Russell Beck to Speak at West Coast Trade Secrets Conference

On Wednesday, December 2, 2020, Russell Beck will be speaking at Sandpiper Partners’ third annual program on trade secrets. The program, which will be held online, is titled “Trade Secrets: Protection, Enforcement and Litigation West Coast Conference.”

The one-day program starts at 2 p.m. PT on December 2, 2020. Registration is available here.

The program brings together judges, in-house counsel, and outside lawyers from across the country. This year’s program will address the impacts of COVID-19 and the risk of trade secret misappropriation due to the large numbers of workers unemployed, continuing large remote workforces, the economic recession, cyber-attacks, and technology challenges from increased use of remote devices.

Attendees can expect to:

  • Develop new strategies for restrictive covenants and non-competes
  • Hear from a unique combination of panelists in one session, including four judges, current and former Assistant U.S. Attorneys, FBI, corporate counsel, law firm experts, and consulting experts
  • Learn about the latest best practices in managing and protecting trade secrets throughout the trade secret life cycle, from development through litigation
  • Gain practical tips for managing risk and avoiding pitfalls with employees, joint venture partners, vendors, etc.
  • Receive an update on latest cybersecurity tools to detect threats and forensic investigative tactics when theft is suspected or detected
  • Learn about recent important California cases, decisions in other jurisdictions, damages awards, and settlements, including
  • Learn about increased focus on thefts involving biotech, tech and Chinese entities
  • COVID-19 impact on trials, ADR, and e-discovery

For up-to-the-minute analysis of legal issues concerning trade secrets and non-compete agreements in Massachusetts and across the United States, read Russell Beck’s blog, Fair Competition Law.

eck Reed Riden LLP is among the leading authorities in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition law, and our experience handling these matters is backed by our extensive employment law and business litigation experience. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience.

The Wall Street Journal featured Beck Reed Riden LLP’s noncompete agreement experience. In 2016, the White House issued a report entitled, “Non-Compete Agreements: Analysis of the Usage, Potential Issues, and State Responses,” relying in part on Beck Reed Riden LLP’s research and analysis, including its 50 State Noncompete Survey.

Russell Beck’s work in this area is well recognized, and includes:

  • Over twenty five years working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters
  • Assisting the Obama White House as part of a small working group to develop President Obama’s Noncompete Call to Action
  • Authoring the book Negotiating, Drafting, and Enforcing Noncompetition Agreements and Related Restrictive Covenants (5th ed., MCLE, Inc. 2015), used by other lawyers to help them with their noncompete matters
  • Authoring the book Trade Secrets Law for the Massachusetts Practitioner (1st ed. MCLE 2019), covering trade secrets nationally, with a focus on Massachusetts law
  • Drafting and advising on legislation for the Massachusetts Legislature to define, codify, and improve noncompetition law
  • Teaching Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants at Boston University School of Law
  • Founding and administrating the award-winning blog, Fair Competition Law
  • Establishing and administrating the Noncompete Lawyers and Trade Secret Protection groups on LinkedIn, with over 1,600 and 850 members, respectively, around the world
  • Founded and chaired the Trade Secret / Noncompete Practice for an AmLaw 100 firm

In addition, Russell was honored for his work in this area of law in the 2020 Chambers USA Guide, which stated that Russell Beck is “an expert in the field of trade secret and restrictive covenant law,” and is also noted for his “ability to adjust and come up with successful solutions.” Chambers noted that Russell “basically wrote the new Massachusetts statute on noncompetes” and that “he’s an expert in employee mobility and nonrestrictive covenants.”

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment.

We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Nicole Gage Joins Beck Reed Riden LLP

Beck Reed Riden LLP is pleased to announce that Nicole E. Gage has joined the firm.

With over 20 years of experience in intellectual property counseling and litigation, Nicole adds breadth and depth to our team, particularly in the areas of trademark and copyright. Nicole’s expertise seamlessly complements the firm’s existing areas of practice.

