"The Boss Can't Do That, Can He?" Workers Rights

"The Boss Can't Do That, Can He?" is a 10-module curriculum for teaching Workers Rights, based on Massachusetts law. The curriculum is approximately ten hours long when all parts are used, but it can be broken up into smaller pieces. Individual topic modules range from 45 minutes to two hours.

The facilitator's notes, the flipcharts and the handouts for the modules are posted below and may be downloaded. Many of the modules have been revised since the initial version. Revision dates are noted. Updated modules and materials will be posted as they are developed.

Scroll down for more detailed descriptions of the materials.

To go directly to the downloads, click here

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The information in this curriculum is mostly based on the book Your Rights on the Job, by Robert Schwartz. We highly recommend this book to anyone teaching workers rights in Massachusetts. The 5th (newest) edition is available from The Labor Guild of Boston  (781.340.7887). Since many laws have changed since the last edition of Your Rights on the Job, we have made modifications based on information gathered from the Mass.gov website


Updates

All materials in this curriculum were reviewed in September 2015, and updated as necessary, so information regarding laws, enforcement agencies and so forth are current as of that date.

Some Modules and materials have been further updated in 2017 and 2019
 

Materials in Spanish and Portuguese

Spanish language versions of all of the modules have also been updated as of September 2015. The facilitators' outlines have not been translated, but all materials for the participants as well as the flipcharts, are available. Spanish language materials, titled "DL: Módulo X" (Derechos Laborales: Module X) will be placed directly below the equivalent English modules in the download chart at the bottom of the page.

We are in the process of developing a Portuguese version of the participant materials (Dec. 2018), and are uploading them as they are become ready. The Portuguese materials are titled "DT: Módulo X" (Direitos Trabalhistas...) and will be placed below the equivalent Spanish modules.
 

Workers Rights for ESOL and ABE Learners

Recent immigrants to this country are among the people who could gain most from classes on workers rights. Since our curriculum is aimed at people with some literacy in English, we encourage teachers of ESOL or ABE to adapt the curriculum as needed for use with people with limited English proficiency.


The Mass. Worker Education Roundtable has developed ESOL curricula for three of our modules, the introductory class, the one on discrimination, and the one on workplace health and safety.

These curricula are available for download here.

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"The Boss Can't Do That, Can He?" details of downloads

Each Module includes:

  • Facilitator’s notes
  • Participants’ outline
  • Handouts, answer sheets and other materials
  • Diagrams of flipcharts needed for the module

Some documents which are used in more than one Module are to be found in the Appendices. These are noted below


General Pages (revised August '14)

  • Opening Materials (Includes: Cover, Authors and Acknowledgements, Table of Contents, Facilitator's Introduction and LEP contact info)


Module One: Introduction to Workers' Basic Legal Protections on the Job (updated 2019. English, Spanish and Portuguese materials available),

  • Module 1: (everything needed to teach this module except the Law Cards and the items in the Appendices.)
  • Law Cards
  • Pictures for Activity 1 are in the Appendices. (Use pictures 1, 3 or 4, 5, 11, 14, 16 or 17, 18 or 19 and 21.)
  • Other handouts in the Appendices: "Partial list of Advocacy Organizations", and "Your RIghts on the Job in Massachusetts"


Module Two: Beginning Employment: Your Pay and Your Paycheck (updated 2019. In English, Spanish and Portuguese)

  • Module 2: (everything needed to teach this module except "In Brief" section the Appendices.)
  • "In Brief" handouts in the Appendices

Module Three: Rights of Workers Under Eighteen (updated 2019. In English, Spanish and Portuguese)

  • Module 3: (everything needed to teach this module except "In Brief" section the Appendices.)
  • "In Brief" handouts in the Appendices
  • Note:If you are teaching this module, you might want to also make available copies of the Attorney General's "Guide for Working Teens", which can be downloaded from her website. Click here.


Module Four: Overtime (revised 2015)

  • Module 4: (everything needed to teach this module except "In Brief" section the Appendices.)
  • "Overtime In Brief" is in the Appendices


Module Five: Protection from Discrimination (revised 2017)

  • Module 5: (everything needed to teach this module except "In Brief" section the Appendices.)
  • "Mass Fair Employment Practices Act and Title VII In Brief" is in the Appendices


Module Six: Health and Safety Protection and Workers' Compensation (updated October 2019)

  • Module 6: (everything needed to teach this module except "In Brief" section the Appendices.)
  • Pictures for Activity 3 are in the Appendices. (Use pictures 1, 3 & 6.)
  • "In Brief" handouts in the Appendices


Module Seven: Family and Medical Leave (updated August '14)

  • Module 7: (everything needed to teach this module except "In Brief" section the Appendices.)
  • Family and Medical Leave Act In Brief" in the Appendices


Module Eight: Unemployment Insurance (revised August '14)

  • Module 8: (everything needed to teach this module except "In Brief" section the Appendices.)
  • "The Mass. Unemployment Insurance System In Brief" in the Appendices


Module Nine: Unions and the Right to Organize (revised August '14)

  • Module 9: (everything needed to teach this module except "In Brief" section the Appendices.)
  • "In Brief" handouts in the Appendices


Module Ten:Temp Agency Workers and Day Laborers (revised 2015)

  • Module 10: (everything needed to teach this module.)

