Law and the Workplace
Mark W. Batten

Mark W. Batten

Partner

Mark Batten is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the Class & Collective Actions Group.

Mark represents employers nationwide at all stages of complex employment litigation, including class and collective actions on wage and hour matters and discrimination claims. Ranked by Chambers USA, Mark is hailed as “a fabulous lawyer, handling interesting and complex cases.” Clients “highly recommend him to anyone seeking litigation counsel in the Boston area,” as well as note “he is responsive, pragmatic and team-oriented, and offers excellent legal advice.”

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Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Employers in Upholding Arbitration Agreements Containing Class Action Waivers

On May 21, 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis that employers can require employees to arbitrate disputes with the employer individually and waive their right to pursue or participate in class or collective actions against their employer. Ruling 5-4 in favor of an employer’s right to … Continue Reading

SCOTUS:  Employers Can Compel Individual Arbitration of Wage and Hour Claims

  In its eagerly-awaited opinion in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, the U.S. Supreme Court held on May 21 that class action waivers in arbitration agreements between employers and employees do not violate the National Labor Relations Act.  The opinion resolves a split among federal circuits, and reiterates—once again—the strong federal policy favoring arbitration. While … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Modifies “Ban the Box” Law

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker recently signed Senate Bill No. 2371, “An Act Relative to Criminal Justice Reform,” into law. The law will go into effect October 13, 2018.  Among the Act’s extensive criminal justice reform provisions are several important modifications to the “Ban the Box” anti-discrimination laws, outlined below, which will further restrict Massachusetts employers’ … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Attorney General Issues Guidance on Updated Pay Equity Law

The Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General recently issued guidance on the new amendments to the Massachusetts Equal Pay Act (“MEPA”), effective July 1, 2018. Although the guidance is extremely detailed and should be reviewed in full, employers should take note of the following details: Coverage The MEPA and amendments are substantial in scope, covering … Continue Reading

Are You Prepared for the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act to Go Into Effect on April 1?

As the April 1, 2018 effective date of the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (“MPWFA”) draws near, it is time to ensure that company policies and practices are in compliance with the new law. Within the last few months, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (“MCAD”) has issued interpretative guidance (including initial guidance issued January 23, … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Legislature Considers Prohibiting Mandatory Arbitration of Employment Claims

A bill prohibiting mandatory arbitration of employment-related claims, introduced in late 2017 before the Massachusetts House of Representatives, continues to gain traction in early 2018.  The bill (House Bill 4058), which proposes legislation that would prohibit enforcement of mandatory arbitration agreements “relating to a claim of discrimination, non-payment of wages or benefits, retaliation, harassment or … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Becomes Law

On July 27, 2017 Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed into law the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (“MPWFA”), a bill which had unanimously passed in both the House and Senate. As discussed previously, the MPWFA (formerly H. 3816) ensures that pregnant workers or workers with pregnancy-related conditions (such as nursing) receive reasonable accommodations and protection … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Permits Disability Discrimination Claims Based on Medical Marijuana Use

On July 17, 2017, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in Barbuto v. Advantage Sales & Marketing, LLC, that an employee using medical marijuana in treatment of a chronic illness may qualify for protection against disability discrimination under state law, even though the use of marijuana remains illegal under federal law. While the decision addresses … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Passes Pay Equity Bill Restricting Employers From Inquiring Into Applicants’ Wage History

Massachusetts has passed an amendment to the state’s equal pay law aimed at strengthening prohibitions on gender discrimination in the payment of wages for comparable work. The new bill, signed by Governor Charlie Baker (R) this week and effective starting in July 2018, provides a definition of “comparable work” for purposes of analyzing pay equity … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Decision Resuscitates EEOC’s Gender Discrimination Suit Against Sterling Jewelers

This week, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit sharply limited employers’ ability to challenge the adequacy of the EEOC’s pre-suit investigations. The Court issued an opinion vacating a district court decision granting summary judgment to Sterling Jewelers Inc. (“Sterling”) on sex discrimination claims filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Revives Putative Collective Action

On July 23, 2015, the Second Circuit, in Lola v. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, Tower Legal Staffing, Inc., revived a putative collective action brought by David Lola, a contract attorney, against Skadden and Tower Legal Staffing, Inc., alleging violations of the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.  The Second Circuit … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Adopts The “Highly Individualized” Primary Beneficiary Test In Unpaid Intern Lawsuits

On July 2nd, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued its decisions in Glatt et al. v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc. et al. and Wang et al.  v. The Hearst Corp., the two unpaid intern lawsuits heard in tandem by the court on January 30, 2015.  The court’s opinion in Glatt, … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Paid Sick Leave: New Regulations

The Massachusetts Attorney General recently released final regulations clarifying the Earned Sick Time law, a ballot initiative that passed in November 2014 guaranteeing employees paid sick leave. As discussed in our previous post on the new law, beginning July 1, 2015, employers with more than 11 employees must allow their employees to accrue 1 hour … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Governor Signs Parental Leave Bill

On January 7, 2015, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law a Parental Leave bill, which significantly amends Mass. Gen. L. ch. 149, section 105D.  Before the amendment, the Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act (“MMLA”) provided eight weeks of job-protected leave to female employees for the birth or adoption of a child. Now, however, among other expansive … Continue Reading

Massachusetts AG Advises on Domestic Violence Leave Act

The Massachusetts Attorney General recently issued an Advisory regarding the new Domestic Violence Leave Act, which was passed on August 8, 2014. The Advisory helped to clarify some of the requirements of the Act: Because the Act broadly states that it applies to employers with 50 or more employees, it was previously unclear whether the … Continue Reading

The Ninth Circuit Provides Employers With An Assist In Dismissing FLSA Actions

Employers have long known that the Supreme Court’s decisions in Twombly and Iqbal provide them with a powerful weapon in moving to dismiss broadly worded complaints filled with conclusory allegations but little factual detail.   But courts are only just beginning to apply these higher pleading standards to FLSA claims for minimum wage and overtime. On … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Passes Paid Sick Leave Law

On November 4, 2014, Massachusetts joined the growing list of states to guarantee paid sick leave for employees. According to the new law (a ballot question passed by voters), employees may use earned sick leave to care for a physical or mental illness, to care for sick family members, to attend medical appointments, or to … Continue Reading

Paid Sick Time on the Horizon in New England

Rhode Island has recently followed Connecticut in mandating paid sick time, and now bills pending in Massachusetts and Vermont may spread the requirement through New England.  New York and the District of Columbia, as well as a number of cities, have also recently adopted similar requirements, and paid sick leave bills are pending, or campaigns … Continue Reading

Massachusetts and Vermont Paid Sick Time

  Bills pending in Massachusetts and Vermont mandating paid sick time follow the precedent set by Rhode Island and Connecticut, potentially spreading the requirement through New England. New York and the District of Columbia recently also adopted similar requirements, and paid sick leave bills are pending, or campaigns to require them are under way, in 18 … Continue Reading
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