Sharon P. Siegel
Sharon is of counsel in the firm’s Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Group. She advises private and public sector employers on a broad range of human resource-related issues, including the hiring and termination of employees, leaves of absence, disciplinary matters and reductions in force. She counsels management on Massachusetts and federal employment laws, including the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Americans With Disabilities Act and Massachusetts wage and hour laws. Sharon frequently assists clients with the drafting of job applications, offer letters, employee handbooks and personnel policies, as well as employment agreements and severance agreements.
Sharon has particular expertise in the area of collective bargaining and has successfully negotiated many contracts with unions representing police officers, firefighters, teachers and other public sector bargaining unit employees. She represents clients through the grievance and arbitration process and defends them against unfair labor practice charges before the Massachusetts Department of Labor Relations.
Sharon is also a member of the firm’s Public Education Law Group. She advises school districts on student discipline matters, student handbooks, and student record issues. She also provides school clients with advice concerning personnel matters, including workplace misconduct investigations, managing employees with medical conditions, and the non-renewal of teachers without professional teacher status. In addition, she provides school committees advice on general governance issues, including compliance with the Open Meeting Law and executive session requirements, the state conflict of interest law, and the public records law. Sharon is a member of the Massachusetts Council of School Attorneys and the National School Boards Association Council of School Attorneys.
Bar & Court Admissions
- U.S. District Court for Massachusetts
- University of Maine School of Law JD (1993)
- College of the Holy Cross BA (1987)
- Represented clients in wage and hour investigations by Attorney General’s Office
- Successfully defended municipality at Department of Labor Relations against unfair labor practice charge by police union alleging failure to bargain in good faith
- Obtained lack of probable cause finding from MCAD against police officer’s claim of discrimination based on disability and military status
- Obtained dismissal from Department of Labor Relations of unfair labor practice charge by union alleging school district denied employee access to union representation during investigatory process
- Obtained dismissal from MCAD of claim by teacher alleging discrimination on basis of age
- Represented school districts in investigations by US Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights against allegations of discrimination on basis of disability
- Conducted workplace investigations involving allegations of employee misconduct
- Negotiated numerous collective bargaining agreements on behalf of public sector clients
- Represented public sector clients in employee termination hearings
- Represented public and private sector clients in protracted negotiations involving employee separations
- Sharon has given presentations on the Fair Labor Standards Act, employer record keeping and retention, the contingent workforce, conducting investigations in the workplace, vicarious employer liability for unlawful harassment by supervisors, employee handbooks, the hiring and firing process, privacy in the workplace, discipline of teachers and other school personnel, and student discipline.
- She has published a number of articles for the newsletter of the Human Resources Management Association for Central Massachusetts, including the following:
“Extended Closure due to COVID-19 Raises Multiple Issues for Schools,” Mirick O’Connell Client Alert (March 30, 2020)
- "U.S. Department of Labor Reminds Employers: Military Service Counts toward FMLA Eligibility"
- "Employer Obligations With Respect to Military Leave"
- "Non-Union Employees' Rights at Investigatory Interviews"
- "Investigating Complaints of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace"
- "Recent Amendments to the Massachusetts Wage Enforcement Laws"
- "The New EEO-1 Reporting Requirements and Their Impact on Data Collection by Employers"
- "Same-Sex Marriage and What It Means for Employers in Massachusetts"
- "Burden of Proof Shifts to Employers in Age Discrimination Cases"
Professional / Community Affiliations
- Massachusetts Council of School Attorneys
- National School Boards Association Council of School Attorneys
- American Bar Association
- Massachusetts Bar Association
- Worcester County Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section; co-chair, Labor and Employment Law Section, 2006-2007
Massachusetts Federal Court Denies Motion to Dismiss Defamation Claim After Employee is Escorted Out of Work Following Termination
By: Jonathan Sigel, Esq. and Ashlyn Dowd, Esq. The Federal District Court of Massachusetts recently denied a defendant company’s motion to dismiss a defamation claim following the termination of the company’s Vice President. The plaintiff former employee, Sandra Madden, was …[ load webpage to read more ]
EEOC Opinion Letter: Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA)
On January 14, 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) finally issued an opinion letter addressing the long standing issue of whether information about non-U.S. citizen employees working outside of the United States must be included in the information disclosure …[ load webpage to read more ]
Link Fixed! Minimum Wage Increases to $13.50 Per Hour While Holiday and Sunday Premium Pay for Retail Employees Continues Down The Path To Abolishment
As of January 1, 2021, the minimum wage for regular employees (i.e., non-tipped minimum wage employees) increased to $13.50 per hour. The minimum wage is scheduled to increase twice more, to $14.25 and $15.00 per hour, on January 1, 2022 …[ load webpage to read more ]
President Biden Issues Executive Order Regarding Workplace Discrimination
That was quick! On his first day in office, President Joseph Biden issued the Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation. With the Executive Order, President Biden instructed each federal agency …[ load webpage to read more ]
COVID-19 Related Updates for Massachusetts Employers
New COVID Relief Bill On Monday, December 21, 2020 the United States Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, which includes several provisions aimed at providing COVID-19 relief (the “Relief Bill”). As public employers and employers with less than 500 …[ load webpage to read more ]
EEOC Releases Guidance on Mandatory Vaccinations
With Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine receiving emergency approval from the FDA, and emergency approval for Moderna’s vaccine expected shortly, many employers are wondering whether they can require employees to receive the vaccine once it becomes available to the general public. On December …[ load webpage to read more ]
Massachusetts’ Sector Specific Workplace Safety Standards for Office Spaces Updated
Governor Baker’s administration updated Massachusetts’ Sector Specific Workplace Specific Safety Standards for Office Spaces to Address COVID-19 (the “Standards”). While all employers operating office spaces are advised to review the complete Standards, key provisions are: Face coverings: workers and visitors …[ load webpage to read more ]
Paid Family and Medical Leave is Right Around the Corner!
Beginning on January 1, 2021, covered individuals in the Commonwealth will be eligible to begin using Paid Family and Medical Leave (“PFML”). Under the law – which was enacted in 2018 as part of the so-called “Grand Bargain” between the …[ load webpage to read more ]
What does the December 8th Rollback Mean for Massachusetts Employers?
On December 8, 2020, Governor Charles Baker issued COVID-19 Order No. 58, which returns all of Massachusetts to Step 1 of Phase 3 of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan, effective December 13, 2020. As a result, all “Phase 3, Step 2” …[ load webpage to read more ]
PFML Certification Form for a Serious Health Condition
This week, the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave published a Certification of a Serious Health Condition form, which must be completed when an individual requests medical or family leave under the new Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave …[ load webpage to read more ]