Posts Tagged ‘employment law’

Employment Law Clip: Pitfalls of Using Independent Contractors

March 3, 2014 Leave a comment

Many businesses use “independent contractors” to augment their regular workforce. They see advantages to using trained, non-employee workers with specialized skills who can provide needed services on a short-term or long-term basis.

However, the ability of businesses to classify workers as independent contractors is not unchecked. Businesses cannot avoid employer obligations simply by designating certain workers as independent contractors.

Please feel free to contact any member of MBBP’s Employment Law Group with questions on independent contractors.

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Recent Cases Expand Antidiscrimination Laws

December 10, 2013 Leave a comment

Three recent Massachusetts cases expand employee rights under the antidiscrimination laws. Each case impacts a diverse aspect of the state’s antidiscrimination law, including the issue of attorney-client privilege applying to an internal investigation, claims of associational discrimination, and remedies for civil harassment.

For more information, please read our December Employment Law Advisor.

Scott Connolly Presents on Defending Discrimination Claims

September 30, 2013 Leave a comment

Employment Attorney Scott ConnollyOn September 26, 2013, MBBP employment attorney Scott Connolly spoke on a panel at Boston College Law School on the subject of defending discrimination and retaliation claims before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD). Scott, who has been defending employers against such claims for more than 12 years, presented to a panel of third-year law students on case evaluation, witness interviews, procedure, development of defenses, and preparation of employer Position Statements.

Employers with questions about responding to charges of discrimination or retaliation at the MCAD or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission should feel free to contact Scott about this area of practice.

Internships Raise Wage and Hour Risks for Employers

April 16, 2013 Leave a comment

Student internships are increasingly popular. While internships generally benefit employers and interns alike, there is uncertainty regarding whether internships may be paid or unpaid. The answer to this question depends on whether the internship falls under the “learner/trainee” exemption to the payment of minimum wages and overtime rules under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). If the internship falls under the exemption, then it may be unpaid. If it does not, the employer must pay the intern in accordance with federal and state minimum wage laws. A failure to do so could result in significant liability to the employer.

The U.S. Department of Labor (the “DOL”) has set forth a set of six factors to use in determining whether an unpaid internship at a private-sector, for-profit business comes within the “learner/trainee” exemption, and thus whether the intern must be paid. The internship must meet each of the six factors in order to come within the exemption. The DOL has stated that the most important factor is whether the internship is primarily for the intern’s benefit rather than for the employer’s benefit. Under the DOL’s analysis, an internship is much more likely to be considered exempt if the intern does things that increase his or her skill set, as opposed to clerical tasks. Note that this test applies to for-profit businesses only; non-profits may generally maintain unpaid internships.

The DOL’s six factors are:

  1. The training is similar to what would be provided in a vocational school or educational institution.
  2. The training is for the benefit of the intern.
  3. The intern does not displace any regular employees, but works under their close observation.
  4. The employer derives no immediate advantage from the intern (and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded).
  5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship.
  6. Both the employer and the intern understand that the internship is unpaid.

Interns who do not meet this test are not permitted to work without pay—no matter how much of an intangible benefit the intern might receive.  Employers whose internships do meet the DOL test should consider creating a document evidencing that the internship meets the DOL’s criteria.

For more information on this topic, please contact a member of the Employment Practice Group.