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Recent Decision Requires Specific Language to Create Effective Release of Massachusetts Wage Act Claims

February, 2013

In a recent decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Crocker v. Townsend Oil Co., Inc., 464 Mass. 1 (2012), the Court held that a general release, which does not specifically mention the Massachusetts Wage Act, is not an effective release of claims under that statute. The Court ruled that a release of claims must be “in clear and unmistakable terms” in order to effectively release claims under the Massachusetts Wage Act. The Court elaborated that the release must be “plainly worded and understandable to the average individual” and “it must specifically refer to the rights and claims under the Wage Act that the employee is waiving.”

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