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Employment Law Alert: Massachusetts Pay Equity Law Imposes New Restrictions 08/11/2016

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Employment, Legal Developments.
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2015-01-05_8-57-41MBBP’s Employment Law Group just released an Employment Law Alert regarding the recent wage equality act signed in Massachusetts. On August 1st, 2016, Governor Charlie Baker signed, “An Act to Establish Pay Equity (the Act)” which requires men and women to receive equal pay for comparable work and forbids employers from asking prospective employees about salary history.

Learn more on our Employment Law Blog.

10 Points for Reviewing Executive Employment Agreements 09/22/2015

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Employment, New Resources.
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Employment Attorney Scott ConnollyAn executive’s employment agreement defines expectations regarding role, responsibilities and performance. It also establishes key contractual obligations for the executive and the employer concerning compensation and benefits, equity grants, the length or term of employment, early termination and its consequences, post-termination restrictions, and dispute resolution.

Here are 10 important considerations when reviewing an executive employment agreement.

For more information on this topic, please contact Scott J. Connolly.

Attention: File H-1B Visas Early 02/09/2015

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Employment, Immigration.
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Immigration Alert

On April 1st the 2016 H-1B cap will open. As the economic conditions continue to improve the demand for H-1B visas will likely vastly exceed the available supply.  Last year, over 172,000 cap subject H-1B petitions were filed in the first week of April, which lead to a series of lotteries to determine which petitions would be accepted for processing. It’s projected that this year’s cap will reach its limit in the first week as well.

For information on H-1B visas and when to consider filing a petition read the full alert.

Employment Law Alert: Massachusetts Maternity Leave Becomes Parental Leave in April 01/14/2015

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Employment.
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Before leaving office, Governor Patrick signed into law a bill that will affect Massachusetts Maternity Leave.  Starting April 7, 2015 the Maternity Leave Law will now be the Parental Leave Law and will allow for both parents to take advantage of leave benefits. To see what provisions have been added head over to our Employment Law blog.

President Obama to Sign Executive Order With a Promising Impact on Business Immigration 11/21/2014

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Immigration, Legal Developments.
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By: Donald W. Parker, John J. Gallini and Grant W. Godfrey

Immigration Attorney Donald ParkerOn Thursday November 20, 2014, President Obama announced that he would be using his powers already granted to him by the U.S. Constitution and Congress to make certain reforms to the United States’ broken immigration system.  Most of the fanfare (and most of his speech) has been devoted to the President’s plan to utilize prosecutorial discretion to prevent the deportation of certain undocumented foreign nationals.  However, President Obama has also committed to making several important reforms Immigration Attorney John Gallinito employment-based immigration, including:

  • Modernizing and streamlining the quota system used to issue employment-based Green Cards;
  • Allowing individuals with approved employment-based Green Card petitions who are caught in the quota backlogs to apply in advance for certain immigration benefits;
  • Increasing employment flexibility for foreign nationals with pending Green Cards;Immigration Attorney Grant Godfrey
  • Allowing spouses of H-1B Workers who have reached certain milestones in the Green Card process to apply for employment authorization;
  • Expanding employment opportunities for foreign graduates from U.S. Universities, especially for those in STEM fields;
  • Expanding and promoting underutilized programs to encourage research, development, and entrepreneurship in the United States;
  • Clarifying the adjudication standards for “Specialized Knowledge” intra-company transferees (L-1B Visas);
  • Modernizing the Labor Certification (PERM) Program; and
  • Establishing an Interagency working group for consistent enforcement of federal labor, employment and immigration laws.

The policy memoranda issued in the past 24 hours have been sparse and are missing important details regarding the above reforms, so we would like to give the Obama Administration time to clarify its plan before providing an analysis of the actions that will be taken.  We expect to issue an Immigration Alert in the coming days with more details on each of the above points.

In the meantime, please feel free to contact the Immigration Law Group with any questions on the potential impact of the reforms.

Bob Shea to Moderate SBANE Panel Discussion on Non-Competes 02/07/2014

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Employment, Events.
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Employment Attorney Bob SheaOn March 6th the Smaller Business Association of New England (SBANE) is presenting a program titled Should Employee Non-Competes Be Banned? Business Forum on Proposed Limits to Non-Competes in Massachusetts. Many businesses require employees to sign non-compete agreements as a condition of employment. Some critics, however, believe the use of non-competes has been abused and should be regulated by statute. MBBP Employment Attorney and SBANE Chair, Bob Shea, will moderate a panel discussion that will include a leading sponsor of proposed non-compete legislation, a Patrick administration point person on the non-compete issues, and business executives. The program will give attendees an opportunity to express views and concerns of businesses regarding the proposed limits and to participate in a serious discussion over how the Commonwealth should proceed on this hotly debated issue.

To learn more or to register for this event, please visit SBANE.

If you have questions on non-competes, please feel free to contact Bob directly or visit our Employment Resources page.

Massachusetts Continues Its Efforts Against Independent Contractor Misclassification 12/11/2012

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Employment, Legal Developments.
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Employment Attorney Bob SheaBy: Bob Shea

Massachusetts Governor Patrick’s administration recently announced that it is launching a first-of-its-kind study to examine the scope and financial cost of the Commonwealth’s “underground economy.” Over the next year the study will seek to identify the extent of “employment fraud” by industry category and attempt to determine the amount of money the Commonwealth is losing each year in unpaid taxes. The study will focus on the practice of improperly misclassifying workers as independent contractors, which allows businesses to avoid wage law requirements, unemployment and payroll taxes, and workers compensation insurance and health insurance costs.

