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Massachusetts Law Articles

Social networking sites are a danger in divorce cases

The popularity of Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking sites has created a can of worms in divorce: These sites often contain evidence of a person’s whereabouts, “friends,” employment status and other information that can be used as evidence against them. People often forget that the pictures they post and the things they write about on these sites are public information. Anyone going through a divorce should be cautious about their actions online, especially on social

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Company not liable for employee’s drunk-driving accident

A nursing home supervisor took the home’s chef out for drinks after work one night in order to discuss work-related issues. The two had a fair amount to drink. The chef left the restaurant in his car and shortly afterward struck a 70-year-old pedestrian, who suffered serious injuries. The pedestrian sued the nursing home, claiming that it was responsible for the chef’s drinking. But the state Appeals Court shot down the lawsuit in a 2-1 decision.

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Laid-off employee must be paid for unused vacation time

An employee who was laid off from his job is entitled to be paid for any earned but unused vacation time, according to the state Supreme Judicial Court. A longtime employee was laid off by Electronic Data Systems, and didn’t receive any vacation pay even though he had only used one day of vacation all year, and the company had a written policy saying that employees were entitled to a certain amount of vacation time based

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Discrimination settlement can violate union agreement

The MBTA offered a job to a man who wears a hearing aid, conditioned on his ability to pass a physical examination. During the exam, he wasn’t allowed to wear his hearing aid, and he flunked. The man sued, claiming he was discriminated against because of his disability. Five years later, the MBTA settled the case by hiring the man and giving him five years of retroactive seniority. However, the union objected. It said the MBTA

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Bankruptcies skyrocket in Massachusetts

The number of bankruptcy cases filed in Massachusetts increased by 18% in the last year, and by a stunning 72% over the past two years. The vast majority of the cases are personal bankruptcies as opposed to business bankruptcies. While some businesses are going under, the spike in cases is largely the result of people losing their jobs in the recession. Other common causes of bankruptcy include divorce, sudden large medical bills, and an inability to

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Non-compete agreement is valid even if employee leaves state

Suppose a Massachusetts employee signs a non-compete agreement, but then leaves to work for a competitor in California – a state that generally doesn’t approve of non-compete agreements. Can the agreement still be enforced against him? Yes, according to a recent decision by the Massachusetts Superior Court. The employee was a vice president at the EMC computer company in Hopkinton, Mass. After 20 years with EMC, he quit to become vice president at Hewlett-Packard in California.

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What happens if a seller can’t move out by the closing date?

Here’s a common scenario: Both parties to a real estate deal are ready to close, but for some reason the seller can’t move out by the closing date. Maybe the seller is moving to a new home or place of business, and the new place isn’t quite ready yet. Maybe the closing date is the last day of the month, a notoriously difficult day on which to hire a moving company. One solution is to go

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Accused employee can’t sue his accuser

A manager at the Cambridge Marriott hotel who was fired after he was accused of sexually harassing a bartender can’t sue the bartender, according to the state Appeals Court. The manager sued the bartender for defamation, claiming she slandered him to the hotel and wrongly caused him to lose his job. But the court said that a person can’t be sued for defamation for statements made in relation to a court case. In this situation, the

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Getting divorced? Be careful with tax returns

If you’re in the middle of a divorce and your spouse is preparing a joint income tax return, remember that even though you’re splitting up, you’re still jointly responsible if you sign the return and your spouse has done something wrong. In a recent case, a couple was still married but living separately with separate checking accounts and credit cards. The husband prepared the couple’s joint tax return and gave it to the wife to sign.

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Woman can’t be turned down for job because she has children

A company can be sued if it didn’t promote a woman because it was afraid she would have trouble balancing her job and raising four children. That’s the result of a ruling from the federal appeals court in Boston. The woman, who worked for an insurance company, was one of two finalists for a management job. She had an 11-year-old son and six-year-old triplets, and was taking one course a semester at a local college. She

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