Apessos v. Memorial Press Group

If you are being watched, leave now!

April 2002
  • Violence Against Women and Girls
  • Workplace Equality and Economic Empowerment
  • Litigation Case Document
Legal Momentum served as co-counsel for the plaintiff along with Wilmer Hale, who generously provided pro bono counsel on the case.

Summary of the Case

Sophia Apessos was fired from her job as a reporter immediately after she took a day off from work to obtain a protective order against her abusive husband.  The Massachusetts Supreior Court denied the defendant's motion to dismiss the complaint. The court accepted our argument that it is a violation of the Commonwealth's public policy to discharge an employee for absenting herself from work to pursue her judicial remedies against an abusive husband and to assist the police in investigating the case.

Decision

In a precedent-setting decision, the Massachusetts Superior Court recognized that a domestic violence victim can sue her employer if she is fired because of an absence from work to ensure her safety. This ruling—which emphasizes that "[a] victim should not have to seek physical safety at the cost of her employment"—affords Ms. Apessos the opportunity to prove her allegations in court and sets a ground-breaking precedent that may inspire similar lawsuits in other jurisdictions. After Ms. Apessos successfully defeated the Defendants' motion for summary judgment, the case was resolved.