Massachusetts Labor Laws
Unfair treatment in the workplace can negatively affect your career and well-being. If you believe you were the victim of wage theft, discrimination, or another unlawful labor practice, contact Morgan & Morgan.
Our Massachusetts attorneys are well-versed in handling all types of employment disputes. Schedule a free, no-obligation case review today to find out if you might be entitled to compensation.
Wage & Hour Laws
The state of Massachusetts and the federal government have laws in place to ensure employees receive sufficient pay and time off. They include:
- Minimum Wage: Massachusetts workers are entitled to a minimum wage of $12.75/hour as of January 1, 2020. Tipped workers must be paid at least $4.95/hour, and receive at least $12.75 when tips and wages are combined.
- Overtime: Employees are entitled to time-and-a-half for all hours worked above 40 in a week. If, for example, you make $20/hour normally, you are owed $30 for every hour of overtime you work.
- Breaks: Although Massachusetts does not require employers to provide rest breaks, they do require an unpaid 30-minute meal break for workers during each shift lasting six hours or more.
- Leave: Under federal law, employees are entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year for qualified medical and family reasons.
Sexual harassment in the workplace falls into two main categories: quid pro quo and hostile work environment.
- Quid pro quo harassment takes place when an employee is pressured to perform a sexual act to avoid a negative outcome (such as a firing or demotion) or attain a perk (such as a promotion or raise).
- Hostile work environment harassment includes all types of verbal and physical conduct of a sexual nature that might foster an intimidating, hostile, or abusive work environment. For example, if a colleague repeatedly uses sexual innuendos or inappropriate gestures when speaking to you, it constitutes sexual harassment.
Massachusetts employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees and job applicants on the basis of various traits including race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender identity, age, criminal record, and disability. Even so, some employers factor these characteristics into their workplace decisions. Examples of workplace discrimination include:
- Refusing to hire a job applicant due to their skin color
- Passing over an employee for a raise or promotion due to their sexual orientation
- Listing unnecessary job qualifications to exclude members of minority groups
- Denying equal pay because of gender
- Refusing to reasonably accommodate an employee with a disability
In Massachusetts, an employer can dismiss an employee for almost any reason. However, there are exceptions to the rule that might be grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit. For example:
- You were fired in breach of a contract
- You were dismissed because of a protected trait such as race or gender
- You were let go in retaliation for filing an equal pay complaint
- You were fired for taking leave guaranteed under the Family and Medical Leave Act
- You were dismissed for filing a workers’ compensation claim
- You were let go because you made a complaint about health and safety violations
Contact a Massachusetts Labor and Employment Attorney
If an employer or coworker violated your rights in the workplace, contact the labor and employment attorneys at Morgan & Morgan. Our law firm files the most employment litigation cases in the country. Couple that experience with our vast resources, and we’re uniquely equipped to handle virtually any workplace dispute.
Schedule a free, no-risk case evaluation with our Massachusetts attorneys now.
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