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Union Representation - Labor Law
The attorneys at Kantrovitz & Kantrovitz LLC in Boston, Massachusetts offer legal counsel to a wide range of labor unions made up of employees in both public and private sectors. The labor lawyers represent unions in negotiation of contracts, representation cases, proceedings tackling unjust labor practice, discharge and discipline cases, rights and interest arbitrations, and fact-finding and impasse proceedings. In a nutshell, the lawyers deal with both the federal and state labor laws. The Massachusetts Labor Board Laws have certain provisions that are aimed at improving the fairness, effectiveness, and efficiency of labor relations.
1. Collective bargaining
The Massachusetts Labor Board law permits employees who have formed recognized labor organizations or unions to collectively negotiate or bargain with their respective employers through their representatives. If collective bargaining fails to work, the law does not prohibit employees from striking.
2. Discrimination issues
One of the provisions in the Massachusetts General Law instructs employers who intend to hire or contract six or more workers not to show any discrimination based on gender, religion, race, military status, old age, criminal record, disability, pregnancy, genetics, or sexual orientation. In addition to federal guidelines, labor laws in Massachusetts prohibit seniority systems or involuntary dismissal or retirement of workers over the age of 40.
3. Hour regulations
If an employee works for more than 40 hours a week, he or she should be paid overtime. In 1994, amendments were made to the state laws permitting employees to refuse work on Sundays without any subsequent punishment from the employers. Also, employees are not allowed to work seven days consecutively without a break. If a workers is on duty for three hours or less, the employer is required to compensate the worker for at least three hours of work.
MGL also allows employees with more than six-hour work shifts to have a 30-minute break for lunch. However, employers are not mandated to pay their workers for their lunch breaks.
5. Workers' compensation
Massachusetts General Law requires every employer to provide workers' compensation benefits to every one of his or her employees. This insurance coverage compensates the employee in the event of a work-related injury. Different benefits are offered to employees depending on the type of injury incurred. Some types of workers' compensation benefits include permanent disability benefits, partial disability benefits, and survivor benefits. Employers are not to discriminate against workers who have received previous injury compensation benefits from other employers.
6. Privacy rights
Another provision under the Massachusetts General Law allocates privacy protection to all employees. Being part of the labor laws in Massachusetts, employers are only permitted to obtain legitimate information from their employees that is related to the business. Employers are required to post policies that outline the methods they use in handling privacy issues. A worker can sue an employer if his or her privacy rights have been violated.
7. Family and maternity leave
The Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act permits women who have been employed for three months or more to take an eight-week maternity leave without fear of losing their jobs. For businesses that have 50 employees or more, the Small Necessities Leave Act allows the employees to take a 24-hour leave to take care of family problems.