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Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane Attorneys Present their Annual Legal Update for Cape Cod Human Resources Association

Nan O’Neill, Sarah Spatafore and Kier Wachterhauser, attorneys at law from Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane recently presented their Annual Legal Update for the Cape Cod Human Resources Association. This year the topics focused on lessons from the year’s top cases & regulatory and statutory update, Employment Leave in Massachusetts: a refresher and practical guidance on the multitude of Federal and State Leave Laws, and drug testing in the wake of marijuana legalization.

Kier Wachterhauser and Sarah Spatafore presented a comprehensive overview of major legislative, regulatory and case law developments during the past year.  Important cases coming out of the Supreme Court and the Supreme Judicial Court addressed Wage Act damages, overtime exemptions, discrimination laws, and arbitration agreements.   The statutory and regulatory update included an overview of the multitude of recent statutory and regulatory changes, such as increasing minimum wages, MA paid family medical leave, and wage and hour updates from the Department of Labor.

Nan O’Neill gave practical guidance on some of the biggest issues facing employers today, the leave law issue including the implementation of the new MA PFML and the intersection of the often overlapping leave laws including FMLA, ADA, Worker’s compensation, MA Earned Sick Time, domestic leave, and small necessities leave.  The session offered an overview of the major leave laws and practical guidance on implementation and compliance as employers continue to grapple with the intricacies of the PFML.

Kier Wachterhauser focused on drug testing in the wake of the legalization of recreational marijuana in MA, including the conflict between state and federal law, pre-employment testing issues, as well as implementation and constraints regarding random drug testing and reasonable suspicion drug testing.

Latest News

Dr. Charles Desmond’s Tribute to John Lewis

Dr. Desmond’s first encounter with John Lewis was at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. At just 18 years old he was one of roughly 250,000 people from across America who gathered at the nation’s capital to attend the infamous march where, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his emotional and prophetic “I Have a Dream” speech. Among other notables who spoke, Desmond recalls that a young, 23-year-old John Lewis delivered a moving and emotional call for racial and economic justice and passage of overdue civil rights legislation.

Legal Updates

National Labor Relations Board Changes Legal Approach to Employee’s Use of Profane, Racist, and Sexually Harassing Speech in Protected Activity

On July 21, 2020, the National Labor Relations Board (“the Board”) changed its analysis towards an employee’s use of verbally offensive behavior in the context of protected activity under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (“the Act” or “NLRA”) in the following decision: General Motors, LLC, No. 14-CA-197985, 369 NLRB No. 127 (2020).

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