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New Overtime Regulations Will Result In Many More Workers Becoming Entitled To Overtime 05/18/2016

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Client News, Employment.
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We’re reviewing the Department of Labor’s new overtime regulations in our Massachusetts Employment Law Blog.  Click here to read about the DOL’s Final Rule, which President Obama announced the publication of today.2015-01-05_8-57-41

New Federal Law Protects Trade Secrets But Also Requires Changes to Employee and Contractor Agreements 05/05/2016

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Client News, Employment, Intellectual Property, Licensing & Strategic Alliances, Privacy and Data Security, Public Companies.
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By, Sandra E. Kahn SEK Headshot Photo 2015 (M0912965xB1386)

It is expected that President Obama will soon sign into law the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA), which creates a new federal civil cause of action for trade secret theft.  While claims for trade secret theft may still be brought under the various state laws which protect intellectual property, this new law will provide uniform protection on the federal level.

The DTSA defines trade secrets consistently with the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA), and applies broadly to any trade secrets “related to a product or service used in or intended for use in, interstate or foreign commerce.”  Along with the ability to bring a lawsuit to fight trade secret theft and pursue equitable remedies and the award of damages for the misappropriation of a trade secret, the DTSA also includes a provision for expedited relief on an ex parte basis to prevent the dissemination of misappropriated trade secrets, which may be obtained under “extraordinary circumstances.”

The DTSA also provides protection for whistleblowers, granting immunity to  parties who, under certain circumstances, disclose a trade secret to the government or an attorney to report wrongdoing, or as part of an anti-retaliation lawsuit.  Of particular interest to our clients is the requirement that employers must now provide a notice of this immunity protection in any contract or agreement with an employee (or an independent contractor or consultant) that governs the use of a trade secret or other confidential information.    If this notice is not included in all contracts which are signed or revised after the effective date of the act, the employer will not be able to recover exemplary damages and attorneys’ fees under the DTSA (although the employer may still pursue any available damages under other causes of action).  Employers are advised to consult with their counsel to revise all agreements with employees and contractors in order not to run afoul of this requirement.

The DTSA, by itself, may not be used to prevent a departed employee from entering into a new employment relationship with a competitor, and provides that any conditions placed on such employment must be based on “evidence of threatened misappropriation and not merely on the information the person knows,” in effect rejecting the doctrine of inevitable disclosure.

Employees and St. Patrick’s Day – what could go wrong there?!? 03/17/2016

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Employment.
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shamrock-iconEmployers already know that sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal and can result in liability, but employers should also know that under some circumstances sexual harassment outside of the workplace can result in employer liability.

Check out today’s post on our Employment Law Blog to learn more!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from our Employment Team!

2016 Rings in Changes for Employers 12/30/2015

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Employment.
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With 2016 upon us there are a few important changes to keep in mind, as well as recommendations to get your employment law practices in order.

Below is a short list to be aware of.

  • Minimum Wage Goes Up
  • Earned Sick Leave Safe Harbor Ends
  • Sexual Harassment Law Compliance
  • Data Protection Compliance

For all the details read our Employment Law Alert.

If you have questions about any of the above suggestions, please contact Sandy Kahn or any member of MBBP’s Employment Law Group.

Employers Cannot Pay Employees With Stock or Equity In Lieu of Cash 09/30/2015

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Employment, Legal Developments.
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wht-logo[2]A company with a temporary cash shortage might be tempted to compensate employees with an ownership interest in the company (stock or equity) instead of with cash.

But, is this practice legal? Generally, the answer to this question is no. Under state and federal law, employees must be paid at least the minimum wage in cash. Providing equity does not fulfill this requirement.

An exception to this rule is made, however, if the employee comes within the exemption for executive-business owners provided for in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).

To be exempt as an executive-business owner under the FLSA, an individual must (1) be employed in a bona fide executive capacity, (2) own at least a 20% bona fide interest in the business and (3) be actively engaged in the management of the business.

Unless an employee meets each of these requirements, paying in equity alone could result in significant liability for the employer, as well as possible individual liability for the president, treasurer, and individual “officers and agents” of the employer’s corporate entity.

For further help in determining whether your employee comes within the executive-business owner exemption or questions about paying employees with equity, contact a member of our Employment Law Group.

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.

