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Robert Sheridan is an Associate in the firm’s Boston office. He focuses his practice on litigation and counseling on federal and state labor and employment issues. He counsels clients on issues related to discrimination and harassment, wage and hour, employee classification, wrongful termination, and the enforcement of noncompetition and nondisclosure agreements. He has represented clients involved in employment litigation before federal and state courts and administrative agencies, including state fair employment and human rights agencies.

New job to-do list: (1) send goodbye email; (2) attend goodbye party; (3) update LinkedIn account; and (4) then use said LinkedIn account to send old colleagues new contact information. This sounds like a pretty standard modus operandi for the modern job-hopper, right?  In fact, this last act, that LinkedIn contact, provided the nub of a recent non-solicit case out of Illinois state court.

In Bankers Life v. American Senior Benefits, an appellate court found that an ex-employee’s invitation to connect with old colleagues via LinkedIn did not violate his non-solicitation agreement with his former employer.  The Bankers Life opinion, though not designated for publication by the Illinois appellate court, provides insight into the line between the permissible and the prohibited in the context of solicitation via social media.

Continue Reading Bankers Life and Casualty: Illinois Appellate Court finds Connecting to Old Colleagues via LinkedIn Does not Constitute Unlawful Solicitation

A few months ago, a three-member Third Circuit appellate panel in Acclaim Systems, Inc. v. Infosys, upheld a district court decision, which dismissed tortious interference claims against an employer for engaging with four individuals subject to non-compete agreements, because the employer had no knowledge of the non-competes at issue when it on-boarded them. While the Third Circuit designated this opinion as persuasive and therefore not binding precedent, the decision applies a commonsense approach to a legal claim very familiar to employment law practitioners—tortious interference with contractual relations.

Continue Reading See No Evil, Hear No Evil: Third Circuit finds Employer Not Liable for Tortious Interference Claim Where Employer had No Knowledge of New Hires’ Non-Competes

This past week, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an important decision addressing two on-the-bubble workplace confidentiality policies – one which made the cut, while the other one made its way over to the legal equivalent of the NIT.  The decision explored the boundaries of workplace directives related to the discussion of salary and employee discipline information and non-disclosure in investigations.

Continue Reading March Vastness: Blanket Policies on Employee Salary and Discipline Disclosures Unlawful Says D.C. Circuit Court

Today we continue with our Year in Review segment, which looks at the key labor & employment law developments from 2016 in New York, the DC Metro Area, Massachusetts, and California, while offering our thoughts on 2017. Last week we covered New York and the DC Metro Area.  Now we turn to Massachusetts.  In addition, please join us in NYC on April 6, 2017 for Mintz Levin’s Third Annual Employment Law Summit as we address some of the key labor & employment issues impacting employers in 2017.  Register here.

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2016 Massachusetts Employment Law Year in Review

From case law interpreting one of, if not, the most employee-friendly independent contractor statute in the country to Beacon Hill’s efforts to pass non-competition agreement reform, Massachusetts is certainly no stranger to key developments in the labor and employment arena. This blog post highlights the 2016 case law and legislative efforts about which every Massachusetts employer should be aware, and provides insight over what to watch for as we move our way along through 2017 and beyond.

Continue Reading 2016 Massachusetts Employment Law Year In Review

The EEOC recently published guidance for mental health providers describing their role in an employee or applicant’s request for a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). While the guidance is primarily aimed at providing information to mental health providers, it also presents the EEOC’s pronouncements on some fundamental precepts on the ADA and the reasonable accommodation process, which should interest employers and practitioners alike.

Continue Reading EEOC Releases Guidance Concerning the Mental Health Provider’s Role in ADA Reasonable Accommodation Requests

The Second Circuit recently adopted the “Cat’s Paw” theory of liability in Title VII cases.  This was hardly a surprise as other Circuit Courts had done the same after the United States Supreme Court endorsed Cat’s Paw in a USERRA case.  But the Second Circuit went even further, allowing for the use of the Cat’s Paw argument in Title VII retaliation cases and in cases where a non-supervisory employee’s discriminatory actions lead the employer to take an adverse employment action against that employee’s co-worker.  Until now, Cat’s Paw had mostly focused on employer liability based on the actions of misbehaving supervisors in hostile work environment cases.  The decision puts additional pressure on employers to identify and eliminate discriminatory behavior in their workplaces. This post will briefly examine the Cat’s Paw doctrine and explain how the Second Circuit’s expanded its use in Vasquez v. Empress Ambulance Service, Inc., No. 15-3239 (2d Cir. Aug. 29, 2016).

Continue Reading Negligent Employers May Be Held Liable For a Non-Supervisory Employee’s Discriminatory Actions Under “Cat’s Paw” Theory Says Second Circuit

Does this sound familiar: employee disregards a non-compete and joins a competitor; former company calls foul and initiates a lawsuit; parties fight it out, but by the time litigation has run its course, the non-compete period in the underlying contract has expired.  The dispute is moot, right?  Not necessarily according to the Ninth Circuit in Ocean Beauty Seafoods v. Pacific Seafood Acquisition Company.  There, the Court applied the doctrine of equitable extension to tack on a non-compete period to an agreement after the original period had run.

Continue Reading Pescetarian’s Delight: Ninth Circuit Extends Non-Compete Term Beyond Contractual Period

The Western District of Washington recently emphasized that the obligation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) to engage in good faith interactive dialogue when seeking an accommodation that will permit an employee with a disability to perform his or her job applies to employees as well as employers. In Huge v Boeing Co. (W.D. Wash. March 4, 2016), following a bench trial the court found the employee had failed to present evidence that her employer, Boeing Co., did not take reasonable measures to accommodate her Asperger’s Syndrome where the record showed the employee repeatedly engaged in obstructive and uncooperative behavior in response to Boeing’s proposed accommodations.   Continue Reading Employee’s Failure to Participate in Interactive Process in Good Faith is Fatal to ADA Accommodation Claim, Says Washington Federal Court

Last week, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court issued a seminal ruling in Bulwer v. Mt. Auburn, which clarified the type of evidence an employment discrimination plaintiff needs to defeat a summary judgment motion.  In doing so, the SJC lightened plaintiffs’ burden of proof concerning pre-textual terminations and may have changed the rules of the game for Massachusetts employers and employees alike.

Continue Reading Massachusetts SJC Lightens Plaintiffs’ Summary Judgment Burden in Employment Discrimination Cases