Corey F. Higgins

Corey is a partner in the firm's Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Group. He represents both private- and public-sector employers. His practice covers all areas of labor and employment law, including collective bargaining, unfair labor practices, labor arbitration, employment discrimination, non-competition and non-disclosure agreements, unemployment appeals and various other employment-related issues. Corey also routinely counsels employers about the application of various Massachusetts and federal employment laws, including the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Massachusetts Earned Sick Leave Time Law, the Massachusetts Parental Leave Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN), the Massachusetts Plant Closing Law, the Massachusetts Independent Contractor law, and other Massachusetts wage and hour laws.

Corey was named a Massachusetts “Rising Star” by Boston magazine and Law & Politics in 2008-2012. In 2013, he was selected by the Worcester Business Journal as one of “40 under Forty” professionals honored for their professional excellence and community service.

Corey is also an alumnus of the Leadership Worcester class of 2015-2016.

Bar & Court Admissions

  • Massachusetts
  • Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court for Massachusetts
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • Villanova University School of Law JD (2002)
  • Lafayette College AB (1999)
  • Represented employers in enforcement and defense of non-competition and non-solicitation agreements
  • Represented employers in collective bargaining negotiations and grievance arbitrations
  • Represented employers before the Commonwealth's Division of Unemployment Assistance in matters concerning claims for unemployment filed by former employees
  • Represented employers before the Commonwealth's Department of Labor Relations in prosecution of unfair labor practices committed by unions and in defense of charges of prohibited practice filed by unions
  • Represented employers before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination and in state and federal courts in defense of charges of protected class discrimination
  • Represented a school district in defense of a grievance filed by a union alleging the school district's violation of a collective bargaining agreement by changing employee shift assignments
  • Regularly advise employers on matters relating to use of social media in the workplace
  • Routinely advise employers on new Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law
  • Advise employers on marijuana use in the workplace

