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Compliance Counseling

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Affirmative Action

Morgan Brown & Joy assists in all areas related to affirmative action plans and hiring goals. The firm regularly reviews affirmative action plans and compliance audits by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. In addition, the firm can help employers voluntarily create hiring and recruiting goals that help employers fulfill affirmative action objectives, while complying with Federal and State anti-discrimination laws.

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COBRA

Morgan Brown & Joy advises its clients on compliance with Federal and State laws mandating continuation of health benefits for current or former employees (including "COBRA" and similar State laws). We review and update notices to plan participants and qualified beneficiaries, as well as advise employers when former employees elect to continue in employer-sponsored health plans. We have also successfully represented clients in litigation that arising from denial or cancellation of COBRA benefits.

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Discipline counseling

Employee discipline presents an array of challenges for managers and human resource professionals. To further complicate matters, there is a complex web of State and Federal laws that are potentially implicated any time an employee is subjected to discipline. In order to defend against charges and lawsuits that may be brought by employees subjected to discipline, employers must use lawful and up-to-date practices that are communicated effectively and applied consistently. Morgan, Brown & Joy frequently assists clients in developing effective and lawful strategies for conducting employee discipline.

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Disability Management

The Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act and related State laws impose multi-faceted obligations on employers with employees who are unable to work due to injuries or illnesses. Morgan, Brown & Joy has extensive experience in helping employers draft and successfully implement policies concerning leaves of absence, medical certifications, and reasonable workplace accommodations. Morgan, Brown & Joy frequently assists clients in training managers regarding their obligations in this area, and to ensure that the managers make defensible decisions when presented with an employee who is unable to work. We have the expertise and the ability to create flexible solutions that ensure full compliance with legal requirements while also meeting the employer's business objectives.

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Employment Law/Human Resources Counseling

Morgan, Brown & Joy enjoys an unparalleled reputation for its expertise in helping clients reduce their exposure to employment litigation through counseling executives and managers to make decisions that are both lawful and defensible, while also meeting the company's legitimate business objectives. We partner with our clients to provide sound and practical advice regarding the potential legal impact of critical employment decisions including hiring, promotion, discipline, termination and benefits entitlement.

The firm's attorneys also have broad experience evaluating all forms of employment policies and procedures, handbooks, applications, job evaluation forms, offer letters, employment contracts and other documents that affect the employment relationship. Morgan, Brown, and Joy has long emphasized the development of effective personnel management strategies that help our clients avoid workplace disputes and costly litigation.

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Handbook/Policies

Handbooks and employment policies are important tools for communicating benefits, rights and responsibilities with workers. These policies can also be determined to be enforceable rights and obligations for employers and have significant consequences to the running of your business. Because these policies are often the subject of employment disputes and litigation, Morgan, Brown & Joy provides comprehensive counseling and advice to employers seeking to develop and modify their handbooks and polices. We draft, modify and revise handbooks and policies with an eye toward ensuring that employers can best utilize these important documents in providing clear and comprehensive communication with employees, without unduly burdening employers with unexpected legal obligations. We also routinely keep our clients apprised of legal developments that impact existing company policies.

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Employment Practices Audits

Employers often need to struggle with the significant and expanding legal obligations and responsibilities they have toward their employees, and at Morgan, Brown & Joy we appreciate that navigating these waters is never easy. In order to assist employers to determine that they are complying with current legal responsibilities and the best practices in their employee relations, Morgan, Brown & Joy conducts employment practice audits to review all aspects of an employer's human resources and employee relations practices. We review all written policies and provide confidential and comprehensive consultation to provide employers with the peace of mind that their interactions with employees comply with current Federal and State obligations.

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Executive Compensation and Incentive Arrangements

Vital to the success of any business organization is the attraction, retention and proper compensation of executive-level employees. Morgan, Brown & Joy works with employers to assure that its goals in this regard are met. The firm's assistance in this regard includes negotiations with the executive and the drafting of such key documents as offer letters, employment agreements, and compensation arrangements.

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Drug Testing and Substance Abuse Management

The employment problems associated with employee drug and alcohol abuse are well-documented. Increased absenteeism, lost productivity and more frequent injuries are but a few of the problems that can occur in a workplace where drugs or alcohol are present. Morgan, Brown & Joy has long worked with employers to develop strategies to combat employee substance abuse. This includes developing drug testing programs, training supervisors in the detection of employee drug and alcohol use, and defending legal claims brought by employees who are disciplined or terminated as a result of drug or alcohol use/abuse. Morgan, Brown & Joy is also well-versed in the complex manner in which State and Federal disability laws impact an employer's substance abuse management efforts. We will work with you to develop a program which is consistent with all applicable laws, and also meets the particular needs of your organization.

