Early last year, the Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed a controversial ruling that an employer could terminate an at-will employee for exercising the right to file a rebuttal in their personnel file. Employers should be aware that the Supreme Judicial Court has since reversed that ruling in Terence Meehan v. Medical Information Technology, Inc., protecting the rights of employees to file rebuttals without the threat of termination.
Partner Matthew Kane authored a case comment in the Massachusetts Law Review. The article is entitled Civil Law: SJC Contextualizes Anti-Raiding Provisions Automile Holdings LLC v. McGovern, 483 Mass. 797 (2020). In this article, Matt outlines useful guidance with respect to two areas of uncertainty under Massachusetts Law: 1.) whether and under what circumstances restrictive covenants that prohibit the solicitation of a company’s employees night be permissible and 2.) whether and when a trial judge may extend a restrictive covenant beyond its plain terms as a remedy for breach in the content of the sale of a business. Throughout his comments, Matt outlines the Automile case’s valuable lessons for litigators and transactional attorneys alike.
Marc Laredo and Payal Salsburg are speakers for an upcoming Boston Bar Association Virtual CLE program entitled, “Planning for the Transfer of Ownership and Operating Control of a Privately-Held Business from One Generation to the Next.” The program will focus on planning for the transfer of ownership and operating control of a privately held business from one generation to the next. The panelists will emphasize the importance proactive lawyers who advising clients in the areas of Corporate, Estate Planning, Real Estate, Employment, Tax and Ethics. Marc will discuss corporate law issues, including the fiduciary duty of stockholders in privately held companies. Payal will cover ethical issues related to the complex transitions. This virtual program takes place on Thursday, April 29th from 3-5pm.
A new decision from the Massachusetts Appeals Court has called into question the breadth and scope of an employee’s right to rebut negative information put into her personnel file by an employer.
Under G.L. c. 149, §52C, if an employee disagrees with the employer regarding negative information being added to her employee file, the employee has a statutory right to have her side of the story included in the file by way of a rebuttal. In doing so, the employee is able to protect herself by ensuring that the information contained in her file includes both sides of the dispute. On January 20, 2021, however, the Massachusetts Appeals Court held in Meehan v. Medical Info. Tech., Inc. that an employee may be fired for filing a rebuttal under the statute.
Payal Salsburg presents a Boston Bar Association webinar on Friday, February 19th entitled, “Do’s and Don’ts of Depositions.” Payal and her co-presenter, Scott McConchie, will discuss taking and defending depositions, sharing valuable insight into preparing for depositions, effectively questioning deponents and objecting while defending a deposition. Panelists will provide time for Q&A. The program is sponsored by the New Lawyers Forum and the Business & Commercial Litigation sections of the Boston Bar Association.
Laredo & Smith is thrilled to be named to the 2021 Edition of U.S. News– Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” in the Metropolitan Tier 2 Boston for Commercial Litigation. The annual list recognizes professional excellence with consistently high ratings from clients and peers. The firm is also pleased to have 3 attorneys recognized as Best Lawyers this year: Marc Laredo, Mark Smith and Matt Kane.
From proactive prevention of problems to tenacious representation in court when needed, Laredo & Smith attorneys are known for obtaining excellent results for clients. At Laredo & Smith, our attorneys are proactive problem solvers. We work hard to reduce legal risk and get involved quickly to minimize damage and find legal solutions. And, when negotiations are not reasonable or appropriate, our attorneys are strategic and tenacious in court to obtain the best possible result.
ABOUT “BEST LAW FIRMS”
The U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in the field, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process. To be eligible for a 2021 ranking, a law firm must have at least one lawyer recognized in the 26th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America list for that particular location and specialty.
ABOUT U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT U.S.
News & World Report is the global leader in quality rankings that empower people to make better, more informed decisions about important issues affecting their lives. A digital news and information company focused on Education, Health, Money, Travel, Cars and Civic, USNews.com provides consumer advice, rankings and analysis to serve people making complex decisions throughout all stages of life. More than 40 million people visit USNews.com each month for research and guidance. Founded in 1933, U.S. News is headquartered in Washington, D.C.
