SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (Mass Appeal) - Losing a job can be one of the most difficult times in a person's life, especially when it happens unexpectedly. Attorney Shawn Willis from the Law Office of Cooley Shrair in Springfield joined us to share more about the employment law and how you can protect yourself.
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When someone loses their job, what should they know to be sure they're rights are being protected?
Make sure you are paid all the wages and benefits you have coming and be sure you are paid when you are entitled. First, you should know that when you are entitled to be paid depends on whether your employment was terminated voluntarily or involuntarily.
According to Massachusetts law when an employer fires an employee they must pay that employee all of the wages that employee is due. But if the employee resigns, they are entitled to all of their wages on the next regular payday
How can an employee be sure that the employer is paying them all they are entitled to? What about benefits such as sick time or vacation pay?
That is a very common question and it is also the most common area where employers fail to comply with the law. Massachusetts law defines wages as not only the hourly rate, but other earned or accrued benefits as well. Employers are not required by law to offer vacation time to their employees, but many do, and if you have vacation or sick time coming to you at the time of the termination, you are entitled to be paid for those days as well. That may also be true for sick days or personal days, if the employer typically pays its employees for unused time.
The other common mistake employers make is failing to pay proper commissions. Commissions are considered wages under the law and employees are entitled to all commission that they have earned through the last day of their employment. It doesn't matter that the company has a practice of only paying commission once a month or once a year. You are entitled to be paid immediately or in the next regular paycheck, depending on whether the termination was voluntary or not
If someone believes that they are entitled to unpaid wages or that their employer has not complied with the law, what can they do?
The Attorney General has a division dedicated to this area of law and you can report the issue directly to them. You can also consult a lawyer who specializes in this practice area.
About Cooley Shrair:
Cooley, Shrair P.C., founded in 1946 by Judge Sidney M. Cooley and Attorney Edward B. Cooley, is a progressive law firm located in Springfield, MA. Cooley Shrair provides unequaled service to its clients. Our unparalleled response time to our clients' needs is the foundation of our mission statement.
At Cooley Shrair, family and business have always had a way of blending together. We know the importance of balancing the boardroom and the courtroom with the living room from time to time. We listen carefully to understand our clients' concerns and work vigorously with them to develop strategies for success. It's not just business, it's personal.
We pride ourselves in being the most responsive lawyers in the area, covering virtually every area of practice for individuals and multinational corporations across the United States and Canada. Cooley Shrair is recognized consistently for exceeding client expectations and providing competent, integrated, and cost-effective legal services.
Our attorneys are each distinguished in their respective areas of concentration and are complemented by a professional support staff. Cooley Shrair is a formidable opponent who fiercely advocates on behalf of our clients and we take pride in our commitment to provide unparalleled response and unparalleled solutions.
We're a family, and to us, that's very personal business.