The Law @ Work

Are You Prepared for the “Hot Topics” in 2018?

by John S. Gannon

Earlier this week, Erica Flores and I teamed up with the Chicopee Chamber of Commerce for a thoughtful morning seminar with an HR focus.  During the presentation, entitled “Hot Topics for Employers in 2018,” we discussed new employment laws and issues that we expect to impact Massachusetts employers this year, as well as proposed legislation that should be on your radar.  Some of the topics included:

Massachusetts Pay Equity Law

Changes to the state pay equity law are getting lots of hype in Massachusetts, and for good reason.  The Massachusetts Pay Equity Act, set to go into effect on July 1, 2018, will impose significant responsibility on businesses to ensure equal pay to employees of different genders for “comparable” work. This means that work requiring substantially similar skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions may require equal pay.

Our discussion focused on how to define “comparable” work, situations where disparities in pay are permissible, and the important “self-evaluation” defense available to employers who audit their pay practices in timely fashion.  We also had some lively discussion about other aspects of the new law, including the prohibition on questions related to salary history.  For those who may have missed our discussion, don’t fret.  Our firm will be hosting a Breakfast Briefing on March 1, 2018, that will focus on the new Pay Equity Law and what employers should be doing now to prepare for the change.

Sexual Harassment After #MeToo

Avoiding sexual harassment problems in the workplace should be at the top of your 2018 “to do” list.  During the briefing, we went over strategies and tips to help prevent sexual harassment.  The Law @ Work has covered this topic in past blog posts.  Bottom line, you should have your harassment policies reviewed by counsel, and you need to make sure your managers and supervisors are adequately trained so they can spot, stop and report workplace harassment.

Other Topics

Erica and I touched upon a host of other topics during the presentation, including medical/recreational marijuana use, the new EMAC Supplement, and the possibility of paid family leave and a minimum wage increase coming soon.   If you are interested in learning more about how these laws could impact your business, send me an email at, and I can forward you a copy of the slide presentation.

Share this