The attorneys at MIRAGEAS & AVERY have years of experience litigating and mediating labor and employment cases in the state and federal courts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, as well as before specialized state agencies such as the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination and the Department of Labor Relations. We also work to prevent and diffuse other disputes through the drafting, review and negotiation of various employment agreements and policies. Our representative clients include small and medium-sizes companies, (particularly in the construction and trucking industries); as well as franchisees, medical and legal professionals, executives in biotech, medtech and fintech, and public officials.
Our office is committed to reaching a fair, practical and economically efficient solution to every labor and employment issue faces by our clients. We are often able to prevent individual and corporate clients from incurring massive legal fees through one or two brief rounds of counseling or sensible negotiation. If we proceed to litigation, however, our endeavor is to obtain all applicable remedies, including money damages, injunctive relief and reimbursement of attorney’s fees.
Areas of Focus:
- Executive Compensation and Representation
- Claims for Unpaid Commissions and Deferred Compensation
- Severance Pay and Stock Option Disputes
- Review and Negotiation of Separation Agreements
- Non-Competition, Non-Solicitation and Non-Disclosure Agreements
- Consulting Agreements
- Wage and Hour Litigation
- Employee Misclassification a
- Overtime Claims and Exemptions
- Prevailing Wage Litigation and Compliance
- Defense of Government Investigations/Civil Investigative Demands
- Wrongful Termination
- Breach of Contract
- Retaliation/Whistleblower Suits
- Discrimination Claims
- Sexual Harassment
- Reasonable Accommodation Law
- Interference with FMLA/Massachusetts Paid Family Leave
Whether you are seeking to subcontract a specific aspect of your business, or protect the dissemination of your confidential business information, an unambiguous written contract or policy is a must-have. We regularly assist our corporate clients with drafting essential employment documents including but not limited to:
- Human Resources/Employee Handbooks and Manuals
- Severance Agreements
- Non-Competition, Non-Solicitation and Non-Disclosure Agreements
- Performance Improvement Plans
- 1099 Contractor Agreements
- Medical Leave and Accommodation Policies
- Employee Severance and Separation Agreements
Employment Contract Blogs:
“Make No Bones” About Protecting Confidential Business Information
Trade Secrets Part II: Does “Non-Disclosure” Ever Mean “Non-Compete”?
Wage and Hour Claims
Both state and federal law impose harsh civil and criminal penalties on employers who fail to pay wages due to employees within statutorily-prescribed periods of time, including the payment of treble (3X) damages and attorney’s fees to successful claimants. Unique questions consistently arise pertaining to the applicability of these wage and hour statutes, such as the availability of various overtime pay exemptions enumerated within the Massachusetts Wage Act and the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA); the necessity of compensating employees for “travel time,” or “on-call time,” and whether or not certain payments (i.e. commissions, bonuses, severance pay, sick leave) are included within the definition of “wages” at all.
Attorney Ryan P. Avery has handled claims involving these issues and others, including the successful defense and prosecution of class action wage and hour suits in the state courts of Massachusetts. Typically, Attorney Avery’s experienced representation will result in the expedient resolution of such matters shortly after a complaint has been filed. However, Attorney Avery has also achieved superior results when compelled to actively litigate the claims asserted.
For example, in 2015, our office secured the dismissal of a class action claim for unpaid overtime wages under state and federal law by successfully proving that the plaintiffs were drivers engaged in interstate commerce between Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island, thereby saving our client (a Central Massachusetts trucking and hauling company) an estimated $250,000 in damages. Just a couple of years later, our office represented approximately 65 employees of a environmental contractor in a small class action that recovered approximately $420,000 in unpaid prevailing wages earned by our clients while working on various public construction projects throughout Massachusetts.
Wage and Hour Blogs:
“Five Types of Wage Deductions that Employers Should Always Avoid”
Wrongful Termination Claims
Our office counsels and intelligently represents employers and employees – both public and private, union and non-union —in workplace proceedings that have resulted or may soon result in termination. Broadly speaking, the phrase “wrongful termination” can apply to situations where either (1) the employee is alleging that (s)he has been terminated in violation of an employment or union contract, or (2) the employee is alleging that (s)he has been terminated based on some impermissible basis under the law, such as :
- The employee’s membership within a protected class (race, gender, disability, religious belief, sexual orientation, national origin, etc.);
- The employee filing of a complaint for discrimination or unpaid wages;
- The employee’s report of illegal activity in the workplace, or his or her refusal to engage in illegal activity as requested by the employer;
- The employee’s request for medical leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or the Massachusetts Paid Family Leave Act.
- The employee filing a claim for worker’s compensation benefits.
Since 2010, Attorney Ryan P. Avery has successfully prosecuted and defended claims for wrongful termination, representing clients before state and town personnel boards; in private mediation and arbitration sessions; and in litigation throughout the state and federal courts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Employment discrimination remains one of the most heavily-litigated areas of the law – over 3,000 claims for discrimination and associated acts taken in retaliation for filing complaints of discrimination are filed each year within the Commonwealth. The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) is the administrative agency within the Commonwealth charged with investigating and conducting hearings on claims of discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. Aggrieved employees may also remove their complaints to state or federal court, and one such suit is filed almost every day in the courts of Massachusetts.
Attorney Ryan P. Avery has a detailed knowledge of state and federal anti-discrimination law, and can efficiently navigate clients to a successful resolution of complaints for discrimination of any type. Attorney Avery has represented clients in connection with discrimination actions in United States District Court, Massachusetts Superior Court, and at the MCAD. He has also participated in mediation sessions – nearly all successful – at the MCAD, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and before private mediators selected by the parties.
In addition to his sound ability in analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of potential claims and defenses, Attorney Avery prides himself on the ability to guide his clients throughout these often-emotional matters.
“Massachusetts Retaliation Statute Protects Complaints Regarding Harassment of Co-Workers”
“Guilty By Association: Understanding Indirect Employment Discrimination”