Massachusetts Law Review

Massachusetts Law Review

Special Issue: Employment

This issue of the Massachusetts Law Review is devoted entirely to employment topics: employment retaliation claims, exceptions to the at-will employment doctrine, recent developments and trends in employee noncompetition agreements, an analysis of the changing burdens of proof in discrimination cases, and a comment on Knight v. Avon Products, in which the Supreme Judicial Court held that an age discrimination plaintiff must prove that her replacement was "substantially younger." Regardless of whether we practice employment law per se, employment issues affect all of us as employers or employees. Therefore, the Editorial Board of the Law Review thought that an all-employment issue would be of interest to the members of the bar and useful both inside and outside of the practice of law.

Understanding and Preventing Workplace Retaliation

The past decade has seen a significant increase in workplace retaliation claims.1 Numerous federal and Massachusetts statutes prohibiting retaliation exist to ensure that individuals who oppose unlawful employment discrimination in the workplace, participate in employment discrimination proceedings, or otherwise assert their rights, are protected against retribution by their employer.2 The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") has stated that allowing employers to take adverse action against employees who file charges of discrimination or oppose employment practices they reasonably believe to be unlawful would have a chilling effect on the willingness of employees to assert their rights.3

Employee Noncompetition Agreements: Recent Developments and Trends

Employee noncompetition agreements are common features of many employment relationships and they frequently lead to disputes and litigation. Employers argue that such agreements are essential to protect their trade secrets and customer good will. Employees, on the other hand, argue that such agreements unduly restrict their ability to earn a living. Courts are often required to balance the competing claims of employer and employee in these challenging and fact-intensive cases.

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