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

  • “Paid Family Medical Leave Act Update,” North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, Human Resources Council, September 22, 2020 (presenter)
  • What Does the Trump Administration Mean for Employers? North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, Human Resources Council, January 18, 2017 (co-presenter)
  • “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)
  • “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, (presenter)
  • “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 (presenter)
  • “Update on the National Labor Relations Board and Social Media,” North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, Human Resources Council, April 15, 2015 (presenter)
  • “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 (presenter)
  • “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 (presenter)
  • “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)
  • Contributing Author, Mirick O’Connell Business Law e-Report, December 2009
  • “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

Employers Must Ensure Compliance with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act as they Re-Open and Recall Employees from Furlough

The U.S. Department of Labor recently issued new Questions and Answers regarding its interpretation of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”). In relevant part, the DOL made clear that if an employer is calling employees back from furlough, the …

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Update: Families First Coronavirus Act

The Department of Labor issued new guidance over the weekend regarding the Families First Act, including important definitions and clarifications.  I broke down the new guidance into the overall framework of the new EFMLA and EPSLA in this recorded webinar. …

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Department of Homeland Security Relaxes Standards for Verifying Work Authorization

  As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Homeland Security has relaxed its standards requiring in-person review of work authorization documents required to complete the I-9 form. Specifically, if an employer has no employees physically present at a …

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Congress Passes Families First Coronavirus Response Act

On March 18, 2020, Congress passed a bill entitled “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” (the “Act”) aimed at alleviating several major burdens families are currently facing as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The Act, which goes into effect on …

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Executive Order Loosens Open Meeting Law Requirements During Coronavirus Emergency

Governor Baker signed an Executive Order relieving government boards and committees from compliance with certain Open Meeting Law requirements during the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency. The Order gives public bodies greater leeway to hold closed-door and remote meetings, so that government agencies …

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The Coronavirus and Its Impact on the Workplace

With cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) significantly on the rise, the World Health Organization declaring the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, and Governor Baker recently declaring a state of emergency in the Commonwealth, employers should be prepared to address a number …

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NLRB Issues Employer-Friendly “Joint Employer” Definition

On February 25, 2020, the National Labor Relations Board (the “NLRB”) announced the final rule governing “joint employer” status under the National Labor Relations Act. The determination of whether an entity is a “joint employer” with a direct employer for purposes …

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Act Requiring the Hands-Free Use of Mobile Devices Went into Effect Yesterday

On November 25, 2019, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts approved Chapter 122 of the Acts of 2019. Under this Act, operators of motor vehicles cannot use handheld electronic devices while driving. The Act specifically holds that no operator of a motor vehicle shall …

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U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Updates Joint Guidance on the Applicability of FERPA and HIPAA to Student Records

The U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently issued an update to their Joint Guidance on the Applicability of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Health Insurance Portability and …

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U.S. Department of Labor Issues Final Rule on Joint Employer Regulations Under the Fair Labor Standards Act

On January 12, 2020, the United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued its final rule under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) governing joint employer status, which significantly narrows the scope of joint employer liability. Under the prior Administration, the DOL …

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