Massachusetts News & Analysis

  • OSHA issues guidance for employers on COVID-19 prevention programs

    In response to President Joe Biden's directive, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently issued guidance for employers on mitigating and preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. The guidance is intended to encourage you to develop and implement a comprehensive COVID-19 prevention program. It identifies the risks of exposure in workplace settings and highlights the importance of implementing control measures.

  • Addressing political activism when tempers flare in workplace

    The presidential election may be over, but nationwide civil unrest has spilled into 2021, which is already shaping up to be a year filled with contentious political debate. Here are some tips for employers to help tamp down the temperature when employees engage in divisive political talk and action at work.

  • Maine's new no-poaching statute survives federal court challenge

    Describing the measure as an effort to spur economic growth, the Maine Legislature in 2019 enacted a law limiting the use of noncompetes and prohibiting "no-poaching" agreements between employers. A recent federal case challenged the statute's constitutionality, arguing the law hasn't achieved its stated purpose of protecting workers. Although Judge Jon D. Levy of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine dismissed the complaint and found the state's no-poaching law constitutional, the decision contains some important lessons for employers.

  • Top 3 employee mobility, restrictive covenant issues to watch for in 2021

    As the COVID-19 cloud starts to lift (thanks to several vaccines), we expect employers will slowly begin to reopen their offices, employees will travel more, and the job market may revert back to the low unemployment levels predating the coronavirus' onset in early 2020. The ever-changing landscape of restrictive covenants, including noncompetes and nonsolicitation agreemnents, certainly could affect the looming employment-related activity. Here are our early predictions for the top three related hot-button issues to look out for this year.

  • Terminating employee with COVID-19 for exposing coworkers

    Although the COVID-19 pandemic has changed many things about how companies operate, most employers still have formal disciplinary policies establishing ground rules for employee conduct and setting out consequences for failure to meet the expectations. If an employee still required to work in person has been exposed to the coronavirus and gotten tested without notifying her employer (and later is confirmed positive), can she be fired for violating a formal disciplinary policy prohibiting actions that pose a danger to others or jeopardize the business's safe and efficient operations?

  • Biden starts with a bang, shakes up NLRB

    On day one of his administration—and within hours of being sworn in—President Joe Biden made significant changes at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). After Peter Robb, the Board's Trump-appointed general counsel (GC), refused a request to resign, Biden fired him. The following day, the new administration fired deputy GC Alice B. Stock after she, too, refused to resign from the Board. At the same time, the new president named Lauren McFerran, the only Democratic member of the Board, as chair, displacing Republican member John Ring.

  • In quest to reduce bias in hiring, AI may help and hurt

    Finding just the right person to fill a job is tricky. Sometimes, employers struggle with a dearth of suitable candidates. Other times, too many applicants make vetting overwhelming. Of course, artificial intelligence (AI) software helps. Or does it? When sifting through applications, can employers trust AI to be objective? Or does human bias find its way into the AI-driven tools employers are increasingly turning to? Even though AI shows promise, employers need to be on guard for kinks that still need to be worked out.

  • Tackling climate change: What role can HR play?

    Climate change—it's an intimidating topic to try to understand. And when a problem is so massive, employers may be tempted to wait for perfect solutions to materialize before they jump into action. But employees, customers, and others are now demanding more from business. So, what is HR's role? That's a question more employers are starting to address.

  • Q - A: When to record COVID-19 workplace exposures on OSH Act Log

    Q One of our nursing home employees who was exposed to a COVID-19-positive resident just returned to work from a 14-day quarantine after testing negative. Do we have to record it in the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) logs?

  • Cutting-Edge HR

    Survey finds remote work will continue even after vaccine. Ninety percent of HR leaders surveyed in December plan to allow employees to work remotely at least part of the time even after the COVID-19 vaccine is widely adopted, according to research and advisory firm Gartner, Inc. The survey also found that 65% of respondents reported that their organization will continue to offer employees flexibility on when they work. The respondents also predicted that about 50% of the workforce will want to return to the workplace at least part of the time once a vaccine is made widely available. Sixtytwo percent of the HR leaders surveyed said they are planning to continue all safety measures they have put in place once a vaccine is available, and nearly one-third said they would no longer require masks in the workplace or enforce social distancing in high-traffic areas.