Labor, Employment & Employee Benefits

Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP advises major corporations, small businesses, start ups, and governmental and non-profit entities throughout the Northeast and Atlantic states and beyond in connection with their workplace issues.

The firm understands business and the critical, ever-changing nature of human resources. Drawing on over a quarter century of experience, we have a nationally recognized practice dedicated to helping private and public sector employers achieve their human resource goals. The firm's mission is simple: to enable clients, using the law, to optimize their investment in human resources at all levels of the organization, so they can focus effectively on their business.

The firm aggressively pursues risk management strategies and positive solutions. We partner with employers to develop policies and procedures which enhance employee relations and limit disputes. The firm's strategies, counseling and training help our clients avoid costly litigation, and government investigations. When complaints arise, we work with clients to provide solutions that are cost effective and results oriented. Whether the firm is counseling on legal compliance or litigating a complex case, the firm provides our clients with highly responsive, personalized service.

Employment and Labor

The firm counsels employers in all phases of the individual employment relationship including hiring, promotion, severance and retirement. The firm structures, negotiates and enforces employment contracts and related covenants that pertain to executive level and other specific positions in an organization.

The firm trains supervisors to comply with all applicable laws and regulations, avoid workplace disputes, resolve employee relations problems, and satisfy legitimate employee expectations. This preventative approach helps management to avoid the filing of grievances, charges or lawsuits and avoid their costly defense and unproductive diversion of time and energy.

The firm also designs and helps implement sophisticated compensation schemes including innovative equity participation and incentive pay programs. 

The firm's labor relations practice encompasses the full spectrum of traditional management-union matters, from strikes, picketing, and injunctions under the National Labor Relations Act to grievance/arbitration matters, collective bargaining, unfair labor practices proceedings, plant closings and corporate campaigns.

Employee Benefits

Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP has extensive private and public sector experience counseling employers and the trustees of single and multi-employer plans in all aspects of employee benefits including plan design and implementation, fund administration, regulatory compliance and litigation. 

These plans include defined benefit and defined contribution pension plans, health, dental, vision and prescription drug plans, cafeteria plans and flexible spending accounts, apprenticeship plans and prepaid legal assistance plans.

The firm assists our clients in administering benefit plans and identifying issues that may later develop into problem areas. When challenges arise, the firm defends employers against benefit claims and related litigation and provides counsel on all benefit issues occurring in the course of collective bargaining, corporate divestitures, acquisitions, business closures and reductions in force. We also design pension, profit-sharing, 401(k) and other types or retirement, deferred compensation and incentive compensation and welfare benefit plans.


Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP provides legal services in a variety of immigration areas, ranging from obtaining both temporary (including the H-1B and TN visas) and employment-based permanent immigration visas for foreign nationals to solving problems with the Immigration and Naturalization Service and State Department faced by both employers and employees. The firm advises and trains employers about compliance with I-9 employment authorization requirements and employer sanctions, as well as potential defenses to such sanctions, and assist them in preparing for INS audits. The firm also provides litigation assistance to employers and individuals in matters before the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Immigration Courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals.

Health Care Services

From large urban teaching hospitals to mid-sized community-based hospitals to small rural hospitals, Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP, has significant experience representing health care providers throughout Massachusetts and New England. In addition to acute care hospitals, we have experience representing:

  • Home Health Care Agencies
  • Community Health Centers
  • Visiting Nurse Associations
  • Rehabilitation Hospitals and Nursing Homes
  • Physician Practice Groups
  • Health Care Trade Associations
  • Public Health Departments

Our firm has confronted the gamut of labor law issues that health care institutions routinely face. Many of our health care clients have partially or substantially organized workforces. We have long-term experience and contacts with the unions representing employees in health care institutions, including:

  • Massachusetts Nurses Association
  • 1199 SEIU United Health Care Workers East
  • Fireman and Oilers, and other maintenance unions
  • International Union of Operating Engineers

We are sensitive to the unique challenges faced by institutions charged with a care giving mission. Our experience blankets the range of issues confronted by such institutions as:

  • Governance and fiduciary issues including interpreting regulations, drafting policies and by-laws, and dealing with state and federal agencies
  • All personnel and labor relations matters, including executive contracts and compensation, employee benefits, staffing, policies, procedures, contract negotiations and discrimination claims litigation
  • Occupational safety and health issues, including disputes and representation in proceedings before OHSA
  • Business-related issues such as corporate organization, mergers and shared services
  • Compliance with HIPAA and other privacy issues
  • Duty of care and liability issues and risk management
  • Operational matters including negotiations with service providers and equipment providers
  • Representation of health care provider trade organizations

