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Employment Law

Employment relationships are the subject of significant litigation and dispute in this country for a reason. Employees are often unclear on their role and employers often fail to properly define the responsibilities for the position in advance of engagement. Despite the fact that most employment relationships are at will, many employees mistakenly believe that they have recourse when conflict arises in the workplace or when they terminated without any apparent justification. While employers cannot harass or terminate because of gender, race or membership in some other statutorily protected class or violate statutorily created rights (i.e., minimum wage or overtime laws), they can terminate for practically any other reason; i.e., “at will.” Although employees can quit their jobs at will also, the economics of this relations clearly favors the employer. Therefore, when this imbalance in power is combined with poorly defined job descriptions and expectations, it can lead to unnecessary discord in the workplace and claims of unfair treatment.

Written agreements and contracts can provide clarity and security for both parties (definite term of employment and specific salary, stock options, termination for cause only or reiterating “at will” relationship, arbitration, etc.) in an employment relationship. They can also be used by employers to limit the ability of at will employees to compete against the company in the future. These are referred to as restrictive covenants because they seek to limit the ability of present employees from competing against the employer or using the good will or proprietary information of that business once they leave for future positions. Again, contracts and restrictive covenants are a significant source of litigation as the parties may interpret provisions differently and Court disfavor unreasonable restrictions on employment. They do, however, clarify expectations and minimize misunderstanding even when the position is at will.

Both and employers and employees need to strategize about how to avoid the inherent conflict in their relationship by better defining the employee’s role, drafting reasonable restrictive covenants and better train management to avoid or anticipate conflicts and disputes in the workplace. Answers to general employment rights questions can be found at the Employment Rights Center.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website does not constitute legal advice nor should it be relied upon in making any legal decisions. You should always consult with a lawyer directly to determine what your legal rights are. This web site and its content is not a substitute for direct legal advice from a lawyer.

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James Budreau is a Boston MA Criminal Lawyer law firm. Our main offerings include: Criminal Defense Attorneys, Employment Lawyers and Divorce Attorneys for your legal needs.

We serve the following States, Cities, Zip Codes and Counties:
Massachusetts, Boston 02116, Cambridge 02238, Brookline 02445, Chestnut Hill 02467, Newton 02458, Dedham 02026, Wobum 01801, Salem 01970, Somerville 02143, Suffolk County, Middlesex County, Essex County, Norfolk County, Vermont, Burlington 05401

    Whether fighting the United States government, local prosecutors, large banks or conglomerates, Jim has consistently won verdicts or resolved cases to his clients advantage.
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