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Massachusetts And New Hampshire Law Blog

Faculty member fired over harassment allegations

Most people who live in Massachusetts have long been proud that their state is home to one of the nation's most highly regarded scientific research institutions. Many students from all over the country and all over the world work tirelessly for the opportunity to learn from the experts and professionals who teach there. Scientists themselves know the regard given to holding a position at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the chance to be part of groundbreaking technologies.

All of this, however, does not mean that MIT can forever remain shielded from the realities of human nature or today's society. The school has experienced a series of incidents recently that expose some potential misconduct.

How are alimony payment amounts determined in Massachusetts?

Often, when a Massachusetts marriage comes to an end, at least one party within it wants to secure alimony payments from the other to help him or her get by in the absence of the former partner. If you are among those planning to pursue alimony from your former partner, you may have questions about what factors undergo consideration when making alimony determinations and how much you can expect to receive in your payments if awarded alimony.

According to Mass.gov, a court will typically examine a broad number of areas before deciding whether to grant you alimony in your divorce. Some of these areas include the length of your marriage, you and your ex’s ages and your overall health and physical conditions. The court will also typically consider how employable you are, assessing factors that might include your level of education and the amount of time you spent outside of the workforce before making alimony-related decisions.

Understanding undue influence

As someone involved in probate proceedings in Massachusetts, you may be familiar with the term “undue influence,” but you may not fully comprehend what it means or how allegations of undue influence can potentially impact will contests or other probate proceedings. At Kajko, Weisman & Colasanti, LLP, we understand that undue influence can occur when one party works to influence the decision of another for his or her own personal gain. We also have considerable experience helping clients navigate this and many similar probate-related issues.

Per the American Bar Association, the concept of “undue influence” can be a bit difficult to define, but allegations of it are common in cases involving disputed wills or trusts, or petitions for guardianships or conservatorships. Generally, most courts will agree that undue influence can occur when one party that has a confidential or fiduciary relationship with another party acts in a manner that benefits him or her, rather than the person at the center of the case.

Does sexual harassment have to be physical?

Massachusetts employees like you should feel safe and secure when you go to work. Unfortunately, some people make workplace environments feel dangerous and unsafe. Sexual harassment can be one form that these troubling actions and behaviors take. But just what is sexual harassment?

Unfortunately, there is a misconception that sexual harassment must be physical in order to be legally fought against. While there are certainly many instances of physical sexual harassment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sets the record straight, stating that sexual harassment can be non-physical as well.

Are non-excusable delays causing issues with your construction?

Having a construction project underway is a huge endeavor. Whether you are a Massachusetts homeowner looking to make an addition to your residence or a business owner hoping to have a new office building or plant constructed, you certainly want your project to go smoothly. Unfortunately, issues with construction can occur and often do.

One of the biggest issues with these projects is delays. Typically, those funding the project will end up spending more money the longer the project takes to complete and will likely face other hindrances. Certainly, some delays cannot be avoided, but in other cases, contractors may just not work on a timely schedule.

What is a demand letter?

It can be frustrating knowing someone owes you money but not having the means to recover it. You may consider taking the person to small claims court, but you might not want to go through the hassle. Is there another way you can try to recover your money before taking the other party to court? You and other Massachusetts residents may be interested in learning how to write a demand letter.

As FindLaw explains, a demand letter lets the other person know that you rightfully expect to be paid and you are serious about recovering the money. For example, you may wish to return an item of clothing that does not fit, which you bought from an online store. After repeated, failed attempts to reach customer service and get a refund, you may think your next option is to file a case with small claims court. Instead, you may first write a letter demanding payment. This letter would include the following points:

  • An explanation of the situation and the reason you believe the other party should pay
  • The amount of money owed
  • Your intent to take the issue to small claims court if you are not satisfied

Train a business successor before handing over the company

Once people choose a business successor for their Massachusetts company, they may think their business succession plan is complete. However, it is also important to make sure this successor will be ready to do the job. It is a good idea for business leaders to train their successor before this person takes over the company.

Many business leaders may think their successor already knows all of the duties associated with the job. However, this person may not know the ins and outs of leading a company, so it is a good idea to write a job description before training a successor. People may want to write out all of the duties they perform each day, as well as the soft skills which have been helpful. Some business leaders may also want to add tips for tackling certain problems or working with certain clients. As people start training their successor, it is a good idea to have this person shadow them throughout the day. This can help a successor understand what a typical day on the job looks like.

Elements in creating a solid business succession plan

Most business owners in Massachusetts not only want their companies to thrive while they are in control, they also want their hard work to continue to benefit their families and employees after they are retired or pass away. For these reasons and numerous others, savvy business owners establish succession plans.

Why is it important to have a business succession plan? As the Houston Business Journal points out, small business owners establish their succession plans to help fund their retirement, as a contingency plan in the event of an unexpected disability or to ensure the company can continue operating after their death. Despite the importance of planning for a company’s longevity, only about 25% of small business owners have such a plan in place.

Ways that you can prevent sexual harassment in the workplace

Going to work each day at your job in Massachusetts should be empowering and rewarding. While there are a host of factors that play into your ability to have a positive experience at work, one significant influence is the type of people you work with and around each day. At Kajko, Weisman & Colasanti, LLP, we are experienced in helping people who have been the victims of unfair treatment in their workplace. 

Any behavior at work perpetrated by another coworker that ultimately leaves you feeling threatened or uncomfortable can be distracting to your ability to focus on your work and be productive in the hours you spend at work. Sexual harassment specifically, can leave you feeling demoralized, fearful and awkward. Your organization should have a written policy about their stance on sexual harassment, as well as which behaviors qualify as inappropriate. This policy should also inform you and others of the consequences that may be experienced if the reported behavior is proven. 

Are women actually the worst workplace bullies?

When you think of Massachusetts workplace bullying, you likely think of male workers bullying their female coworkers. But is this always the case?

Evidently not. Pocket.com recently reported that women bully other women at work. In fact, ongoing research reveals that female-on-female bullying occurs far more frequently than the male-on-female variety.

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