Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP

Providing our clients with state of the art legal service while maintaining an emphasis on personalized attention, accessibility and efficiency

One of the 50 largest firms in Massachusetts, our years of experience and resources offer clients throughout New England and nationally a wide range of legal services while maintaining a “hands-on touch” that is important in Client-Attorney relationships. To provide this kind of service, we established a multi-service firm comprised of skilled practitioners from a variety of fields. This enables us to bring to our clients the breadth of experience and depth of knowledge required for complex cases. Our broad resources and technology enable us to represent clients in a comprehensive and cost efficient manner.

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Annual Labor & Employment Law Update

March 22, 2018 Program – 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Boston Marriott Hotel, Quincy

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Legal Updates

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  • The Cannabis Control Commission Speaks

    The Cannabis Control Commission Speaks - Regulating The High: Select Provisions of the Draft Regulations for Adult Use of Marijuana Impacting Cities and Towns in Massachusetts

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  • Hazy Guidance for Employers: Attorney General Sessions Issues Marijuana Enforcement Memorandum to Federal Prosecutors

    On January 4, 2018, Attorney General Jefferson Sessions issued a memorandum rescinding several Obama-era policies that discouraged federal prosecutors from pursuing marijuana possession and distribution cases in marijuana legalization states like Massachusetts. The Obama-era policies were backed by a Congressional budget rider that bars the Department of Justice from spending its money prosecuting state backed medical marijuana operations. The amendment will expire later this month, and it is unclear whether Congress will renew it given the Trump administration’s current priorities.

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  • National Labor Relations Board Overturns Key Prior Rulings on Employee Handbooks and Joint Employer Liability

    The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) has been active recently, reaching decisions on two important issues: employee handbooks and joint-employer liability. These decisions directly affect most private employers, and the impact of these decisions will be felt across multiple areas of law, and in both the public and private sectors.

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  • National Labor Relations Board Overturns Important Decisions Related to Bargaining and Union Organization

    The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) has overturned two important decisions from the prior administration affecting bargaining obligations and bargaining unit composition under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”). These decisions, issued on the eve of the Board Chairman’s term expiring, are significant for employers with a unionized work force or in the context of union organizing campaigns.

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  • United States Department of Education’s Office For Civil Rights Changes Guidance For Title IX

    On September 22, 2017, the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) issued a Dear Colleague Letter and Question and Answer document on complaints of sexual misconduct and violence. 

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  • Massachusetts Enacts the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

    Last month, we alerted you to the legislature’s passage of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (“PWFA”). On July 27, 2017, Governor Charlie Baker signed the PWFA into law. It takes effect April 1, 2018.

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  • Students Kneeling During Patriotic Activities

    Given professional athletes’ recent protests, kneeling and/or linking arms during the National Anthem, the question has arisen about students’ right to kneel and/or link arms during patriotic activities, such as the National Anthem or pledge of allegiance. 

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  • Program On Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) Rescinded

    On September 5, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security issued a memorandum announcing the rescission of the June 15, 2012 Memorandum entitled Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children, which had established the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, commonly referred to as “DACA.” This may have a significant impact on employers who rely on individuals in their workforce with lawful immigration status through DACA.

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  • Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Issues Landmark Ruling on Medical Marijuana in the Workplace

    In a much anticipated ruling,the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) issued a decision recognizing a potential claim for disability discrimination if an employer terminates or otherwise takes an adverse employment action against an employee who uses lawfully prescribed medicinal marijuana while off-duty.   In short, this decision prohibits blanket restrictions on the off-duty use of marijuana and requires employers to engage in an interactive process to determine whether the off-duty use of lawfully prescribed medical marijuana may be a reasonable accommodation under Massachusetts anti-discrimination law, M.G.L. c. 151B.

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  • United States Department Of Education’s Office For Civil Rights Changes Investigation Procedures

    On June 8, 2017, Candice Jackson, Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) purportedly sent to the agency’s regional directors a memorandum that changes the practices used to investigate civil rights violations. 

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  • Massachusetts Legislature Unanimously Passes The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

    On June 29, 2017, the Senate unanimously voted to pass the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (S.2093).  This bill will be sent to Governor Charlie Baker to be signed after being reconciled with the House version of the bill (H.3680) that passed in May 2017.

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  • Supreme Court Rules On FAPE Standard — No Changes In Massachusetts Based On Decision

    On March 22, 2017, the United States Supreme Court decided the case of Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, addressing the meaning of a free and appropriate public education (“FAPE”) for the first time since Board of Education of Hendrick Hudson Central School District, Westchester County v. Rowley, 458 U.S. 176 (1982).

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  • A Synopsis: Evolving Changes in Immigration Law and Its Impact on Your Employees/Students

    The federal government has released a number of Executive Orders ("Orders") that are directly affecting immigration policies, procedures and practice in the United States. Some of these Orders may have a direct impact on employers, especially employers who employ foreign nationals and conduct business abroad that requires foreign travel. Here is a brief synopsis on the state of these Orders as of now.

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  • Major Changes to Public Records Law for Municipalities

    This client alert details the changes to the Massachusetts Municipal Public Records Law.

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  • A Call to Action: The Municipal Modernization Act

    The Municipal Modernization Act (“Act”) created a number of changes to various municipal laws – including finance, procurement, retirement, and public safety laws. However, the Act requires local action before certain provisions can take effect.

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  • The Smoky Impact from Massachusetts Voting to Regulate “Recreational” Marijuana

    At the 2016 state election, Massachusetts voters approved Question 4, which regulates marijuana for recreational (i.e., non-medical) purposes.  A consequence of Question 4 is that the production, possession, sale and consumption of marijuana – in certain amounts and under certain circumstances, for persons aged 21 years and over – will become legal under Massachusetts law.

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  • Governor Baker Signs Municipal Modernization Act

    Governor Baker recently signed House Bill 4565, “An Act modernizing municipal finance and government” (the “Act”).  This Act made changes in many areas of law affecting cities and towns, including procurement, insurance, local taxation, municipal finance, and employee benefits, among others.  The Act amends provisions of more than 250 different sections of the Massachusetts General Laws and represents a major overhaul of municipal-related laws in Massachusetts.

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  • Final Rule Changing Overtime Regulations Published By DOL

    Today, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released its final regulations making changes to the overtime exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  We have been watching these regulations for many months now, wondering when they will be released and if the final regulations would respond to the opposition and opinions of the many who see these regulations, and particularly the new salary threshold, as too steep and a hardship.

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  • Governor Baker Signs Pay Equity Legislation

    On August 1, 2016, Governor Baker signed Senate Bill 2119, “An Act to Establish Pay Equity into law (the “Act”). This Act amends Chapter 149, s. 105A of the General Laws, which currently prohibits discrimination in payment of wages on the basis of sex for “comparable” work.” Although federal and state law already proscribes discriminatory pay practices on the basis of sex/gender, the Act clarifies certain definitions and includes additional restrictions and protections. The Act goes into effect July 1, 2018.

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  • Federal Judges Issues Preliminary Injunction Blocking the Implementation of New FLSA Overtime Regulations

    Late yesterday, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction, temporarily blocking the Department of Labor’s (DOL) new Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime regulations from going into effect on December 1, 2016.  What this means for employers in the short term is that the new overtime regulations – which, among other things, more than doubled the salary threshold for exempt employees to $913 per week – are on hold for now, pending final resolution from the court. 

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