News

Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane Partner Speaks on Horseplay in the Workplace at the MACRS Kevin J. Regan Fall Conference.

Katherine A. Hesse, a partner with Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP, presented alongside an esteemed all-female legal panel at the Massachusetts Association of Contributory Retirement Systems’ Annual Kevin J. Regan Fall Conference on October 1, 2019 in Springfield, Massachusetts. This conference serves the primary mission of the Massachusetts Association of Contributory Retirement Systems, which is to preserve, strengthen and educate the 104 public retirement systems of the Commonwealth while promoting the rights and benefits of our respective members, present or future, and to uphold the public interest in the proper administration of contributory retirement systems. Topics presented by the panel included: Splitting the Option D Benefit, Heart Presumption and Essential Duties, Accidental Disability and Horseplay, Group Classification Issues, and the Impact of Mediation Awards and Settlements.

Ms. Hesse’s presentation focused largely around accidental disability retirement, and its strict standards relative to causation. There are several criteria which must be met in order for an employee to qualify for accidental disability retirement, the first of which being that said employee must be injured “while in the performance” of his or her duties. This injury must result in the employee being unable to perform the essential duties of his/her job. The inability to perform must be likely to be permanent. The disability must also be by reason of a personal injury sustained or a hazard undergone as a result of, and while in the performance of the member’s duties at some definite time and place. However, the most crucial piece, and the main focus of Katherine’s presentation concentrated on the portion of the statute which reads, “without serious and willful misconduct on the member’s part.” She went on to present several Massachusetts cases that illustrated how horseplay in the workplace could disqualify an individual from qualifying for accidental disability.

Latest News

Murphy. Hesse, Toomey & Lehane Advisor, Thomas Jorling Pens the Attack on the Rule of Law

  Tom Jorling, is an attorney, advisor to MHTL, former co-drafter of the Clean Air and Water Act and former Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation under Governor Mario Cuomo. Tom Jorling served under 4 presidents, including Deputy Director of the Environmental Agency. Mr. Jorling was the recipient of the inaugural Boston College Law School Public Interest Law Foundation Distinction in Public Service Award in April 2019. Thomas Jorling pens the article below on the attack Read More

Legal Updates

Expansion of Federal Protections for LGBT Workers

On June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a historic 6-3 decision authored by Justice Neil Gorsuch, in which the Court held that employers cannot discriminate against an individual on the basis of the individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. This case, Bostock v. Clayton County, was a consolidation of three cases, involving two gay men, who were terminated based on their sexual orientation, and one transgender woman, who was terminated based on her gender identity.

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