ABOUT BEST LAWYERS
Best Lawyers is the oldest and most respected lawyer ranking service in the world. For almost 40 years, Best Lawyers has assisted those in need of legal services to identify the lawyers best qualified to represent them in distant jurisdictions or unfamiliar specialties. Best Lawyers rankings are published in leading local, regional, and national publications across the globe.
As businesses and executives accelerate their transition to a primarily online environment, a greater need has arisen to monitor one’s online reputation. A recent opinion by the Massachusetts Appeals Court warns that one must act quickly when that reputation is wrongfully maligned.
At 1:00 a.m this morning, Senate leader McConnell announced an agreement in the Senate on the principle terms of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or “CARES” Act, S.3548, subject to minor and technical revisions. A vote in the Senate is expected soon. Much of the relief proposed in the bill would be accomplished through amendments to the tax code, so we urge our clients to consult early and often with their tax professionals.
The Senate bill could affect small businesses in a number of ways.
- The bill would expand lending to small business through the SBA and participating lenders. The bill would make “small business interruption loans” available to employers with fewer than 500 employees. Loan payments would be deferred for up to one year, and loan amounts used for “maintaining payroll continuity” March 2020 and June 2020 would be eligible for forgiveness. The amount of loan forgiveness would be reduced pro rata, however, for reductions in workforce.
- The bill would provide payments to individuals, including small business owners, in the nature of refundable tax credits. The bill would provide up to $1200 for individuals ($2400 for couples filing jointly). The credit would be reduced by 5% of adjusted gross income in excess of $75,000 ($150,000 for joint returns), but would not be less than $0. And additional $500 credit would be provided per taxpayer dependent.
- The bill would provide cheaper access to qualified retirement funds. The bill would eliminate the 10% tax penalty on early withdrawals from qualified retirement plans for coronavirus related distributions, up to a maximum withdrawal of $100,000. If withdrawals are repaid within three years, then the early distribution would be treated as a rollover (i.e., a direct transfer to a trustee) for purposes of capital gains taxes.
- The bill could permit certain employers to defer payment of payroll taxes due in 2020 for up to two years.
- The bill places some limitations on the recent coronavirus related amendments to Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, which was passed as part of Congress’s Phase 2 response. If enacted, the bill would cap an employers’ obligation to pay for coronavirus-related sick leave at $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate per employee for that employee’s government or doctor ordered self-quarantine or self-care and at $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate per employee for that employee’s absence to care for others as a result of coronavirus or coronavirus related school closures.
Laredo & Smith’s Matt Kane is closely monitoring any additional changes and will keep you informed of emerging items that could impact you and your business. Please do not hesitate to to reach out to any Laredo & Smith attorney with questions or concerns about your small business. We are here to help.
On Wednesday, March 18th, the Senate passed a slightly revised version of H.B. 6201 and the President signed the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” into law. The relevant revisions narrow the application of the Act’s leave provisions to exclude employees caring for any persons other than immediate family members due to COVID19 related illnesses or closings. The Act goes into effect on April 2, 2020. Thus, it concludes a so-called “Phase 2” of the federal government’s coronavirus response (Phase 1 was a supplemental appropriations bill with direct impact on small businesses).
As things escalate in the United States, Congress is already pivoting to Phase 3: a fiscal stimulus package that could top $1.5 trillion. A draft bill has yet to be published, but we expect it to include up to $250 billion in funding for small business loans, as well funding for direct cash payments to individuals. A draft bill could be published before the end of the week, at which point new details will emerge.
Laredo & Smith’s Matt Kane will closely monitor Phase 3 and keep you informed of emerging items that could impact you and your business. In the interim, please do not hesitate to contact any Laredo & Smith attorney with your questions. We are here to help.
Laredo & Smith offers clients big-firm expertise with the client-centered, cost-effective strategy that only a small firm can offer.
- Employers Cannot Terminate Employees Merely For Filing a Rebuttal in Their Personnel FileFebruary 9, 2022 - 5:08 pm
- Domestic Violence Leave Statute Allows Time Off for Brand New EmployeesOctober 22, 2021 - 9:26 am
- Can Employee Actions Trigger Unexpected Liabilities?June 30, 2021 - 4:08 pm
- Can An Employee Be Fired For Rebutting A Negative Review? Maybe.February 16, 2021 - 2:13 pm
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