Robert Shea advises and represents clients in all areas of labor and employment law. He devotes a significant portion of his practice to alternative dispute resolution, both as an advocate and a neutral.
Bob has advised and counseled employers, executives, professionals and entrepreneurs on labor and employment law matters for more than thirty years. His practice includes counseling clients on discipline and discharge, discrimination, retaliation, harassment, wage-hour, pay equity, traditional labor, and restrictive covenant matters. This work also includes drafting and negotiating employment agreements, noncompete, nonsolicitation and nondisclosure agreements, independent contractor agreements, and separation agreements.
Bob helps businesses develop workplace best practices, including drafting and reviewing employer policies and handbooks, and preparing other critical documents establishing employer/employee rights and obligations. He also works closely with in-house counsel and HR professionals to address difficult workplace matters.
Bob’s employment law advice practice includes conducting workplace training, including anti-harassment and diversity training, and performing legal audits of workplace policies and practices. He also conducts workplace investigations in response to complaints of harassment and other matters arising in the workplace.
Bob represents clients before federal and state courts and administrative agencies in cases involving claims of employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful discharge, breach of employment/restrictive covenant agreements, worker misclassification, and wage-hour violations. A significant part of his practice includes handling cases before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, the U.S. Department of Labor, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the National Labor Relations Board. Bob has served as an advocate for clients in employment disputes before courts and agencies in over ten states across the United States.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Bob has extensive experience, both as an advocate and as a neutral, in alternative dispute resolution. As a neutral, he regularly serves as an arbitrator and a mediator, engaged by employers and employees to resolve disputes arising in the workplace, including claims involving contractual disputes under executive employment agreements, partnership agreements, change of control agreements, independent contractor agreements, and separation agreements. He also serves as an arbitrator or mediator in discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and wage and hour disputes.
Bob has served on the American Arbitration Association’s panels of employment law arbitrators and mediators since 1995. In 2019 Bob was selected by the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (“CPR”) to serve on its panel of distinguished neutrals. He serves as a mediator and arbitrator on CPR’s Employment Disputes Panel-Northeast and its Boston ADR Panel.
Bob has served in a variety of leadership roles in the legal and business community, and in local government:
Past Co-Chair of the Boston Bar Association Labor and Employment Section. He has held many other leadership positions within the Section, including Steering Committee member, ADR Committee Co-Chair, Legislative Committee Co-Chair, Newsletter Editor, and Liaison to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.
Currently serves on the Massachusetts Bar Association Labor and Employment Section Council.
Past co-chair of the Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education’s Employment & Labor Law Curriculum Advisory Committee.
Past Chair of the Board of Directors of the New England Business Association, a 900-member, non-profit organization helping New England businesses and entrepreneurs succeed by providing access to capital, education, training, and advocacy. Also served on the Association’s Executive Committee from 2008 to 2019.
Currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the National Small Business Association (NSBA). NSBA advocates on behalf of America’s entrepreneurs, and its 65,000 members represent every state and every industry in the country. In addition to serving as a Trustee, Bob chairs NSBA’s Health and Human Resources Committee.
Currently serves on the Employment Disputes Committee of the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (“CPR”), a non-profit organization that helps global businesses and their counsel prevent and resolve disputes more effectively, both directly, by enhancing their capabilities, and indirectly, by improving ADR capacity worldwide.
Has served on the Personnel Board for the Town of Westwood for the past 28 years.
George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School, 16th Annual Symposium of the Journal of Law, Economics & Policy, “The Changing Nature of Work and the Economics of employment in the 21st Century, Litigation v. Arbitration: Which Works Better for Workers?” Arlington, VA, November 8, 2019.
Massachusetts Bar Association, “Mediating Employment Disputes – Perspectives from the EEOC, MCAD, U.S. District Court and Private Mediators,” Boston, November 6, 2019.
Massachusetts Bar Association, “Proving Discrimination with Circumstantial Evidence,” Boston, March 11, 2019.
Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Inc., “What Every Lawyer Needs to Know About Employment Law,” Boston, June 16, 2017.
New England Business Association, “A Primer on the Mediation Process,” Waltham, MA, March 26, 2016
American Arbitration Association University, “Don’t Strike Back: Retaliation Claims on the Rise,” Boston, May 2, 2014.
New England Business Association, “Mitigating Your Employment Risks: Traps for Unwary Owners and Managers,” Waltham, MA, January 30, 2013.
Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Inc., “What You Need to Know About CORI Reform,” Boston, December 14, 2012.
New England Business Association, “Employment Law Update 2012,” Waltham, MA, January 10, 2012.
Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Inc., Massachusetts Employment Law, Chapter 15, “Religious Discrimination,” 4th Edition (2019).
SHRM Online, “Massachusetts Considers Comprehensive Noncompete Legislation” (2017).
SHRM Online, “Massachusetts House Passes Pregnant Workers Fairness Act” (2017).
Business Leader Post, “When Can Employers Make Pay Deductions for Monies Owed by Employees? The SJC Takes a Narrow View” (2011).
Family Business, “Personnel Records Statute Amended to Impose New Notice Duty on Employers” (2011).
New England In-House, “Massachusetts Independent Contractor Law: Serious Problems and Difficult Choices” (2005).
New England In-House, “Employee Backgrounds Checks on the Rise in the Information Age” (2006).
New England In-House, “What Employers Can Do to Prevent Retaliation Claims” (2005).
EMA Online, “Using Arbitration to Resolve Workplace Disputes” (2003).
The Corporate Counselor, “Vicariously Liable: Responsibility for Harassment Not Limited to Employee Conduct” (1999).
Employment Law Strategist, “Understanding Taxation of Discrimination Awards” (1994).
Employee Relations Law Journal, Vol. 17, No. 1, “Post-termination Discovery of Employee Misconduct: A New Defense in Employment Discrimination Litigation” (1991).
Arbitrator Performance and Demeanor: Meeting Participant Expectations, American Arbitration Association (“AAA”) (2018)
Impasse: Mediating in the Red Zone, AAA (2017)
Labor Arbitrator Best Practices: “What You Can Do to Raise Your Game,” AAA (2016)
Arbitrator Subpoenas: “Are They Worth the Paper They’re Written On?” AAA (2015)
Avoiding Ten Common Mistakes Arbitrators Make, AAA (2015)
Writing Arbitration Awards: A Guide for Arbitrators, AAA (2014)
“Don’t Strike Back: Retaliation Claims on the Rise,” AAA (2013)
Consummate Negotiation: Techniques & Tactics, AAA (2012)
Arbitrators & Technology, AAA (2011)
Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Inc. Arbitration Practice Update (2007)
Chairing an Arbitration Panel: Managing Procedures, Process & Dynamics, AAA (2006)
Arbitration Awards: Safeguarding, Deciding and Writing Awards, AAA (2004)
Annual Arbitrator Update, AAA (2003)
Mediation for the Professional, Center for Dispute Settlement (2003)
Mediation Practicum, Community Dispute Settlement Center (2003)
Employment Arbitrator II Training: Advanced Case Management Issues, AAA (2002)
Commercial Arbitrator Training, AAA (2000)
Mediation Training, AAA (1997)
Mediator Training, Metropolitan Mediation Services (1997)
Employment Arbitrator Training, AAA (1996)
Arbitrator Training, AAA (1995)
Employment Litigation and Counseling
Trade Secrets Litigation & Counseling
Noncompete Litigation & Counseling
Employee Mobility Litigation & Counseling
Boston College, B.A., magna cum laude
George Washington University National Law Center, J.D., with honors
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts
Massachusetts Bar Association
Boston Bar Association
AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell®, the highest rating available for legal ability and professional ethics.
Massachusetts and New England Super Lawyer in the category of Employment and Labor Law every year since 2006.
Top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyers.
The Legal 500 United States: Recommended in the labor and employment counsel category.
Recognized by Best Lawyers.