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Professor Harris Freeman partners with Central West Justice Center and wins appeal for workers' rights

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Friday ruled, in an appeal from a case in Franklin Superior Court in Greenfield, that state law requires workers at a Whately farm to get time-and-a-half compensation. The court decided that the type of work performed by the plaintiffs did not constitute “agriculture and farming.” Instead, the justices determined that the agriculture overtime exemption applies to planting, raising, and harvesting crops, none of which was work being performed by the plaintiffs. Therefore, those who were part of the lawsuit are entitled to overtime pay for the work they performed in excess of 40 hours per week. Professor Freeman, who filed a “friends of the court” brief, said the decision is a “big victory” and in line with general policies in the state. “This decision represents another step forward for respecting the rights of low-wage workers in Massachusetts,” Freeman said. “We think this places Massachusetts in the forefront of states looking to find ways to protect workers when the federal government has failed on that front.”

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