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
- Oversaw Title IX complaint and investigation process for public school client
- 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.
- “OCR Issues New Fact Sheet on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Activities Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” Mirick O’Connell Client Alert, February 8, 2023
- “Recent Court Decision Clarifies the Massachusetts Independent Contractor Law Does Not Apply to Public Employers,” Mirick O’Connell Client Alert, September 26, 2022
- “Recent Federal Court Case Changes Rules on Authority Over Voluntary Transfers,” Mirick O’Connell Client Alert, June 21, 2022
- “U.S. Department of Education Announces Timeline for Revisions to Title IX Regulations,” Mirick O’Connell Client Alert, December 14, 2021
- “Juneteenth and the School Year Calendar,” Mirick O’Connell Client Alert, May 4, 2021
- “Extended Closure due to COVID-19 Raises Multiple Issues for Schools,” Mirick O’Connell Client Alert, March 30, 2020
She has published a number of articles for the newsletter of the Human Resources Management Association for Central Massachusetts, including the following:
- "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
Navigating Pay Transparency Laws: What Employers Need to Know
Over the last several years, in an effort to close the gender pay gap, several states and localities across the country have enacted pay transparency laws that, generally, require employers of certain sizes with employees in those locations to disclose …[ load webpage to read more ]
Private Employers Take Note: Overbroad Non-Disparagement & Confidentiality Restrictions in Severance Agreements Run Afoul of the National Labor Relations Act
As many employers well know, it is customary to include non-disparagement and confidentiality provisions in severance agreements that prohibit departing employees from (i) making disparaging, critical, or otherwise detrimental comments concerning the employer and (ii) disclosing information concerning the substance, …[ load webpage to read more ]
Is Your Company in Compliance With Executive Order 13706?
In September 2015, Executive Order 13706 was signed, requiring employers that enter into covered contracts with the federal government to provide covered employees with up to seven days (56 hours) of paid sick leave annually, including paid leave allowing for …[ load webpage to read more ]
SJC Finds Public Meeting Comment Restrictions Unconstitutional
Government boards and committees should review their public comment policies following a decision this week by the Supreme Judicial Court holding that a “civility code” violated the Massachusetts Constitution’s Declaration of Rights and the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act. In Barron v. …[ load webpage to read more ]
The FTC’s Proposed Ban On Noncompetes – Predictions
Following his election, President Biden issued “The Biden Plan for Strengthening Worker Organizing, Collective Bargaining and Unions,” in which he promised to work with Congress to “eliminate all non-compete agreements” with very limited exceptions. While a bipartisan bill, the Workforce …[ load webpage to read more ]
Update Policies to Comply with the Massachusetts CROWN Act
At the end of October 2022, the Massachusetts Act Prohibiting Discrimination Based on Natural and Protective Hairstyles (the “CROWN Act”) went into effect. The CROWN Act expands the definition of “race” under Chapter 151B to include “traits historically associated with …[ load webpage to read more ]
2023 Changes in Massachusetts Employment Laws
Beginning January 1, 2023, changes to the Massachusetts Minimum Wage Law, retail premium pay, and Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Law take effect. Changes to Minimum Wage & Premium Pay Changes to Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) …[ load webpage to read more ]
Employers Must Remember Their Obligations under the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act
The Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (the “Act”), which went into effect on April 1, 2018, amended Massachusetts General Law c. 151B to include “pregnancy or a condition related to pregnancy, including, but not limited to, lactation, or the need …[ load webpage to read more ]
DOL Proposes to Revert the Independent Contractor Analysis to the Employee-Friendly Totality-Of-The-Circumstances Analysis
On October 11, 2022, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued a new proposed rule, entitled “Independent Contractor Status Under the Fair Labor Standards Act,” for determining whether an individual is an independent contractor or an employee under the Fair Labor …[ load webpage to read more ]
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 …[ load webpage to read more ]