Connecticut & Massachusetts Employee Rights Lawyers
Connecticut and Massachusetts have powerful laws that protect workers from wrongful termination and other unfair practices by employers. Even if your termination was not illegal, you may still have been deprived of wages or overtime pay you earned and which is now owed to you.
Connecticut and Massachusetts Employment Lawyer
Our dedicated employee rights lawyers at Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore can vigorously pursue your claim, even in the most complex of cases and against large corporations. Your employer must treat you fairly under the law and we will fight for the justice you deserve.
We are experienced employment attorneys and have represented the victims of wrongful termination, harassment, wage and hour claims, denial of leave and other violations of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and federal employment law. We have helped our clients get reinstated to their old jobs, collect back pay wrongfully denied to them, as well as compensatory and punitive damages.
With offices in Connecticut and Massachusetts, we proudly represent employees throughout the region, including Hartford, Springfield, Milford, Bridgeport, New Haven, Stamford, Waterbury, Fairfield, Norwalk, and Danbury. Fill out our online form today, so we can look at the details of your employment case and help you get the compensation that you deserve.
Massachusetts and Connecticut Employment Law Attorneys At Your Side
Richard E. Hayber, who leads the team at Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore, takes pride in representing underdogs in tough cases. He takes on powerful companies and wins. Richard E. Hayber has represented a wide range of employees, from waiters and truck drivers to the vice presidents of companies.
He has conducted trials in state and federal courts throughout the region. He has also represented large groups of employees in class action lawsuits, where the employer’s illegal wage practices have deprived groups of employees the wages they’ve earned.
Deborah McKenna has fought for the rights of Connecticut employees for over twenty years. She represents clients in a variety of employment law matters, including women’s rights, sexual harassment, discrimination claims, severance negotiations, unemployment compensation, and family and medical leave (FMLA) issues.
Raymond Dinsmore represents employees throughout Massachusetts in a variety of employment law related issues, including wrongful termination, discrimination, FMLA violations, and sexual harassment.
At-Will Employment Does Not Justify Wrongful Termination
Massachusetts and Connecticut are “at-will” employment states. That rule means that employers can terminate employees for any legal reason, or for no reason at all. The termination does not have to be “fair” to be permissible. An employer could fire a worker simply because he or she doesn’t like the employee.
There are limitations, however, to how an employer can discharge an employee. Connecticut and Massachusetts wrongful termination laws generally prohibit firing employees when the firing is due to one of several reasons.
For example, discrimination is an illegal reason to fire someone. It is illegal in Connecticut to discriminate against an employee on the basis of his or her race, sex, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability or other protected trait. Termination is a form of employment discrimination.
If you were terminated suddenly after becoming pregnant, disciplined differently than employees of a different race, fired after telling your boss you were gay or dismissed because your boss said you couldn’t “keep up” (a thinly veiled reference to age), you might have a claim for wrongful termination due to discrimination.
In these matters, compiling careful documentation of the circumstances surrounding the firing and consulting with a well-qualified Connecticut or Massachusetts employment lawyer is in your best interests.
Employers May Not Retaliate by Firing Employees
Sometimes, an employee may notice something illegal or wrong going on at work, and his or her natural reaction will be to report it to management. It could be because the employee sees discriminatory practices, because he or she spots an unsafe working condition, or because he or she sees someone breaking the law.
Assuming the best, that employee may report it to high-ups in the company, hoping to see it fixed, and may report it again when it’s not. Some employers, however, may view that employee as a “troublemaker” and fire him or her. Both Massachusetts and Connecticut courts have made it clear that there is a public policy exception to at -will employment that prohibits termination because of internal complaints.
An employee may also take those complaints to government agencies, like the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, for witnessed discrimination, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, for unsafe working conditions. However, the law also protects them. Under state law, an employee may not be fired for being a whistleblower.
It is also illegal to retaliate against workers with termination or other negative employment action for a legally protected right, like taking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), filing for workers’ compensation or exercising free speech on matters of public concern. When it happens, employees have a legal claim and may make a claim for reinstatement, back pay and compensatory damage and, sometimes, punitive damages. Consulting with an employment attorney can help in making the determination if you have a case.
Employees Wrongfully Denied Overtime Pay
Under federal, Connecticut wage and hour law, and Massachusetts wage and hour law, employees must be paid for the amount of time they worked, and must be paid overtime, or time-and-a-half, for any hours worked over 40 in a week. Some employees may be exempt from these laws if their jobs meet certain narrow criteria.
Some employers, however, misclassify their employees as “exempt” to deny them overtime pay. They may “promote” an hourly employee to a salaried position but not really change his or her job responsibilities much. That employee will be on a salary basis working far more than 40 hours per week, and not have the opportunity to make overtime pay.
When illegal misclassification occurs, the employee who was denied overtime may seek back pay for the money he or she is owed. If the employee was fired, it does not change the fact that he or she is owed that money. And if he or she was fired because he or she demanded their overtime pay, that employee may also have a separate retaliation claim.
At Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore, our Connecticut and Massachusetts labor lawyers represent employees wrongfully denied overtime pay. Some fields are particularly prone to this violation. For instance: employers may claim the “executive” exemption for assistant managers, even though their job duties may not change from when they were associates.
Another example includes insurance underwriters, loan underwriters, and loan officers may be called “exempt” by their employers, when, in fact, they are more like production workers because their work relates to their employers’ product (the loans or the insurance policies).
We are proud to take these cases at Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore and advance these workers’ rights to overtime pay.
Workplace Harassment is Illegal in CT and MA
Discrimination can come in all forms. Just as it is illegal to discriminate against a person in hiring, firing, promotion and pay, it is illegal to discriminate against a person by making them feel uncomfortable or threatened because of who they are. State law takes workplace harassment very seriously, and we, at Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore, are proud to represent the victims of on-the-job harassment.
Sexual harassment is the most common type of harassment. Sexual harassment can include threats to procure sexual favors, unwanted advances, explicit comments, crude jokes, subjecting the victim to pornography, or many other wrongful actions. Harassment can be subtle or explicit, but it’s always illegal, and victims deserve justice.
Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore | Connecticut and Massachusetts Employment Lawyers Fighting for Your Rights
At-will employment does not mean employers can get away with whatever they want. You may have been terminated for an illegal reason, such as due to discrimination or in retaliation for complaints or exercising a legal right. Or, you may have been wrongly denied overtime pay. Or, you may have been harassed at work. Federal, Connecticut, and Massachusetts state law give you rights as an employee.
At Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore, our Connecticut and Massachusetts employment lawyers are proud to help workers exercise their legal rights against the bad actions of their current or former employers. If you have been mistreated at work, fill out our online form today, so that we can review the details of your case.