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Verrill Dana, LLP

Verrill Dana, LLP is one of New England's preeminent regional law firms. With offices in Portland and Augusta, ME; Boston, MA; Westport, CT; Providence, RI; and Washington D.C. Verrill Dana provides sophisticated legal representation to businesses and individuals in the traditional areas of litigation, real estate, business law, labor and employment law, employee benefits, environmental law, intellectual property and estate planning.  The Firm also has industry-focused specialties including higher education, health care and health technology, energy, and timberlands. 

Disclaimer:  The content presented in this blog is for general information only, is not intended to constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon by any person as legal advice. While we welcome you to contact our blog authors at, the submission of a comment or question does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and you. 

Entries in Massachusetts (25)


(PODCAST) The Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act: New Requirements for Employers

The latest episode of the Verrill Voices podcast, featuring labor and employment attorney Joanna Bowers, discusses the new Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which imposes new obligations and requirements on employers that employers must be aware of and be prepared to address as soon as April 1, 2018. The new law addresses three broad obligations for employers: it prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy and pregnancy related conditions; requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees and applicants; and requires employers to provide employees notice of their right to be free from discrimination and their right to reasonable accommodations. 

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Does Massachusetts’s Pay Equity Law Change the Game?

On July 1, 2018, Massachusetts Pay Equity law takes effect requiring all employers to pay men and women equally for comparable work—a phrase that is different from many similar statutes that have gone into effect over the course of the last few years.  What are the key points that employers need to understand about the new law:

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Massachusetts Equal Pay Act: 6 Things Employers Need to Know

In the latest episode of Verrill Voices, labor and employment attorney Tawny Alvarez discusses best practices for complying with the upcoming amendments to the Massachusetts Equal Pay Act (MEPA), which was initially passed in order to establish pay equity among employees of different genders.

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The Bay State Rules Qualified Medicinal Marijuana User Has Civil Remedy Against Her Employer

Last week, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts issued an opinion in Cristina Barbutos v. Advantage Sales and Marketing, LLC, SJC-12226 (Ma. July 17, 2017), finding that an employee qualified to use marijuana under the Commonwealth’s medicinal marijuana statute had a cause of action against her former employer through the Commonwealth’s handicap discrimination statute.  The opinion reversed the lower-court’s dismissal of the former employee’s cause of action, but simultaneously found that the medicinal marijuana act itself did not contain an implied statutory private right of action.

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Marijuana is Legal in Massachusetts . . . Now What

On Tuesday, Massachusetts residents legalized marijuana for recreational purposes.  How does this effect your relationship with your employees and what steps should you be taking in the near future? 

First, the statute includes an employment provision which provides that: “This chapter shall not require an employer to permit or accommodate conduct otherwise allowed by this chapter in the workplace and shall not affect the authority of employers to enact and enforce workplace policies restricting the consumption of marijuana by employees.”  Accordingly, now is the time to get out your employee handbooks and your anti-drug policies and review the language included in the policies to make sure that the language restricts the use of drugs that are illegal under either state or federal law, as you don’t want to find yourself in a position arguing that marijuana is “legal” under state law, but “illegal” under federal law.

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When Pain and Suffering is Anything But

In Massachusetts, as in many states, when an employee is injured in the course of work, but the injury is caused by a third party, the employee is entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits and also seek damages from the third party. For example, employee Ernie is driving the Company’s vehicle on company business. He’s heading down Storrow Drive when Bert, out for a relaxing drive, crashes into Ernie’s vehicle. Ernie is injured. Ernie is entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits from the Company’s workers’ compensation insurer, but Ernie may also bring suit against Bert, seeking various damages from Bert and Bert’s auto insurer. Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 152, § 15 provides the Company’s workers’ compensation insurer with a lien against any damages Ernie recovers to reimburse it for benefits paid to Ernie under the workers’ compensation act. However, certain categories of damages are not subject to the workers’ compensation lien, and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court just made one exempted category much clearer.

The Court, in DiCarlo v. Suffolk Constructions Co., Inc., et al. consolidated two 2014 Appeals Court decisions involving employees injured in the course of employment who had reached settlement agreements with the third parties responsible for their injuries. Back in 2011, the Appeals Court had ruled that damages recovered in a third party action attributable

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