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Three Partners from Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP Present a Labor and Employment Law Update for The Greater Merrimack Valley Human Resources Association

 

Kathryn Murphy, Nan ONeill and Sarah Spatafore, all partners at MHTL, presented their Labor and Employment Law Update, hosted by The Greater Merrimack Valley Human Resources Association on December 3, 2020. Nan ONeill presented a recent case law update, as well as a Creating Your Toolkit for Meeting Reasonable Accommodation Obligations guide. Sarah Spatafore talked about the recent statutory and regulatory updates, and discussed the best practices for conducting workplace investigations. Finally, all three attorneys concluded with a panel for a COVID-19 update.
Ms. Murphy is a Partner at the firm and practices in the employment and labor law areas. She has many years of experience representing employers in matters involving employment discrimination, wage and hour, contracts, whistleblowing, and other employment-related concerns. Ms. Murphy’s practice also focuses upon working proactively with employers to address matters before legal disputes arise. She conducts internal investigations on behalf of employers, provides training, day-to-day counseling in employment areas, development of policies and procedures, and other advisory services. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Murphy worked for several years with the Office of the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Ms. Murphy obtained a Senior Professional Human Resource (SPHR) certification in 2011. Prior to practicing law, Ms. Murphy practiced as a Certified Public Accountant. Ms. Murphy graduated cum laude from Suffolk University Law School.
Ms. O’Neill, another Partner at the firm, has 30 years of experience counseling and representing employers in all aspects of traditional labor law and employment. She has extensive experience in labor arbitration and litigation of employment-related disputes, including discrimination, sexual harassment and wrongful termination matters. In addition to grievance and arbitration proceedings, Ms. O’Neill has advised companies regarding corporate campaigns, strike and contingency planning, bargaining strategies, interpreting collective bargaining agreements and obligations under the National Labor Relations Act. Ms. O’Neill counsels clients on a day-to-day basis on employment compliance issues. Ms. O’Neill is often called upon to conduct internal investigations including complaints of harassment, discrimination, and ethical violations. Ms. O’Neill is a graduate of Boston College and the Georgetown University Law Center.
Ms. Spatafore, also a Partner at the firm, practices primarily in the labor and employment area, representing both public and private clients. Ms. Spatafore also handles education issues. She regularly conducts seminars and training programs on unlawful harassment, preventing discrimination, and a variety of other labor and employment issues. Ms. Spatafore has completed all the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination-certified “Train-the-Trainer” courses. Ms. Spatafore graduated from Bates College in 2007. She received her Juris Doctor, with Honors, from Boston College Law School in 2012. In law school, Ms. Spatafore interned at the Massachusetts Superior Court. Prior to matriculating with the firm, Ms. Spatafore worked for a presidential campaign as a law clerk and was sent to a targeted swing state to serve as the Election Day Operations Director for the general election.

 

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On August 12, 2022, Governor Charlie Baker signed S. 3096, “An act relative to equity in the cannabis industry,” (“Act”) into law. The Act reforms Massachusetts’s existing marijuana laws, particularly with respect to host community agreements (“HCAs”), community impact fees (“CIFs”), and social consumption sites (e.g. marijuana cafes). The Act empowers the Cannabis Control Commission (“Commission”), the state regulatory agency, to exert greater control over HCAs and their CIFs. Municipalities levy CIFs on cannabis businesses to account for the costs they impose on the municipality as a result of their operations. Additionally, the Act allows municipalities to permit on-premises social consumption of marijuana at designated sites. Other notable provisions of the Act include the new Social Equity Trust Fund (“Trust Fund”), changes to the tax law regarding cannabis businesses, and various provisions concerning those persons and communities most impacted by the prior illegality of marijuana usage and sale. Governor Baker vetoed only one section of the final bill: the provision calling on the state to conduct a study of medical marijuana usage in schools.

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