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The B&B Docket Blog:

Developments in the Dynamic World

of Business and Employment Law

PREGNANCY: A DELICATE CONDITION WITH ROBUST LEGAL PROTECTIONS

Pregnancy discrimination involves the disparate (different) treatment of a female applicant or employee because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth. The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”) forbids discrimination based on pregnancy when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, such as leave and…
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SOX WHISTLE BLOWING PROTECTIONS ONLY COVER EMPLOYEES: NOT INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS

In a split opinion, the Federal First Circuit Court of Appeals in the matter of Lawson, et. al. v. FMR LLC. et. al. , found that Sarbanes-Oxley (“SOX”) s.806 (18 USC s.1514A) , a statute enacted to encourage the reporting of illegal conduct by employees of publicly traded companies, does not protect contractors of such companies who ‘blow the whistle’…
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B&B Attorney Published in MBA Lawyers Journal

Bennett & Belfort, PC is pleased to announce that Attorney Michael L. Mason's article, "Taking Exception: The Universal Demand Requirement and Close Corporations," was published in this month's issue of the Massachusetts Bar Association's Lawyers Journal.  The article, in which Attorney Mason advocates for an exception to the rule that requires a demand prior to filing shareholder derivative litigation, is available…
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Federal Court Dismisses Associational Discrimination Claim

Recently, the Federal District Court (Massachusetts) dismissed a claim filed by an employee claiming that he was discriminated against and ultimately wrongfully terminated because of his wife’s disability, highlights a growing divergence between federal and state law on the subject. In a strongly-worded decision issued last month, the Federal District Court, Gertner, J., dismissed a disability discrimination claim based on…
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THE PAINFUL REALITY FOR DENTISTS AND PHYSICIANS WHO VIOLATE THE MASSACHUSETTS EMPLOYEE MISCLASSIFICATION LAW

The Massachusetts Independent Contractor/Employee Misclassification Law (M.G.L. c. 149 § 148B) sets out the Commonwealth’s test for determining whether an individual may validly be treated as an “independent contractor,” as opposed to an “employee.”  The law and its strict interpretation serve as a trap for unwary business owners who wish to take advantage of the “independent contractor” designation for individuals…
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UNLIKE BEAUTY, CONTRACT AMBIGUITY DOES NOT LIE “IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER”: READ YOUR REAL ESTATE CONTRACTS CLOSELY

Anyone who has bought or sold property is aware of the overwhelming amount of paperwork exchanged between the buyer and the seller.  Many people gloss over these important real estate contracts and other documents without fully reading them. While many purchase and sales agreements provide for a fixed amount of damages (liquidated damages) in the event the buyers do not…
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DIRE ECONOMIC TIMES NOT A FACTOR IN ENFORCEMENT OF NON-COMPETE AGREEMENTS

Courts historically enforce non-compete agreements in personal service contracts provided they are reasonably related to a legitimate business purpose, and are otherwise fair, based on all the circumstances.  Under Massachusetts law, factors to consider in determining whether a non-compete agreement is reasonable are whether the covenant: (1) is supported by consideration; (2) serves a legitimate business interest; (3) is reasonably…
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WAL-MART PREVAILS IN U.S. SUPREME COURT DECISION DECERTIFYING DISCRIMINATION CLASS ACTION

A recent United States Supreme Court decision, WAL-MART STORES, INC. v. DUKES ET AL. dealt a significant blow to plaintiffs in a nationwide class action gender discrimination case by denying class action status to Wal-Mart employees.  Even though this Supreme Court decision has given Wal-Mart and other employers a leg up against future class actions alleging wide-spread discrimination, the decision does not…
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