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Contract dispute with Massachusetts union members

Frustrated by their union contracts, the University of Massachusetts faculty and staff unions have formed a group called UMass Unions United to bring attention to their contract dispute. The group has held peaceful protests during the three-day bus tour that the former and current UMass presidents have been attending.

UMass employees are disputing the contract terms regarding reduction of some paid sick time and paid vacation time accruals for new hires, stating that this difference in benefits creates a two-tier system. Additionally, employees disagree with University's decision to take first-priority claims away from current employees for university jobs.

Discrimination laws protect Massachusetts employees

Laws against discrimination in employment are strictly enforced by the commonwealth of Massachusetts. The state interprets many discrimination laws more breadly than federal law, so certain classes of workers may find more protection under the state's law than under the corresponding federal laws. Despite this protection, employees still face discrimination, and it is a common area of employment litigation.

State and federal laws prohibit certain kinds of discrimination against employees, for example, discrimination based upon age, disability and gender. Employers may not decline to offer employment based on reasons such as an applicant's sex, race, religion or certain other factors. Similarly, the laws prohibit employers from terminating employment for the same reasons. Further, state law does not allow employers to discriminate on the basis of gender when determining wages.

What does FMLA offer Massachusetts employees?

Employees are entitled to certain rights in the workplace, and it's important that they educate themselves on these rights. For Massachusetts employees who are experiencing serious medical issues themselves, or who have an ill family member, knowledge of the Massachusetts FMLA is crucial.

FMLA, or the Family Medical Leave Act, is designed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to mirror the federal act of the same name. It allows employees to take long absences from work without the fear of losing their jobs or benefits. FMLA is available for those who have a medical condition, who provide medical care for a family member, or who are giving birth to, adopting or fostering a child. Additionally, the act provides time off for those who are ill or injured military personnel, or who are caring for an injured military family member.

Sexual harassment lawsuit settled, executive resigns

All employees, regardless of their workplaces, are entitled to an environment free from harassment of any kind. Unfortunately, harassment can still be an unfortunate and unescapable problem for some people. Sexual harassment is just one of several employment matters affecting people no matter if they work for a small business or a large, well-known corporation.

A recent lawsuit brought against the founders of Tinder, a popular dating app, proves that even employees working for a high-profile company cannot escape the threat of harassment. Tinder recently settled a sexual harassment lawsuit and announced that Justin Mateen, a company executive named in the suit, had resigned his position. This lawsuit was brought by former co-founder and marketing vice president, Whitney Wolfe, who used to date Mateen and claimed that she was subject to a torrent of threats, insults, and racist remarks from him while they were dating and even after she ended their relationship. Wolfe had communicated several times with the CEO, Sean Rad, asking him to intervene, but felt that she did not receive support from Rad or anyone else at Tinder. Eventually she resigned from her position.

Contract disputes can be problem for Massachusetts businesses

Massachusetts companies, big or small, will do well to understand that in the business world, contracts are a must. When entities decide to engage in business activities with each other, it is imperative that they record the scope of their professional relationship. Moreover, these entities need to ensure that they are obeying the outlines of the contract; otherwise, their business relationship is in jeopardy. The companies must respect the contractual confines in order to avoid contract dispute.

Failure to perform as outlined in the contract can end in a lawsuit for breach of contract. A breach of contract can be a very expensive problem, both because of court costs and other damages that can be awarded, such as liquidation damages (fines that are specified within the contract) and compensatory damages (damages awarded to compensate for loss due to breach). There are other types of damages that can vary based on the type of contracts: injunctions, liens, and other monetary damages may be awarded.

Understanding the law regarding Boston sexual harassment

A difficult scenario for a Boston based business is when there are allegations of sexual harassment and a potential lawsuit because of it. An important factor in handling employer liability claims for the behavior of certain employees is understanding the details of what constitutes sexual harassment. In some instances, a person might not even realize that he or she is behaving in an inappropriate manner before the accusation and threat of litigation. This is why it is imperative to have a comprehensive understanding of the law.

Prevention of sexual harassment was included in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Employers who have 15 or more employees are subject to this law. Harassment can fall into numerous alleged activities from requesting sexual favors to implying or openly stating the failure to acquiesce can negatively influence a person's job status. This can be perpetrated by anyone involved with the business including supervisors, co-workers and even non-employees. A person who is affected by the treatment can lodge a complaint even if the behavior is not directed toward them. The behavior must be unwelcome. This can apply to both women and men in either position as the harasser or the victim of harassment.

Former employee sued for breach of contract

Business property does not only include physical objects -- it also includes intellectual property as well. One of the most important pieces of intellectual property that a business can own is a trade secret. This is why many companies require their employees to agree to not divulge company trade secrets to competing firms in Massachusetts. However, many times, an employee will fail to adhere to this term of an employment contract, which can result in a breach of contract dispute.

This may have been the case when an employee of Cargill Inc decided to resign from his position at the company in early August without any prior notice. The company executives became suspicious because the former employee had joined the company’s rival JBS SA. Cargill filed the lawsuit in mid-August and is alleging that its former employee is in breach of contract.

Non-profit faces wrongful termination of employment lawsuit

Businesses that are geared toward helping people who are in need play an important role in society. Many non-profit organizations in Massachusetts and other states tend to be the ones who organize to help the poor and the homeless. Desert Manna Ministries is one of these types of organizations. However, this non-profit organization is now under attack from one of its former employees in a wrongful termination of employment lawsuit.

The former employee filed a lawsuit against the organization in late February. The complaint was filed against the company as well as the current CEO. The lawsuit is now scheduled for a trial-setting conference. The complaint is asking for compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorney fees and legal costs to be paid by the defendant.

Hotel owners association faces business litigation dispute

All types of business entities have the potential to find themselves in the midst of a legal conflict. This includes professional associations, which are typically corporate entities in Massachusetts and other jurisdictions. One association which represents hotel owners is currently experiencing difficulties. The association is now embroiled in business litigation resulting from claimed irregularities.

The leaders of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) are currently being accused of corruption, embezzlement and theft in a lawsuit filed by nine association members. The plaintiffs filed the lawsuit in mid-August and allege that the directors and officers of the association misused association funds, destroyed meeting minutes, misallocated donations meant to be for charities and manipulated bid contract processing. The complaint asks for the court to order that these violations be immediately stopped.

County government sues company in contract dispute

When dealing with a local government, a business needs to make sure that it fulfills all contractual obligations. Failure to do this can result in a contract dispute in Massachusetts or in any other state. However, even when a company is able to prove that it had fulfilled the terms of a contract with a local government, the company may still find itself in the middle of a lawsuit.

This is what seems to have happened recently with Sanborn Studios, which had entered into a contract with the local county government. The county government had been looking to create more jobs within the local economy. Sanborn Studios promised to create 117 new employment positions with an average salary of approximately $72,029. However, now the county is suing the business, alleging that the company failed to create the jobs that it had promised to create.

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