Severance Agreement’s “Wage Act” Release Language Need Not Be Explicit

Federal Court Rules Severance Agreement Includes Release of Wage Act Claims Despite Not Explicitly Citing the Statute

By Craig Levey
Litigation Associate at Looney & Grossman LLP

“In MacLean v. TD Bank, N.A., Judge Timothy S. Hillman, United States District Court, District of Massachusetts, ruled that it is unnecessary for a severance release explicitly to reference M.G.L. c. 149, § 148 (the “Wage Act”) in order for the employer to be released from liability under the statute. Rather, it is sufficient for a release to use language that adequately refers to the substance of the Wage Act, such as “payment of wages, bonuses, incentives and any other compensation to employees.”

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About Maria Hanna Joseph

Maria Hanna Joseph is Principal of Joseph Mediation. Her 25 years of experience in employment law, include 16+ of work and mediating for the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination which through which she has gained valuable insight into the MCAD, its practices and decision making. This, as well as her experience in plaintiff and defense litigation, with private and public sector clients, international and local business concerns, and in issues from harassment and discrimination, to noncompetition agreements, business operation, transgender workplace matters, retaliation and many others, lend her valuable perspective for understanding and mediating an array of legal and personal issues. In terms of volume, Maria has served more than 2,000 cases. Maria's practice has been honed with study of mediation at Harvard Law School's Program of Instruction for Lawyers, negotiation at Harvard Law School's Program on Negotiation, and in the disciplines of Transformative Mediation and Family/Domestic Mediation, which are significant assets in managing the personal nature of employment disputes, and conflict in general. Attorneys and parties know Maria as candid, pragmatic and persevering in her commitment to help them achieve meaningful settlements while keeping sight of their most important interests. The insight and creativity afforded by her experience and training are realized in the resolutions that manifest. These qualities, along with her demeanor and the trust she engenders, have earned Maria a reputation for being able to manage highly tense and fraught situations and individuals, and settle a wide variety of disputes and tough cases.
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