Nicole has been recognized as a leader in the field of trademark law by World Trademark Review in its “WTR 1000 – The World’s Leading Trademark Professionals” directory from 2015-2020. In the 2020 ranking, she is described as someone who “maintains a substantial prosecution and portfolio management practice. When disputes arise, she adopts a business-focused approach and takes emotion out of the case, working cooperatively with opposing counsel to bring about win- win resolutions.”

Nicole is a member of the International Trademark Association and is a former member of the Mediation, Internet, and Emerging Issues Committees.

Before joining Beck Reed Riden LLP, Ms. Gage was Special Counsel with Foley & Lardner LLP and a Partner at Fish & Richardson, P.C. prior to that. Prior to her legal career, she worked as a process engineer with Mobil Oil Corporation on the improvement of refinery processes.

“Nicole brings a wealth of knowledge to the table. She is an excellent attorney with long-established expertise in intellectual property law,” said Stephen Riden. “We are proud to have her as a key member of our team,” Riden added.

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment.

We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Russell Beck to Speak at Sandpiper Partners on Trade Secrets

On Tuesday, November 17, 2020, Russell Beck will be speaking at Sandpiper Partners’ fourth annual program on trade secrets. The program, which will be held online, is titled “Trade Secrets: Protection, Enforcement and Litigation East Coast Conference.”

The one-day program starts at 3 p.m. ET on November 17, 2020. Registration is available here.

The program brings together judges, in-house counsel, and outside lawyers from across the country. Attendees will learn about the following topics:

  • Overview of trade secret law
  • Trade secret protective measures
  • What to do when there’s been a theft or one is suspected?
  • Avoiding being accused of misappropriation
  • Criminal or civil enforcement or both?
  • Choice of forum
  • Types/sources of evidence
  • Identifying and protecting trade secrets in litigation
  • Discovery in trade secret cases
  • Judicial observations on provisional relief and evidentiary hearings in a pandemic
  • Damages
  • Judicial observations on successful trial strategies in civil trade secret cases, generally and in the age of COVID-19
  • Criminal prosecution of trade secrets theft

For up-to-the-minute analysis of legal issues concerning trade secrets and non-compete agreements in Massachusetts and across the United States, read Russell Beck’s blog, Fair Competition Law.

eck Reed Riden LLP is among the leading authorities in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition law, and our experience handling these matters is backed by our extensive employment law and business litigation experience. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience.

The Wall Street Journal featured Beck Reed Riden LLP’s noncompete agreement experience. In 2016, the White House issued a report entitled, “Non-Compete Agreements: Analysis of the Usage, Potential Issues, and State Responses,” relying in part on Beck Reed Riden LLP’s research and analysis, including its 50 State Noncompete Survey.

Russell Beck’s work in this area is well recognized, and includes:

  • Over twenty five years working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters
  • Assisting the Obama White House as part of a small working group to develop President Obama’s Noncompete Call to Action
  • Authoring the book Negotiating, Drafting, and Enforcing Noncompetition Agreements and Related Restrictive Covenants (5th ed., MCLE, Inc. 2015), used by other lawyers to help them with their noncompete matters
  • Authoring the book Trade Secrets Law for the Massachusetts Practitioner (1st ed. MCLE 2019), covering trade secrets nationally, with a focus on Massachusetts law
  • Drafting and advising on legislation for the Massachusetts Legislature to define, codify, and improve noncompetition law
  • Teaching Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants at Boston University School of Law
  • Founding and administrating the award-winning blog, Fair Competition Law
  • Establishing and administrating the Noncompete Lawyers and Trade Secret Protection groups on LinkedIn, with over 1,600 and 850 members, respectively, around the world
  • Founded and chaired the Trade Secret / Noncompete Practice for an AmLaw 100 firm

In addition, Russell was honored for his work in this area of law in the 2020 Chambers USA Guide, which stated that Russell Beck is “an expert in the field of trade secret and restrictive covenant law,” and is also noted for his “ability to adjust and come up with successful solutions.” Chambers noted that Russell “basically wrote the new Massachusetts statute on noncompetes” and that “he’s an expert in employee mobility and nonrestrictive covenants.”

