Employment

Today, more than ever before, the rights and responsibilities of both employers and employees are in sharp focus. Our practice focuses on representing and providing advice to municipalities and their management, but we are well-versed to represent both employers and employees in both the public and private sectors on employment and labor matters.

 

Employment Law

From hiring to firing and everything in between, we counsel employers (including department heads, personnel boards, and human resources staff) in all aspects of the employment relationship. This includes:

  • Drafting a myriad of personnel policies, bylaws and ordinances, and employee handbooks

  • Reviewing hiring processes and procedures (including best practices regarding applications, interviewing, and background checks)

  • Negotiating, drafting, and amending employment contracts

  • Guiding management through the discipline and discharge process (including progressive discipline, performance improvement plans, separation agreements/severance, and pre/post termination hearings)

  • Counseling regarding obligations pursuant to state and federal employment laws pertaining to:

    • Wage and hour (i.e., overtime, minimum wage, paid holidays, stipends, and the Massachusetts Wage Act)​

    • Leave entitlement (e.g., FMLA, FFCRA, and USERRA)

    • Anti-discrimination and the reasonable accommodation process (i.e., M.G.L. c.151B, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964)

    • Workers' compensation and injury-on-duty laws

    • Whistleblower and anti-retaliation matters

    • Requirements of civil service (M.G.L. c.31)

  • Conducting investigations (or reviewing the work of outside investigators) pertaining to issues such as sexual harassment, discrimination, workplace violence, wage/hour, and police department internal affairs processes

  • Advising clients with employee benefits administration and contracting (including issues involving health insurers, pharmacy benefit managers, and other ancillary providers) and guiding clients through M.G.L. c.32B processes

  • Training managers and supervisors regarding their employment--law obligations

We help our clients avoid litigation. However, when the need arises, we vigorously represent our clients in all state and federal courts in the Commonwealth as well as administrative agencies such as the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. When an insurer assigns employment counsel to a matter, we act in a liaison capacity between the insurance counsel and our municipal clients.

Labor Law

In a unionized environment, we support employers by:

  • interpreting and analyzing various collective bargaining agreements (e.g., education, public safety, public works, clerical)

  • Preparing for collective bargaining and related negotiations

  • Advising and representing management during the grievance process

  • Representing management in labor--related actions including those involving the Civil Service Commission, Department of Labor Relations, and mediations and arbitrations