Constangy partner, Sasha Thaler, was recently quoted in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly on a Wage Act case against Evolve Cellular, a Texas company, and its CEO.
Recently, a U.S. District Court judge ruled that Berrey v. Evolve Cellular, Inc., et al., a Wage Act claim involving a Massachusetts employee, can be heard in Massachusetts after the defendants moved to dismiss the case or move it to Texas. The plaintiff in this case had sold his company to Evolve Cellular and was kept on as an employee, reporting directly to the CEO from Massachusetts. This ruling and other recent decisions may indicate that Massachusetts courts are sympathetic Massachusetts residence when it comes to wage and hour issues.
"Given that all parties entered the relationship knowing that the plaintiff would be working from Massachusetts, it would have been surprising if Sorokin’s decision had gone in the other direction," Sasha says. "Though it is not a standard practice, one takeaway from Berrey for employers is that they might want to 'do the typical lawyer thing' and draft their choice-of-law provisions as broadly as possible, making sure they explicitly cover statutory claims...Even then, it might still be tough to convince a Massachusetts court that an in-state employee should not get the benefits of the state’s statutory protections."
Sasha Thaler is a partner out of Constangy's Boston office with nearly two decades of experience advising and defending employers across a variety of industries in matters impacting their workplaces. Her practice includes advising employers on compliance with an array of labor and employment regulations, alternative dispute resolution, and employment litigation. Sasha is a sought-after presenter on topics related to the changing workplace regulatory landscape.
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