Discrimination

We have successfully represented clients who have been discriminated against based on a variety of illegal bases, such as disability, religious beliefs, race, gender, sexual orientation, and age.

Illegal discrimination takes a variety of forms. In the employment context, this can include failing to provide employees with reasonable accommodations for their disabilities, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), or retaliating against disabled employees who assert their rights under the ADA. We have also handled many cases involving sexual harassment in the work place and many other types of employment discrimination.

In the landlord-tenant context, illegal discrimination can also take a variety of forms beyond outright discriminatory rental or eviction policies. For example, this can include harassment by landlords based on disability, sexual harassment, as well as discrimination against families with young children by landlords who are trying to avoid addressing lead paint hazards.

Discrimination also can occur in places of public accommodation—these are places open to the public, such as a bus stations, restaurants, department stores, or schools. This type of discrimination includes failing to provide disabled individuals with reasonable accommodations (such as allowing seeing-eye dogs), failing to provide handicapped accessible facilities, or outright discrimination based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or disability in places open to the public.

Employment and Unemployment

We represent employees in many different types of employment disputes, including wage and hour, employee leave rights, and discrimination.

In the wage and hour practice, we handle matters involving failure to pay minimum wage, failure to pay overtime, and misclassification of employees as independent contractors. We also represent employees in retaliation cases when employees have asserted their rights against employers. Employee leave cases involve employers who fail to honor employees’ rights to leave under state and federal laws, including the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act (MMA), and the Massachusetts Small Necessities Leave Act (SNLA).

Our firm also handles Unemployment Insurance cases on behalf of clients who have wrongfully been denied unemployment benefits. We represent clients in their initial appeals before DUA Review Examiners, and when appropriate we represent clients in later stages of appeal, as well.

Consumer Protection

Consumer protection issues arise in most of our practice areas. We have successfully represented clients who have been the victims of unfair debt collection practices, victims of fraud by car dealerships, and real estate fraud.

In the context of housing and landlord-tenant issues, we have successfully brought consumer protection claims against landlords for failing to make repairs, engaging in illegal debt collection, taking unlawful excess rent from tenants with housing subsidies, illegally raising rents, illegally charging for improperly metered utilities, and other housing issues.

We have also successfully represented homeowners in cases against banks involving a refusal or denial of a mortgage modification under both the federal HAMP program and other private modification programs. These cases have also involved illegal foreclosure practices, mortgage rescue scams, and predatory lending.

While we generally do not do so-called “lemon law” cases or home contractor cases, we have successfully represented clients who were victims of fraud and other deceptive tactics employed by car dealerships.

Housing

We specialize in representing residential tenants in all types of landlord-tenant disputes, including eviction defense. These disputes commonly involve landlords who have failed to make repairs in tenants’ homes. Other frequent issues include retaliatory evictions, mishandling of security deposits, illegal rent increases, interference with tenants’ right to peaceable enjoyment of their homes, and discrimination.

Since the foreclosure crisis, we have also been dedicated to helping tenants in foreclosed properties. In most cases, the foreclosing banks become the new landlords, and tenants often find their new landlords hard or impossible to contact. Our foreclosure-related work also includes representing homeowners against banks in cases involving unfair or deceptive practices in mortgage modifications and foreclosures.

Our firm also specializes in representing tenants in mobile home parks throughout western Massachusetts. There are many specialized laws and regulations for mobile home parks, and we are highly experienced in handling these cases. We have successfully represented hundreds of tenants in these communities, including through many class action cases.