Massachusetts law prohibits workplace harassment and discrimination. But there’s a loophole: Those laws generally don’t apply to perpetrators who are investors, or potential investors, in a company.
That can be a problem for workers in a significant swath of Boston’s booming economy. In technology, biotech, and other fields seeded by venture capital and private equity, outside investors hold extraordinary power over the careers of entrepreneurs, who have little recourse if they’re mistreated.
Now, a group of lawmakers on Beacon Hill is pushing legislation that would subject investors to the same civil discrimination and harassment laws that apply to employers. The bill’s lead sponsor, State Senator Cindy F. Friedman, an Arlington Democrat, noted that the vast majority of venture capital in the United States now goes to white, male founders.
BOSTON — A state senator is looking to amend the laws protecting against discrimination and harassment in the workplace to ensure they cover entrepreneurs seeking funds to start a business.
The #metoo movement and other instances of women sharing stories of their experiences have prompted a new focus on sexual harassment in industries from Hollywood to restaurants to politics and pushed many workplaces, including the state Legislature, to revisit their policies on reporting and preventing harassment.
Friedman, an Arlington Democrat, said she spoke with constituents who are active in the venture capital community and have experienced harassment. She decided to tackle the issue, filing a bill to broaden the state law prohibiting harassment and discrimination against employees.
LOWELL — A new shuttle service connecting Lowell and Burlington is launching after four years of collaboration among state and local leaders. The Middlesex 3 Coalition, in collaboration with a number of government officials, and the Chambers of Commerce in Lowell and Burlington are hoping with funding now in place, the service can begin in the coming months.
Aside from Gordon, Cronin said the project received tremendous support from state Reps. Dave Nangle, Tom Golden and Rady Mom, and Sen. Cindy Friedman.
“Burlington has such a vibrant local economy and a wide variety of successful businesses,” Friedman said in a press release. “This program will be another opportunity for those businesses to access the workforce they need to succeed, ultimately strengthening our local and regional economies.”
BOSTON (SHNS) – More than a year after the state’s high court ruled judges setting bail must consider a defendant’s ability to pay, state officials are embarking on an examination of the bail system in Massachusetts that will consider measures including potential impacts of eliminating cash bail.
A massive April 2018 criminal justice reform law made a series of changes around bail, in keeping with a high court decision in the 2017 case Brangan v. Commonwealth.
Sen. Cindy Friedman of Arlington and Rep. Claire Cronin of Easton co-chair the commission. On Thursday, at the panel’s first meeting, members outlined what data and information they hope to delve into during their study.
Essex and Suffolk counties plan to join five other counties in a pilot program providing medications to opioid-addicted inmates, a sign that correctional officials’ resistance to the treatments may be yielding to public pressure and legal action in Massachusetts. A federal district judge last month ordered Essex Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger to provide methadone to a prospective inmate, saying that failing to do so could violate the Americans with Disabilities Act and the constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.
The sheriffs’ request was welcomed by state Senator Cindy F. Friedman, chairwoman of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use, and Recovery. Friedman said she suspected the Essex suit was a “driving force” behind the request, but the motivation doesn’t matter. “I’m completely happy about it,” she said.
On Monday, December 3, Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) voiced her strong support for the nearly 1,250 Massachusetts workers and their families that have been impacted by the National Grid lockout. In a mass email to constituents, Friedman said she has been in regular contact with National Grid and the United Steel Workers Unions regarding the ongoing contract negotiations and remains “troubled that National Grid has been unable to put forward an agreeable contract, and am frustrated by reports of continuous safety violations on gas lines.”
“I fear that National Grid is using the expiring unemployment benefits to unjustly improve their bargaining position, thus preventing the negotiation of a fair contract,” Friedman said. “By preventing a trained and qualified workforce from returning to work, National Grid has placed citizens across the Commonwealth who rely on this public utility at risk. That’s why I believe it is appropriate for the state to intervene on behalf of the locked out workers, and I intend to support these pieces of legislation to ensure that a fair contract can be negotiated.”
After playing a major role in spearheading opioid legislation that was signed into law this summer, Sen. Cindy Friedman, D-Arlington, is working in collaboration with several health care professionals, law enforcement officers, elected officials and others to explore more ways to decrease opioid-related overdose deaths across Massachusetts.
“I’m proud of the work we did on the opioid bill, but our work did not end when the bill was passed into law,” said Friedman, who co-chairs the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery. “This epidemic continues to impact residents throughout the commonwealth, so it is critically important that we find more ways to reduce harm and save lives. I’m eager to serve on these commissions, collaborate with expert stakeholders and analyze best practices for our ongoing fight against this epidemic.”
In a closely watched case involving addiction treatment for prisoners, a federal judge on Monday granted a preliminary injunction that requires Essex County officials to provide a soon-to-be-incarcerated Ipswich man with access to physician-prescribed methadone treatment. In her ruling on Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Denise Casper said that in weighing Geoffrey Pesce’s request for relief, the court considered the likelihood that his case would succeed and whether relief was in the public interest. The judge concluded that Pesce “will be irreparably harmed if denied methadone treatment while incarcerated.”
A law signed in August by Gov. Charlie Baker will bring medication-assisted treatment to new institutions around the state, introducing it to Department of Correction prisoners, offering it to lower-level offenders in five counties, and mandating that emergency rooms and involuntary commitment facilities can provide it. Medication-assisted treatment can include methadone, which helps stave off the effects of withdrawal, and Vivitrol, which helps prevent relapse.
“For the houses of correction there will be five pilots for continuing treatment, for people who come in with a valid prescription or under medical care,” Sen. Cindy Friedman, the Senate chairwoman of the Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Prevention, said when the bill was agreed upon.
Sunday, Nov. 11, begins the 100th anniversary year of Veterans Day, the federal holiday first declared by President Woodrow Wilson as Armistice Day, following the close of World War I on Nov. 11, 1918. President Dwight Eisenhower’s 1954 proclamation renamed Armistice Day to Veterans Day, “to insure proper and widespread observance” of this holiday for all veterans and the entire citizenry.
On Saturday, Nov. 3, the Town Celebrations Committee and Lexington/Bedford Veterans’ Services Office, in partnership with the Rotary Club of Lexington, held its seventh annual Veterans Day Breakfast at Keilty Hall, St. Brigid’s Church, hosting about 200 veterans. Dignitaries from Hanscom Air Force Base included Brig. Gen. Michael Schmidt, Col. Amanda Kato, Col. Chad Ellsworth, and their spouses; and Master Sgt. Henry Hayes, installation command chief; state Sen. Cindy Friedman and Rep. Jay Kaufman were also present.
ARLINGTON, Mass. — A statewide nonprofit that advocates for police retracted a trio of columns it published in its newsletter, penned by an Arlington police officer, that rejected police tactics like “de-escalation” and called for violence against offenders, according to the Arlington Advocate.
“I sincerely believe that the troubling views expressed in the newsletter do not reflect the values of our Town, our hard-working and compassionate police department, or our residents,” state Sen. Cindy Friedman said in a statement. “I strongly support the decision by Police Chief Fred Ryan to immediately relieve Lieutenant Pedrini of his police duties. Such inflammatory rhetoric and behavior has absolutely no place in our police force or our community.”