Massachusetts law about employment termination

Laws, cases, and web sources on firing employees or getting fired.

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Massachusetts laws

MGL c. 149, § 148 Payment of wages
In most circumstances, if you are fired you should be paid in full on your last day.

"any employee discharged from such employment shall be paid in full on the day of his discharge..."

MGL c. 175, § 110G Continuation of health care benefits after involuntary layoff

MGL c. 176J, § 9 Massachusetts “Mini-COBRA” law for continuation of health care benefits for businesses with 2-19 employees

Selected cases

Web sources

At-will employment and wrongful termination,, December 2023.
Information on what it means to be an at-will employee and exceptions to the at-will employment doctrine.

Can an employee be fired for no reason?, Archived from the Boston Globe, 2005.

Although it seems almost impossible to believe, employers in Massachusetts, or in any other employee-at-will state, can fire any employee at any time for any reason — or even for no reason at all. An employer can terminate any employee, with or without notice.

Exceptions to the at-will employment doctrine, Robert S. Mantell, 2016.
"The at-will employment doctrine, that an employee can be terminated for any reason or for no reason, is a doctrine whose validity is dwarfed by its numerous exceptions." This article lists those exceptions with references to statutes and cases.

Worker’s guide to advance notice of closings and layoffs, U.S. Department of Labor.
“The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act helps ensure advance notice in cases of qualified plant closings and mass layoffs…This guide provides a brief overview of the WARN Act provisions and answers to frequently asked questions about employee rights.”

Print sources

Employee discharge and documentation, Lorman Education Services, 2008.

Hiring and firing in Massachusetts, by John F. Adkins, MCLE, 2007.

Human resource law from A to Z, NBI, 2019.

Human resource law: what you need to know now, NBI, 2017.

Labor and employment in Massachusetts, Jeffrey L. Hirsch, 2nd edition, LexisNexis, loose-leaf.
Chapter 18: Termination of Employment.

Practical tips for negotiating and settling an employment case, MCLE, 2009.

Representing a plaintiff in a wrongful termination case, 7th ed., MCLE, 2022.
1. Interviewing the client -- 2. Evaluating claims and damages -- 3. Anticipating employer defenses -- 4. Counseling the client on strategy options -- 5. Litigating the claim -- 6. Trying the case.

Wrongful termination and exceptions to employment at-will, MCLE, 2007.

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Last updated: March 5, 2024

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