Employment Law Alert: Sick Time Law Update 05/19/2015

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Employment, Immigration, Legal Developments, New Resources.
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Recently, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has announced a transition policy under which employers who offer sufficient sick leave or paid time off to workers now have a six-month transition period in which to bring their policies into compliance with the new Massachusetts paid sick leave law. In order to qualify for this safe harbor, an employer’s policy must be in effect as of May 1, 2015, and follow guidelines provided.

To learn more about the transition policy, please see our Employment Law blog.

Employment Law Update: Proposed Sick Leave Regulations 04/30/2015

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Corporate, Employment, Legal Developments, New Resources, Public Companies.
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As we previously advised clients, on November 4 Massachusetts voters approved a ballot measure entitling employees to earned sick leave, which goes into effect on July 1, 2015. The Massachusetts Attorney General recently issued proposed regulations on the application and enforcement of the new law.

To learn more about the MA Sick Leave Law or the proposed regulations, please visit our Employment Law blog.

Does your employee handbook include the recent changes? 02/05/2015

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Employment.
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Recent legal developments require changes in some employer policies and it’s time you reviewed these to be sure you’re not putting your company at risk for liability.

Read our full advisor for all the details.

Our Greatest Hits of 2014! 01/21/2015

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Corporate, Employment, Immigration, Intellectual Property, Licensing & Strategic Alliances, M&A, MBBP news, Privacy and Data Security, Public Companies, Taxation.
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From the Top Ten Issues in M&A Transactions to the Life Cycle of an IRS Audit we’re recapping the most popular articles and blogs in 2014!

Other popular articles include:

Most popular posts from our 4 blogs:

These articles, along with our newsletters and other blogs can found here.

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.

‘Employment’ New Year Resolutions 01/05/2015

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Corporate, Employment, Legal Developments.
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2015-01-05_8-08-39With the new year starting up, we have put together a handful of tips to ensure your employment practices are in order.  It is time to update handbooks and policies, make sure reviews are on schedule for the year and put a “WISP” (Written Information Security Plan) into place if you haven’t already.  Ring the year in right, ensure you and your employees are working in a happier, healthier company!

To view our Top Ten Tips for 2015.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact a member of our Employment Law Group.

Employment Law Clip: Retaliation Claims and Steps Employers Can Take to Avoid Them 06/17/2014

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Employment, New Resources.
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Retaliation is now the most common type of discrimination alleged nationally, topping both race and gender. What are retaliation claims and what steps can employers take to reduce their risks? Check out our most recent Employment Law Clip to learn more:

Please feel free to contact any member of our Employment Law Group with any questions on retaliation claims.

Massachusetts Wellness Tax Credit Incentive Now in Effect 01/18/2013

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

As we previously reported, Massachusetts enacted legislation last August giving smaller employers a tax credit of 25% of the costs associated with implementing wellness programs for their employees, up to $10,000 per year. The wellness tax credit incentive became effective on January 1, 2013. Under a proposed emergency regulation published this month by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the credit is available to Massachusetts-based employers with up to 500 employees (if the majority of employees work in Massachusetts).

The credit applies to wellness programs that promote “a healthy workplace environment and health workplace habits.” Under the proposed regulation, programs must be based on “a health-risk assessment of the workforce” and can include programs focused on dietary change, smoking cessation, accident and disease prevention, and other such programs intended to improve “participants’ physical and mental health and well-being.”

The proposed regulation contains details on the application and certification process, and other related matters. See the Wellness Tax Credit Incentive here.

For any questions on this topic, please feel free to contact Bob Shea.

MBBP Obtains Successful Non-Compete Ruling 10/23/2012

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Attorney News, Employment, Legal Developments.
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Employment Attorney Christopher PerryLast week, MBBP Employment Attorneys Chris Perry and Maura Malone successfully opposed a motion for preliminary injunction to enforce restrictive covenants against three sales executive clients based on the material change doctrine. In Akibia, Inc. v. Jeffrey Hood, Ryan Gavigan and Charles Krueger (Mass. Super. Ct. 10/9/2012), Judge Jeffrey A. Locke ruled that the non-compete agreements each former employee had signed at Akibia were likely voided by material job changes that included Labor and Employment Attorney Maura Malonepromotions, demotions, increases and decreases in compensation, changes in responsibilities and sales territories, and changes in the employer’s sales strategies and product offerings. As such, Judge Locke denied Akibia’s motion to prevent Hood, Gavigan and Krueger from working for their current employer, IOvations. Judge Locke did not address language in the three employees’ non-compete agreements, which stated that their obligations under the non-compete would continue regardless of any job changes, plainly implying that such language did not influence his case analysis.

