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Involuntary Terminations: Massachusetts

Involuntary Terminations requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Author: Rebecca Sipowicz


  • Massachusetts employers who seek to terminate employees for "cause" must meet a specific standard in order to shield themselves from liability for wrongful discharge. See Termination for Cause.
  • Massachusetts has its own regulations concerning plant closings and mass layoffs that need to be complied in addition to the requirements of the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act. See Layoffs, Reductions in Force and Plant Closings.
  • Massachusetts employers are prohibited from terminating or substantially disciplining employees if they participate in certain types of legal proceedings. See Termination in Retaliation for Protected Activities.
  • In Massachusetts, it is very difficult to classify a worker as an independent contractor. Employers should be cautious when terminating independent contractors. See Terminating Special Classes of Employees.
  • Pregnant employees who are not covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) receive up to eight weeks of protected maternity leave under the Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act. See Terminating Special Classes of Employees.
  • The Massachusetts Fair Employment Standards Act prevents discrimination in employment decisions for broader reasons than provided under federal law, including sexual orientation and genetic information. See Terminating Special Classes of Employees.
  • As of July 2012, Massachusetts will add the protected category of transgendered individuals to all state discrimination laws. See Terminating Special Classes of Employees.