Publications/Presentations

  • Charter Schools Legal Update: “Scope of Supreme Court Decision Allowing Coach to Pray on Field Limited,” Mirick O’Connell Client Alert, June 29, 2022
  • Massachusetts "POST" Commission Enjoined From Requiring Police Officers to Answer Certain Questions on New Questionnaire relating to Police Officer Recertification,” Mirick O’Connell Client Alert, June 29, 2022
  • "How to Navigate Mental Health Issues under the ADA," Massachusetts Associations of School Business Officials (May 18, 2022) (co-presenter)
  • "Massachusetts Legislature Enacts School Anti-Lunch Shaming Law," Mirick O'Connell Client Alert, December 2, 2021
  • What Employers Need to Know About President Biden’s ‘Path Out of the Pandemic’ COVID-19 Action Plan,” Mirick O’Connell Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Law Blog, September 17, 2021
  • What Employers Need to Know About President Biden’s ‘Path Out of the Pandemic’ COVID-19 Action Plan,” Mirick O’Connell Client Alert, September 14, 2021
  • Paid Family Medical Leave: Are We Having Fun Yet?” Mirick O’Connell Employment Law Webinar (April 29, 2021)
  • “Navigating the PFML Act,” North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, Human Resources Council (January 20, 2021)
  • Paid Family and Medical Leave is Right Around the Corner!,” Mirick O’Connell Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Law Blog, December 10, 2020
  • Massachusetts’ Paid Family & Medical Leave Act,” Mirick O’Connell Webinar (December 3, 2020) (co-presenter)
  • “Paid Family Medical Leave Act Update,” North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, Human Resources Council (September 22, 2020)
  • U.S. Department of Labor Issues Final Rule About How to Calculate ‘Rate of Pay’ Under Fair Labor Standards Act,” Mirick O’Connell Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Law Blog, December 19, 2019
  • A Friendly Reminder about Veterans’ Rights to Time Off for the Upcoming Veterans Day Holiday under the Massachusetts BRAVE Act,” Mirick O’Connell Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Law Blog, November 6, 2019
  • U.S. Supreme Court Deals Blow to Public Sector Unions in Janus v. AFSCME – Holds Agency Fees May Not Be Charged to Nonconsenting Public Sector Employees,” Mirick O’Connell Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Law Blog, June 27, 2018
  • Do Your COBRA Notices Comply with the Law? If Not, Your Organization Could be Susceptible to a Class Action Lawsuit,” Mirick O’Connell Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Law Blog, September 6, 2017
  • What Does the Trump Administration Mean for Employers? North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, Human Resources Council (January 18, 2017) (co-presenter)
  • USCIS Issues Updated Form I-9,” Mirick O’Connell Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Law Blog, November 22, 2016
  • “A Review of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Overtime Final Rule, A Reminder About Massachusetts Minimum Wage, and An Update on the New Transgender Law,” North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, Human Resources Council (November 16, 2016) (co-presenter)
  • Employers Take Notice: New OSHA Recordings and reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Regulations Taking Effect on August 10, 2016 and January 1, 2017, Respectively,” Mirick O’Connell Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Law Blog, August 4, 2016
  • “A Review of the U.S. Department of Labor’s new Overtime Final Rule and Its Affect on the Workplace,” North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, Human Resources Council (June 15, 2016)
  • “Update on Transgender Issues, Medical Marijuana in the Workplace, and the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law, North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, Human Resources Council (June 3, 2016)
  • “What Every Employer Should Know About OSHA,” Mirick O’Connell Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Seminar (April 2016) (co-presenter)
  • “Gender Identity, Transgender Status, and Diversity: The Latest Frontier in Today’s Workforce,” HRMA Perspectives, February 2016
  • “A Review of Final Regulations on the New Earned Sick Time Law: What Affected Employers Must Do to Be in Compliance,” (June 25 and July 16, 2015) (co-presenter)
  • “Managing Employee Leaves of Absence under the Family and Medical Leave Act,” Northeast Human Resources Association (April 27, 2015)
  • “Update on the National Labor Relations Board and Social Media,” North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, Human Resources Council (April 15, 2015)
  • “Update on Earned Sick Time, Parental Leave, and Domestic Violence Leave Laws: How Do These Law Changes Affect Time Off Policies?,” Mirick O’Connell Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Seminar (April 2015) (co-presenter)
  • “Social Media in the Workplace: Potential Risks and Considerations Associated with Both Employer and Employee Usage,” Northeast Human Resources Association (January 26, 2015)
  • “What Employers Need to Know About the New Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law, North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, Human Resources Council (January 16, 2015) (co-presenter)
  • “New Law Entitles All Employees to Earned Sick Time in Massachusetts: Employers Must Prepare Accordingly,” HRMA Perspectives, January 2015
  • “A Review of Paid Time Off and the Massachusetts Blue Laws,” North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, Human Resources Council (June 18, 2014) (co-presenter)
  • “A Review of the Hiring Process,” North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce Small Business Lunch N’ Learn (May 20, 2014)
  • “Some Recommended Best Practices for Avoiding Claims of Discrimination in Managing the Multigenerational Workforce,” HRMA Perspectives, January 2014
  • “What the Presidential Election Means for Non-Unionized Workplaces,” Mirick O’Connell Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Seminar (March 2013) (co-presenter)
  • “Employers Beware of Recent Adverse Decisions Against Companies Whose Employees Were Involved in Auto Accidents While Using Cell Phones While Driving,” HRMA Perspectives, January 2013
  • Fox 25 News Morning Show interview, “Fired For Facebook: Know Your Rights,” (August 14, 2012)
  • “What Every HR Manager Should Know,” Gould Construction Institute – Associated Builder and Contractors (October 2011) (co-presenter)
  • “Stepping Up Enforcement of Employer Violations for Disciplining Employees for Social Media Postings, NLRB Issues First Ever ALJ Decision Involving Facebook,” HRMA Perspectives, October 2011
  • “Review of Open Meeting Law and Executive Session Rules,” Mirick O’Connell Seminar, September 2011 (co-presenter)
  • “Health Coverage & Collective Bargaining: New Options, New Strategies,” Mirick O’Connell Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Seminar (July 2011) (co-presenter)
  • “Legal Challenges Presented by Social Media,” HRMA (April 2011) (co-presenter)
  • “Social Media: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” Mirick O’Connell Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Seminar (March 2011) (co-presenter)
  • “The Next Frontier: Charting a Course to Successfully Tackle Legal Issues Arising from the Use of Social Media Sites and Blogs in the Workplace,” Mirick O’Connell Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Seminar (July 2011) (co-presenter)
  • Mirick O’Connell Business Law e-Report, December 2009 (contributing author)
  • “Employers Who Misclassify Employees as Independent Contractors Beware,” HRMA Perspectives, October 2009
  • "Layoffs in a Down Economy," Mirick O'Connell Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Seminar (March 2009) (co-presenter)
  • Moderator, "Employment Agreements: When Are They Enforceable in Massachusetts?" Worcester County Bar Association Bench/Bar Day, Labor and Employment Law Section (March 2008)
  • "Recent Amendments to Americans with Disabilities Act Expands Law's Protections," HRMA Perspectives, November 2008
  • "Family and Medical Leave Act Amended to Provide Additional Leave Benefits for Members of Armed Services," HRMA Perspectives, February 2008
  • "Five-Year Gap in Employee's Periods of Service with Same Employer Not Bar to FMLA Eligibility," HRMA Perspectives, March 2007

