Robert A. Fisher

Robert A. Fisher

Foley Hoag LLP

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Massachusetts Voters Approve Earned Sick Time Law

Yesterday, Massachusetts voters approved a ballot initiative that will mandate sick time for employees. Under the new law, which will take effect on July 1, 2015, employers must allow employees to accrue and use up to 40...more

11/6/2014 - Employee Rights Paid Leave Sick Leave

Massachusetts Enacts Domestic Violence Leave for Employees

On August 8, 2014, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law a bill relating to domestic violence. Among other provisions, the law creates a new category of job-protected leave for employees. Massachusetts employers with 50 or...more

8/13/2014 - Corporate Counsel Crime Victims Domestic Violence Employee Rights Unpaid Leave

U. S. Supreme Court Clarifies Fiduciaries’ Duty of Prudence Under ERISA In Connection with Employee Stock Ownership Plans

On June 24, 2014, a unanimous Supreme Court held in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer that fiduciaries to an employee stock ownership plan (“ESOP”) were not entitled to a presumption under the Employee Retirement Income...more

6/30/2014 - ERISA ESOP Fiduciary Duty FIfth Third Bancorp v Dudenhoeffer Fifth Third Mortgage Company SCOTUS Stock Drop Litigation US Bancorp

Supreme Court Rules Recess Appointments of NLRB Members Unconstitutional

On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court held in National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning that President Obama’s use of recess appointments to fill three vacancies on the National Labor Relations Board in January 2012...more

6/30/2014 - Barack Obama Canning v NLRB NLRB Recess Appointments SCOTUS

Massachusetts Increases the Minimum Wage and Reforms Unemployment Insurance

On Thursday, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law an increase in the state minimum wage to $11 per hour by 2017, the highest state minimum wage in the country. Specifically, Massachusetts’ current $8.00 per hour minimum...more

6/30/2014 - Employer Liability Issues Minimum Wage Unemployment Reform Wage and Hour Wages

U.S. Department of Labor Proposes to Change Rule Regarding Who Is a Same-Sex Spouse under the FMLA

On Friday, June 20, 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced its intention to change the regulatory definition of who is a “spouse” for purposes of the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). The impetus for the...more

6/27/2014 - DOL DOMA Employer Liability Issues FMLA OMB Same-Sex Marriage SCOTUS US v Windsor

Employer Can Be Liable for Negligently Terminating an Employee Based on Co-Worker’s Discriminatory Conduct

On May 23, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held in Velazquez-Perez v. Developers Diversified Realty Corp. that an employer may be liable under Title VII for negligently terminating an employee. Although...more

6/4/2014 - Discrimination Employer Liability Issues Hiring & Firing Negligence Termination Title VII

First Circuit Holds that Variable “Per Diem” Payments May be Part of an Employee’s Regular Rate of Pay for Calculating Overtime

On April 18, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held in Newman v. Advanced Technology Innovation Corp., that a per diem payment that is based on the number of hours worked by an employee must be considered...more

4/30/2014 - Employment Policies FLSA Per Diem Wage and Hour

Supreme Court Finds that Severance Pay is Wages for Purposes of Payroll Taxes

On March 25, 2014, the Supreme Court held in United States v. Quality Stores, Inc. that severance payments are taxable wages for FICA purposes. This decision confirms employers’ responsibility to treat severance pay as...more

3/27/2014 - FICA Taxes Payroll Taxes Quality Stores SCOTUS Severance Pay

Employer Shared Responsibility Under the Affordable Care Act

Introduction - A key component of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), the federal health care reform law, is the “employer shared responsibility.” Essentially, it is a “pay or play” program...more

2/14/2014 - Affordable Care Act Delays Employee Benefits Employer Mandates Healthcare Pay or Play Shared Responsibility Rule

Recent Decision on Temporary Disability Under the ADA Should Give Employers Pause

On January 23, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (based in Virginia) held in Summers v. Altarum Inst., Corp. that a temporary injury, if sufficiently severe, may qualify as a “disability” under the...more

2/4/2014 - ADA ADAAA Disability Disability Leave Temporary Disability Insurance

Supreme Court Decision Clarifies Approach to Donning-and-Doffing Cases Under the FLSA

On January 27, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Sandifer v. United States Steel Corp. that the Fair Labor Standards Act did not require an employer to pay workers for time spent donning and doffing protective gear. The...more

