I am quite upset I wasn't told at the time as I have never had chicken po...
0 22 weeks 6 days ago
by sutekh22
secretly recorded by employee
A fellow employee asked to meet with me in private and secretly recorded our conversation without my knowledge on her cell phone and then played it in...
0 23 weeks 8 hours ago
by AmiRoi
Employment Laws
Applied for a bakers position, before my actual interview , speaking with the hiring manager over the phone, as I asked " This is a full time position...
0 24 weeks 4 days ago
by Justme47
Vacation Plan Change
Recently my company changed their vacation plan from one where I accrued vacation in the previous year to use in the current year, to a "take vacation...
0 24 weeks 4 days ago
by lfdal54
Sick Call
I am a part time employee of a large retail store In Worcester Ma. I recently had reason to call in sick for a substantiated illness. I called in mor...
0 26 weeks 2 days ago
by Dilligaf0430
alternate job
I was hired as an occupational therapist and am being forced to work as a part time teacher's assistant. Is this legal?
0 26 weeks 4 days ago
by note4ash
Per diem work during maternity leave
Hello, I am currently working full time and also have another per diem job on the side that I do in between on weekends and such. I am pregnant and...
0 26 weeks 6 days ago
by ranauruguaya
Pay employer upon leaving for required course, travel & lodging
Am leaving a company. Was required to take 3 day course in another town. Passed exam first time. After course, I was given a new policy to sign req...
0 26 weeks 6 days ago
by slee446
personal information requested by employer
My job that I have worked at for over 15 yrs is currently sending around an HR packet requesting more information from employees than the ever have be...
0 27 weeks 3 hours ago
by inquisitive
Foced union membership
Are state employees in MA forced to join a union? Must they pay union dues even if they don't support the policies of that union?
0 27 weeks 3 days ago
by nook6633
Benefits Notice/Letter
I started full-time (benefits eligible) work last December 1, 2014 with a local company in Boston. I was schedule to start work November 1st, but my ...
0 27 weeks 5 days ago
by needhammba
Consumption of Food/Drinks
I work for a company, that's similar to a nursing home, but we only take care of people during the daytime. Clients are here from 830-230, and employe...
0 27 weeks 6 days ago
by Eallen
Change in job requirements to include mandatory on call days
I am employed by a skilled nursing facility as an hourly nurse manager. I have been recently required to be on call every weekend in addition to my 4...
0 28 weeks 3 days ago
by Gillway
Conditions of receiving vacation pay?
Is it legal for an employer to give conditions of vacation pay? For example saying: "Accrued vacation will not be given if 3 weeks notice is not lef...
0 29 weeks 3 days ago
by Lampshade
Previous employer disclosing my pregnancy status falsely as reason I quit
Please help! My former employer, a school, (job I quit in November with written notice stating leaving due to lack of communication and poor organiz...
0 29 weeks 4 days ago
by JBradS
Vacation Pay
Over the past 8 years I worked at a law office as a paralegal. My start date at this firm was 01/02/2008 Every year, on the 2nd of January,ever...
0 29 weeks 6 days ago
by holdingvacation...
employment law
I do not have much money to pay for a lawyer but my question is do I have a case a few years back I had left my job and the employer refused to pay me...
1 41 weeks 4 days ago
by yankees24770
29 weeks 6 days ago
by Alan D. Meyerson
uniform on to work
if I work at a retailer that requires me to wear a uniform, can my employer make me have it on before I clock in? They do not let me take it off the p...
1 31 weeks 1 day ago
by vokey
30 weeks 4 hours ago
by Alan D. Meyerson
Can I be fired due to my daughters illness
Soon after I started working in a hospital my preteen daughter required behaviorial health inpatient stays and visits from BH professionals that pulle...
1 39 weeks 3 days ago
by Momif3wahs
30 weeks 4 hours ago
by Alan D. Meyerson
interview question
I was recently asked by a California agency, whether or not I had a trust fund. Is this illegal? It made me incredibly uncomfortable!
1 31 weeks 6 days ago
by lckennedy
30 weeks 4 hours ago
by Alan D. Meyerson
I was deacriminated against by an employer, filed with MCAD but beyond 300 days...supervisor at that job was a part of the descrimination and refused ...
1 30 weeks 1 day ago
by Josephine
30 weeks 5 hours ago
by Alan D. Meyerson
Lunch break
My daughter works for a restaurant where she is required to work 8-10 hours with no lunch break if they are busy. She is afraid if she complains, she ...
0 30 weeks 1 day ago
by Suegorm
Paying for required training and use of earned time
Hi I work for a company with a history of poor understanding of labor laws. A few years ago they were successfully sued for requiring unpaid overti...
0 30 weeks 5 days ago
by mitchmcc
Age Discrimination
I left my last job retail job several months ago. I had worked there over 4 years. Part time and full time. As an employee with ver 30 years of ret...
1 31 weeks 3 days ago
by Flip64
31 weeks 1 day ago
by Kevin M. Kinne
Denied appointment
I have an appointment to USCIS, my employer denied my day off request. That is legal? What can I do?
0 32 weeks 5 days ago
by DmitriyP
Unemployment benefits
I'm collecting unemployment benifits but now will have to go to the hospital for detox and rehab which will put me out of looking for work for 30 days...
0 33 weeks 6 days ago
by TerryM
review gone bad time for new job but what could I be looking at before I find one
Please take the time to read as i am probably going to ramble but a bad way to end the work week kinda bummed and could use some advice so it is very...
