At some point, all employers will be in the unenviable position of wanting or needing to terminate an employee. Given the emotional consequences of being fired, coupled with the difficult job market, many terminated employees will sue or threaten to sue their former employer. Offering a departing employee a separation agreement can be an effective step to minimize exposure to employment claims and the costly litigation that ensues. Under such an agreement, the employer offers the terminated employee something to which he is not otherwise entitled (usually money or benefits).
December 12, 2012
Governor Patrick’s administration announced this week that it intends to launch a study to define the scope and financial costs to the state from the misclassification of employees as independent contractors. According to Governor Patrick’s secretary of labor and workforce development, Joanne Goldstein, the practice of misclassification “deprives the state of revenue,” including avoidance of unemployment and payroll taxes, and also can deprive workers of health insurance, retirement benefits and safe working conditions.
Let’s assume it takes Jane an hour to commute to work in Boston. On Friday, Jane is going to a conference in Springfield, and her commute will take two hours each way. Does Jane’s employer have to compensate her for the extra time it takes her to get to Springfield? The answer to this question – and others like it – will help employers determine whether time spent “on the road” by non-exempt employees (that is, employees entitled to overtime) is commuting time, which need not be compensated, or “travel time” which must be compensated.
MA High-Court Rules on Whether Employee Who Accepted Incentive-Based Layoff Is Entitled to Unemployment Benefits
On June 16, 2011, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) considered whether the plaintiff, a former employee of Verizon, was entitled to unemployment benefits even though she accepted an incentive-based voluntary termination package. Connolly v. Dir. of Div. of Unemployment Assist. Affirming a decision by the district court, the SJC ruled that the former employee, Kristen Connolly, was not entitled to unemployment benefits because she could not show that her decision to leave her job was involuntary. In so ruling, the Court considered the fact that the plaintiff: