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Employment Law

SRBC’s Employment Group has broad experience as both advisers and advocates on a wide range of employment issues.  We work proactively with clients of all sizes to cultivate employment best practices, manage complex personnel challenges and minimize the likelihood of litigation, by identifying and solving workplace problems before litigation results.  In cases where litigation is unavoidable, we are effective advocates with a long record of success.  Our clients range from small businesses to large publicly held companies across a wide spectrum of industries, including financial services, manufacturing, technology, biotechnology, retail, hospitality, insurance, health care, construction, and professional services.  We also serve non-profit and public service organizations.

For more information regarding our employment law expertise and the services we offer, please contact Christine M. Netski (Chair) at netski@srbc.com or 617-227-3030.

Counseling

We counsel businesses in the areas of hiring, firing and employee discipline.  We also provide strategic guidance in managing complex workplace challenges, such as investigating sexual harassment complaints and steering an appropriate course among workers’ compensation claims, disability benefits, and federal and state laws addressing disability discrimination.  By sharing our expertise in developing and maintaining effective employment practices, we help clients stay focused on achieving their business goals.  Services we frequently provide include:

  • Drafting and reviewing personnel manuals, employment contracts, and noncompete and nondisclosure agreements;
  • Conducting seminars and training programs to educate management about new legal developments; and
  • Conducting internal investigations involving claims of harassment or other employee disputes. 

Litigation, regulatory advocacy and ADR

Our experience in employment litigation includes cases involving discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination, wage-and-hour claims, defamation and other workplace torts, and noncompetition and trade secret disputes.  We also represent individuals and businesses in disputes involving employment contracts.

We regularly advocate on behalf of our clients before the federal and state courts, as well as before such agencies as the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Attorney General’s Office.  Because of the sensitive nature of employment claims, we work closely with our clients to perform early case assessments and to develop strategies that will minimize the risk of litigation. 

Finally, we are also skilled advocates in alternative dispute resolution forums, including mediation and arbitration.

Representative Matters:

  • Summary judgment in favor of employer in age discrimination case alleging disparate treatment, disparate impact and retaliation;
  • Favorable settlement on behalf of food service company in class action wage-and-hour claims;
  • Summary judgment in favor of employer on claims for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy and the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act;
  • Numerous lack of probable cause findings in favor of employers in discrimination claims before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission;
  • Summary judgment in favor of employer where employee alleged he was terminated based upon his race and ethnicity in violation of various federal civil rights statutes;
  • Favorable settlement on behalf of employer in disability discrimination case alleging failure to accommodate employee’s temporary disability, hostile work environment and retaliation;
  • Successful defense of Wage Act claim by former employee against law firm employer;
  • Preliminary injunction on behalf of a technology consulting firm against a senior-level employee who joined a competitor in violation of a noncompetition agreement;
  • Favorable settlement on behalf of a mutual fund company seeking to enforce noncompetition and other restrictive covenants against a high-profile portfolio manager recruited by a direct competitor;
  • Voluntary dismissal of sexual harassment claim after motion to dismiss based upon plaintiff’s alleged fraud on the court, including perjured deposition testimony;
  • Favorable resolution of multiple Wage Act claims against retailer alleging failure to pay overtime;
  • Successful appeal of judgment against employer in tort action based upon trial court’s lack of subject matter jurisdiction over claims for workers’ compensation benefits;
  • Ongoing representation of national retailers in Massachusetts employment litigation.

Related News:

January 09, 2017 -
Sugarman Rogers Names Christine M. Netski as Managing Partner, Regina E. Roman to become General Counsel
Today Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C. announced that it has named Christine M. Netski as Managing Partner and Chair of the Executive Committee. In her new role, Netski will work with the partnership and executive staff on the ...
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December 09, 2016 -
MCLE's 19th Annual Employment Law Conference
Join Christine M. Netski at MCLE's 19th Annual Employment Law Conference.  Chris, along with Paul H. Merry, Esq., will provide a 2016 Contract, Tort, and Legislative Update.  Employment law has seen ...
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August 15, 2016 -
Twelve Sugarman Rogers Partners Named 2017 Best Lawyers in America
Sugarman Rogers is pleased to announce that twelve of its attorneys – over 70 percent of the firm’s partners – have been selected for inclusion in the 2017 edition of  ...
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August 01, 2016 -
Employment Law Alert: Pay Equity Act
On Monday, August 1, 2016, Massachusetts Governor Baker signed the Act to Establish Pay Equity  (“Pay Equity Act”) which will become effective July 1, 2018.  Below are the big takeaways for employers:

...
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July 06, 2016 -
Kate R. Cook Appointed Co-Chair of BBA Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Section
We are proud to share that the Boston Bar Association has appointed Kate R. Cook to serve as co-chair of the BBA’s Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Section starting in September 2016 until August 2018.

