News

Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane Partner was Special Guest Panelist at Quincy Chamber Town Hall

 

Nan ONeill from Murphy, Hesse, Toomey &Lehane, LLP, presented for the Quincy Chamber Town Hall on the topic of bringing employees back to work in Massachusetts on Thursday, May 21, 2020.  The Quincy Chamber Town Hall was co-hosted with the Neponset River Chamber.  Nan was joined by co-panelists Margaret Laforest, Regional Director, Massachusetts Office of Business Development, and Norman Eng, Public Affairs Specialist, U.S. Small Business Administration.

 

Nan focused on the legal environment surrounding reopening Massachusetts, pointing out the legal requirements all employers must comply with, as laid out in Governor Baker’s Four-Phase approach.  Nan also emphasized that the MA legal requirements cannot be considered in isolation, and as businesses bring their employees back to work, they must consider OSHA requirements to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace; and EEOC return to work protocols which emphasize the continuing duty to reasonably accommodate employees with disabilities in the COVID-19 context, permissible health inquiries and employee testing, and anti-harassment prohibitions protecting workers from discriminatory behavior because of their nation origin, race, age or disability.  Nan also discussed the leave entitlements returning employees may have under the FFCRA.  She concluded with a discussion of the tension created by the enhanced unemployment benefits provided by the CARES Act and employer efforts to bring employees back to work. The bottom line is that employers cannot think of any of these issues in isolation.  As employers comply with the MA mandates, they can incorporate requirements for creating a safe workplace, maintaining a harassment-free workplace, and other regulatory provisions, into employee communications and required employee training.

 

Nan and the MHTL team will continue to keep businesses updated on the return to work legal developments as they unfold on both the local and national levels.

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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