Thursday, Jun. 13, 2013
Top: 34th Annual Labor & Employment Spring Conference Keynote Speaker Jonathan B. Kreisberg, regional director for Region 1 of the NLRB, and MBA Labor & Employment Section Council Past Chair Rosemary Pye.
Middle: MBA Labor & Employment Section Council Chair Sheryl D. Eisenberg; 34th Annual Labor & Employment Spring Conference Co-Chair Meghan H. Slack, Esq. and 34th Annual Labor & Employment Spring Conference Co-Chair Angela L. Rapko, Esq.
Bottom: Panelists update attendees on recent developments in labor and employment law.
Photos by John Pregmon.
Annual Labor & Employment Law Spring Conference focuses on case updates, workplace violence and whistleblower protections
The Massachusetts Bar Association held the 34th
Annual Labor & Employment Spring Conference June 5 at Suffolk
University Law School in Boston.
The day kicked-off with the annual employment and labor case
updates. An expert panel of labor lawyers gave attendees an
in-depth overview of the year's major decisions including the "Noel
Canning" decision where the Supreme Court ruled that appointments
made by President Obama to the National Labor Relations Board in
January 2012 were not valid because the Senate was in recess at the
time of the appointments. As a result, the board lacked the
required quorum needed to conduct its business. Employers in over
70 appeals nationally argue that the board has lacked a quorum to
hear and issue decisions since January 4, 2012.
The employment panel followed and discussed several decisions
that have been issued in recent months. The panel discussed cases
in the disability area that showed a shift in judicial attitudes
towards disability insurance and qualifications in
Jonathan B. Kreisberg, regional director for Region 1 of the
NLRB delivered this year's keynote address. Serving areas in
Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut and Rhode
Island, Kreisberg proclaimed the Region 1 office was now the
largest in the country. Kriesberg proceeded to highlight the major
board decisions over the last year, discussed budgetary concerns,
and gave attendees helpful information on e-filing, saying
"e-filing is the future."
Mary E. Hoye, area director for the U.S. Department of Labor-OSHA,
in the Springfield-area office, provided attendees with a powerful
presentation on workplace violence. Hoye revealed the discordant
gender differences surrounding work-related fatal injuries and
assailant types. She then explained the four types of workplace
violence, offering examples for each type, and the risk factors
associated with identifiable occupations.
The day concluded with a lively discussion of whistleblower
protection laws. Supervisory Investigator for the U.S. Department
of Labor-OSHA Michael Mabee, gave an overview of the Whistleblower
Protection Program including the recent changes to 806 Sarbanes
Oxley Whistleblower Protections and the Consumer Financial Act
(Dodd-Frank). Federal OSHA now enforces 22 Whistleblower
Michael K. Fee of Ropes & Gray LLP and Boston attorney Jeffrey
Newman followed Mabee's overview by offering two unique
perspectives of Whistleblower cases. Newman ran over the evolving
issues of law concerning false claims act cases, while Fee
questioned whether the "whistle-blowing culture" is one to be
fostered and offered defenses to claims brought under federal law
as well as employment cases.
The conference was followed by a reception where attendees
continued the discussion of the day's agenda as they enjoyed
complimentary hors d'oeuvres and cocktails.