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:
“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)
- "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 COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave – Benefits Extended
As employers know, in May 2021, Massachusetts passed a law, “An Act providing for Massachusetts COVID-19 emergency paid sick leave,” which requires employers to provide employees up to 40 hours of paid leave for reasons related to the effects of …[ load webpage to read more ]
EEOC Recognizes “Long COVID” as a Disability
Last week, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the “EEOC”) formally recognized that “long COVID” may be a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. “Long COVID” occurs when an individual had COVID-19 and continues to suffer from a …[ load webpage to read more ]
What Employers Need to Know About President Biden’s “Path Out of the Pandemic” COVID-19 Action Plan
Last Thursday, President Biden announced a broad sweeping, 6-part COVID-19 Action Plan entitled, “Path Out of the Pandemic” (President Biden’s COVID-19 Plan | The White House) aimed at combatting the spread of COVID-19 and its variants. Below are a few of …[ load webpage to read more ]
COVID-19 and Masks: Updated Guidance from OSHA and Massachusetts
On the heels of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (“CDC”) revised guidance that fully-vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks in many indoor or outdoor settings, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) announced May 17th …[ load webpage to read more ]
US Department of Labor Withdraws Independent Contractor Rule
On May 6, 2021, President Biden’s administration halted implementation of a rule published under the Trump administration which would have made it easier for businesses to classify workers as independent contractors instead of employees. The Trump regulation was supported by …[ load webpage to read more ]
Employer Tax Credits for Employee Paid Leave Due to COVID-19 Applies to Government Entities
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently published guidance defining “Eligible Employer” for purposes of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) tax credits. Under ARPA, certain employers can claim refundable tax credits that reimburse them for the costs of providing …[ load webpage to read more ]
COVID-19 Mandates in the Workplace
As we pass the one year anniversary of the COVID-19 Pandemic, new rules regarding COVID-19 mandates in the workplace are imminent. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) is preparing an Emergency Temporary Standard (the “Emergency Standard”) to better protect …[ load webpage to read more ]
American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and the anticipated Massachusetts COVID-19 Emergency Paid Leave
In lieu of our annual Employment Law Seminar, Mirick O’Connell’s Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits attorneys are hosting a Spring Webinar Series focusing on hot topics in employment law. Attorney Kim Rozak and I presented the second program in the …[ load webpage to read more ]
DOL Publishes Model Notices for COBRA Subsidies
As we previously reported, on March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARPA”) into law, which includes a COBRA premium assistance program. Pursuant to ARPA, the Department of Labor (DOL) was instructed to issue model notices …[ load webpage to read more ]
American Rescue Plan Act Contains COBRA Subsidies
On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARPA” or the “Act”) into law. The Act creates a six-month subsidy period, from April 1, 2021 to September 30, 2021, during which individuals who lost health …[ load webpage to read more ]