Murphy Hesse Toomey and Lehane Attorneys Secure Appellate Court Victory
Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane attorneys, Geoffrey Wermuth and Sarah Spatafore represented the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston in Alessendrinia Menard vs. Archdiocese of Boston. This case concerned allegations of discriminatory conduct from a former employee of a Parish towards her former employer. The employee held the position of Director of Music Ministries for the Parish. All claims of discrimination were denied by the Archdiocese.
Following a Lack of Probable Cause dismissal by the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination on the basis of the ministerial exception and failure to state a prima facie case of discrimination, this case was brought in Massachusetts Superior Court. On Tuesday, citing precedent from both the U.S. Supreme Court, various circuit courts, and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, the Massachusetts Appeals Court upheld the decision of the Superior Court to dismiss the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction due to the ministerial clause of the First Amendment. This decision focused on the fact that the plaintiff in this matter met the legal definition of a ministerial employee, within the scope of the ministerial exception and applicable case law. Prior to issuing its decision, the Appeals Court invited amicus briefs. This case was affirmed by full court.
Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane LLP is also known throughout New England for its labor and employment practice as well as its extensive business litigation and advising employers on internal reviews and strategic legal approaches when dealing with the government. The firm also has an extensive education law practice representing public, private, and nonprofit educational institutions from pre-K through the college and university level.
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.
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).