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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

1.5

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.

A.

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

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