Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane is pleased to announce that Dr. Charles F. Desmond, CEO of Inversant and a senior fellow at the New England Board of Higher Education, has accepted an appointment to the MHTL Advisory Board.

Dr. Desmond has broad and extensive experience at the senior-most levels of government, higher education, philanthropy, and in non-governmental agencies. His leadership accomplishments range from chairing the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education to initiating multi-layered corporate and philanthropic engagements in local, regional and national educational initiatives.  As a policy analyst and senior advocacy expert, Dr. Desmond has four decades of direct experience working at the local and national level and has developed an expansive knowledge of diverse sectors, including banking and financial services, life sciences, and equity and diversity matters in the academic and corporate sectors.

He brings a deep understanding of governance, leadership development and strategic focus from not only serving on for profit and non-governmental boards but also serving as an advisor to chief executive officers and executive management team members. Mr. Desmond will bring his many talents to MHTL advising on matters in private, non-profit, public, and educational areas.

Among other decorations, Dr. Desmond was awarded the Silver Star medal and the Bronze Star Medal with “V” for valor while serving in Vietnam. A Fulbright Scholar, he received his bachelor’s degrees in Sociology from Northeastern University and his doctoral degree in Instructional Leadership from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He is the recipient of three honorary doctoral degrees.

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Neponset Valley Chamber of Commerce: Labor & Law Employment Update

MHTL attorneys Katherine Hesse and Kier Wachterhauser will be presenting information regarding important legal issues and developments in the Labor & Employment field at a Neponset Valley Chamber of Commerce (NVCC) event on Thursday, November 15th.  These presentations will include a comprehensive overview of major legislative/regulatory/case law developments, as well as best practices in navigating issues such as marijuana in the workplace and sexual harassment.

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Legal Updates

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Supreme Judicial Court Issues Important Decision Protecting Employers – Back Pay Awards Do Not Constitute “Wages” Under the Wage Act and Thus Are Not Subject To Trebling

In a recent decision, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC” or “Court”) declined to classify a court-ordered “back pay” award as “wages” under the Massachusetts Wage Act (“Wage Act”).   In response to a request for briefs from the Court, Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP (MHTL), on behalf of its public and private clients, submitted an amicus brief, supporting the defendant employer’s position.   The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and the New England Legal Foundation also submitted amici briefs.  This decision – a significant victory for employers – has far-reaching consequences and helps to protect employers from punitive and excessive penalties in many employment contexts.  Had the case been decided for the plaintiffs, it could have had significant ramifications for employers, extending the punitive damage scheme under the Wage Act (strict liability, treble damages, attorneys’ fees, individual liability, etc.) to a myriad of different employment contexts.

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