Saturday, June 18, 2011
Court ruling expands liability for workplace retaliation
The Massachusetts' anti-discrimination statute, M.G.L. c. 151B, clearly prohibits an employer from retaliating against an employee for exercising his or her rights under the statute or interfering with the exercise of such rights. The Supreme Judicial Court recently ruled that this protection applies equally to former employees. In Psy‐Ed Corp., et al. v. Klein & Schive v. Hirsch, et al., a former shareholder of a company signed an affidavit supportive of a person who had filed a charge of discrimination against the company. Upon learning this, the company filed a lawsuit against the former shareholder which the Superior Court found to be unmerited, an abuse of process, and retaliatory. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the Superior Court's ruling and held that Chapter 151B protects both current and former employees from retaliation even when the retaliatory action occurs after the employment relationship has ended.