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Appendices

1. Pictures: To avoid enormous files, the pictures used in this curriculum have been divided into 3 documents for downloading:

  • Group 1: Pictures 1 - 7
  • Group 2: Pictures 8-14
  • Group 3: Pictures 15-22

Group 1: Pictures 1 - 7

    1. Slip
    2. Hazardous Waste
    3. Safety Net
    4. Dropped Wrench
    5. Help Wanted
    6. Big Brother
    7. Sick

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Group 2: Pictures 8-14

    8. Vacation
    9. Schedule
  10. Paycheck
  11. Overtime
  12. Plant Closing
  13. Retirement
  14. Disability

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Group 3: Pictures 15-22

  15. Pregnant worker
  16. Multitasking
  17. Time Issues
  18. Terminated
  19. You're fired!
  20. Signs: (fill in the issue)
  21. Petition: (fill in the buttons)
  22. Contract vs. employee handbook

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2. "In Brief" sections from Schwartz, Your Rights on the Job (all chapters) and other sources for newer laws (revised 1/'19)

3. Where to go for help

  • Government agencies (revised 8/'14)
  • Partial list of advocacy organizations (revised 8/'14)

4. Information for immigrant workers

  • Chart: Legal Rights of Undocumented Workers
  • Safe and unsafe agencies for immigrant workers (revised 5/'09)

5. Warm-up for multi-module session

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Title Type/Name Description
WR: general materials

Cover, acknowledgements, table of contents, facilitator's introduction, contact info

WR: Module 1

Introduction to Workers Basic Legal Protections on the Job (updated May 2019)

DL: Módulo 1

Español

Introducción a Protecciones Legales Básicas del trabajo: Materiales para participantes y ayudas visuales. Salario mínimo y nuevas leyes actualizado mayo de 2019.

DT: Módulo 1

Portuguese

Introdução as proteções legais básicas de trabalho: Materiais de participantes e flipcharts. Salário mínimo e novos leis atualizado em maio de 2019.

WR: Law Cards

Law Cards to be used with Module 1

There are 23 cards listing federal and Massachusetts laws protecting workers in the workplace.
The first 15 cards comprise the basic set. Any of the ones that follow can be substituted if they are particularly relevant to your participants. If you have fewer than 15 participants, you may use fewer cards, or give some participants 2 cards for laws that were passed near the same time.
Print out the cards that you plan to use back-to-back, so that the title and year appear on the front of the card, and the explanation of the law are on the reverse.
 

DL: Las Leyes en Tarjetas

Law Cards to be used with Módulo 1 - Español

There are 23 cards listing federal and Massachusetts laws protecting workers in the workplace.
The first 15 cards comprise the basic set. Any of the ones that follow can be substituted if they are particularly relevant to your participants. If you have fewer than 15 participants, you may use fewer cards, or give some participants 2 cards for laws that were passed near the same time.
Print out the cards that you plan to use back-to-back, so that the title and year appear on the front of the card, and the explanation of the law are on the reverse.

DT: As leis em cartões

Law Cards to be used with Módulo 1 - Português

There are 23 cards listing federal and Massachusetts laws protecting workers in the workplace.
The first 15 cards comprise the basic set. Any of the ones that follow can be substituted if they are particularly relevant to your participants. If you have fewer than 15 participants, you may use fewer cards, or give some participants 2 cards for laws that were passed near the same time.
Print out the cards that you plan to use back-to-back, so that the title and year appear on the front of the card, and the explanation of the law are on the reverse.

WR: Module 2

Beginning Employment: Your Wage and Your Paycheck
New version reflects 2019 rise in Mass. minimum wage to $12/hour

DL: Módulo 2

Español

Comenzando un Empleo: Tu Salario Y Tu Cheque. Materiales para participantes y ayudas visuales.
Nueva versión refleja aumento en 2019 del salario mínimo de Massachusetts a $12 por hora.

DT: Módulo 2

Portuguese

Começando um trabalho: seu salário e seu cheque. Materiais para participantes e recursos visuais.
A nova versão reflete o aumento em 2019 do salário mínimo de Massachusetts para US $ 12 por hora.