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Labor, Employment and Benefits

Overview

We put a seasoned, interdisciplinary team to work for our clients, combining the highest levels of experience and skill to deliver outstanding legal services in the most efficient manner possible. With all its lawyers based in Massachusetts and collaborating on every detail, Nutter’s Labor, Employment and Benefits team is constantly poised to deliver consistent, high-caliber representation to our clients.

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Labor

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.

Employment

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.

Benefits

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.

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Representative Matters

Representative Matters

  • Proposed Acquisition

    Represented senior management team of medical-practice management organization through proposed acquisition by private equity fund

  • CIRCOR International, Inc.

    Acquisition of Critical Flow Solutions
    $210 million

  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of a medical device company

    Obtaining summary judgment in favor of a medical device company and against a former employee who brought claims sounding in disability discrimination, interference with contractual relations, and breach of a stock options agreement.

  • Defense against claims of breaches of non-competition and non-disclosure agreements

    Pursuing and defending against claims of breaches of non-competition and non-disclosure agreements for a diverse group of employers across the country.

  • Represented several employers in the defense of employee discrimination claims

    Representing several employers, including manufacturers, retailers, food service distributors, and medical device manufacturers, in the defense of employee discrimination claims before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.

  • Arbitration

    Defended major ballet orchestra in labor arbitration challenging termination of union musician

  • Affirmative Action Audit

    Assist government contractor prepare affirmative action plan and undergo audit by federal OFCCP

  • Union Negotiation

    Negotiate union contract on behalf of social service agency

  • Represented national office supply retailer against Teamsters organizing effort

    Successfully defeated a Teamsters organizing effort at distribution facilities of a national office supply retailer.

  • Represented international corporation in development and implementation of national labor relations strategies

    Successfully represented an international corporation in developing and implementing national labor relations strategies, including neutrality and private election agreements, and decertification of a union.

  • Represented corporate entities in collective bargaining negotiations

    Successfully represented corporate entities in collective bargaining negotiations with numerous unions, including the SEIU, Steelworkers, UNITE HERE, the UAW, the Teamsters, the Utility Workers, and the Paper Workers Union.

  • Represented major universities in NLRB proceedings

    Successfully represented two major universities in NLRB proceedings and providing counsel in opposition to unionization of campus police officers and unionization of graduate students serving as teaching assistants and research assistants.

  • Served as counsel for major universities in wide range of matters including litigation of discrimination and wrongful termination claims and class action defense by outsourced employees

    Successfully served as counsel for two major universities on a wide range of matters including litigation of discrimination and wrongful termination claims, class action defense of claims by outsourced employees, litigation of claims by students/parents, tenured faculty discharge hearings, hearings to revoke the award of a professional degree, internal faculty/student investigations and grievance hearings, and preventive training on employment law and human resources issues, successfully avoiding any material liability.

  • Represented national corporations devoted to pharmaceutical, surgical and health care services in litigation of discrimination and wrongful termination claims

    Represented a family of national corporations devoted to pharmaceutical, surgical and health care services, handling litigation of discrimination and wrongful termination claims, litigation of non-competition agreements, non-solicitation agreements and trade secrets, and preventive training on disability law, internal corporate investigations, layoffs and reductions in force. Successfully avoided any material liability claims while adhering to budget constraints.

  • Represented employer against former executive in severance payment claim

    Successfully defended an employer against a former executive seeking severance payments in excess of $4 million.

  • Defended multiple FLSA class action lawsuits for unpaid overtime

    Successfully defended multiple FLSA class action lawsuits for unpaid overtime wages on behalf of regional and national clients.

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