Employment Law: Clients
Engel & Schultz has represented companies as well as individuals in employment disputes before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, in state court and in federal court. The law firm defended Harvard University in a case alleging sex and age discrimination following layoffs at the Harvard Medical School. The Massachusetts law firm defended ConAgra, a Fortune 500 Company, in a case alleging wrongful termination and an implied contract. The law firm’s employment lawyers represented a Senior Vice President of a Fortune 25 company who lost the opportunity to become CEO of another Fortune 25 Company after having been falsely promised that he was the only internal candidate to become CEO of the Company for which he worked; the firm successfully settled the matter prior to the commencement of litigation. In addition, the law firm has represented countless senior executives, sales people and support staff in cases involving wrongful terminations, severance agreements, claims for unpaid commissions, discrimination and non-compete agreements.
Virtually each and every week brings numerous calls into the office from persons seeking assistance negotiating severance agreements and seeking to determine whether they might have a viable wrongful termination case. Typically, after several hours of work, the lawyers at Engel & Schultz are able to advise such persons regarding what, if anything, can be done, to help them maximize their potential benefits from their situation.
Maternity, Pregnancy Discrimination
The law firm is seeing more and more claims of discrimination against employees based on the fact of pregnancy and maternity leave. The law firm evaluates such claims to determine whether potential FMLA, disability or discrimination claims might exist. In the past several years, the law firm has handled cases where an employer failed to return a woman to work following her maternity leave, reclassified a pregnant women into a lower paying position, sought to retaliate against a woman for no more reason than her need to take extended leaves to deal with her high risk pregnancy, and terminated a woman after having decided that the reorganized department established after she took her pregnancy leave met the company’s needs at a lesser expense. All such reasons given for a terminating a woman are illegal, and the law firm has received six figure settlements in all of the cases noted above.
The law firm has also handled a number of cases where employees are dismissed and the employer seeks to deny the employee commissions for work already brought into the office by the employee, but for which payment has not necessarily been received. Such practices on the part of employers frequently violate not only the employee’s contract rights but public policy as well. The law firm has brought a number of claims seeking payment of such unpaid commissions.
Enforcement of Non-compete Clauses
The law firm has represented both employers seeking to enforce non-compete clauses, as well as employees seeking to escape the restrictions of non-compete clauses. Such clauses must be reasonable in scope in order to be enforced, can be blue-lined by courts to be made more reasonable, and can only be enforced when given in exchange for reasonable consideration. Employee terminations frequently require renegotiation of such clauses. When non-compete clauses are sought to be enforced, it is important to have the right representation at the beginning, as they are always limited in time, and the first action taken by a court to enforce or to deny enforcement of such clauses, is usually the final action in the case.
The law firm has represented whistleblowers willing to bring actions on behalf of the government for recovery of money paid in response to fraudulent and false billing practices. The relator (the individual bringing the action on behalf of the government) is entitled to a percentage of the amount of money recovered in such actions. Law firm partner Stephen Schultz, as the former First Assistant Inspector General for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, has particular expertise in the government procurement process and the manner in which it can be abused.
The law firm has represented a doctor, who alleged he was terminated as the result of his making complaints regarding questionable medical procedures permitted to be performed as a courtesy to a “VIP”, and a hospital administrator who alleged that false staffing numbers were submitted by the Hospital to assure continued receipt of Medicaid funding. The firm brought or threatened actions on behalf of both of these clients pursuant to the Massachusetts Health Care Whistleblower statute and successfully reached settlements on behalf of both clients.
Employment Contracts, Terms, Compensation and Benefits
The firm has drafted numerous employment contracts, change in control agreements, and non-competition and nondisclosure agreements, relocation, severance and termination agreements. Representations have occurred at the term sheet and recruitment stage, in the course of employment or at the termination stage. Work can include negotiation of stock, options and equity arrangements, salary, bonus and deferred compensation terms, working conditions, benefits, restrictive covenant negotiation and enforcement terms.
If you have been offered a position or are facing termination and need advice at to what is appropriate to seek in your circumstance, please contact partners Mark Engel or Hilary Schultz directly by phone or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated, discriminated against, denied commissions or otherwise terminated without receiving payment of all that you were owed, please contact partner Hilary Schultz, Stephen Schultz or Mark Engel directly by phone or email at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org.