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UPDATE: Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Patient Can Sue Employer for Discrimination

On Monday, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ("SJC") issued a decision in Barbuto v. Advantage Sales and Marketing, holding that an employee may sue her employer for handicap discrimination based on her status as a medical marijuana patient. More ›

Massachusetts Passes Radical Equal Pay Law

On August 1, 2016, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed An Act to Establish Pay Equity, which as the name aptly suggests, seeks to ensure equal pay for comparable work for all Massachusetts workers and equal opportunity to earn competitive salaries. The Act will take effect on January 1, 2018.

The new law prohibits any wage disparity between genders for “comparable work.” The statute defines “comparable work” as “work that is substantially similar in that it requires substantially similar skill, effort and responsibility, and is performed under similar working conditions; provided, however, that a job title or job description alone shall not determine comparability.” More ›

Massachusetts’ Anti-Discrimination Laws Prohibit Associational Discrimination

In a recent employment discrimination decision, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held that the Massachusetts discrimination statute, M. G. L. c. 151B, encompasses a claim for "associational discrimination."

"The term 'associational discrimination' refers to a claim that a plaintiff, although not a member of a protected class himself or herself, is the victim of discriminatory animus directed toward a third person who is a member of the protected class and with whom the plaintiff associates."  More ›

Isolated Age Comment Insufficient to Overcome Employer’s Legitimate Reason for Layoff

The technology company, which manufactured components for large-scale computer networks and data storage systems, employed a team of sales account managers. This particular account manager was successful in generating significant revenue for the company over the course of several years. The Company began to make changes to procedures and started to cut costs due to the downturn in the economy and the industry changes in terms of how data is stored, which ultimately led to the reduction in force of the sales team from five employees to two. The account manager, however, felt that this rationale was a pretext for age discrimination, and that he was selected for lay off because of his age. To back this up, he pointed to comments made by the vice president of sales about needing to “re-energize” the team, which he considered disparaging remarks regarding the ages of the sales team. He accordingly filed a charge with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, who dismissed the complaint for a lack of probable cause. He then filed suit in state court, claiming, among other things, age discrimination under Massachusetts law. The employer removed the case to the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts based on diversity jurisdiction, and then moved for summary judgment on all counts. The district court granted this motion, and Woodward appealed. More ›

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