...
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June 10, 2016 -
Self-Help Discovery May Constitute Protected Activity
Verdrager v. Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky & Popeo, P.C., et al.

On May 31, 2016, in a case of first impression, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) ruled that an employee who accesses and copies confidential company documents and shares those documents with an ...
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May 26, 2016 -
Constructive Discharge: Under Title VII, Limitations Period Starts When Employee Gives Notice of Resignation
On May 23, 2016, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Green v. Brennan that the statute of limitations for a federal employee's constructive discharge claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 begins to run on the date the employee gives notice of his or her resignation. ...
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May 19, 2016 -
New DOL Overtime Rule Regarding "White Collar Exemptions" Key Provisions and Compliance Options
On May 18, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor ("DOL") released its highly anticipated Final Rule Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales and Computer Employees (the "Final Rule").  The Final Rule extends overtime pay eligibility to millions ...
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March 14, 2016 -
SJC’s Esler Decision Is A Reminder of the FMLA’s “Proscriptive” Reach
In Esler v. Sylvia-Reardon and Massachusetts General Hospital, SJC-11899, 2015 WL 10435938 (Mar. 9, 2016),  the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) revived a verdict in favor of an employee who claimed that her employer’s refusal to reinstate her after she exhausted all available ...
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March 07, 2016 -
Employment Law Alert: Bulwer v. Mount Auburn Hosp., No. SJC-11875, 2015 WL 10376073 (Mass. Feb. 29, 2016).
In a decision published on February 29, 2016, Bulwer v. Mount Auburn Hospital, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court clarified the evidentiary burden a plaintiff must meet to overcome a motion for summary judgment in an employment discrimination claim under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 151B, § ...
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November 09, 2015 -
Christine Netski & Michael Appel Recognized as Litigation Stars
SRBC is pleased to announce that two of its attorneys have been recognized by Benchmark Litigation, a leading national law publication. Christine M. Netski and ...
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August 21, 2015 -
Thirteen SRBC Partners Named to The Best Lawyers in America 2016 List
Thirteen partners from the Boston-based civil litigation firm Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C. received top rankings in the 2016 edition of The Best Lawyers in America® for their skills and expertise in their respective practice areas. 

...
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May 14, 2015 -
Attorney General Proposes Regulations on Sick Time
Massachusetts's Earned Sick Time law, passed by voters via ballot initiative last November, will take effect on July 1, 2015. The Office of the Attorney General has released proposed regulations to implement and clarify the scope of the new law. The ...
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February 11, 2015 -
SRBC Welcomes Chief Legal Counsel to Former Governor Patrick
Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen is pleased to announce that Kate R. Cook, Chief Legal Counsel to former Governor Deval L. Patrick, has joined the firm as Of Counsel. She will focus her practice in the areas of business, employment, environmental and real estate litigation. With extensive ...
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December 04, 2014 -
SRBC Welcomes New Associate Kenneth Thayer
Sugarman, Rogers is pleased to welcome Kenneth Thayer as an associate of the firm. Ken is an experienced trial attorney concentrating his practice in the areas of complex business, tort, employment, real estate and insurance litigation. ...
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November 04, 2014 -
SRBC Receives High Rankings on "Best Law Firm" List
SRBC has been named to the 2015 list of "Best Law Firms" by U.S. News and Best Lawyers. The firm received top "Tier 1" rankings in Boston across eleven practice areas:

...
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September 26, 2014 -
Christine Netski Presents at BBA Labor & Employment CLE
On October 16 Christine Netski will be presenting at the Boston Bar Association's annual CLE program "...
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September 08, 2014 -
Massachusetts Domestic Violence Leave Act
In August, Governor Patrick signed a new law providing leave for victims (or family members of victims) of domestic violence, “An Act Relative to Domestic Violence” (to be codified at M.G.L. c. 149, § 52E.). The law is effective immediately.

