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Employment Law Overview & Resources

Employers must comply with both state and federal laws. Our state of Massachusetts has an abundance of employment laws that protect workers to a greater degree than federal laws. For example, our state laws provide a higher minimum wage and obligations for employers to grant health care continuation coverage and sick leave for employees.​

Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws prohibit discrimination in the workplace. More specifically, the Fair Employment Practices Law (FEPL) prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of various factors, including (but not limited to): race, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, criminal record (inquiries), disability, and military/veteran status. The FEPL also prohibits sexual harassment and retaliation, and requires most employers to provide reasonable accommodation for an employee’s pregnancy or pregnancy-related condition. Equal pay is included in our state law, and employers are not allowed to pay an employee less than another employee of the opposite sex for comparable work. There are some exceptions included in the equal pay legislation, and we invite you to contact our office if you have any questions. During the hiring process, Massachusetts law restricts employers’ ability to obtain prospective workers’ salary history. However, if the prospective worker voluntarily discloses their prior salary and wages, then the employer may confirm such information.

State laws also provide requirements surrounding other workplace issues, including: family and medical leave, paid sick leave, smoke-free workplace, safe driving practices, final pay, and mass layoff notifications. Contact us if you have questions about any of these issues.

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There are many additional resources available to aid you in your quest to obtain justice. Other useful resources include (but are not limited to) the following organizations:

  • ACLU Racial Justice Program

    • Aims to preserve and extend constitutionally guaranteed rights to people who have historically been denied their rights on the basis of race.

       

  • ACLU Women's Rights Project

    • Focuses on the areas of employment, violence against women, and education, This organization pushes for change and systemic reform in institutions that discriminate against women.

       

  • ACLU LGBT Project

    • Works to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people can enjoy equal rights and live openly without discrimination.

       

  • American Association of Law Libraries

    • National association that is dedicated to law librarians and other legal information professionals.  This organization's goal is to provide people with timely access to relevant legal information, which can help them to make sound legal arguments and wise legal decisions.

       

  • American Civil Liberties Union

    • Defends and preserves the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

       

  • A Better Balance

    • Organization that promotes equality and expands choices for men and women at all income levels so they may care for their families without sacrificing their economic security.

       

  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

    • Enforces federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against job applicants or employees.

       

  • The Impact Fund

    • Organization that funds & fights for economic, environmental & social justice.

       

  • U.S. Department of Labor

    • Fosters, promotes, and develops the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improves working conditions; advances opportunities for profitable employment; and assures work-related benefits and rights.

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