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment.

We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Russell Beck to Speak at The Sedona Conference on Trade Secrets

On November 10, 2020, Russell Beck will serve as a Dialogue Leader for The Sedona Conference’s Working Group on Trade Secrets. Russell will be speaking on a panel titled “Leveraging Internal Assets in the Governance and Management of Trade Secrets.”

The two-day annual meeting for The Sedona Conference Working Group 12  starts on Monday, November 9, 2020. More information is available here.

The Sedona Conference Working Group Series was launched in 2002 and represents the evolution of The Sedona Conference from a forum for advanced dialogue to an open think-tank confronting some of the most challenging issues faced by our legal system today.

The mission of Working Group 12 is to develop consensus and nonpartisan principles for managing trade secret litigation and well-vetted guidelines for consideration in protecting trade secrets, recognizing that every organization has and uses trade secrets, that trade secret disputes frequently intersect with other important public policies such as employee mobility and international trade, and that trade secret disputes are litigated in both state and federal courts.

Speakers at the annual meeting include a wide array of judges, in-house, and outside counsel.

For up-to-the-minute analysis of legal issues concerning trade secrets and non-compete agreements in Massachusetts and across the United States, read Russell Beck’s blog, Fair Competition Law.

eck Reed Riden LLP is among the leading authorities in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition law, and our experience handling these matters is backed by our extensive employment law and business litigation experience. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience.

The Wall Street Journal featured Beck Reed Riden LLP’s noncompete agreement experience. In 2016, the White House issued a report entitled, “Non-Compete Agreements: Analysis of the Usage, Potential Issues, and State Responses,” relying in part on Beck Reed Riden LLP’s research and analysis, including its 50 State Noncompete Survey.

Russell Beck’s work in this area is well recognized, and includes:

  • Over twenty five years of working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters
  • Assisting the Obama White House as part of a small working group to develop President Obama’s Noncompete Call to Action
  • Authoring the book Negotiating, Drafting, and Enforcing Noncompetition Agreements and Related Restrictive Covenants (5th ed., MCLE, Inc. 2015), used by other lawyers to help them with their noncompete matters
  • Authoring the book Trade Secrets Law for the Massachusetts Practitioner (1st ed. MCLE 2019), covering trade secrets nationally, with a focus on Massachusetts law
  • Drafting and advising on legislation for the Massachusetts Legislature to define, codify, and improve noncompetition law
  • Teaching Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants at Boston University School of Law
  • Founding and administrating the award-winning blog, Fair Competition Law
  • Establishing and administrating the Noncompete Lawyers and Trade Secret Protection groups on LinkedIn, with over 1,600 members around the world
  • Founded and chaired the Trade Secret / Noncompete Practice for an AmLaw 100 firm

In addition, Russell was honored for his work in this area of law in the 2019 Chambers USA Guide, which stated that Russell Beck is a “terrific” attorney, who “is an excellent choice of counsel regarding noncompete agreements and the resolution of restrictive covenant disputes.” Chambers noted that Russell “basically wrote the new Massachusetts statute on noncompetes” and that “he’s an expert in employee mobility and nonrestrictive covenants.”

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment.

We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Russell Beck to Speak at PLI Trade Secrets Program

On Wednesday, October 28, 2020, Russell Beck will be speaking at Practising Law Institute’s program on trade secrets. The program, which will be held online, is titled “Advanced Trade Secrets 2020: New Risks, New Challenges & Emerging Solutions.”

The one-day program starts at 9 a.m. PDT on October 28, 2020. More information and registration is available here.

According to the course description, the program brings together experts and thought leaders in the field, and attendees will learn about the following topics:

  • What the courts, legislatures, prosecutors, government agencies and economic experts are thinking and doing about trade secrets issues
  • How to make “reasonable” measures to protect trade secrets “workable” measures for your organization, particularly in a time of remote work
  • The steps necessary for lawyers and clients to perform in the earliest days of a trade secret dispute
  • Steps you need to take to ensure that mistakes do not jeopardize a development program
  • Strategies to make sure your reverse engineering is clean engineering
  • Why domestic organizations need to think about international trade secrets enforcement, and what non-U.S. organizations need to know about U.S. litigation
  • The “value” of a trade secret and the challenges in determining such

Speakers at the conference include a wide array of in-house and outside counsel.

