Nutter is one of Boston’s and New England’s oldest and most respected firms. We remain a full-service firm, with our only two offices in Massachusetts, and that makes us different than many firms in today’s legal services market. Our full-service model allows our Labor, Employment and Benefits partners to call on other disciplines within the firm when needed – an ever important reality in the rapidly changing and regulated business world that employers operate in today. Our two local office approach (one in Boston and one in Hyannis) ensures that our lawyers work together as an integrated team, and we staff client matters with the right lawyers, with the right experience and skills, and deliver the best in legal services in a most efficient manner. When our clients require local counsel in other states or other countries, our approach provides us the flexibility to retain the best lawyer in that locale for our client’s local counsel needs. The combination of full service firm, with all its lawyers based in Massachusetts and working closely together, allows our Labor, Employment and Benefits team to offer what we believe to be the finest value driven representation available to our clients.
The breadth of services offered by our team is substantial. We assist, counsel and represent clients on virtually every aspect of law that impacts the workplace. An overview of our services follows:
Nutter was one of the first major Boston law firms to establish a traditional labor practice. As a leader in the field, we advise many employers on a wide range of labor-management issues. Our lawyers represent both private and public sector labor clients, including educational institutions, health care providers, transportation companies, retail operations, manufacturers, energy providers, and media operations.
The labor services we provide to clients include:
- Union Avoidance: We advise clients on measures and strategies to avoid unionization, and the development of effective employee communication initiatives.
- Union Organizing Efforts, Neutrality and Card Check Agreements and Union Elections: We advise clients in responding to Union organizing drives and efforts by Unions to obtain neutrality and card check agreements. We represent clients during both private and NLRB elections, and assist clients in developing and implementing appropriate campaign strategies.
- Collective Bargaining: Our lawyers represent clients during collective bargaining negotiations with unionized workforces, and often serve as primary negotiators for clients at the bargaining table.
- Labor Arbitrations: We advise clients in responding to contractual grievances and represent clients in arbitration proceedings.
- Unfair Labor Practice Charges: We counsel clients in responding to allegations of unfair labor practices, and when necessary, represent clients in proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board.
- Strike Contingency Planning: We assist clients in developing strike contingency plans and counsel clients in responding to picketing activities. When necessary, we represent clients in obtaining injunctive relief for unlawful picketing.
- Labor Management Relations: We counsel clients on a day-to-day basis on the myriad of issues that relate to the labor-management relationship, and assist clients in interpreting their legal obligations under the NLRA.
Our lawyers continuously consult with our clients about employment related issues, and proactively seek methods and strategies for clients to reduce legal risk, and to avoid unnecessary and costly litigation. When required, however, we represent our clients on employment related litigation matters, and have a proven track record of success in such litigation. The employment law services we provide include the following:
- Personnel Policies and Practices: We advise our clients on the need for personnel policies and practices that are required by law, and/or advisable to ensure compliance with the law and reduce legal risk. In many cases, we draft policies, applications, guidelines, employee manuals, and other employment related documents for our clients.
- Employment Related Agreements: We advise clients on issues relating to the employment of key personnel, and frequently draft employment and independent contractor agreements, confidentiality, non-solicitation and non-competition agreements, and severance agreements.
- Wage and Hour Compliance: We advise clients on matters relating to federal and state wage and hour laws, draft policies relating to these laws, and represent clients during state and federal wage and hour law audits and investigations.
- Affirmative Action Plans: We counsel clients on affirmative action compliance, and draft affirmative action plans and assist clients with required statistical reporting.
- Occupational Safety and Health: We advise clients with respect to OSHA regulations and standards, assist in the development of employer policies and programs relating to OSHA, and represent clients during investigations by OSHA at employer work premises.
- Mergers, Acquisitions, Restructurings: We counsel employers on the host of employment related issues that arise in the context of mergers, acquisitions and employer restructuring, including compliance with the WARN Act, state plant closing laws and NLRA issues.
- Employment Litigation: In those cases where litigation is required, we represent employers in a wide array of employment related litigation matters. We regularly assist clients in responding to administrative charges at the state and federal level, and regularly represent clients in employment related lawsuits in state and federal courts. We also represent clients in labor related litigation before the NLRB, OSHA related litigation, and in mediations, arbitrations, and other forms of alternative dispute resolution proceedings.
Our ERISA and employee benefits lawyers provide advice and representation to sponsors and fiduciaries of employee benefit plans and executive compensation arrangements. Our lawyers advise plan administrators, plan sponsors, including publicly-traded companies, and other plan fiduciaries on all aspects of plan design and continuing compliance with the applicable requirements of ERISA, the tax code, and where applicable, state insurance laws. Our employee benefits group has earned a particularly strong reputation for their work in tax-advantaged deferred compensation programs, which are critical to attracting top level talent. The benefits services we provide include:
- Counsel Relating to Benefit Plans: We assist clients in maintaining the tax-qualified status of pension, profit-sharing, savings and retirement plans, including 401(k), 403(b), 408 and 457 plans, and provide advice for non-qualified deferred compensation arrangements, including 409A plans.
- Plan Design: We assist clients in designing and administering stock-based compensation programs.
- Fiduciary Obligations: We assist clients in meeting fiduciary rules of conduct and the development of “best practices” for fiduciary decision making.
- Representation Before Agencies: We regularly represent employers in audit and other proceedings before government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service.
- Reporting and Notice Obligations: We assist clients on meeting reporting and disclosure obligations, including those relating to SARs, SPDs and SMMs. We also assist clients in meeting notice requirements under HIPAA and COBRA.
- Litigation: We represent plan administrators, plan sponsors and other plan fiduciaries in litigation relating to the administration of benefit plans.