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Lysak v. Seiler Corp.

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
614 N.E.2d 991 (Mass. 1993)


Facts

Patricia Lysak (plaintiff) applied for a position as a marketing director for the Seiler Corporation (Seiler) (defendant). In February 1987, Lysak interviewed with William Zammer, the president of Seiler. Lysak was pregnant at the time of the interview, but her pregnancy was not discussed. According to Zammer, Lysak voluntarily stated during the interview that she was not planning to have more children. Zammer did not solicit this information. Lysak was hired and soon thereafter informed Zammer that she was pregnant. Zammer later testified that he would have hired Lysak even if he knew that she was pregnant but felt betrayed by Lysak’s misrepresentation regarding her intention to have more children. Zammer told Lysak that he could no longer trust her. Lysak soon thereafter suggested that Seiler terminate her employment so that she could continue working as an independent contractor. Zammer agreed, and Lysak’s employment was terminated. Lysak later sued Seiler, alleging that Seiler had terminated her employment because she was pregnant. The jury found in favor of Seiler. Lysak appealed, arguing that she was entitled to a directed verdict and that the trial court had failed to instruct the jury that Seiler could not terminate her employment based on a misrepresentation concerning her pregnancy.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (O’Connor, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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