Boston Business & Commercial Law Blog
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Work culture at a company can play a significant role in the success of the business. It is important to maintain a positive environment where all workers can feel comfortable in order to enable their creativity and maximize productivity. However, no matter what a company does to ensure a healthy work-environment, there is always a chance of an employee becoming upset in Massachusetts or in any other state. This may have been the case with Microsoft, which is now dealing with employment matters regarding a particular employee.
The employee, a 53-year-old woman, is accusing Microsoft of discrimination in a recent lawsuit filed against the computer corporation. The lawsuit alleges the company discriminated against the woman based upon her age, race and gender. She filed her complaint with the court in early August. In the complaint, she describes a hostile workplace while working at Microsoft.
Creating a happy and healthy work culture is important for any business with employees. This helps keep staff morale high while also minimizing disputes. One company, Market Basket, has worked hard to maintain this type of culture in its various stores in Massachusetts and other states by offering profit-sharing for employees as well as regular bonuses. Despite this, the company is unfortunately facing a business litigation issue involving employment matters.
Workers of the company have filed a class-action lawsuit against Market Basket for the company’s apparent policy regarding meal breaks during overnight shifts. According to the suit, the company policy prohibited the workers from leaving the supermarket location during their breaks while working overnight shifts, with the company supposedly locking the doors to keep employees from leaving. Although the doors would open from the inside, opening them would cause the alarm to go off and the police to be alerted, which is a problem since none of the overnight workers have a code or key to turn off the alarm.
There are many ways to resolve a legal dispute in business. One option in Massachusetts is to go through the litigation process and allow a judge to decide. On the other hand, a business owner may want to attempt to negotiate a settlement with another party in a business litigation dispute.
Macy’s Inc. was recently faced with a lawsuit filed against the company for alleged violations of racial-profiling laws. A well-known actor, Rob Brown, who stars in the television series “Treme,” filed the lawsuit against the retail chain after he was arrested while at a Macy’s location. However, the retail company was eventually able to come to a settlement with the plaintiff.
When a company that is a party to a business contract does not uphold its end of the bargain, it can cause financial problems for the other parties involved. This can come in the form of property damage or missed business opportunities. However, there are several options available for legal remedies for a breach of contract in Massachusetts or any other state.
Most of the time, a breach of contract dispute can be remedied through monetary reimbursements known as “compensatory damages.” These are payments meant to compensate for any losses suffered by a party to a contract that has been breached by another party. Another type of monetary reimbursement is known as “liquidation damages,” which are specified in the contract and agreed upon during negotiations of the contract.
A court case can take any number of paths during the litigation process. In some cases, a party to a lawsuit may attempt to move the litigation into another court’s jurisdiction for one reason or another. This is what one Native American tribe attempted to do in its long-running business litigation lawsuit involving plans for building a gambling facility in Massachusetts.
The dispute began in Dec. 2013 when the state of Massachusetts filed a lawsuit against the Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe following the initiation of tribe discussions regarding plans to change a community center, which has remained unfinished, to a facility for gambling. The facility’s plans include a high stakes electronic bingo facility as well as poker tables. The state is arguing that the tribe’s plans violate an agreement formed with the state government in 1983.