With one of the most robust Labor & Employment practices in the Northeast, we provide clients with practical, business-savvy advice, skilled litigation services, and valuable compliance training. We regularly counsel clients on difficult wage and hour issues, restrictive covenants, hiring, firing, disciplinary issues, benefits, executive compensation and ERISA. Our attorneys also have a tremendous depth of litigation experience, having represented clients in numerous trials, class actions, and administrative proceedings. We also regularly provide training to our clients on sexual harassment prevention, fair employment practices, and best practices for supervisors.
Smart, practical, and goal-directed strategies.
Employees are a company’s most valuable resource. When challenges arise, our team provides practical advice and resolutions. We work closely with our clients to gain a clear understanding of their specific goals and concerns, which enables us to achieve positive results in a time-efficient manner.
We represent public and private companies of all sizes, financial institutions, hospitals, universities, states, municipalities, medical groups, executives, and Taft-Hartley pension and annuity funds in labor and employment matters before regulatory bodies, at hearings, and in trials. Our lawyers conduct safety audits, resolve union matters, and defend clients in class-action litigation and in discrimination cases. In addition, we provide counseling and litigation services for all aspects of the employment relationship, including:
- Wage and hour issues
- Noncompete, nonsolicitation, and nondisclosure agreements
- Disciplinary issues and terminations
- Layoffs, furloughs and wide-scale reductions in force
- Union organizing and labor-management relations
- Harassment and discrimination investigations and litigation
- Employment agreements
- Executive compensation and fringe benefits arrangements
- Immigration visas, permanent resident status, employment eligibility, and corporate policies
We have tremendous depth of experience in the following areas:
Wage and Hour
- Defending wage and hour lawsuits, including class action lawsuits
- Proper classification of employees as “exempt” or “non-exempt”
- Overtime compliance
- Independent contractor classification
- Payroll records
- Lawful and unlawful deductions from wages
- Dept. of Labor audits
- Audits by state agencies
- Representing former employees and new employers in lawsuits alleging breach of noncompete, nonsolicitation, and nondisclosure agreements
- Bringing enforcement actions for breach of noncompete, nonsolicitation, and nondisclosure agreements
- Advising and counseling on hiring employees subject to restrictive covenants
- Drafting restrictive covenants
- Union avoidance/nonsolicitation clauses
- Unfair labor practice defense
- Secondary boycotts and strike injunctions
- Grievances and collective bargaining with unions
- Training for first-line supervisors about union organizing
- Drafting, reviewing and amending employment agreements
- Drafting commission structures and difficult wage and hour provisions
- Drafting and enforcing noncompete, nonsolicitation, and nondisclosure provisions
Executive Compensation and Benefits
- Structuring qualified and nonqualified deferred compensation arrangements, retirement plans, ESOPs, health and welfare plans, and other benefits arrangements
- Advising on tax implications of compensation and fringe benefits arrangements, including 409A and 280G
- Advising on ERISA compliance
- Advising on multi-employer plan withdrawal liability
- Advising on compliance with COBRA and ACA
- Advising on fiduciary responsibilities
- Evaluating compensation and benefits in the context of business transactions and loan agreements
- Addressing post-termination benefits-related issues
- Assisting clients regarding IRS and U.S. Department of Labor audits and corrections programs for qualified retirement plans and 403(b) plan errors
- Handling ERISA, benefits entitlement, multi-employer plan and breach of fiduciary litigation
- Obtaining permanent resident status for foreign nationals
- Obtaining temporary visas for a wide variety of foreign personnel including executives, managers, and other professional employees
- Employment of foreign workers under USMCA (formerly known as NAFTA)
- I-9 eligibility compliance and worksite enforcement strategies under the Immigration Reform and Control Act and related anti-discrimination provisions
- Crafting effective corporate immigration policies
- Safety audits
- Handling citations
We help employers draft handbooks and policies to address important issues that include:
- Affirmative action plans
- Confidentiality policies
- Whistleblower policies
- Drug-testing policies
- Criminal records check policies
- Social media and email policies
- Data security policies
- Vacation policies
- Training in the areas of sexual harassment and diversity
Motion to Prevailing Wage Class Action
We successfully won a motion to dismiss a prevailing wage class action lawsuit filed in Superior Court. The firm represented a contractor in a lawsuit brought by trade workers. The trade workers alleged that they were not paid the proper prevailing wages. The court disagreed and dismissed the case.
Defeat of Class Certification in Fair Labor Standards Act and State Wage and Hour Case
We successfully defeated two motions for class certification in a significant wage and hour case pending in federal court. The firm represented a delivery company in a lawsuit brought by two drivers on behalf of themselves and a putative class seeking back wages for various alleged wage and hour violations. The plaintiffs filed both a motion for conditional certification relating to the federal wage and hour claims and a motion for class certification relating to the state law claims. The court denied both motions for class certification.
