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Massachusetts School Mask Mandate Extended Through At Least January 15, 2022

On October 26, 2021, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (“DESE”) extended its statewide school mask mandate until at least January 15, 2022. The mandate requires all students and staff members five (5) years and older to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status, except when eating or drinking. Prior to the extension, the […]

Supreme Judicial Court Finds That Police Officer Who Injured Coworker on Town Property During Working Hours Was Not Acting Within Scope of Employment

On October 25, 2021, the Supreme Judicial Court held in Russell Berry v. Commerce Insurance Company, (No. 2020-P-1316) that the provision of the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act, G.L. c. 258, §2 (the “Act”) which provides civil tort immunity to any public employee acting “within the scope of his office or employment” did not apply to […]

Four VDH Attorneys Named 2021 Massachusetts Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

Robert D. Hillman and John Foskett have been named Massachusetts Super Lawyers for 2021 and Nicholas J. Dominello and Jennifer F. King have been named Massachusetts Rising Stars.  Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. This selection […]

Massachusetts Legislature Extends COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act

On September 29, 2021, the Massachusetts legislature extended the “Act Providing For Massachusetts COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave,” through April 1, 2022.  The Act, which requires all private and public employers within Massachusetts to offer employees leave time for COVID-19 related issues, was set to expire on September 30, 2021.  It will now remain in […]

Suffolk Superior Court Allows Governor Baker’s Vaccine Mandate to Go Into Effect Despite Challenge from Police Union

On September 23, 2021, the Suffolk Superior Court issued a ruling in State Police Association of Massachusetts v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts, et al. (No. 2184-CV-02117), allowing Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s October 17th deadline for mandatory vaccinations for all Commonwealth Executive employees to remain in effect. Siding with the Commonwealth, the Court denied motions from the […]

Massachusetts Appeals Court Holds that Employee May be Terminated for Exercising Right to Submit a Rebuttal to Personnel File

Earlier this year, the Massachusetts Appeals Court issued a decision, Meehan v. Medical Information Technology, Inc., 99 Mass. App. Ct. 95 (2021), holding that terminating an employee solely for exercising his right to submit a written rebuttal to his personnel file pursuant to G.L. c. 149, §52C does not fall within the public policy exception […]

Federal Court Permits Employee to Bring Both Title VII and Title IX Actions Against Educational Institutions for Gender Discrimination

On August 12, 2021, the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts issued a decision, Harrington v. Lesley University, et al. (20-11718-DPW) holding that employees of educational institutions that receive federal financial assistance may bring discrimination claims under both the Title VII and the Title IX statutes, subject to the limitations of each. Defendant Lesley University hired […]

DESE Issues Mask Mandate for 2021-2022 School Year

On August 25, 2021, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (“DESE”) implemented a requirement that all public school students (age 5 and above), staff members and building visitors wear a mask indoors through at least October 1, 2021.  In particular, the mandate specifies that: Masks should cover an individual’s nose and mouth; While […]

DESE Updates Masking Guidelines

On July 30, 2021, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (“DESE”) released a memorandum containing updated guidelines on masking, COVID-19 testing, and quarantine protocols – the guidance can be found here: DESE Guidance. Guidelines on masking are as follows: DESE strongly recommends that all students in kindergarten through grade 6 wear masks when […]

Appeals Court Addresses Public Records Law Requirements for Public Bodies

On July 19, 2021, the Appeals Court issued a decision, Bradley v. Records Access Officer, Department of State Police (20-P-0419) holding a public body violated M.G.L. c. 66, §§ 10 and 10A, (the “Public Records Law”) in ignoring an individual’s requests for public records and directives from the Commonwealth’s Supervisor of Public Records (“SPR”) to […]