2/3/2014 - Collective Bargaining FLSA Sandifer v U.S. Steel Corp SCOTUS Unions Wage and Hour Workplace Attire

Important Changes Relating to Section 125 Plans May Require Immediate Action

Last week, there were two important developments relating to Section 125 cafeteria plans. First, Massachusetts announced that employers will no longer be required to maintain a Section 125 plan. Second, the IRS has modified...more

11/7/2013 - Affordable Care Act Cafeteria Plans Flexible Spending Accounts Healthcare IRS Premiums Use or Lose Rule

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Holds That Chapter 151B Prohibits Associational Discrimination

On July 19, 2013, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) held in Flagg v. AliMed, Inc. that a non-disabled employee can sue his employer for disability discrimination under Chapter 151B, the state anti-discrimination...more

7/23/2013 - Anti-Discrimination Policies Associational Retaliation Disability Disability Discrimination Employer Liability Issues

Obama Administration Delays Implementation of Key Employer Requirements Under the ACA

On July 2, 2013, the U.S. Department of Treasury announced that employers and insurers will have an additional year to comply with mandatory reporting requirements under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”)....more

7/9/2013 - Affordable Care Act Deadlines Delays Employer Mandates Healthcare Pay or Play Shared Responsibility Rule U.S. Treasury

Supreme Court Finds DOMA to Be Unconstitutional -- Impact on Employers Explained

On June 26, 2013, a majority of the Supreme Court held in United States v. Windsor that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defined marriage for purposes of federal law as the union of a man and a woman, is...more

7/5/2013 - 401k COBRA DOMA Employee Benefits Employer Group Health Plans ERISA Estate Tax FMLA Healthcare HIPAA Income Taxes Medical Leave QDRO Retirement Plan Same-Sex Marriage SCOTUS Self-Insured Health Plans Tax Exemptions US v Windsor

Out-of-State Workers May Sue under Massachusetts Wage Act

Late last month, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held in Taylor v. Eastern Connection Operating, Inc. that out-of-state plaintiffs may bring suit under the Massachusetts independent contractor statute where the...more

6/21/2013 - Independent Contractors Minimum Contacts Residency Status Wage Act Wages

Recent Decision by Massachusetts’ Highest Court Removes Barriers to Wage Claims

This week, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) issued a decision that makes it easier to bring lawsuits under the Massachusetts Wage Act. In Depianti v. Jan-Pro Franchising International, Inc., the SJC held that a...more

6/19/2013 - Employment Contract Independent Contractors Misclassification Wage Act Wages

Massachusetts Appeals Court Takes Expansive View of Retaliation Under the Wage Act

In Fraelick v. PerkettPR, Inc., the Massachusetts Appeals Court recently held that an employee had a claim for retaliation under the Massachusetts Wage Act, despite that her underlying complaint was not about wages. In that...more

6/13/2013 - Anti-Retaliation Provisions Retaliation Wage Act Wages

U.S. Department of Labor Postpones Affordable Care Act’s Employer Health Insurance Notice Requirement

On January 25, 2013, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) announced that it would postpone the implementation of a provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that will require employers to inform employees about health...more

1/30/2013 - Affordable Care Act DOL Employer Group Health Plans Health Insurance Health Insurance Exchanges Notice Requirements

EEOC’s New Strategic Enforcement Plan Highlights Emphasis on Systemic Discrimination Cases

Recently, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) adopted a new Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) setting forth its priorities and methods of enforcement for the next 4 years. ...more

1/17/2013 - Compensation & Benefits Discrimination EEOC Hiring & Firing Recruitment Policies Retaliation Strategic Enforcement Plan

FICA Tax “Holiday” Ends With 2012, and Social Security and Medicare Contributions Increase For Some Employees

On January 1, 2013, Congress approved the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, the bill designed to avert the so-called “fiscal cliff.” The Act, which President Obama signed into law yesterday, extended certain tax relief...more

1/3/2013 - Affordable Care Act American Taxpayer Relief Act FICA Taxes Fiscal Cliff Medicare Taxes Payroll Taxes Social Security

What Every Employer Should Know About the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

After months of uncertainty, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the federal healthcare reform law known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA). What does this landmark law mean for employers now and in the near and distant future?...more

11/13/2012 - Affordable Care Act Breastfeeding Employer Mandates Essential Health Benefits Health Insurance Exchanges Healthcare SBC SCOTUS Tax Credits W-2

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