For up-to-the-minute analysis of legal issues concerning trade secrets and non-compete agreements in Massachusetts and across the United States, read Russell Beck’s blog, Fair Competition Law.

eck Reed Riden LLP is among the leading authorities in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition law, and our experience handling these matters is backed by our extensive employment law and business litigation experience. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience.

The Wall Street Journal featured Beck Reed Riden LLP’s noncompete agreement experience. In 2016, the White House issued a report entitled, “Non-Compete Agreements: Analysis of the Usage, Potential Issues, and State Responses,” relying in part on Beck Reed Riden LLP’s research and analysis, including its 50 State Noncompete Survey.

Russell Beck’s work in this area is well recognized, and includes:

  • Over twenty five years of working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters
  • Assisting the Obama White House as part of a small working group to develop President Obama’s Noncompete Call to Action
  • Authoring the book Negotiating, Drafting, and Enforcing Noncompetition Agreements and Related Restrictive Covenants (5th ed., MCLE, Inc. 2015), used by other lawyers to help them with their noncompete matters
  • Authoring the book Trade Secrets Law for the Massachusetts Practitioner (1st ed. MCLE 2019), covering trade secrets nationally, with a focus on Massachusetts law
  • Drafting and advising on legislation for the Massachusetts Legislature to define, codify, and improve noncompetition law
  • Teaching Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants at Boston University School of Law
  • Founding and administrating the award-winning blog, Fair Competition Law
  • Establishing and administrating the Noncompete Lawyers and Trade Secret Protection groups on LinkedIn, with over 1,600 members around the world
  • Founded and chaired the Trade Secret / Noncompete Practice for an AmLaw 100 firm

In addition, Russell was honored for his work in this area of law in the 2019 Chambers USA Guide, which stated that Russell Beck is a “terrific” attorney, who “is an excellent choice of counsel regarding noncompete agreements and the resolution of restrictive covenant disputes.” Chambers noted that Russell “basically wrote the new Massachusetts statute on noncompetes” and that “he’s an expert in employee mobility and nonrestrictive covenants.”

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment.

We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Steve Riden Giving Presentation on Tortious Interference

On Tuesday, October 27, 2020, Steve Riden will be a panelist for a Strafford presentation titled “Tortious Interference With Contracts, Business Relations, and Economic Advantage: Proving and Defending Claims.”

The presentation will be conducted via webinar on October 27, 2020, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. ET. Registration information and other details are available here.

The CLE webinar will focus on proving and defending claims of tortious interference with contract, tortious interference with business relations, and tortious interference with economic advantage.

These claims arise when a person intentionally disrupts a formal agreement between two parties or when a third party takes unlawful action to deliberately drive business away or to cause another party to not enter into a business relationship with the plaintiff.

The presentation will address the following issues:

  • What must plaintiffs prove to establish a tortious interference claim?
  • What are the potential defenses to defeat tortious interference claims?
  • Can preliminary injunctive relief be obtained for tortious interference?
  • What economic damages are available to prevailing plaintiffs in tortious interference cases?
  • How do tortious interference claims overlap with related employment, unfair competition, and defamation claims?

The other panelist for the presentation is V. John Ella
of Trepanier MacGillis Battina P.A.

teve Riden is the President of the Board of Directors for the Boston College Law School Alumni Association. He is the current Chair of the Board of Editors for the Boston Bar Journal. Previously, Steve was the Co-Chair of the Boston Bar Association’s Business and Commercial Litigation Section.

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment.

We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Russell Beck to Speak About Protecting Trade Secrets During COVID

Russell Beck will appear on a panel of experts assembled by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly titled “Protecting Trade Secrets in the COVID Era.”