For additional information about our Health Care Legal Services, please contact Katherine A. Hesse at (617) 479-5000 or by e-mail at

Areas of Concentration


  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
  • Affirmative Action
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • Background Investigations
  • Civil Rights Litigation
  • Civil Service Cases
  • Compensation Issues
  • Conducting Investigations
  • Confidentiality and Covenants Not to Compete
  • Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)
  • Contract Negotiation and Enforcement
  • Defamation
  • Disability Accommodation/Undue Hardship
  • Discrimination
  • Due Diligence Reviews
  • Employee Benefits
  • Employee Discipline
  • Employee Testing: HIV/AIDS, Drugs & Alcohol
  • Employment Contracts
  • Employment Law Counseling
  • Employment Law Litigation
  • Employment Policies
  • Employee Privacy Rights
  • Equal Employment Opportunity
  • Executive Compensation and Incentive Arrangements
  • Immigration
  • International Labor Law
  • Handbook Preparation
  • Health and Safety in the Workplace
  • Labor Relations
    • Appropriate unit hearings
    • Negotiations of collective bargaining agreements
    • Advice and defense of grievances and arbitrations
    • All forms of dispute resolution including conciliation mediations, fact finding and various favor of interest arbitrations
    • Interest based and collective bargaining
  • Leased/Contingent Work Force Matters
  • Leaves of Absence
  • Mergers/Acquisitions
  • National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)
  • Negligent Hiring, Supervision and Retention
  • Non Competition Agreements
  • Occupational Safety & Health Agency (OSHA)
  • Personnel Policies and Employee Handbooks
  • Privacy Issues
  • Problem Prevention
  • Public Sector Employment Law
  • Reductions-in-Force, Plant Closing and Mass Layoff Counseling and Litigation
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Selection and Hiring Procedures
  • Substance Abuse
  • Technology and Employee Rights
  • Tenure Issues
  • Termination, Retirement and Severance
  • Trade Secret Protection
  • Unfair Labor Practices
  • Wage and Hour Laws
  • Worker's Compensation Law
  • Workplace Harassment Counseling, Training and Litigation
  • Workplace Violence
  • Wrongful Termination

Employee Benefits

  • Advice regarding claims processing and administrative matters
  • All aspects of state and federal court litigation and arbitration
  • Benefit Claims appeals and related litigation
  • Collective bargaining, corporate divestitures, acquisitions, business closures and reductions in force
  • Deferred compensation, incentive compensation, 401(k) plans
  • Defined Contribution plans
  • ESOP's
  • ERISA Plans and Policies
  • Executive Compensation and Incentive Arrangements
  • Fiduciary Check ups
  • Health/Welfare Care: Managed Care Plans, Self-Insured Plans, Cafeteria Plans, Prescription Drug, Dental and Vision
  • Implementation and Administration of Benefit Plans
  • Mergers of Plans and Plan Terminations
  • Participant Loans
  • Pension and Profit-Sharing Agreements
  • Plan Mergers, Spinoffs and Termination
  • Preparation and Submission of Governmental Filings
  • Preparation and Review of Participant Communications
  • Prohibited Transaction Participant Communications
  • QDRO's and QMSO's
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Representation in Audits and Other Proceedings with Governmental Agencies
  • Section 403(b) and Section 457 plans
  • Welfare benefit plans


  • Temporary Employment Visas
  • Visa Education Programs
  • Long-Term Career Planning for Key Employees
  • In House Visa Programs
  • Conducting Internal, Privileged and Confidential Audits
  • Labor Certification
  • Temporary employment visas for foreign nationals, primarily relating to the employment of nurses (H-1A visas), speciality occupation workers (H-1B visas) and Canadian professionals and business persons (TN visas), as well visas for foreign traders or investors (E visas), exchange program participants (J visas), business visitor or tourist (B-1/B-2 visas) and intracompany transferees (L-1 visas)
  • Employment-based immigrant visas providing unlimited employment authorization and permanent residence in the United States (the "Green Card")
  • I-9 compliance, training and defenses to employer sanctions
  • Preparation for INS audits
  • Litigation of immigration matters in all administrative agencies and courts, including matters before the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Immigration Courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals

If you have specific questions regarding our Labor & Employment or Employee Benefits practice's capabilities, please contact: 

Labor & Employment 

Arthur P. Murphy 
(617) 479-5000

Employee Benefits 

Katherine A. Hesse 
(617) 479-5000

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