In a landmark decision, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) ruled on Monday that an employee who is fired for testing positive for marijuana due to her lawful off-duty use of medical marijuana can pursue a claim of handicap discrimination against her former employer. With the ruling, Massachusetts has become the first state to afford such job protections to workers who lawfully use medical marijuana. Moreover, the ruling essentially precludes Massachusetts employers from adopting blanket drug-free workplace policies.… More
Category Archives: Discrimination
Last week, the Massachusetts House of Representatives unanimously passed the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (H.3680). If the bill becomes law, it will expand employment protections for pregnant workers in Massachusetts, most significantly by requiring that Massachusetts employers provide pregnant workers with reasonable accommodations.
Massachusetts already prohibits discrimination against pregnant employees, as Massachusetts courts have recognized that pregnancy discrimination is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Massachusetts’s anti-discrimination statute,… More
The past year has been busy in the labor and employment law field. Foley Hoag recently presented a webinar detailing the latest legal developments.
Watch the recording:
Topics discussed include:
- Upcoming changes to the overtime regulations
- The expansion of the “joint employer” doctrine
- The increasingly aggressive EEOC
- Legislative initiatives to change non-compete law
- Pay equity laws
- Current issues in immigration laws
Late last month, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court issued a decision addressing a plaintiff’s evidentiary burden in employment discrimination cases brought under the Massachusetts anti-discrimination law, Chapter 151B. Breaking with precedent under federal anti-discrimination law, the SJC held in Bulwer v. Mount Auburn Hospital that a plaintiff employee can defeat a motion for summary judgment by offering evidence that the defendant employer’s stated reason for its allegedly discriminatory action was false. … More
Human resources professional play an important role in the workplace by helping front-line managers to understand the discrimination law. Last week, the Massachusetts Appeals Court issued a decision that could be seen as undermining that role, concluding that notes of a telephone call with a human resource consultant might be evidence of pretext. In Wagner v. Baystate Health Inc., the Appeals Court reversed the grant of summary judgment to the employer on Robert Wagner’s claim that Baystate fired him in retaliation for assisting his wife (who was also a Baystate employee) in filing a claim with the MCAD.… More
A few years ago, a bill was introduced in Massachusetts that would have prohibited discrimination on the basis of height and weight. Other than generating a few chuckles and general consternation, the bill went nowhere. But it seems the bill is back.
On July 29, the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development voted to advance House bill No. 1764, which would add the words “height” and “weight” to the list of protected categories under Chapter 151B,… More