Further, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (“EOLWD”) announced that its Department of Unemployment Assistance (“DUA”) concluded audits of three business that uncovered $11.5 million in unreported wages, 2,300 misclassified workers, and $2,554,000 in unpaid DUA obligations. DUA credited the Joint Task Force on the Underground Economy and Employee Misclassification (“JTF”) with helping “to bringing the businesses into compliance.” The JTF was established by Governor Patrick in 2008 to coordinate multiple state agencies’ efforts attacking worker misclassification. Please visit MBBP’s resources page to read an article concerning the problems that changes in Massachusetts independent contractor have caused for many businesses.

Feel free to contact Bob Shea with any questions on this topic.

Bob Shea to Present on Retaliation Claims Via Webinar 12/01/2012

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Attorney News, Events.
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Employment Attorney Bob SheaOn January 17th MBBP Employment Attorney Bob Shea will be co-presenting a webinar titled “Don’t Strike Back: Retaliation Claims on the Rise” through the American Arbitration Association University. This webinar will discuss:

  • The nuances of retaliation claims.
  • What differentiates retaliation claims from typical discrimination claims.
  • How fact-finders – including judges, juries and arbitrators – view retaliation in the workplace.

CLE credit is offered for this program. Please visit AAAU for more information or to register for this event.

For questions about employment law, feel free to contact Bob.

Wage & Hour Claims: What Employers Can Do to Avoid Them 09/21/2012

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Employment, Events, Legal Developments.
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On Wednesday, November 14th MBBP’s employment practice is holding an informational seminar on wage and hour claims and what employers can do to avoid them. Wage and hour claims across the U.S. are at an all-time high. The laws governing the payment of wages, overtime pay, vacation pay, compensable working time and commissions, and the use of independent contractors, have become a leading source of employee claims and employer liability. Mistakes can be very costly because penalties in Massachusetts include mandatory treble damages and attorneys’ fees, as well as potential civil and criminal liability for individual corporate officers. Unfortunately for businesses, the rules in this area of the law are not always clear and misconceptions abound. Well-intentioned and otherwise law-abiding businesses are increasingly facing wage-related government investigations and employee lawsuits.

In this seminar MBBP will identify the most common wage and hour challenges and employer misconceptions. We will review the governing rules and offer guidance and tips to help your business avoid unlawful pay practices and reduce employee wage claim risks.

For more information, directions, or to register, please visit the event page: Wage & Hour Claims: What Employers Can Do to Avoid Them.

New Hampshire Enacts Law Requiring Disclosure of Non-Compete Restrictions 07/11/2012

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Employment.
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Employment Attorney Bob SheaBy: Bob Shea

Effective July 14, 2012, employers in New Hampshire must disclose any “non-compete” or “non-piracy” agreement to an employee or potential employee prior to making an offer of employments or an offer of change in job classification. Under RSA 275:70, if an employer fails to provide the employee or potential employee with a copy of the agreement prior to the offer the agreement will be deemed “void and unenforceable.”

The law is intended to prevent situations in which an employee leaves a job for a new position and is then told that he or she must sign a non-compete or non-piracy agreement as a condition of employment. Unfortunately, the law does not define what constitutes a “non-compete” or “non-piracy” agreement, and thus leaves unclear whether the law applies to non-solicitation agreements. It will be left to courts to decide the scope of the new law.

For more information on this topic, please contact Bob Shea.

MA Transgender Equal Rights Law Becomes Effective July 1st 06/13/2012

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Employment, Legal Developments.
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Employment Attorney Bob SheaBy: Bob Shea

Last November Massachusetts enacted legislation to protect transgender people from discrimination in employment, housing, mortgage loans and credit. The law goes into effect on July 1, 2012.

Entitled “An Act Relative to Gender Identity,” and also referred to as the “Transgender Equal Rights Law,” the law amends the state non-discrimination laws to include “gender identity” as a new protected category. The law covers employers with six or more employees. As with other protected categories, like age, race, gender, religion, disability and sexual orientation, the law prohibits covered employers from discharging, refusing to hire, or otherwise discriminating against transgender individuals with respect to their terms or conditions of employment.

To comply, covered employers should modify their equal employment opportunity and anti-discrimination policies to include prohibitions against gender identity discrimination. Massachusetts requires that employers maintain and distribute sexual harassment policies. For employers who have anti-harassment policies addressing all forms of unlawful harassment (which we recommend), such policies should be modified to include gender identity harassment. Employers should also consider whether the new law will require any changes in the provision and usage of restrooms, locker rooms and other gender-specific facilities.

For questions on this topic, please contact Bob Shea.

Bob Shea Quoted in Boston Globe Article 03/08/2012

Posted by Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Attorney News.
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Employment Attorney Bob SheaOn March 7th, the Boston Globe published an article on a class-action lawsuit being brought against the City of Boston and Boston Taxi fleet owners by two cab drivers. The plaintiffs believe they are being wrongly classified as independent contractors instead of employees and therefore failing to pay minimum wages and overtime, and forcing them to cover expenses associated with their jobs. MBBP employment attorney Bob Shea was quoted in the article discussing the Massachusetts Independent Contractor Law and what this lawsuit means for businesses:

Fines for noncompliance by companies are steep, ranging from $10,000 to $25,000 for first offenders. The bigger risks are private lawsuits, where plaintiffs can recover triple damages and attorney’s fees. The greatest concern for businesses using large numbers of independent contractors is a private lawsuit brought as a class action. Such a lawsuit can put a company out of business.

To read the full article, please visit the Boston Globe.

For questions on the Massachusetts Independent Contractor Law, please contact Bob Shea.

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