The free event will be held on Tuesday, October 27, 2020, at 10:00 a.m. ET on Zoom. More information and registration is available here.

Anyone who is unable to attend the live session should still register, as Lawyers Weekly will send a recording and the slides after the presentation.

The panel also features:

Panelists will cover a wide range of topics involving the protection of trade secrets, particularly while so many businesses are dealing with a remote workforce. Topics include:

  • Understanding the landscape
  • Evaluating and updating protections
  • Communication and compliance strategies
  • Addressing third party issues

For up-to-the-minute analysis of legal issues concerning trade secrets and non-compete agreements in Massachusetts and across the United States, read Russell Beck’s blog, Fair Competition Law.

eck Reed Riden LLP is among the leading authorities in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition law, and our experience handling these matters is backed by our extensive employment law and business litigation experience. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience.

The Wall Street Journal featured Beck Reed Riden LLP’s noncompete agreement experience. In 2016, the White House issued a report entitled, “Non-Compete Agreements: Analysis of the Usage, Potential Issues, and State Responses,” relying in part on Beck Reed Riden LLP’s research and analysis, including its 50 State Noncompete Survey.

Russell Beck’s work in this area is well recognized, and includes:

  • Over twenty five years of working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters
  • Assisting the Obama White House as part of a small working group to develop President Obama’s Noncompete Call to Action
  • Authoring the book Negotiating, Drafting, and Enforcing Noncompetition Agreements and Related Restrictive Covenants (5th ed., MCLE, Inc. 2015), used by other lawyers to help them with their noncompete matters
  • Authoring the book Trade Secrets Law for the Massachusetts Practitioner (1st ed. MCLE 2019), covering trade secrets nationally, with a focus on Massachusetts law
  • Drafting and advising on legislation for the Massachusetts Legislature to define, codify, and improve noncompetition law
  • Teaching Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants at Boston University School of Law
  • Founding and administrating the award-winning blog, Fair Competition Law
  • Establishing and administrating the Noncompete Lawyers and Trade Secret Protection groups on LinkedIn, with over 1,600 members around the world
  • Founded and chaired the Trade Secret / Noncompete Practice for an AmLaw 100 firm

In addition, Russell was honored for his work in this area of law in the 2019 Chambers USA Guide, which stated that Russell Beck is a “terrific” attorney, who “is an excellent choice of counsel regarding noncompete agreements and the resolution of restrictive covenant disputes.” Chambers noted that Russell “basically wrote the new Massachusetts statute on noncompetes” and that “he’s an expert in employee mobility and nonrestrictive covenants.”

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment.

We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Russell Beck to Speak at AIPLA’s 2020 Annual Meeting

Russell Beck will be a speaker at this year’s American Intellectual Property Law Association Annual Meeting. The AIPLA’s Annual Meeting will take place on October 22 through 30, 2020.

Russell Beck will be giving a presentation on October 23rd from 1 to 2:30 p.m. ET, titled “Year in Review: TM, Trade Secret: Patent, Copyright, Design Rights.”

Russell Beck was previously appointed Chair of the AIPLA’s Trade Secret Law Committee.

For up-to-the-minute analysis of legal issues concerning trade secrets and non-compete agreements in Massachusetts and across the United States, read Russell Beck’s blog, Fair Competition Law.

eck Reed Riden LLP is among the leading authorities in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition law, and our experience handling these matters is backed by our extensive employment law and business litigation experience. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience.

The Wall Street Journal featured Beck Reed Riden LLP’s noncompete agreement experience. In 2016, the White House issued a report entitled, “Non-Compete Agreements: Analysis of the Usage, Potential Issues, and State Responses,” relying in part on Beck Reed Riden LLP’s research and analysis, including its 50 State Noncompete Survey.

