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MA Employers Should Review Employee Release Language 02/06/2013

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Employment, Legal Developments.
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Employment Attorney Bob SheaBy: Bob Shea

As we reported in December, in Crocker v. Townsend Oil Company, Inc., the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) provided important guidance to employers concerning releases by employees of claims under the Massachusetts Wage Act, M.G.L. c. 149. The SJC stated in Crocker that a release of claims under the Wage Act will be enforceable only when the release is stated in “clear and unmistakable terms.” The release must be plainly worded and understandable to the average individual and must specifically refer to the rights and claims under the Wage Act that the employee is waiving.

In light of the Crocker decision, employers in Massachusetts are wise to review the release language contained in their forms of employee separation agreement to ensure that language meets the standard set forth by the SJC.

For any questions on this topic, feel free to contact any member of the Employment Law Group.

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