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Hiring/Pre-employment Screening Counseling

Pre-employment screening and hiring issues can be a minefield of regulations and "traps for the unwary." Morgan, Brown & Joy lawyers can help you develop and execute your hiring and pre-employment screening plan by giving you a roadmap in this complex area and help you determine how to maximize your hiring goals within the parameters of the law.

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Investigations

Morgan, Brown & Joy counsels and assists employers with regard to their need to investigate a wide variety of matters. If an employee complains of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, violations of leave laws, or violations of other workplace protections, Morgan, Brown & Joy helps employers perform complete and effective investigations to uncover potential policy violations and/or legal wrongdoing and assess legal exposure. Morgan, Brown & Joy also works with clients to formulate legally defensible remedies when investigations reveal a possible legal violation has occurred.

The types of investigations and audits that Morgan, Brown & Joy routinely handle include:

  • Background Investigations
  • Employee Complaints of Discrimination, Harassment or Retaliation
  • Employee Fraud
  • Government investigations and audits, including wage and hour investigations conducted by the Department of Labor and the MA Attorney General's Office
  • Whistleblower Complaints

Morgan, Brown & Joy proactively works with clients to help them train their managers to identify situations which may require an investigation, and how to conduct effective investigations.

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Leased/Contingent Workforce Matters

For decades, the model for the American workplace was simple; the employer's labor needs were met through the use of the employer's employees. This long-established model no longer holds true in many workplaces. Labor may now be provided by direct employees, independent contractors, or employees of temporary or leased employers. These arrangements, although popular, do raise a number of complex legal issues. Proper classification of workers and recognition of rights and obligations as to the so-called "contingent workforce" is essential. Morgan, Brown & Joy works with employers to assure that their staffing arrangements are in compliance with the law and sound business and risk management practices.

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OSHA

Morgan, Brown & Joy frequently helps clients navigate numerous Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations. From review of workplace safety programs to defense against OSHA penalties and enforcement actions, Morgan, Brown & Joy provides counseling and, when necessary, vigorous legal advocacy.

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Reductions In Force

Unfortunately reductions-in-force are a common part of business today. For decades, Morgan, Brown & Joy has provided counseling in planning reductions-in-force to reduce the risk of litigation, so employers can instead focus on moving their businesses forward.

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Technology and Employee Rights

Over the past decade, almost every employee now uses some form of electronic technology, including use of computers, email, the internet and a growing variety of wireless devices. The use of this technology has given rise to vexing problems for employers, especially surrounding the areas of workplace monitoring, employee expectations of privacy in their use of employer-provided technology and equipment, and protection of trade secrets and other proprietary information. Morgan, Brown & Joy provides comprehensive counseling and advice to employers in developing policies and practices that protect an employer's legitimate concern that workplace technology and equipment are used for job-related purposes. The firm's attorneys also counsel employers in addressing circumstances where technology has potentially been misused by an employee.

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Termination Counseling

Morgan, Brown & Joy has extensive experience counseling employers in the myriad issues that arise during the termination process. From considerations of discrimination, to disability and leave issues (including FMLA and ADA compliance), to wage and hour concerns, we counsel and review with employers the great number of concerns that you face when making the difficult decisions to discipline and terminate an employee. Whether it is providing up-to-date information concerning regulations or emphasizing the best human resources practice approach to a problem employee, Morgan, Brown & Joy frequently assists employers in managing through the termination process.

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Testing of Employees

There are circumstances in which an employer may wish to subject applicants for employment, or employees, to a variety of tests. In addition to drug and alcohol testing, these may include skills tests for applicants, honesty tests for applicants or employees, and various types of medical testing. Employee/applicant testing is governed by a variety of Federal and State laws. Morgan, Brown & Joy assists employers in designing and implementing tests which comply with the applicable legal requirements.

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Wage and Hour Law

Morgan Brown & Joy provides regular and comprehensive counseling and legal representation to employers concerning wage and hours issues. Our attorneys address matters such as overtime, designation of exemptions, hours worked, payment of wages and vacation pay under both State and Federal laws. Morgan, Brown & Joy provides internal reviews for employers of their wage and hour practices and represents employers in actions brought before administrative agencies (such as the U.S. Department of Labor and similar State enforcement agencies). The firm represents employers in both individual and class-action litigation brought by private individuals and government agencies.

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Workplace Safety Compliance, including Violence Prevention

Morgan, Brown & Joy lawyers have drafted and implemented numerous workplace safety-workplace violence policies, and have helped numerous clients identify and deal with high-risk situations. Morgan, Brown & Joy has extensive experience and judgment to deal with workplace violence issues quickly and effectively.

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