Affirmative Action/OFCCP Compliance
Our attorneys advise federal contractors on contract compliance issues and assist in creating and implementing affirmative action plans. As part of this process, the firm conducts statistical analyses, assists with goals setting, and prepares plan texts, reports, sample policies, notices, and letters. Training for key management is also available to help provide a better understanding of each client’s affirmative action plans and obligations as well as the procedures for the development and implementation of such plans.
In addition, our attorneys assist clients during audits conducted by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and defend them should the OFCCP issue notices of violation or assert claims of discrimination.
For non-federal contractor clients, we advise on the legalities relative to implementing diversity initiatives and voluntary affirmative action plans.
Data Security and Employee Privacy
We help employers comply with their obligations under state data protection laws and under federal privacy laws by developing and implementing policies and procedures to safeguard the private information of their employees and customers and reduce the risk of identity theft. Our attorneys provide comprehensive risk assessments, train management and employees regarding best practices for protecting sensitive information, and help employers develop written information security programs that comply with applicable laws and are tailored to a clients' specific needs.
Disability and Leave Laws
Employers face significant obligations under state and federal laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act. Our attorneys work with clients in drafting leave and accommodation policies, responding to requests for leave or requests for accommodation, managing employee absences, and ensuring that hiring procedures comply with the ADA's requirements regarding disability-related inquiries and medical examinations.
Discrimination and Harassment
A myriad of state and federal laws require employers to provide a workplace that is free from discrimination and harassment. We have extensive experience defending employers against claims of discrimination and harassment and work closely with clients to reduce the risk that employees will file claims of discrimination by providing valuable advice in all aspects of the employment relationship, including hiring, promotion, discipline, and discharge.
When employers receive internal complaints of discrimination or harassment, our attorneys provide guidance in responding to such complaints and assist clients in conducting prompt and thorough investigations and remedying any discrimination or harassment that may have occurred. We also provide training to employees and management regarding discrimination and harassment and draft comprehensive non-discrimination and non-harassment policies for their use.
Drug and Alcohol Policies and Testing
We help our clients develop drug-free workplace policies and drug and alcohol testing procedures that comply with applicable laws such as the Drug-Free Workplace Act. Our attorneys provide guidance regarding whether employees may be subjected to random drug testing and whether "reasonable suspicion" exists to support a non-random drug test for an individual employee.
ERISA and Other Employee Benefits
Our attorneys assist in drafting various employee benefits and compensation plans, including cafeteria plans, retirement plans, 401(k) plans, stock option plans, and plans for highly compensated key employees. We also offer counsel on the potential implications of certain plans and have experience litigating ERISA matters when disputes arise.
Preventative Employment Services
Because we believe that careful planning and counseling can reduce the likelihood of a lawsuit or can at least improve the likelihood for success should litigation arise, we offer a variety of litigation avoidance-related services, such as preparing, reviewing, and updating employment policies and handbooks, drafting Affirmative Action plans, conducting audits to ensure businesses are compliant with all applicable state and federal laws and providing employee and management training on a variety of training topics, such as sexual harassment and anti-discrimination, discipline and documentation, the ADA and reasonable accommodations, wage and hour, leaves of absences, electronic issues in the workplace, independent contractor status, joint employment issues and maintaining a union-free environment
Unemployment Insurance Law
We provide advice, counseling, and training on Massachusetts General Law Chapter 151A, the Massachusetts unemployment insurance law, including the standards for awards of unemployment benefits and disqualification. We also advise clients on the Division of Unemployment Assistance's (DUA) rules and procedures, explaining how evidence is presented and weighed, the role of witnesses, how witnesses' credibility may be assessed, and the role of the DUA Hearing Officer. The firm has assisted clients in preparing and presenting reasons for termination and appeal in accordance with Massachusetts law and has represented clients both at unemployment hearings and before the Board of Review.
Unfair Competition and Trade Secrets
Our attorneys understand the importance of protecting against unfair competition and offer many preventive services to assist businesses in securing adequate protection, which includes advising on and drafting legally enforceable covenants not to compete, non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements and non-solicitation agreements; preparing employment agreements for business executives and others in upper management and conducting audits of current business practices. In addition to our preventive services, we aggressively litigate unfair competition and improper intellectual property disclosure matters. Prior to initiating litigation on our business client's behalf, our attorneys carefully weigh the potential ramifications to the business and the value of seeking court intervention through temporary restraining orders and injunctions.
Wage and Hour Law: Individual and Class Action Litigation and Compliance
Our attorneys have significant experience defending employers in both individual and class action wage/hour litigation. Our broad expertise includes defense in the following types of wage/hour cases: misclassification of employees as exempt, misclassification of employees as independent contractors, failure to pay minimum wage, failure to pay and/or properly calculate overtime pay, failure to pay for all time worked, including donning and doffing issues, failure to pay commissions, improper tip pooling, failure to provide meal breaks and failure to pay for "off-the-clock" time. We also represent employers in these types of disputes before the United States Department of Labor and state wage/hour enforcement agencies. With wage/hour litigation on the rise and the increased penalties for violations, Our attorneys offer various preventive services to employers in order to reduce the risk of a viable wage/hour claim and to otherwise comply with applicable wage/hour laws. Our attorneys advise on wage/hour matters, providing counsel on issues related to the classification of workers, calculation of pay, commissions, tips, pay procedures, meal breaks, and other state and federal wage/hour laws. Our wage/hour preventive services include audits of our clients’ wage/hour practices, drafting policies and procedures, including legally compliant incentive plans, and conducting management training.
We represent employers, insurers, and self-insurers in the defense of workers' compensation claims. We handle all phases of workers' compensation litigation, including hearings at the Division of Industrial Accidents and appeals. In addition to offering litigation services, we also assist our clients in developing appropriate claims investigation programs and safety measures in order to help reduce the number and cost of workers' compensation claims.
Workplace Safety and Compliance
Our attorneys have extensive experience designing preventive solutions to ensure that company workplaces are safe under federal and state law. Our attorneys excel at drafting handbook provisions that inform workers of their workplace rights and protect companies from complaints and liability. Additionally, our attorneys have experience counseling employers on the applicability of federal (OSHA) and state safety regulations, including Massachusetts' and Connecticut's Divisions of Occupational Safety. Additionally, our attorneys assist employers with other workplace safety concerns including workplace violence and substance abuse issues. Our firm has extensive experience drafting policies designed to prevent these problems. We also conduct training programs for managers on how to best carry out these policies.