Labor & Employment

Labor & Employment

Litigation

Overview

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, and disciplinary issues. 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 has the ability to provide practical advice and resolutions. We work closely with our clients in order to understand their specific goals and concerns, allowing us to achieve positive results in a time-efficient manner.

We provide representation in labor and employment matters before regulatory bodies, hearings, and trials, including safety audits, union matters, class-action litigation, and discrimination cases. In addition, we provide counseling and litigation services for all aspects of the employment relationship, including:

  • Wage and hour issues
  • Non-compete, non-solicitation, and non-disclosure agreements
  • Disciplinary issues and terminations
  • Layoffs and wide-scale reductions-in-force
  • Union organizing and labor-management relations
  • Harassment and discrimination investigations and litigation

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

Non-Compete Agreements

  • Representing former employees and new employers against lawsuits for alleged breach of non-compete, non-solicitation, and non-disclosure agreements
  • Bringing enforcement actions for breach of non-compete, non-solicitation, and non-disclosure agreements
  • Advising and counseling on hiring employees subject to restrictive covenants
  • Drafting restrictive covenants

NLRA/NLRB Issues

  • Union avoidance/non-solicitation clauses
  • Arbitration
  • Unfair labor practice defense
  • Secondary boycotts and strike injunctions
  • Grievances and collective bargaining with unions
  • Training for first-line supervisors about union organizing

Employment Agreements

  • Drafting and review of employment agreements
    • Drafting commission structures and difficult wage and hour provisions
  • Drafting non-compete, non-solicitation, and non-disclosure provisions

OSHA

  • Compliance
  • 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.

Difficult Termination
Our employment attorney, Christina Lewis, 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. With Christina Lewis’ assistance, 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.
Case Study

​Defense of company and two employees in trade secret case

The firm successfully defended two former employees of a large electrical company and their new employer…

Case Study

​Defense of employee in non-compete case

Hinckley Allen successfully defeated a motion for an injunction filed by a large staffing company against…

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Firm News

38 Hinckley Allen Attorneys Recognized as 2018 Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

October 18, 2018

The Super Lawyers has selected 38 Hinckley Allen attorneys as Super Lawyers and Rising Stars. Each year,

Firm News

Hinckley Allen Welcomes New Associate Thomas J. Pagliarini to Its Litigation Practice

March 13, 2017

Hinckley Allen is pleased to welcome Thomas J. Pagliarini to its Litigation practice. Tom was most recently…

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Event

Connecticut Labor & Employment Roundtable 2019

January 10, 2019

Join us to discuss the changing landscape and latest legislation changes affecting Connecticut businesses…

Publication

4 Ways Massachusetts Employment Law Changed in 2018

December 14, 2018

2018 has been a busy year for employment law in Massachusetts, featuring a number of significant legal…

Publication

Six Things to Know about Massachusetts's Non-Compete Bill

August 8, 2018

On July 31st, the Massachusetts legislature passed a bill codifying many aspects of non-compete law which…

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