BLC offers a wide range of services to both employees and employers to resolve workplace disputes. In some cases we are providing legal representation and advice. In other cases we are serving as mediators, arbitrators, adjudicators, investigators, or trainers. The sections below describe our expertise in
- Discrimination / Harassment / Retaliation
- Sexual Harassment
- Breach of Contract
- Severance Agreements
- Workplace Investigations
- Consulting and Organizational Climate Assessment
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Employment Advice / Counseling
- Workplace Trainings
BLC has extensive experience representing clients and also serving in a neutral role (such as mediator or arbitrator) in cases involving discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.
Unlawful bias persists in today’s workplaces but looks quite different than it looked in 1964 when the Civil Rights Acts integrated American workplaces. Job bias today is often the result of stereotyping, unconscious bias, and a non-inclusive workplace culture – just as harmful to equal opportunity as the more overt hate-based bias of the past. At BLC, we know how to navigate the modern face of workplace bias and to protect victims’ livelihoods and dignity through negotiated settlement to litigation of disputes at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (“MCAD”) and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. We also help employers avoid and resolve discrimination disputes.
Jody Newman leads BLC’s practice in discrimination cases. Jim Grumbach, David Hoffman, and Audrey Lee also have experience as mediators, arbitrators, and trainers in such matters. Both Jody and Jim also litigate such claims. Audrey draws upon her prior experience as a mediator for the MCAD in her role as mediator in discrimination matters.]
Sexual misconduct in the workplace ranges from behavior that causes discomfort to sexual assault – all of which alters the playing field for workers – primarily, but not exclusively, female workers – in virtually every profession. The #MeToo movement shone a spotlight on the prevalence of workplace harassment and the ineffectiveness of policies and practices in place for more than 30 years. For employees, BLC’s Jody Newman has built a strong reputation for achieving just results for victims of sexual harassment. And for employers, Jody has decades of experience understanding the risk factors that give rise to sexual misconduct at work and how to finally eradicate it.
Contract disputes in the workplace arise from executive contracts, shareholder agreements and even from the “at-will” employment doctrine, which recognizes an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. BLC’s Jody Newman has deep expertise in work-related contract disputes, having litigated many such claims through trial and appeal.
For employees and employers alike, often the best outcome in a disputed termination of an employee or missed promotion is a negotiated resolution that provides a softer landing for those experiencing career disruptions and avoid litigation. BLC’s Jody Newman has negotiated hundreds of severance agreements that provide financial relief, benefit continuation, and reputation repair, providing clients with valuable closure and to ease the transition to new opportunities.
David Hoffman has also negotiated severance agreements for employees, ranging from CEO positions to middle management.
BLC’s Jody Newman is skilled in conducting independent workplace misconduct investigations designed to find the truth of what happened, so that employers can make the right decisions. Both a skill and an art, a good investigation is an employer’s best defense to litigation. Whether an investigation reveals misconduct or misunderstandings, it creates an opportunity to nip a problem in the bud without protracted litigation.
BLC offers employers the opportunity to tackle existing workplace problems, policies, practices, and communication by helping to align systems that reflect an organization’s values and goals. With deep knowledge of the law and the practical realities of today’s workplace, BLC’s Jody Newman helps employers assess their policies and practices in terms of risk assessment, culture, and effective communication to support an organization’s goals. Audrey Lee and David Hoffman also have experience providing services in this area for businesses and non-profits.
ADR is an increasingly popular method of resolving issues that would be time-consuming and costly to litigate in the courts. Many agreements specify some form of ADR as the means to settle disputes, including both agreements negotiated between parties with equal bargaining power and standard form contracts with lots of non-negotiable “fine print.”
BLC’s entire staff has training in conflict resolution, and the firm has been a leader in promoting ADR for workplace matters. BLC’s attorneys have extensive experience serving as mediators and arbitrators in disputes involving all facets of employment, as well as representing clients in such proceedings. BLC’s Jody Newman, Audrey Lee, David Hoffman, and Jim Grumbach have extensive experience with employment ADR.
BLC’s workplace services include the following roles:
- Employment Advice / Counseling – In a rapidly evolving legal landscape, sound advice is a valuable resource for employers seeking both compliance and best practices. From the #MeToo movement’s shake-up of traditional responses to sexual harassment, to the current COVID-19 disruption of the structure of the employment relationship, BLC helps businesses solve their most challenging issues with a combination of expertise and practical solutions.se
- Workplace Trainings – BLC’s Jody Newman and Audrey Lee offer trainings for new hires, managers, human resource professionals and other groups in the workplace on a range of topics, such as Employment Law 101, Preventing Discrimination and Harassment, Sexual Harassment in the Age of #MeToo, Understanding Unexamined Bias, Negotiation, Conflict Management, and Professionalism in the Workplace. Audrey also provides follow-up coaching for individuals who have participated in trainings, as well as one-on-one coaching on the above topics. Click here for more information about BLC’s trainings.
In addition, BLC’s workplace services include:
- Mediation – serving as a facilitator of negotiation in a disputed matter
- Arbitration – serving as neutral decisionmaker (i.e., private adjudication)
- Litigation and Legal Representation – we represent clients in court, arbitrations, and agency proceedings (such as the EEOC and Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination), as well as in negotiated settlements.
Click here for more information about What We Do.