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The Right to Remain Seated

Are you sitting down? If you work in Massachusetts, you may have the legal right to be. Meg Hayden at Massachusetts Law Updates picks up on a report in yesterday's Boston Herald to point out how an obscure state law helped workers stand up ... er, sit down for their rights at Cingular Wireless.

Seems that when Cingular yanked workers' chairs from show-room floors, the workers decided not to take the move standing up. Their union, the Communications Workers of America, filed a complaint with state regulators. As Hayden points out, the workers' complaint was firmly seated in state law.

Mass. General Laws c.149, s.103, requires employers to "provide suitable seats for the use of their employees and shall permit such employees to use such seats whenever they are not necessarily engaged in the active duties of their employment." The law, Hayden explains, was written way back when to protect women and children in "manufacturing, mechanical or mercantile" businesses, but was amended in 1974 to cover all employees. Violators face a penalty of up to $200.

As Boston Herald reporter Jay Fitzgerald relates, the union and Cingular reached a compromise yesterday. "Now it seems workers will get back at least some of their chairs," he says.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on July 14, 2006 at 01:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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