Motion to Dismiss Fair Labor Standards Act and State Wage and Hour Claims
We successfully won a motion to dismiss certain state wage and hour claims in a wage and hour case pending in federal court. The firm represented a home health care agency in a lawsuit brought by certified nursing assistants. The court’s ruling on the motion to dismiss provided an avenue for reaching a favorable resolution.
Successful Defense of Employee in Trade Secret Case
We successfully defended a former employee of a large medical device company in a motion for an injunction seeking to bar him from working for a new employer. The firm represented the employee in Massachusetts Federal Court and successfully defended against the injunction motion, which was based on the alleged theft of trade secrets and the inevitable disclosure doctrine.
Defeat of Motion for Conditional Class Certification in Fair Labor Standards Act Class Action Case
We successfully defeated a motion for conditional class certification of a class action wage and hour case involving loan processors working for a large financial institution. The court ruled that plaintiffs failed to satisfy even the lenient standard applied to motions for conditional certification. As a result of the firm’s work, a class was never certified.
Successful Defense of Company in Non-Compete Agreement
We served as counsel for a regional service provider for construction sites and events. Our client hired a new employee who had signed a non-competition agreement with his former employer. The former employer filed a motion for preliminary injunction against both the client and the new employee that would have prevented the employee from working for our client. We argued that the agreement was unenforceable and inoperative and successfully defeated the motion.
Defense of Company Faced with Discrimination Charges
We successfully defended a large construction company against several charges of discrimination filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In each charge, the complainants sought significant damages for alleged acts of discrimination, including failure to hire, hostile environment, and unlawful termination. The company argued that it had legitimate business reasons for each of the employment decisions at issue. We successfully defended the company against each charge, which resulted in lack of probable cause findings in each case.
Large-Scale Reduction-in-Force for a Real Estate Firm
We counseled a prominent Boston real estate firm through a large-scale reduction-in-force. The client closed one of its largest offices in the Boston area, resulting in an office-wide layoff. Our group counseled the client on issues related to WARN, payment of wage and benefits, and drafted severance agreements complying with the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act and other state and federal laws. The firm also assisted the client with the strategic planning of the reduction-in-force.
Successful Defense of Unfair Labor Practice Charge
We represented a regional construction company in connection with an unfair labor practice charge filed by a former employee. The employee argued that he had been terminated for engaging in protected concerted activity. We successfully argued to the National Labor Relations Board that the employee had been fired for insubordination and other misconduct, and not for engaging in any concerted activity. The charge was dismissed in its entirety.
Defense of Company and Two Employees in Trade Secret Case
We successfully defended two former employees of a large electrical company and their new employer in a trade secret, non-disclosure, and non-compete case. The firm’s work created new precedent relating to the inevitable-disclosure doctrine. Neither the employees nor the new employer were restrained from any competitive activity.
Assisted a large employer with a difficult termination after an employee posted offensive messages on his private social media account. The pictures and statements on the employee’s social media account violated various workplace policies, including the client’s anti-discrimination and harassment policies. Although the posts were not viewable by the general public, several co-workers saw the posts, and complained to the client. The client conducted a thorough investigation without violating any privacy, electronic communication, or concerted activity laws. The client was able to confirm the posts were made by the employee and terminated his employment without incident.
Other Notable Engagements
- We successfully defended the first case in Massachusetts defining “handicap” under the state anti-discrimination statute.
- We successfully defended a client in the first lawsuit in New England addressing the private right of action under the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
- We persuaded the Connecticut Supreme Court to adopt the application of mixed motive analysis to claims of discrimination under the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act.
- The National Association of Securities Dealers chose one of our attorneys to train its arbitrators concerning what they need to know about employment law.
- One of our attorneys served as the chief negotiator for the State of Rhode Island in collective bargaining with its multiple labor unions and achieved the first insurance premium co-pays ever for union employees working for the state.
The firm successfully defended two former employees of a large electrical company and their new employer in a trade secret, non-disclosure, and non-compete case. The firm’s work created new precedent relating to the inevitable disclosure doctrine. Ne…
Hinckley Allen successfully defeated a motion for an injunction filed by a large staffing company against a former employee who left to work for a competitor. The case involved claims for breach of contract and violation of a non-disclosure agreement.
News & Insight
Hinckley Allen today announced that eight trial lawyers from Barrett & Singal have joined the Firm, including Co-Chairs of Barrett & Singal’s Litigation group, Co-Chairs of its Research Misconduct group, and its General Counsel. All eight new hir…
U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers have recognized Hinckley Allen for the eleventh consecutive year as a Best Law Firm. Hinckley Allen has been ranked nationally in five practice areas and regionally in 58 practice areas.Firms included in the …
As COVID-19 vaccinations become more widely available, many employers would like to make vaccination mandatory for all employees, both to minimize contact tracing and employee privacy issues now burdening human resource departments– and, more importantly…
Janelle Murnane joined Hinckley Allen in October 2019 as a member of the Litigation group. She is experienced in commercial civil litigation and investigations, including securities, construction, employment, business litigation, and white collar criminal …