...
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September 05, 2014 -
MCAD Issues Annual Report
The MCAD recently issued its Annual Report for 2013 providing a useful window into the activities of the agency this past year.  The report reflects that, as in past years, the Commission remains woefully understaffed in relation to its workload, resulting in long delays in processing ...
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August 18, 2014 -
Fourteen Partners Earned Title "2015 Best Lawyers" and One Partner Named "Lawyer of the Year"
Fourteen SRBC partners have been recognized by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2015. In addition, David Barry earned special recognition as "Boston Lawyer of the Year" for Product Liability Litigation-Defendants. ...
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May 23, 2014 -
Chambers USA Ranks SRBC Partners Goodheart & Musiker

Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business 2014 has recognized SRBC partners Lisa Goodheart and Jean Musiker as leaders in their fields.

...
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November 04, 2013 -
SRBC Ranked "First Tier" in Boston in 10 Practice Areas

The 2014 edition of the "Best Law Firms" rankings by U.S. News and Best Lawyers rates SRBC a "First Tier" firm in Boston in ten of its practice areas:

...
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October 22, 2013 -
21 SRBC Lawyers Recognized as Massachusetts Super Lawyers
Twenty-one lawyers from SRBC have been included in this year’s edition of Massachusetts Super Lawyers. Super Lawyers annually publishes the results of a peer-survey and independent-research study designed to identify leading lawyers by state. In this year’s listings, SRBC ...
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September 16, 2013 -
SRBC Welcomes Two Associates
SRBC recently welcomed two new associates, Gwen Nolan King and Joshua D. Nadreau, to the firm. Gwen is in her fifth year of practice, with prior litigation experience at Choate, Hall & Stewart in Boston and at Sperling & Slater, a ...
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August 15, 2013 -
Fifteen SRBC Partners Named “2014 Best Lawyers” and Two Ranked “Lawyer of the Year”
Fifteen SRBC partners have been ranked at the top of their profession, including two partners earning special recognition as “Lawyer of the Year,” in the 2014 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Best Lawyers is the oldest peer-review publication in the legal ...
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February 26, 2013 -
New FMLA Final Rule: Summary of Changes and Next Steps for Employers
On February 6, 2013, commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), the U.S. Department of Labor issued its Final Rule (the “2013 Regulations”) on the FMLA.  The 2013 Regulations become effective March 8, 2013.

...
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October 24, 2012 -
22 SRBC Attorneys Recognized as "Super Lawyers"
Twenty-two SRBC lawyers have been listed among the top attorneys in Massachusetts in the annual Super Lawyers rankings.

...
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September 12, 2012 -
Fifteen SRBC Lawyers Named Best Lawyers in America
Fifteen of SRBC's partners have been selected for inclusion in the 2013 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Best Lawyers calls itself “the definitive guide to legal excellence in the United States.” The publication annually ...
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January 04, 2012 -
SRBC Welcomes New Lawyers Turner, Bográn-Acosta
SRBC recently welcomed two new lawyers to the firm. Alida Bográn-Acosta comes to SRBC as an of-counsel attorney in our employment litigation group. Alida has more than 17 years' experience advising clients in labor and employment matters. She was previously with the Boston office ...
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October 26, 2011 -
Sixteen SRBC Partners Named 2011 Massachusetts Super Lawyers
Massachusetts Super Lawyers, an annual peer-review and independent-research survey designed to identify the top five percent of lawyers in the state, has named 16 SRBC partners to its 2011 listing. Several of the partners were also distinguished on shortlists of top lawyers ...
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September 09, 2011 -
Thirteen SRBC Lawyers Named to Best Lawyers in America
The 2012 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, described as "the definitive guide to legal excellence in the U.S." and based on a nationwide peer survey of more than 3.9 million lawyers, has named 13 SRBC partners to its annual list. The partners, and the Best Lawyers ...
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May 12, 2011 -
Employment Law Alert: Expanding Federal Disabilities Law
New EEOC regulations that become effective May 24, following amendments by Congress to the Americans with Disabilities Act, will make important changes to federal disabilities law that will have a significant impact for employers. SRBC's employment lawyers summarize the changes in a new Law ...
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March 10, 2011 -
Netski on Interference with Business Relations
On Thursday, March 10, SRBC partner Christine Netski will be a panelist at a Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education seminar on claims for "interference with business relations." Chris and the other panelists will discuss technical and practical aspects of bringing and defending against ...
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January 05, 2011 -
Andrea Studley Knowles Elected Shareholder of SRBC
Andrea Studley Knowles, an associate with SRBC since May 2005, has been elected a Shareholder of the firm, effective January 1, 2011. Andrea will continue to focus her practice on product liability defense, business litigation and employment law. A 1998 graduate of New York University School of Law, Andrea ...
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October 20, 2010 -
SRBC Partners Named "Super Lawyers"
Sixteen of SRBC's partners have been recognized as Massachusetts Super Lawyers in the 2010 edition of the annual peer-review survey that seeks to identify the top five percent of lawyers in the state. Many of the partners were also ranked among the very top lawyers ...
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October 02, 2010 -
Eleven SRBC Partners Named to Annual "Best Lawyers in America" List

