Alimony Deductions End Soon – Time to Settle!

If you are in the process of getting divorced and struggling to make much headway on the issue of alimony, now might be a good time to get serious about settling your case. Beginning next year, alimony will not be tax-deductible, which will result in a much higher tax hit for the payer (who usually has much higher income than the recipient) and less available wealth overall. But if you can get your case settled and a judgment issued before the end of 2018, alimony should be treated under the prior tax law, which treats alimony as 100% tax-deductible to the payer.

See this article on, which highlights how lawyers, judges, and divorcing spouses are handling the serious consequences of President Trump’s signature tax law as 2018 draws rapidly to a close.

U.S. Denies Citizenship to Children of Married Same-Sex Couples

A few of our previous posts have discussed efforts by some states and the current Administration to roll back protections that flow from legal marriage to same-sex couples and their children.  Some of those rights include a presumption of parentage (of children born within a legal marriage), as well as the right to collect benefits from legal spouses.  Another is the right of a child to receive U.S. Citizenship when one of your legal parents is a U.S. Citizen.  However, the Administration is now attempting to deny U.S. Citizenship to children of same-sex married couples (if the biological mother is not a U.S. citizen, but her spouse is) and is attempting to treat them as children “born out of wedlock,” because of the refusal to recognize the legality of their parents’ marriage.  It is more important than ever for same-sex couples to remain vigilant and obtain legal advice regarding how to protect themselves and their children in the current political climate.  See these articles in Courthouse News and the Washington Post.

Lesbian Couple Slams Denial of Son’s US Citizenship


Mardi Gras Responds to Class Action Complaint with Standard or Inapplicable Defenses

The Mardi Gras has filed a response to the class action wage and hour complaint filed by Attorneys Raymond Dinsmore and Richard Hayber. Their 56 affirmative defenses are, according to Attorney Dinsmore, “mostly either standard boilerplate defenses. The ones that aren’t are either spurious or inapplicable to the causes of action that we are raising.”

The complaint the Mardi Gras is responding to alleges practices in violation of wage and hour laws in the form of “fees to work” disguised as “locker rental fees” and “DJ fees.” Fees to work are prohibited by state law. A previous class action filed against the Mardi Gras, which settled in 2010, alleged a similar practice of charging dancers “house fees” in exchange for the right to work their shifts. According to Plaintiffs Leah LaRock and Sarah Chartier, the “house fee” was effectively renamed and the practice continued after the settlement.

Dinsmore Stark Joins Wage Theft Lawsuit Versus Bank of America

Raymond Dinsmore of Dinsmore Stark, Attorneys At Law, has teamed up with the Hayber Law Firm in its ongoing lawsuit Culpepper v. Bank of America National Association pending before the Federal District Court of Connecticut. The lawsuit, brought on behalf of a class of call center employees, contends that Bank of America required its “Inbound Specialists” to work off-the-clock in the performance of preliminary job duties such as booting up computers and a myriad of programs and applications necessary for the employees to receive incoming calls. The suit alleges that Inbound Specialists were required to work up to a half an hour per shift performing preliminary duties for which they received no compensation.

State and federal law prohibit the practices alleged by Plaintiffs. Employers are required to compensate employees for all hours they have worked.

Raymond Dinsmore Recognized by Super Lawyers for 2017

Raymond Dinsmore of Dinsmore Stark, Attorneys At Law, was recently recognized by Super Lawyers and included in its list of Massachusetts Rising Stars for 2017! Super Lawyers is a rating service for attorneys who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. The Rising Stars list recognizes not more than 2.5 percent of attorneys in each state. This marks the second consecutive year that Dinsmore has been recognized by Super Lawyers. Attorney Dinsmore specializes in Employee Rights litigation and Personal Injury law.

Congratulations, Raymond! We are proud of your accomplishments, and can’t wait to see what the future holds for you and the firm.

Dinsmore Stark Files Class Action Wage Complaint

On October 3, 2017, Raymond Dinsmore of Dinsmore Stark, Attorneys At Law, filed a six-count Class Action complaint against Mardi Gras Entertainment, Inc., a company that owns and operates four strip clubs in Western Massachusetts.  The complaint alleges that Mardi Gras  unlawfully required its entertainers to pay a fee to management totaling $35.00 – $100.00 per shift as a purported “locker rental fee” and, in so doing, violated state laws governing payment of minimum wages and tips.  The complaint alleges that Mardi Gras’s “locker rental fee” is a disguised “fee to work” prohibited by state law.  It is believed that at least five hundred entertainers were affected by Mardi Gras’s pay practices.

Read Dan Glaun’s article about the lawsuit on MassLive!

Trump Department of Labor Announces Change in Tipping Regulations

President Trump’s Department of Labor (DOL) recently announced a plan to change Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations to allow restaurants to require that servers share tips with so-called “back of the house” workers including cooks and kitchen staff. Opponents to the proposed change believe that the new rule would allow employers to shift the cost of doing business – i.e. pay back of the house workers a fair wage – from the employer to its service workers.

Under current regulations, servers cannot be forced to share tips with non-service workers, although they may be required to pool tips with other service workers in qualifying circumstances. Furthermore, under Massachusetts law, an employee whose employer violates the tips statute may be entitled to three times his or her lost wages plus attorney’s fees.

What can my employer properly deduct from my paycheck?

In Massachusetts, the answer is “not much.” In addition to ordinary payroll deductions for state and federal tax, social security, unemployment insurance and the like, employers may also make the following deductions:

  • Union dues;
  • Health insurance premiums (if authorized by employee);
  • Garnishment or support order;
  • Lodging and meal deductions (subject to strict limitations);
  • Repayment of undisputed loan or advance from employer;
  • Repayment for employee theft when such theft is proved by an independent and unbiased proceeding;
  • When the employer has obtained a judgment against an employee for the value of the employee’s property.

Employers violate the Massachusetts Wage Act when deductions are made for other purposes. For example, employers violate the law when making deductions for “fines” imposed against employees in lieu of discipline, or requiring an employee to assume the cost of paying for his or her uniform without reimbursement. Employers may not make deductions for ordinary business expenses, thereby shifting the cost of business to its employees. Such deductions might include the cost of tools, gas, equipment and cleaning supplies.

Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Signed Into Law

A new Massachusetts law offers enhanced workplace protections for pregnant women and new mothers. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which was unanimously approved by the legislature and signed into law on July 27, 2017, prohibits employers from taking “adverse action” action against an employee because of her pregnancy. Prohibitions include denying employment, terminating employment or reducing pay based on an employee’s pregnancy. The law, which goes into effect April 1, 2018, also requires employers to provide “reasonable accommodation” to pregnant workers and new mothers which could include: more frequent breaks, time off, assistance with manual labor and private nursing space.


Dinsmore Stark Prevails in Class Action "Wage Theft" Litigation

Attorneys Raymond Dinsmore of Dinsmore Stark, Attorneys at Law and Richard Hayber of Hayber Law Firm, LLC defeated an employer’s motion for summary judgment in a wage theft case brought about by an employer’s failure to pay its employees their accrued but unused vacation pay upon separation. The complaint brought by a former employee of telecommunications company Decisive Communications, Inc. on behalf of himself and his co-workers vindicates the rights of workers to receive the cash value of their unused vacation time upon conclusion of employment. The court rejected the employer’s argument that its former employees forfeited their right to payout of vacation time because the obligation to pay had been transferred to some of the employees’ new employer.