Russell Beck’s work in this area is well recognized, and includes:

  • Over twenty five years of working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters
  • Assisting the Obama White House as part of a small working group to develop President Obama’s Noncompete Call to Action
  • Authoring the book Negotiating, Drafting, and Enforcing Noncompetition Agreements and Related Restrictive Covenants (5th ed., MCLE, Inc. 2015), used by other lawyers to help them with their noncompete matters
  • Authoring the book Trade Secrets Law for the Massachusetts Practitioner (1st ed. MCLE 2019), covering trade secrets nationally, with a focus on Massachusetts law
  • Drafting and advising on legislation for the Massachusetts Legislature to define, codify, and improve noncompetition law
  • Teaching Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants at Boston University School of Law
  • Founding and administrating the award-winning blog, Fair Competition Law
  • Establishing and administrating the Noncompete Lawyers and Trade Secret Protection groups on LinkedIn, with over 1,600 members around the world
  • Founded and chaired the Trade Secret / Noncompete Practice for an AmLaw 100 firm

In addition, Russell was honored for his work in this area of law in the 2019 Chambers USA Guide, which stated that Russell Beck is a “terrific” attorney, who “is an excellent choice of counsel regarding noncompete agreements and the resolution of restrictive covenant disputes.” Chambers noted that Russell “basically wrote the new Massachusetts statute on noncompetes” and that “he’s an expert in employee mobility and nonrestrictive covenants.”

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment.

We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Benefits Start January 1, 2021

Starting January 1, 2021, most of the benefits established by the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Law (“PFML”) become available to employees who work in the state. Specifically, as of that date, an eligible employee taking leave for any of the following reasons can receive pay during leave, which is offered by the state but funded through payroll deductions that have been in place since October 2019:

  1. Management of the employee’s own serious health condition
  2. Management of family affairs while a family member is on active duty overseas
  3. Care of a family member who is a covered service member
  4. Bonding with a child during the first 12 months after the child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement

Paid family leave benefits to care for a family member with a serious health condition will be available starting July 1, 2021. Intermittent leave is generally allowed for all PFML reasons except for child bonding. An employer may, however, agree to intermittent leave for child bonding.

Employees must provide notice to their employer before applying for PFML benefits. Absent proof of such notice, the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave, which administers the benefit program, may deny PFML benefits. Unless impracticable due to a delay for reasons outside of the employee’s control, 30 calendar days’ notice before commencement of the leave is required.

If the application for PFML benefits is approved, there is a seven-day waiting period before benefits are payable, which will count against the total available period of leave in the benefit year. This waiting period applies for each application for benefits, with the exception of medical leave during pregnancy or recovery from childbirth if supported by documentation from a healthcare provider that this medical leave is immediately followed by family leave. In that case, the seven-day waiting period for the family leave is not required.

Employers should keep in mind that the length of PFML leave available in an employee’s benefit year varies depending on the reason for such leave. An eligible employee may receive up to 20 weeks of paid leave for their own serious health condition and up to 26 weeks to care for a family member who is a covered service member. Paid leaves for other reasons under the PFML are capped at 12 weeks.

or larger employers who are also covered by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), there is an important wrinkle that requires attention in order to ensure consistency between your FMLA policy and leave entitlements under the PFML.

Under the FMLA, eligible employees who work for covered employers are entitled to unpaid, job-protected leave in a defined 12-month period. There are four options from which an employer may choose to establish the applicable 12-month period – including a rolling 12-month period measured backward from the date an employee uses any FMLA leave. This method, however, is not permissible under the PMFL because it provides that the benefit year is the 52-week period beginning on the Sunday immediately preceding the PFML leave.

Accordingly, Massachusetts employers using the rolling backward method to determine the 12-month period under the FMLA may want to consider changing to a different calculation method for administrative ease, such as the 12-month period measured forward from the first date an employee takes FMLA leave. However, any employer that elects to change to a different method of calculating the 12-month period must give all employees at least 60 days’ advance notice of the change, and the change must occur in a way that permits employees to retain the full benefit of their leave entitlement under the method that affords the greatest benefit to the employee.

Employees who want to apply for PFML leave must do the following at least 30 days in advance of the anticipated start of leave (unless a delay is beyond the employee’s control, in which case the employee should do so as soon as is practicable):  (1) notify the employer of the need for leave and the anticipated start date; and (2) apply for leave with the Department of Family and Medical leave online here.

