The Goulston & Storrs Employment group counsels public companies, private businesses and individuals in a wide range of employment matters including corporate, tax, employee benefits and litigation. We keep clients informed of the rapid changes within this heavily regulated area and work towards preventative measures for employment related matters whenever possible. Our team assists clients in the areas of:
- Investigations and Litigation
- Day to day employment advice, including compliance with state and federal laws against discrimination, and those governing wage and hour – including Title VII, the ADA, the ADEA, the FMLA, and the myriad of federal regulations under the FLSA
- Employee benefit plans, including cafeteria, disability, ERISA, health, insurance and qualified retirement
- Employee manuals and handbooks
- Employment training ranging from cooperatively developed day long trainings for key employees to individual sessions for problem employees to company-wide antidiscrimination training
- Executive compensation agreements including deferred compensation
- Mergers & Acquisitions
- Advice and litigation in connection with restrictive covenants (acting on behalf of both gaining and losing firms)
- Advice in connection with employee terminations or large-scale reductions in force, including severance programs, agreements and compliance with the WARN statute
- Stock option plans, including phantom stock arrangements, qualified and nonqualified and restricted stock appreciation rights
Goulston & Storrs represents employers in creating effective compensation plans to motivate key players in all types of business enterprises. Our lawyers advise clients regarding the federal, state and local income tax consequences of various types of compensation arrangements, ranging from nonqualified deferred compensation arrangements, including rabbi trusts and secular trusts, to complex equity incentive arrangements for participants in partnerships and limited liability companies. Our tax advisors also provide advice with respect to compensation arrangements involving corporate stock, including nonqualified and qualified stock option plans, restricted stock plans, phantom stock and stock appreciation rights, keeping in mind the business, tax and financial reporting consequences of varying forms of executive compensation. Consistent with the transactional focus of our Tax group, our lawyers often draft the necessary documentation to implement these compensation arrangements and employment agreements that provide for these incentives.
Members of our Employment group work closely with members of our Tax group who are experienced in creating, designing and drafting benefit plans and arrangements including reviewing plan documents, summary plan descriptions, employee handbooks and insurance policies for clients. We advise clients with respect to cafeteria plans including dependent care, flexible benefits and premium payment plans. Members also provide advice regarding employee benefit issues in the context of corporate mergers and acquisitions as well as perform due diligence and COBRA compliance work in connection with corporate transactions and employer liquidations. We also provide legal advice to large 401(k) plans in the process of termination, often where the sponsor is in bankruptcy liquidation.
Representative Projects and Transactions
- Successful representation of car dealership in multi-day public hearing alleging religious discrimination (judgment for our client).
- Successful representation of a financial services company in defense of a claim of whistle-blowing (judgment for our client).
- General representation of one of the largest privately held businesses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts – including day to day advice, annual training of more than 2,500 employees, handbook development, representation in wage and hour audits and all manner of employment litigation.
- Representation of a large financial services holding company in its employment matters, including in connection with acquisitions and related challenges (restrictive covenants and employment agreement).
- Representation of pharmaceutical companies in matters related to restrictive covenants, employee investigations, and corporate restructuring.
- Providing strategic advice to clients as they try to grow their employee base or market share (both in terms of litigation risk and the implications of union contracts or activity).