Please visit our practice page to learn more about our employment group.

Bob Shea to Present at MCLE Employment Law Conference 10/05/2012

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Attorney News, Events.
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Employment Attorney Bob SheaOn December 14, 2012, MBBP Attorney Bob Shea will be presenting at the Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education’s 15th Annual Employment Law Conference. Bob will lead a discussion concerning recent changes to the Massachusetts Criminal Offender Record Information (“CORI”) law. The changes extend eligibility for access to the CORI database to all employers but also put strict notification, paperwork, and records retention requirements on employers who access and use CORI records.

For more information, please see MBBP’s Employment Law Advisor on the CORI law.

Feel free to contact Bob with any questions on employment law.

Employment Attorney Scott Connolly Rejoins MBBP 09/05/2012

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Attorney News, MBBP news.
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Employment Attorney Scott ConnollyMBBP is pleased to welcome back Scott Connolly to our firm and our growing employment law practice. Scott has broad experience, both as in-house and outside counsel, helping employers achieve their business objectives while complying with federal and state employment laws. For more than 10 years, he has guided employers through the full spectrum of issues that arise from the employment relationship, including those issues most likely to lead to litigation such as wage/overtime disputes, employee discipline and performance problems, sexual harassment and other workplace investigations, terminations, and reductions in force. Scott focuses on providing employers with practical advice, protective policies, key employment agreements, and workplace training to prevent expensive and resource-consuming litigation and to help businesses protect their customer relationships and intellectual property.

Scott also has extensive employment litigation experience and has successfully tried cases through jury verdict. He regularly represents clients before state and federal courts and agencies, including the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, and the Department of Labor, in cases involving claims of employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, wage-hour violations, and litigation involving non-competition and trade secret matters.

For more information on our labor and employment law practice, please visit our practices page.

Please contact Scott with any employment law questions.

A Guide to Employment Applications in MA 07/16/2012

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Employment, Legal Developments, New Resources.
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Some employers view employment applications as simple, standard forms used to obtain only basic background information from job candidates. Others see them as a tool to obtain more extensive information used to evaluate and potentially screen out prospective employees. Massachusetts employers need to know that there are some very specific requirements regarding both what must be contained in application forms and what is prohibited. Further, we believe employers also should use employment applications to establish and protect employer rights.

What may be asked in an employment application is heavily regulated. Read this edition of the Employment Law Advisor to learn how you can use employment applications to establish and protect your legal rights. And of course, we’re always here to help – feel free to contact a member of our Employment Team!

Bob Shea to Speak at SBANE Human Capital Series Event 12/20/2011

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Attorney News, Employment, Events.
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Employment Attorney Bob SheaOn January 10th the Smaller Business Association of New England (SBANE) is presenting a  2012 Legal Update as part of their Human Capital Series. The event includes discussion led by two employment attorneys, one of whom is MBBP Attorney and SBANE Board member, Bob Shea. Bob will provide information on developments in employment law, including new legislation and court decisions that will affect companies and their HR practices.

To learn more about the event or to register, please visit SBANE.

Employment Updates:MA Maternity Leave Act; MA Wage Act 11/15/2011

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Attorney News, MBBP news.
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MBBP has released a new Employment Law Advisor (ELA) which covers the topic of employer obligations under the Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act (MMLA) and highlights some of the risks and confusion it creates. Though much shorter, simpler and limited in scope than its federal counterpart, the Family and Medical Leave Act (the “FMLA”), the MMLA has a few nuances of its own and creates some traps for the unwary. Please visit our resources page for this Employment Law Advisor.

MBBP has also released a new Employment Law Alert which discusses a recent decision, Dow v. Casale (No. 10-1343-BLS1), which held that the Massachusetts Wage Act applies to an employee who lives and works outside of Massachusetts, so long as the out-of-state employee has “sufficient contacts” with Massachusetts. Click here to read the full alert.

For more information on the MMLA or the Massachusetts Wage Act, please contact our employment attorneys Bob Shea or Chris Perry.

If you would like to be added to our ELA mailing list, please contact Jaclyn Jefgood.


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