Photo by Pascal Bernardon on Unsplash

Employers: take note that Juneteenth is now an official state holiday in Massachusetts.

The June 19 holiday celebrates the day that news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached the former confederate states. The 1863 proclamation outlawed slavery in the United States, yet news of the law did not reach the South for some time. Union General Gordon Granger read the proclamation from the balcony of the former confederate army outpost in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865, two months after the confederate surrender at Appomattox and nearly two years after the President Abraham Lincoln issued the proclamation. …

With Newly Confirmed Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, Workers Take the Spotlight

“Remarks at AFL-CIO Labor Day Virtual Event — Harrisburg, PA — September 7, 2020” by Biden For President is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Former Boston Mayor Marty Walsh was sworn in on Tuesday as the 29th Secretary of Labor for the United States of America, the last of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet nominees to be confirmed by the Senate.

I wrote about Secretary Walsh’s Senate confirmation hearing in February (note: I am a former Walsh administration appointee and previously negotiated with him for number of years while he led the Boston construction trades unions), and highlighted his track record as a labor union leader and twenty-four years in elected office as a…

Photo by Anelale Nájera on Unsplash

Part II in the new Fenway Law series, “Getting Back to the Workplace” — a guide for businesses emerging from COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Part I covered Mandatory Vaccinations in the Workplace.

Let’s talk about what the post-pandemic workplace might look like for office dwellers.

With recent approval of a third COVID-19 vaccine in the United States, declining infection and mortality rates, and warmer spring and summer days ahead, employers are thinking about making permanent the changes that have upended traditional workplace norms in last year. In a post-pandemic workplace, who comes back to the office?

State level restrictions are easing…

West Roxbury Main Streets Program #Hungry2Help Boosts Sales at 12 Neighborhood Businesses, Raises Over $3,200 for Boston-Area Food Pantries

People next to donations in a food pantry
People next to donations in a food pantry
WRMS Executive Director Jacob Robinson and Board Chair Elizabeth Hoenscheid (Owner, Top It Off Accessories) with Rose’s Bounty Director Darra Slagle following a food donation delivery to the basement of the Stratford Street United Church, West Roxbury (May 20, 2021; credit: WRMS).

In an era of declining sales for small businesses and rising hunger due to the COVID-19 pandemic, West Roxbury Main Streets, business owners, and neighborhood residents came together to launch the Hungry to Help promotion earlier this year.

Hungry to Help was based on a simple idea from Johnny Fortin, the owner of the Rox Diner. Business for main streets retailers and restaurants has been in decline since the onset of the pandemic, with devastating effects for staff, owners, and our neighborhood. …

Workers at a communal table with laptops. Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash.
Workers at a communal table with laptops. Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash.
Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

Fenway Law provides compliance advice for growing tech startups. Most employment and benefits laws apply once a company meets a minimum headcount.

In this advisory, founder Michael Loconto provides a general guide for growing Massachusetts startups and small businesses.

So you founded a tech startup — seizing on a world-changing idea that has consumed every waking minute of your existence over the last few years. You may have been joined by a few partners, and maybe even hired a few independent contractors or direct employees. …

Professor Questioned College’s LGBTQ+ Policies in Promotion Denial; SJC Applies Two Recent Supreme Court Decisions on Ministerial Exception

“Frost Hall, Gordon College” by d4vidbruce is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Last month, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court declined to apply the ministerial exception and shield a religious college from liability in a faculty member’s discrimination claim.

In DeWeese-Boyd v. Gordon Coll., No. 12988 (Mass. Sup. Jud. Ct. Mar. 5, 2021), the court heard argument on “the ministerial exception, which prohibits government interference with employment relationships between religious institutions and their ministerial employees.” See DeWeese-Boyd, at 5–6 citing Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church & Sch. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Comm’n, 565 U.S. 171, 188–189 (2012).

Retaliation Claim Followed Promotion Denial

Professor Margaret DeWeese-Boyd is a tenured associate professor of social work at…

If your family is like ours, you have spent much of the last year getting to know the paths and trails close to home. After a long day of remote work and learning, we try to get out most afternoons (and away from screens) for an hour or two of fresh air. On weekends, we also try to roam a bit further afield.

If you need a starter list, or some new suggestions to add to your routine, here are some of my favorite walks and hikes in and around the Parkway. These walks are geared toward families, but are…

Photo by Ajay Parthasarathy on Unsplash

In a crisp hearing that lasted a little over two hours earlier today, a key Senate panel gave high marks for Boston Mayor Marty Walsh as the Biden administration’s nominee for Labor Secretary.

The Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, led by Ranking Member Sen. …

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Early last month, the United States Supreme Court announced its intention to hear a case involving the intersection of student speech and social media use outside of the schoolhouse.

The Court has left First Amendment matters of student speech largely untouched over the last five decades — the Court’s landmark 1969 decision in Tinker v. Des Moines set the standard for evaluating whether schools can take action against students for speech.

In Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L., the Court will address the issue head on. The case involves a 2017 incident where a female student enrolled as a high…

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

This is Part I in the new series, “Getting Back to the Workplace” — a guide for businesses emerging from COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Let’s talk about vaccines and work.

Check back soon for Part II in the series, Work From Home Policies After the Pandemic.

With the post-holiday surge in COVID-19 infections on the decline and state-level vaccine operations sputtering to life, many employers are now planning ahead for the return of workers across industries. But how do businesses welcome back staff in a manner that is safe, efficient and fair?

Most of us are eager to get back to…

Michael Loconto

Boston, MA attorney and consultant specializing in labor and employment law, dispute resolution and government relations.

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