When someone loses their job, it’s understandable to wonder if there are grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit. An employee may have no recourse. Massachusetts is a work at will state, meaning that much of the time an employer can fire an employee at any time, for any reason.

Exceptions to the Work at Will Rule

There are a few exceptions to the work at will rule in Employment Law Springfield MA. To find out if there could be a legitimate wrongful termination claim, discuss the situation with an experienced Massachusetts employment attorney. Each situation is unique.


Under both federal and state law, it is illegal to fire someone based upon a protected trait. Under state law, employers with as few as six employees must comply with these laws. Some of those protected characteristics include:

  • Race, color and national origin
  • Sex, gender identity or sexual orientation
  • Religion
  • Age (if over 40)
  • Disability
  • Genetic data
  • Active military status


It’s illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee because the employee is asserting their legal rights. For example, if an employee believed that they were not promoted because of their age and complained to HR, it is illegal to fire or discipline the employee because they complained.

Wage and Work Hours

Massachusett’s minimum wage is $10 per hour, with some exceptions. The law also specifies:

  • Time-and-a-half for work over 40 hours and possibly for Sunday work
  • A 30 minute unpaid meal break for six hours work

Time Off Work

Employees have the right to take time off if they must attend to certain personal or civic responsibilities including:

  • Military leave
  • Jury duty
  • Voting
  • Family and Medical Leave (FMLA)

Breach of Contract

In Massachusetts, employees with employment contracts are not considered an at-will employees.

  • A written or oral contract would be considered a promise not to fire the employee without good cause for a certain length of time.
  • An implied contract relies upon employer’s statements that cause the employee to believe in continued employment. An example of an implied contract could be frequent statements by the employer that, “I’ll never fire you as long as you do such a good job.”

The attorneys at Connor Morneau & Olin have a combined 50 years of experience with Employment Law Springfield MA. If you feel that you have been wrongfully terminated from your job, visit their website today to contact an attorney.