On February 25, 2015, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security published a final rule allowing H-4 spouses of certain H-1B workers to apply for employment authorization documents (“EADs”). This recent development stems from President Obama’s executive order that he signed on November 21, 2014 to modernize and streamline the U.S. immigrant visa system for the 21st century. In light of this new development, we have assembled the following FAQ to help employers, and their employees, understand the implications of this new regulation.
To learn about the frequently asked questions regarding H-4 EADs, please read our full alert from MBBP’s Immigration Department. Please contact a member of the Immigration team, or your MBBP attorney, with any questions.
In a recent decision, a Massachusetts trial court judge decided that a medical practice could not enforce noncompetition and patient nonsolicitation provisions contained in both an employment agreement and an asset purchase agreement against a physician. This case is the first reported instance where a Massachusetts court has voided such restrictions in an asset purchase agreement.
Employment Attorney Scott Connolly authors “Policies to Guide Employee Conduct and Respond to Misconduct” a chapter in MCLE’s book Drafting Employment Documents in Massachusetts
Scott Connolly, a partner in MBBP’s Employment Law Group, authored the chapter “Policies to Guide Employee Conduct and Respond to Misconduct” in MCLE’s book Drafting Employment Documents in Massachusetts (3rd Edition 2015).
The book is published by MCLE and is an essential resource for Massachusetts employers, employment attorneys, and human resources professionals. Scott’s chapter covers workplace policies that help to guide employee conduct, ensure legal compliance, promote the employer’s cultural values, and respond to misconduct.
Scott has broad experience as both in-house and outside counsel helping employers achieve their business objectives while complying with federal and state employment laws. He guides employers through the full spectrum of issues that arise from the employment relationship, including those issues most likely to lead to litigation such as wage/overtime disputes, employee discipline and performance problems, sexual harassment and other workplace investigations, terminations, and reductions in force.
Scott’s full biography and contact information are available here.
By: Robert M. Shea
The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has just released its statistics for fiscal year 2014 and for the fifth straight year charges alleging unlawful retaliation by employers was the leading type of discrimination alleged. Retaliation claims accounted for 42.8% of the charges filed with the EEOC, up almost two percent from 2013 to the highest percentage ever. Retaliation was followed by race discrimination (35%), gender, including sexual harassment and pregnancy discrimination (29.3%), disability discrimination (28.6%), and age discrimination (23.2%). The EEOC’s enforcement and litigation statistics for FY 1997 through 2014 are found here.
For an explanation of why retaliation claims have become so common, and guidance on steps employers should take to avoid claims, please refer to this March 2013 article.
Please contact the Employment Law team for more information.
By: Robert M. Shea
Several bills that would restrict the use of noncompete agreements were filed in the Massachusetts legislature in January. Two bills (H.730 and H.2157) filed by Rep. Angelo Puppolo and Rep. Sheila Harrington, respectively, use language similar to the California law that bans most employee noncompetes (as well as nonsolicitation agreements) but permits nondisclosure agreements.
Three other bills take a more limited approach. Two bills (H.2332 and S.809) filed by Rep. Lori Erlich and Sen. Will Brownsberger, respectively, are identical to each other and use language similar to that proposed by Governor Patrick last year. These bills are focused on noncompete agreements and do not seek to ban customer (or employee) nonsolicitation agreements or nondisclosure agreements. The bills also would not affect noncompete agreements already in place (that is, the law would not apply retroactively). Another bill (S.334) filed by Sen. Jason Lewis uses almost the same language but would apply retroactively. A sixth bill (H.709) filed by Rep. Garrett Lewis, uses similar language but could be interpreted as barring not just noncompete agreements but all employee restrictive covenant agreements. It would also apply retroactively.
We will keep clients updated on the proposed legislation. In the meantime, please feel free to contact the Employment Law team with any questions.
The H-1B visa is the standard working visa used by foreign nationals to work in the United States with a U.S. employer. The 2016 H-1B cap will open on April 1st. Given improving economic conditions and increased hiring, we anticipate that demand for the limited number of H-1B visas will vastly exceed supply. As a matter of fact, it’s projected that this year’s cap will reach its limit in the first week. As a result we are advising all employers who expect to sponsor an employee for a new H-1B visa to file within the first five (5) days of April (i.e. so the petition is received no later than April 7, 2015).
For information on H-1B visas and when to consider filing a petition read the full alert from MBBP’s Immigration Department. Please contact a member of the Immigration team, or your MBBP attorney, with questions.