Prominent labor and employment lawyer Robert A. Fisher has been named to lead a newly expanded AIM Human Resources and Labor Law Committee as the association prepares to confront a flood of proposed workplace laws and regulations.
Fisher is a partner and deputy Chair of the Labor and Employment Law Department at the law firm of Foley Hoag in Boston. He represents employers in all aspects of labor and employment law, including union disputes, discrimination and harassment claims, wage and hour disputes, benefits issues and contractual claims.
The HR/Labor Law Committee analyzes legislative and regulatory issues impacting employers, and then engages with legislators and provides thought leadership to fellow AIM member companies. Members include human resource professionals, lawyers, business owners and chief executives.
“The AIM committee provides Massachusetts employers with a unique opportunity to involve themselves with issues that impact their day-to-day operations,” said Fisher, who earned his law degree from Cornell University.
“Lawmakers in Boston and Washington spend a significant portion of their time passing laws and regulations governing the relationship between employers and employees. The committee gives employers a voice in those laws.”
The HR/Labor Law Committee is the second policy group to be expanded by AIM as part of an initiative to encourage member participation. William Grant, Chief Financial Officer of Cummings Properties in Woburn, became chair of a reconstituted AIM Health Care Policy Committee in November.
AIM has a track record in the area of employment law of advancing legislation to maintain a uniformly favorable business climate that stimulates job retention and creation. The association often seeks to resist overly proscriptive laws and regulations that interfere with the ability of Massachusetts employers to value their workers and to pay them accordingly.
The HR/Labor Law Committee will have a full plate of issues in 2013. Below is an initial list of issues:
- Supporting legislation to reform the unemployment insurance (UI) system to bring Massachusetts into line with UI practices in a majority of other states (limiting duration to 26 weeks, increasing work and wage requirements and updating rate tables)
- Supporting legislation to fix the state’s mandatory treble damages law to remove the threat of punitive damages for employers who make honest mistakes who are involved in good-faith compensation disputes
- Opposing legislation mandating that all Massachusetts employers provide earned paid and unpaid sick time for full and part-time employees. Among other requirements, all Massachusetts employers would be restricted from using attendance incentive programs and would be required to follow strict guidelines for the administration of paid sick days.
- Supporting legislation to redefine the circumstances under which an individual performing a service shall be considered an independent contractor rather than an employee as required under current Massachusetts law.
- Opposing legislation to weaken and make impossible to enforce Massachusetts non-competition agreements, which would further harm an employer’s ability to protect trade secrets and intellectual property among other confidential information.
- Supporting legislation to provide employers with immunity when disclosing truthful information to prospective employers.
- Supporting legislation to reform the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) administrative rulings to provide timely due process and equity for all parties by requiring guidelines and standardized procedures.
- Opposing other legislation that would create Massachusetts only definitions of comparable work and workplace bullying among others
The HR/Labor Law Committee meets twice annually, but members work between meetings on several ad-hoc task forces addressing particular issues. Employers with an interest in employment-law issues should contact Brad MacDougall, Vice President of Government Affairs, 617.262.1180, email@example.com.