Practice Areas

Employment Law

Val understands that you deserve fairness and honesty in the workplace, whether you are the employee or the employer. Yet, parties break their promises, the workplace is hostile, and employment agreements differ from workplace practice and promises. Val protects your interests at every stage of the employment process, commencing at the beginning and continuing until termination, resignation, or a change in control in company ownership.

Val has experience representing employees and employers, especially those in technology-based and highly specialized industries. Val also appears before the state and federal courts, Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD), U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and American Arbitration Association (AAA) when representing her clients in employment litigation matters.

  • Represented CEOs, CFOs, CTOs, VPs, managers, and owners with negotiating stock, options, and ownership interests in employment agreements, terminations, and resignations
  • Represented tech start-ups, medical device, hardware, software, and staffing companies with employment matters, including key employees hires, fires, terminations, and resignations
  • Represented officers and employees with their claims before the state and federal courts, EEOC, MCAD, and arbitration tribunals
  • Represented a manager with their age and sex discrimination claim at the EEOC
  • Represented a sales executive with their nationality discrimination claim at the MCAD
There are two general types of employee-employer relationships affording different rights to the parties. Most employees are at-will employees. This means employers may terminate at-will employees for any reason except an illegal one. You may think you are an at-will employee but in fact are bound by an agreement.

Some terminations look legal but are not because the termination has a discriminatory purpose relating to age, disability, gender, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, or other wrongful purposes. This is called a pretextual termination. Some of the statutes, federal and state, protecting employers and employees include the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), and M.G.L. chapter 149, Labor and Industries, M.G.L. chapter 151B.

There are strict timelines to bring discriminatory claims. In Massachusetts, you have 300 days from the last day the discrimination occurred to file a complaint at the MCAD, the state commission or EEOC, the federal commission. These boards will investigate to determine if probable cause exists, and the claim continues. If probable cause exists, there is a hearing, and the board may award damages, including attorney fees. At times, strategically, you may want to file the lawsuit in court, but you must file it at the agency and wait 90 days before you can move it to the state or federal court.

Some employees are afforded additional rights under their employment agreements. Thus, there are terminations or workplace incidents that constitute breaches of contracts. Employment agreements take on many forms and may go beyond traditional employment agreements and include non-disclosure agreements, non-compete agreements, etc. Also, offer letters, emails, employment handbooks, and other documents may form contracts. It may make sense to arbitrate the matter for certain disputes, or the agreement may require arbitration.

On occasion, terminations or workplace incidents may provide employees and employers with tort-based claims or the basis for criminal claims against one another.

PRACTICE AREAS

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
– Mark Twain