0 34 weeks 3 days ago
by seanleo28
Cutting HOurs
I currently work full time , I put in my two weeks very advance (about 6weeks) just to give them time to look for proper coverage for when I leave. My...
1 34 weeks 4 days ago
by starsmith33
34 weeks 4 days ago
by Alan D. Meyerson
pay for employees when company closes due to snow storm on your scheduled workday
Is it legal for an employer to not pay employees when the company closes due to a snow storm on your scheduled work day?
0 35 weeks 17 hours ago
by genny924
Returning from layoff on benefits
Does the employer have to return all of the workers benefits they had when they were laid off or do they only have to up to a certain time period? ...
0 35 weeks 2 days ago
by Fran45
Is it legal to work 24+ hours straight?
I am a residential counselor at a group home located in worcester county massachusetts. On 01/26 I went into work due to a storm coming the following ...
0 35 weeks 5 days ago
by paradise09
salary employment/ sick leave
I am currently employed as a salary/exempt employee and over the summer I was involved in an accident which kept me out of work for 3 months and I jus...
0 35 weeks 6 days ago
by jburton
Personal vehicle
I am an office worker who has had a desk job with an insurance company for over 10 years. Can my employer require me to make deliveries for the compan...
0 37 weeks 5 days ago
Per diem laws
I have been working for a local hospital for a year. I was hired as a per diem employee. I was given 40 hrs during three month training and then given...
0 37 weeks 6 days ago
by Mkc1024
wrongful termination
I was hired full time as dealer service manager from after-market automotive service manager. After about 3.5 months I was told they hired a service m...
0 38 weeks 6 days ago
by munley1
Reduction in hours for FTE
Hi, I have been employed by my company as a full time employee with benefits in good standing since starting at my job a year ago. My offer of employm...
0 39 weeks 1 day ago
by chloe
employment law
Can a owner take tips and distribute later?
1 39 weeks 2 days ago
by tackettgreg0
39 weeks 1 day ago
by Kevin M. Kinne
Sick call
Is it legal for a supervisor to ask questions about your sickness and then make you feel guilty for calling out sick?
0 39 weeks 3 days ago
by Ditzie
holiday pay
I work for a property management co. There are over 200 employees in our home office in MA. All the home office has the day after Christmas of with pa...
1 40 weeks 6 days ago
by Aspen emp
39 weeks 6 days ago
by BlitzGraybeard
Prevailing wage and travel
I work for a tech company that we travel to different towns and work in schools installing projectors and cabling. Some are prevailing and some are no...
1 40 weeks 3 days ago
by EBvikings
40 weeks 1 day ago
by Kevin M. Kinne
Former Employer Paying Current Employees Overtime Retroactively for past 5 Years. Am I entitled?
Hello, I am looking for some advice, and hope I can gain some knowledge here. I left my former employer about 5 months ago for a new job oppor...
1 41 weeks 1 day ago
by hardwork
41 weeks 20 hours ago
by Kevin M. Kinne
Last Paycheck Upon Termination/Discussing Wages
Hi all I was fired from a job last week in MA. Basically, my boss overheard me talking about commissions (I sell motorcycle services) and how most ...
0 42 weeks 3 days ago
by drivingfaster
Overtime: Mass. vs Fed. rate
Based on my research on overtime pay for restaurant employees, Massachusetts restaurant employees are not entitled to overtime pay under State law but...
1 48 weeks 4 days ago
by umakemekissu
42 weeks 4 days ago
by Alan D. Meyerson
Old Employment Records for Belchertown State School
Advice concerning to whom I should turn in government in order to get verification of my 3 years employment at Belchertown State School in the 1970's ...
0 42 weeks 4 days ago
by JAllen
I recently filed a claim for unemployment via my old company, I was told by a friend and current employee at the company that a member of human resour...
0 42 weeks 6 days ago
by Jbrown788
Employee quits with a negative vacation balance
We are a small dental practice in Massachusetts. Our front desk manager quit with no notice and had taken 5 more days of vacation than she was entitl...
0 43 weeks 1 day ago
by bbjornson55
Am I entitled to accrued vacation time if i resign in MA
My employee handbook states upon termination eligible employees will be paid for accrued but unused vacation. My boss says I am not entitled to it bec...
1 51 weeks 2 days ago
by melissa1989
43 weeks 3 days ago
by Alan D. Meyerson
Colelcting UI with a severance
I was laid off this week and offered a bi-weekly severance payment, payable over time into 2014, in exchange for signing a release of claims waiving m...
0 43 weeks 4 days ago
by ykdmma
workplace day schedule being changed
I work part-time, 2 days per week. My supervisor told me that they are changing my days but would not tell me why. I have seniority over other peopl...
0 43 weeks 5 days ago
by pmbell
Can employer deny an early return from maternity leave?
I left for maternity leave on 9/15 and had agreed with my employer to be out until 1/5/15 (longer than 12 weeks). Most of this was unpaid, I had 4 we...
0 43 weeks 5 days ago
by xmaystarx
Refused Unemployment
I was laid-off by an employer last year. When DUA questioned them about my layoff they said that I left my job voluntarily. DUA sent me a survey to r...
0 44 weeks 3 days ago
by clairebear724
Employer slander?
I work for a large financial institution. The company has clear policies for approval of certain products they sell. My job is to inspect/review the a...
0 45 weeks 4 days ago
by jazzman2
flat rate pay questions
I am a detailer working for a dealership i am on the flat rate pay system i have a few questions. first lets say i work 50 hours in a week but i on...
1 48 weeks 1 day ago
by jamesjanusz
45 weeks 6 days ago
by Alan D. Meyerson

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