If you have any questions about the intersection of the FMLA with the Massachusetts PFML, or any other questions regarding the PFML in general, Beck Reed Riden LLP’s employment attorneys are available to assist.

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment.

We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Will Employers Always be Required to Permit Teleworking?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees when such accommodations are needed to permit employees to perform the “essential functions” of their jobs.

However, an employee who cannot perform the essential functions of a job, with or without an accommodation, is not considered to be a “qualified individual with a disability” under the ADA, and an employer generally is not required to provide an accommodation to the employee. In other words, an employer is not required to eliminate an essential job function to accommodate an employee with a disability.

Employers sometimes choose to excuse an employee from performing an essential job function (e.g., reporting to the workplace) for a period of time to accommodate the employee’s health needs.

When the time period during which the essential job function is excused becomes extended or indefinite, the employer runs the risk that the excused job function may no longer be considered an essential part of the job for purposes of analyzing rights and obligations under the ADA. As a result, the employer may be required to continue providing the accommodation.

his scenario is playing out throughout the country as employers begin asking employees who have been teleworking to return to the workplace. Some employees are reluctant to return because they have underlying health conditions which put them at increased risk of serious illness if they become infected with COVID-19. These health conditions, combined with extreme risks created by the pandemic, may mean that the employees have a disability under the ADA and are entitled to receive reasonable accommodation from their employer to permit them to perform the essential functions of their job.

If the ability to continue teleworking is the requested accommodation, employers must assess whether reporting to the workplace remains an essential job function, particularly if employees have been working remotely for several months.

EEOC Guidance

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) addresses this topic in its recently updated “Technical Assistance Questions and Answers” on issues involving COVID-19 and the ADA and other equal opportunity laws. Assuming an employer grants telework to employees for a period of time in response to COVID-19 and then reopens the workplace and recalls employees to the worksite, the EEOC posits the question: “does the employer automatically have to grant telework as a reasonable accommodation to every employee with a disability who requests to continue this arrangement”?

In an answer that will please employers, the EEOC states that, “[t]o the extent that an employer is permitting telework to employees because of COVID-19 and is choosing to excuse an employee from performing one or more essential functions, then the request – after the workplace reopens – to continue telework as a reasonable accommodation does not have to be granted if it requires continuing to excuse the employee from performing an essential function.”

Noting that “[t]he ADA never requires an employer to eliminate an essential function as an accommodation for an individual with a disability,” the EEOC elaborates by stating that “[t]he fact that an employer temporarily excused performance of one or more essential functions when it closed the workplace and enabled employees to telework for the purpose of protecting their safety from COVID-19, or otherwise chose to permit telework, does not mean that the employer permanently changed a job’s essential functions, that telework is always a feasible accommodation, or that it does not pose an undue hardship.”

An employer is not prohibited “from restoring all of an employee’s essential duties” when “it chooses to restore the prior work arrangement” and may evaluate “any requests for continued or new accommodations under the usual ADA rules.”

Employers, however, should understand that the remote work experience during the pandemic will be relevant when evaluating whether essential job functions can be performed through telework. According to the EEOC, the period of providing telework “could serve as a trial period that showed whether or not this employee with a disability could satisfactorily perform all essential functions while working remotely, and the employer should consider any new request [for accommodation] in light of this information.”

Thus, although allowing telework during the past several months does not mean that employers cannot restore report to the workplace requirements, it does mean that employers should consider a demonstrated ability to perform essential functions remotely when responding to requests to telework as an accommodation for a disability.

As always, employers should evaluate requests for accommodation on an individualized case-by-case basis, and an employer and an employee should engage in a “flexible, cooperative interactive process” to consider what, if any, accommodations might be needed to allow the employee to perform the essential functions of the job.

Bob Shea is the author of this article. Bob represents clients in all areas of labor and employment law. He focuses a significant portion of his practice on alternative dispute resolution.

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment.

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