Eleven SRBC partners have been named to the 2011 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, an annual publication that calls itself "the definitive guide to legal excellence in the United States." This year's selections are based on surveys in which more than 3.1 million leading lawyers were ...
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September 14, 2010 -
New Massachusetts Laws on Personnel Files, Criminal Records
In a new two-part Law Alert, SRBC's employment law group explains two recent pieces of Massachusetts legislation of significance to employers. Massachusetts law now requires that an employer notify an employee within ten days of placing negative information in the employee's personnel file. The ...
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September 09, 2010 -
Federal Employment Law: New Rights for Nursing Mothers
As SRBC's employment group explains in a new Law Alert, a little-noticed provision of the recent federal healthcare legislation granted new rights to breastfeeding mothers in the workplace, and the U.S. Department of Labor has now added its guidance for employers on the requirements of the new law. ...
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August 31, 2010 -
First Circuit: Plaintiff Must Show Actual Harm From Pre-Employment Inquiry About Disability
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has upheld the dismissal of a discrimination claim by a job applicant stemming from the prospective employer's inquiries about a prior workplace injury and worker's compensation claim. Although the inquiry violated the Massachusetts Fair Employment Practices ...
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August 25, 2010 -
Massachusetts Court Limits Reach of Maternity-Leave Statute, Holds Employer's Attorneys Liable for Malpractice
In a new Law Alert, SRBC's employment law group writes about a recent decision of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (Global NAPs, Inc. v. Awiszus) which, in the context of a legal malpractice dispute, construed a Massachusetts statute that affords protection to employees who take maternity leave. ...
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February 24, 2010 -
New Massachusetts Data-Security Regulations Take Effect
Massachusetts regulations taking effect March 1 will impose obligations on companies and others who maintain personal information about Massachusetts residents, including social security and bank-account numbers.

September 29, 2009 -
Rogers v. Perry Dean Rogers & Partners
SRBC recently won a victory for an employer in a suit by the surviving spouse of a deceased employee, who claimed that the employer failed to meet its contractual obligation to arrange for continuing life-insurance coverage during the employment period. When the employee died, the spouse's ...
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August 09, 2009 -
Appellate Court: Employer Must Follow Employee Handbook
Employers who issue handbooks of policies and procedures to at-will employees frequently include disclaimers emphasizing that the contents are meant as guidelines and not terms of an employment contract. A Massachusetts appellate court recently found such a disclaimer ineffective, and upheld a jury verdict ...
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July 01, 2009 -
Employer Must Pay Discharged Employees for Unused Vacation Time
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently held that an employer violates the Massachusetts Wage Act when it fails to pay a discharged employee for unused vacation time. SRBC's Andrea Studley Knowles discuss the decision (Electronic Data Systems Corp. v. Attorney General (June 11, 2009)) in ...
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April 30, 2009 -
Employment Law: New COBRA Amendments Explained
In a new Law Alert, SRBC's Jean Musiker and Andrew Kanter explain Washington's recent amendments to COBRA, the federal law that allows terminated employees to maintain health-insurance benefits. The amendments are part of the federal government's efforts to assist workers affected by the economic ...
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March 25, 2009 -
First Circuit: True Statement May Be Libelous If Made With
This law alert discuss the First Circuit's remarkable recent ruling in favor of a Staples employee who was fired for falsifying expense reports. The court held that a senior company executive's e-mail notifying employees of the termination could be the basis for a libel claim--even though what the ...
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January 30, 2009 -
New FMLA Regulations Take Effect
New regulations recently took effect relating to the Family and Medical Leave Act. The regulations clarify and renumber some existing regulations, and impose new obligations on employers, employees, and medical providers with respect to FMLA leave. This Law Alert highlights some of the key ...
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September 10, 2008 -
Christine Netski Named to Trial Lawyer Honorary Society
SRBC partner Christine Netski was recently invited to be a fellow of the trial lawyer honorary society ...
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