agreement negotiation are beyond the scope of this publication. Employers concerned about
or facing organizing campaigns are encouraged to consult experienced labor counsel.
CHECK THE INTERNET
Additional information on the NLRA is available at the National Labor Relations Board: www.nlrb.gov
The National Labor Relations Board’s “Basic Guide to the National Labor Relations Act” can be viewed at: www.nlrb.gov/nlrb/shared_files/brochures/basicguide.pdf
Common Law Rights and Duties
In addition to rights and obligations that are created by statute (Sections 1.2 and 1.4
above) and created by contract (Section 1.6 below), the law developed through court
decisions (referred to as the “common law”) has provided employers and employees with
many different types of common law rights and duties. The claims that most commonly arise
are discussed briefly below.
Common Law Duty of Loyalty
Under Massachusetts law, employees owe their employers a “duty of loyalty.” In
essence, the employee’s duty is that she will not misuse or appropriate to herself the
employer’s confidential, proprietary or trade secret information that is entrusted to her or
otherwise act against the employer’s interests. For example, the duty of loyalty prohibits an
employee from using the employer’s confidential, proprietary or trade secret information to
engage in competition with the employer and, to some degree, this duty continues even after
termination of employment.
Although an employee may not compete with an employer while employed, the
employee may plan to go into competition with her employer and may take certain active