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From monthly archives: April 2022

We are pleased to present below all posts archived in 'April 2022'. If you still can't find what you are looking for, try using the search box.

SJC Holds That Parties Cannot Contract Away Willful or Knowing Violations of Ch. 93A

  By: Michael P. Dickman. Esq.             Earlier this year, the Supreme Judicial Court struck down a contractual limitation of liability provision as void against public policy.  In H1 Lincoln, Inc. v. South Washington Street, LLC, et al., the SJC held that contract waiver does not preclude multiple damages under the Massachusetts consumer protection statute (G.L. c. 93A) for willful or knowing misconduct. G.L. c. 93A, § 11 governs business-to-business disputes.  Section 11 authorizes a person engaged in trade or commerce to file an action for damages and equitable relief arising from unfair and deceptive acts.  If a violation of c. 93A is willful or knowing, a claimant may be entitled to recover double or treble damages.             In the underlying dispute, Alfredo Dos Anjos, the principal of the defendant entities, brea ...

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New Federal Law Prohibits Employers from Mandating Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Claims

By: Laura M. Raisty, Esq. On March 3, 2022, President Joe Biden signed into law the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021 (“the Act”), which amends the Federal Arbitration Act to invalidate pre-dispute arbitration agreements and class or collective action waivers covering sexual assault and sexual harassment claims at the election of either: (1) the person alleging the misconduct or (2) the named representative of a class or in a collective action alleging such misconduct.  The Act applies to all claims that arise or accrue after March 3, 2022, without regard to the date of the arbitration agreement.  It does not, however, affect any claim that arose or accrued before March 3, 2022. Background Many employers have entered into arbitration agreements with their employees to avoid unfavorable publicity and to have a faster and less expensive resolution to employment-related disputes than is generally provided via the judicial system. &nb ...

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ABC Succeeds at Keeping PLAs Out of Major Provisions of Senate Climate Bill

  Negotiations With House Loom as Next Challenge   Reporting by Chris Lisinski of State House News Service and ABC MA APRIL 14, 2022.....Senators took a major step Thursday toward achieving the net-zero emissions target they already set for Massachusetts by approving a policy-heavy bill aimed at expanding the clean energy industry and reining in emissions from the transportation and building sectors.  ABC MA was keenly focused on an amendment seeking to mandate project labor agreements (PLAs) on $ billion in home energy efficiency work, and we are pleased to report that amendment was defeated.  A much narrower amendment to increase offshore wind capacity does include pro-PLA language but is short of a mandate.  An amendment seeking to mandate PLAs on wind projects was rejected.   “Overall it was a very good outcome in terms of keeping a major amount of energy efficiency work open to all contractors and workers and benefitting MA residents with ...

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ALERT: New Ruling On Compensation For Discharged Employees

  Massachusetts law now mandates that employers must provide treble damages, attorneys' fees and court costs when discharged employees do not receive all wages owed, including accrued vacation, on the day of discharge. Resigning employees must receive full payment by the payroll period next following their resignation.   On April 4, the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) found for a discharged employee who did not receive her accrued vacation pay of $8,952 until three weeks following a termination for larceny. One year later, suit was filed. Beth Reuter v. City of Methuen, SJC-13121. The Plaintiff was awarded treble damages (3x the vacation pay). Her attorneys are demanding $75,695 in fees and costs.   The SJC noted in its decision that in Massachusetts, the term "wages" includes oral or written commitments for paid holidays, vacations, or commissions. Therefore, if a suit is filed following discharge, all may be tripled. Because attorneys' fees often far ex ...

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ABC Sends Letter to White House With 1,200 Signatures Opposing Biden’s PLA Mandate

  WASHINGTON, April 6—Today, Associated Builders and Contractors sent the White House a letter with more than 1,200 signatures from member companies and chapters strongly opposing President Biden’s executive order mandating project labor agreements on federal public works projects exceeding $35 million. The letter lays out concerns with Executive Order 14063 and other policies promoting PLAs on federal and federally assisted construction projects, which would affect the allocation of funds under the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package that was signed into law last year. “Your administration is taking a dangerously partisan approach that would defy congressional intent and affect the allocation of a significant portion of these funds,” said the letter. “ABC and our members are concerned this EO could limit the ultimate success of the bipartisan bill and the communities it is meant to benefit. “Recent government-mandated PLAs on fed ...

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ABC and AFSP Announce Partnership to Address Mental Health and Suicide Prevention in the Construction Industry

  (via ABC National)   Last week, Associated Builders and Contractors and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention today announced a collaborative partnership to address mental health and suicide prevention throughout the U.S. construction industry.  ABC Massachusetts conducted a webinar with ASFP on the topic in October. The goals of the partnership are to improve the mental health of construction workers through effective suicide prevention education, intervention and postvention strategies; to encourage, equip and empower mental health champions in the workforce; and to introduce collaboration between ABC and AFSP chapters nationwide. “Safety includes total human health—emotional, social, mental, intellectual, financial, occupational and spiritual wellness—and we must continue to raise the bar for safety for the construction workforce of more than 7.5 million,” said Greg Sizemore, ABC vice president of health, safety, environment and ...

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Beacon Hill Roundup - April 5, 2022

  On Monday, March 28th, the State House News Service noted that although the Baker administration did not include within their proposed state building code changes the ability for a municipality to require all-electric new construction, Attorney General Maura Healey has told the administration that it has the legal authority to propose such a policy. The administration's updates to the existing stretch code and its new net-zero specialized stretch code for cities and towns to adopt would hold gas-heated buildings to higher efficiency standards but would not allow cities and towns to eliminate their construction. On the March 18th deadline for public comments, Healey said her office had "filed comments with DOER confirming that it has the authority to create a special opt-in energy code under the Climate Act that will provide municipalities the opportunity to impose all-electric requirements."    On Wednesday, March 30th, Lowell city councilors voted 11-0 to give ...

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