• News

Civil Service Commission Addresses Truthfulness Standard in Bypasses

On April 12, 2018, the Civil Service Commission (“Commission”) released a decision, Dabene v. Boston Police Department, in which it opined on the requisite level of untruthfulness to substantiate bypass of a candidate for a police officer position.  It is well-established in decisions under the Civil Service Law, G.L. c. 71, that honesty is a […]

SJC Upholds Massachusetts Cap on Charter Schools

On April 24, 2018, the Supreme Judicial Court held in Doe No. 1 v. Secretary of Education (SJC-12275) that students who attend public schools in Massachusetts are not constitutionally entitled to attend charter schools.  Five students filed a complaint in Superior Court challenging G.L. c. 71, § 89(i), which caps the number of all charter […]

Supreme Judicial Court Defines the Scope of State Middle and Upper Managers’ Rights to Revert or “Bump” Back to Former Tenured Civil Service Position

In a decision released March 27, 2018, the Supreme Judicial Court held that the right of a middle or upper level state manager to revert to a previously-held civil service position under G.L. c. 30, § 46D applies only to involuntary terminations, not to voluntary resignations. The case, Spencer v. Civil Service Commission, SJC-12326, involved […]

SJC Overrules Attorney General’s Open Meeting Law Guidance Regarding Circulation of Employee Performance Evaluations to Quorum of Board of Selectmen in Advance of an Open Meeting

On April 5, 2018, the Supreme Judicial Court held in Boelter v. Board of Selectmen of Wayland, SJC-12353, that the email circulation of employee performance evaluations among a quorum of a public body in advance of an open meeting violates the Open Meeting Law, G.L. c. 30A, §§ 18, 20 (the “OML”) unless the evaluations are publicly disclosed at the same time.

Attorney Liz Valerio Discusses New Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

Attorney Liz Valerio discussed the new Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) at the annual School Law Day conference of the Massachusetts Association of Personnel Administrators (MASPA) on March 23, 2018.

Supreme Judicial Court Holds That Sick and Vacation Payments are not “Regular Compensation” Under Chapter 32 When Used to Supplement Workers’ Compensation Payments

In a decision released February 13, 2018, the Supreme Judicial Court held that sick or vacation payments, when used to supplement workers’ compensation payments, are not “regular compensation” as defined in the Contributory Retirement Law, G.L. c. 32, § 1.

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Addresses Truancy Standard Under the Child Requiring Assistance Statute

In a decision released February 6, 2018, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court defined the circumstances in which a child “willfully fails to attend school” pursuant to the Commonwealth’s Child Requiring Assistance (“CRA”) statute, G.L. c. 119, § 21.

The decision, Millis Public Schools v. M.P., SJC-12384, held that a child who “acts purposefully, such that his or her behavior arises from reasons portending delinquent behavior” qualifies as a child willfully failing to attend school under the law.

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Holds Accrued, Unused Sick Time Does Not Qualify As Wages Under The Wage Act

In a decision released January 29, 2018, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held that payment for accrued, unused sick time does not count as wages under the Wage Act, G.L. c. 149, §§ 148, 150. The decision, Tze-Kit Mui v. Massachusetts Port Authority, SJC-12296, addressed an employee’s claim that his former employer violated the Wage Act by failing to timely pay him for his accrued but unused sick time upon his retirement.

Supreme Judicial Court Holds School District/City is Exempt from Tort Liability for Failing to Act to Prevent Bullying

In a decision released February 27, 2018, the Supreme Judicial Court held that the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act, (“Act”), G.L. c. 258, § 10 (j), shielded the City of Lynn and Lynn Public Schools from liability for negligently failing to prevent bullying. The decision, Cormier v. City of Lynn, SJC-12323, involved a Lynn elementary school student who suffered permanent paralysis as a result of being pushed down a stairwell by a classmate.

Attorneys Nick Dominello and Caroline Thibeault Discuss Social Media at the 2018 Annual MMA Conference

VDH attorneys Nick Dominello and Caroline Thibeault discussed the complex issues that arise when municipalities use social media at the 2018 annual conference of the Massachusetts Municipal Association. The panel was moderated by Julie Jacobson, the Town Manager of Auburn, Massachusetts and also included a presentation by Connor Read, the Town Administrator of Easton, Massachusetts.