State Agencies for Employment Rights

AttorneyStark[1]By: Attorney Timothy Stark – July, 2014

For this month’s article I decided to describe the various Federal and State agencies that enforce employment laws in Massachusetts. I have listed the names of the agencies, along with contact information, and a brief description of the services that they provide:

Massachusetts Office of Business Development: This office is the State’s principal business development agency. It assists in the expansion and location of business and is responsible for promoting Massachusetts as a business location. Located at 100 Cambridge Street in Boston. Telephone number 617-788-3695.

Department of Business Development: This agency works to promote the development of business and industry, travel and tourism, science and technology, international trade and women and minority business development in the Commonwealth. It is also located at 100 Cambridge St. and they can be reached at 617-788-3605.

Civil Service Commission: A quasi-judicial body to which appeals may be addressed regarding the merit system in public employment. It can review, for example, original and promotional bypasses, and the discharge, removal, suspension, transfer or reduction of rank of civil service employees. The employee must, however, be a civil service employee in order for the agency to have jurisdiction. I usually tell clients that unless you are aware that you are a civil service employee you probably aren’t one. Not all “Public Employees” are civil service employees. The agency is located at one Ashburton Place and the telephone number is 617-727-2293.

Commission for Deaf and Hard of Hearing: This agency helps deaf and hard of hearing get some of the aid/services that help the hearing impaired to function within the workplace. Located at 150 Mt. Vernon St., Dorchester, MA.

Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination: Enforces MGL 151 B which prohibits discrimination in employment in regards to Race, Color, Religion, National Origin, Ancestry, Sex, Maternity and Sexual Harassment and Age if the employee is 40 or over. Also, Criminal Records on Applications, Handicap, Mental Illness, Maternity Leave and Sexual Orientation and Recovering Addicts. The agency is located at 1 Ashburton Place in Boston and can be reached at 617-994-6000 or in Springfield at 413-739-2145.

The Division of Human Resources is also located at 1 Ashburton Place and is responsible for the establishment and maintenance of a merit system of personnel administration for the Commonwealth, 617- 727-1477.

Department of Industrial Accidents located at 600 Washington St. in Boston. This office is responsible for ensuring that Employers meet the requirements of the Worker’s Compensation Act and that Employers have valid insurance contracts. They also have offices in Fall River, Springfield, Worcester, and Lawrence.

Executive Office of Labor and Development which seeks to make new opportunities and training available for workers, job seekers, and employers. Helps to prevent work place injuries and health problems. Also it informs businesses of employment laws and how those laws impact them and their employees. The Department is located at 1 Ashburton Place and the telephone is 617-626-7122. Also the Department of Labor is located in the same building and is responsible for the enforcement of the wage laws of the state, 617-626-7100.

Division of Occupational Safety administers workplace safety and health programs which also includes issues of wage scales for public works projects i.e. “prevailing wage rates”. The department has offices in Haverhill, New Bedford, Pittsfield, Springfield, West Newton and Westborough.

Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission which oversees all of the 106 public pension systems in the state including city, town, county and state pensions.

Hopefully, while this is not a comprehensive list of all of the agencies that are in some way connected to Employer/Employee issues within the state, it will be of some help. Remember if you have an employment issue, it is a good idea to talk with an experienced employment attorney before taking any actions.