Professional / Community Affiliations

  • American Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section
  • Massachusetts Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section
  • Worcester County Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section, past co-chair
  • Community Legal Aid of Central MA, board member

EEOC Issues Updated Guidance Regarding COVID Screening by Employers

On July 12, 2022, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued updated guidance for employers regarding COVID-19 testing and accommodations. Perhaps most impactful, the EEOC altered its position regarding employers testing employees for COVID-19 as part of a mandatory screening prior …

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Don’t Delay: MA Employers Are Now Strictly Liable for Three Times the Amount of Wages for Late Payments With No Safe Harbor for Paying in Full Prior to Suit!

Under the Massachusetts Wage Act (the “Wage Act”), if an employee voluntarily quits their employment, the employer must pay the employee their final wages, including any earned, unused vacation pay, on the employer’s next regular pay day. However, when an employee …

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The Times They Keep A-Changing: The New Illinois Restrictions on the Use of Non-Compete and Non-Solicit Agreements

The state-by-state non-compete reform movement keeps rolling – this time in the state of Illinois.  Effective January 1, 2022, the Illinois Freedom to Work Act has dramatically changed the landscape for employers in that state who desire to use non-compete …

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OSHA Withdraws COVID-19 ETS, But Signals That It Is Moving Forward with Final Rule

On January 25, 2022, OSHA announced the withdrawal COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (the “ETS”). In the announcement, OSHA stated that although it “is withdrawing the [ETS] as an enforceable emergency temporary standard, [it] is not withdrawing the …

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Supreme Court Stays OSHA’s COVID ETS

The OSHA COVID ETS is once again stayed. On January 13, 2022, the United States Supreme Court stayed OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard which required that employers with 100+ employees require employees to either (a) become vaccinated against COVID-19; or (b) …

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The District of Columbia’s Aggressive Ban on Non-Compete Agreements Likely to Take Effect in 2022

In December 2020, the District of Columbia Council passed and in January 2021, Mayor Muriel Bowser signed legislation entitled the Ban on Non-Compete Agreements Amendment Act of 2020 (the “DC Act”).  While the effective date of the Act was delayed …

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Don’t Forget! Minimum Wage Rates in Massachusetts Increase, Effective January 1, 2022

The minimum wage in Massachusetts will increase from $13.50 to $14.25 an hour, effective January 1, 2022. In addition, the minimum wage for tipped employees who make more than $20/month in tips will increase from $5.55/hour to $6.15/hour. Employers may …

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CDC Shortens COVID-19 Related Isolation and Quarantine Period, and Distinguishes Between Vaccinated Individuals With/Without Booster

On December 27, 2021, the CDC issued updated guidance which significantly shortens the periods of isolation and quarantine it recommends for COVID-related diagnosis and/or exposure. Specifically, the CDC now recommends that individuals who test positive for COVID-19 (regardless of vaccination …

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Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Adopts FLSA’s Joint Employer Test

Jonathan R. Sigel and Ashlyn E. Dowd On December 13, 2021, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) considered whether the so-called “ABC Test” set forth in M.G.L.c. 149, §148B (“Section 148B”) should be applied to determine whether an entity is …

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OSHA Exercising Discretion in Enforcing the ETS Until January 10

As posted here, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the stay of the Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (the “ETS”) issued by OSHA. The Department of Labor announced on Saturday, December 18 that OSHA is exercising enforcement discretion …

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