VETERANS NOW A PROTECTED GROUP UNDER MASSACHUSETTS ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LAW; AND EMPLOYERS OF 50 OR MORE EMPLOYEES MUST NOW PROVIDE PAID LEAVE TO VETERANS ON VETERANS DAY, IF REQUESTED

by Employment Attorney Leslie Lockard
The Law Office of Leslie Lockard, P.C.
P.O. Box 537
Walpole, MA 02081
Tel. 508 850-9800
FAX 508 850-9801
Email: Llockard@leslielockard.com
Website: www.LeslieLockard.com
August 16, 2016

Employee handbooks and policies may need to be revised to reflect a newly enacted law, which provides new employment related rights to most military veterans. The law makes two changes to Massachusetts employment law:
  1. “Veteran status” is a new protected category under Massachusetts anti-discrimination law. Thus, employers of 6 or more employees who are covered by that law cannot discriminate against veterans, just as they cannot discriminate on the basis of other protected categories such as race, gender, national origin and current military service.
  2. Employers of 50 or more employees must now provide paid leave to covered veterans, of sufficient time to permit them to participate in a Veteran’s Day “exercise, parade or service” in the community in which they reside. To be eligible for this paid leave, the veteran must request it, and must provide “reasonable notice” of his/her request. The law does not specify how much advance notice is required to be “reasonable”.
Note: the law as it stood before this amendment already requires all Massachusetts employers to grant leave, which can be paid or unpaid, to veterans who want to participate in a Veterans Day or Memorial Day “exercise, parade or service”. The new paid leave provision, though, applies only to employers of 50 or more, and only to Veteran’s Day, not Memorial Day.

What Should Employers Do Now?

Employers of 6 or more employees will need to revise their EEO, anti-discrimination, harassment and other similar policies and notices to include veteran status as a protected category. Employers of 50 or more employees will need to review their holiday and leave policies and change any wording which is inconsistent with the new paid leave requirement. Employers will also need to train their supervisors about these changes in the law.








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Contact Info

Attorney Leslie Lockard
The Law Office of Leslie Lockard, P.C.
P.O. Box 537
Walpole, MA 02081
Tel. 508 850-9800
FAX 508 850-9801
Email: Llockard@leslielockard.com
Website: www.LeslieLockard.com