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Massachusetts Court Rules Workers Entitled to be Paid Unused Vacation Time After Termination

Recently a Massachusetts court ruled that Massachusetts employees are entitled to be paid their accrued but unused vacation time after termination of their employment. The Massachusetts Wage Act considers accrued but unused vacation time to be the same as wages and requires that they be paid in full at the time of termination.

The case, called Waring v. Decisive Communications Inc., involved a claim by cable installers who sued in a class action when they weren’t paid their unused vacation time at the end of their employment. Decisive Communications claimed that it did not owe them any money because they were immediately hired by a new cable installation company which took over the same territory and serviced the same customers. The new company gave Decisive ’s former cable installers more vacation time than usual and credited them with their date of hire with Decisive.

The employees were immediately employed doing the same job in the same territory in the same building as before, and had been credited with their original date of hire. Decisive Communications claimed that this meant their employment had been ‘transferred’ to the new company. The Massachusetts Superior Court rejected these arguments.

It ruled that employees are entitled to the cash value of any accrued but unused vacation time even if they immediately begin working for a new employer who has essentially taken over the former employer’s business. The court rejected Decisive Communication’s “transfer” argument and refused to dismiss the case.

This case is pending in the Massachusetts Superior Court in Springfield, Massachusetts. The cable installers are represented by Attorney Raymond Dinsmore of Dinsmore Stark in Northampton Massachusetts, and Attorney Richard Hayber of The Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore in Springfield, Massachusetts.