Massachusetts Labor & Employment Law

Foley Hoag’s Labor & Employment Law practice offers decades of experience helping companies manage their workplace legal issues. We understand that today’s employers must grapple with an ever-expanding array of federal and state laws and regulations governing the employment relationship. Our attorneys bring deep knowledge of labor and employment law and a practical and creative problem-solving approach to every matter. We pride ourselves on our ability to respond quickly to changing business conditions with effective, strategic advice, while always keeping our client’s business goals in mind.

On Sunday, May 10, 2020, a groundbreaking New York City law went into effect prohibiting most employers from requiring job applicants to submit to marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinols (THC) tests during the hiring process.  The New York City Council passed the measure 40-to-4 in April 2019, establishing that requiring such testing as a condition of employment constituted an unlawful discriminatory practice, even as marijuana was (and remains) illegal in the state. The law applies to public…
As concerns about the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continue to mount in the United States (and world-wide), resulting in school and business closures and other disruptions across the country, employers are facing many difficult questions. Click here to read our answers to some frequently asked questions that employers have been raising in their efforts to respond this ongoing public health crisis. Foley Hoag LLP has formed a firm-wide, multi-disciplinary task force dedicated to…
Companies are expanding their work from home policies amid the spread of coronavirus. Counsel Chris Feudo discusses best practices for companies and employees. “Make sure that you have medical documentation, be in touch with your medical providers to make sure you understand what your restrictions are,” he said. Watch the video below or click here to read more.…
Yesterday, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) released the final version of its new joint employer rule, which limits the circumstances in which franchisors and businesses that use employees hired by third parties can be required to bargain with employees of those third parties and held jointly liable for violations of federal labor law. The new rule – the result of a larger effort by the Trump administration to limit joint employer liability under federal…
In Massachusetts, a commission is a wage subject to the Wage Act when the amount of the commission “has been definitely determined and has become due and payable.” Accordingly, an employer’s failure to pay a commission which had not yet become due and payable generally does not implicate the Wage Act, and employers cannot be held liable for treble damages stemming from the failure to pay such a future commission. However, last week in Parker v.…
Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released the final version of its new “joint employer” rule. The rule limits the scenarios in which businesses will be treated as joint employers under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and, therefore, reduces their potential liability for FLSA violations committed by their business partners. The final rule, which goes into effect on March 16, 2020, requires that a business exercise control over workers in order to…
Last week, the United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced a rule clarifying the types of compensation that should be included when determining an employee’s “regular rate” of pay for the purpose of calculating overtime pay under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The new rule permits employers to exclude certain fringe benefits provided to employees when calculating the employee’s regular rate of pay. The rule is the first update to the relevant regulations…
In 2014, the Obama-era National Labor Relations Board made over two dozen changes to the union election rules that effectively shortened the time period between the filing of the petition and the election and limited the types of issues that could be resolved in a pre-election hearing. On December 13, 2019, the Board, now controlled by a Republican majority, announced a new rule scaling back the 2014 changes. The new rule is anticipated to slow…
In November 2019, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) became the first union to organize employees at a Massachusetts cannabis company.  According to the Boston Globe, two-thirds of Sira Naturals, Inc.’s employees, who work at its cultivation and manufacturing facility and its dispensaries, voted to join UFCW.  Sira issued its own announcement indicating that in advance of the vote it entered a labor peace agreement with UFCW allowing union representatives to come…