Rhode Island Supreme Court Clarifies ‘Reasonable Grounds’ Standard for Employment-Based Drug Testing

Like many states, Rhode Island has enacted a statute that governs the use of drug tests in the employment context. Under Rhode Island’s drug-testing statute, R.I. Gen. Laws § 28-6.5-1(a)(1), an employer may require an employee to submit to a drug test only if it has “reasonable grounds to believe based on specific aspects of the employee’s job performance and specific contemporaneous documented observations, concerning the employee’s appearance, behavior or speech that the employee may be under the influence of a controlled substance, which may be impairing his or her ability to perform his or her job.” Until recently, no appellate decision had addressed whether an employer had “reasonable grounds” to ask an employee to take a drug test.

Massachusetts Nonsolicitation Case Highlights Importance of Choice-of-Law Provisions

Many employers have national and international workforces. When entering into contracts with employees, inclusion of a choice-of-law provision is important for determining what jurisdiction’s laws will apply if one of the parties breaches the agreement. While Massachusetts generally honors contracting parties’ choice as to which law will govern their relationship, there are exceptions to that general rule. In NuVasive, Inc. v. Day, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit enforced a Delaware choice of law provision against a Massachusetts employee and rejected his arguments that one of Massachusetts’s recognized exceptions should apply.

State-Law Ramifications of the Supreme Court’s Decision in Fort Bend County, Texas v. Davis: Massachusetts and Rhode Island as Case Studies

In Fort Bend County, Texas v. Davis, the Supreme Court of the United States held that the requirement in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act that an employee file a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission before commencing an action in court is not jurisdictional.

Massachusetts High Court Addresses Investors’ and Boards of Directors’ Liability Under the Wage Act

Investors and members of boards of directors concerned about liability under the Massachusetts Wage Act, M.G.L. c. 149, § 148, can breathe a little easier after the Supreme Judicial Court’s (SJC) decision in Segal v. Genitrix, LLC, No. SJC-12291 (December 28, 2017). In Segal, the SJC refused to hold investors and individual directors individually liable for a company’s failure to pay wages to an employee because they were not empowered to act as “agents having the management” of the company.

Massachusetts Federal Court Decision Highlights the Importance of FMLA Training and Compliance

Navigating leave issues can be difficult: There are several statutes that provide employees with different, yet sometimes overlapping rights, and every situation is unique. Employers must ensure that members of management and those responsible for addressing leave situations are aware of the applicable legal requirements and trained on them.

Can Employers Discipline Employees for “Self-Help Discovery”? Massachusetts Decision Raises More Questions Than Answers

Employers know all too well that employees sometimes help themselves to documents the employer would like to keep confidential. This is precisely why many employers require employees to sign confidentiality agreements and often impose discipline, including termination, for taking confidential documents. But what if an employee who has filed a discrimination suit against his or her employer takes confidential documents to assist in the case?

Rhode Island Trial Court Decision Could Spell Trouble for Employers Seeking to Enforce Restrictive Covenants Against Healthcare Employees

One of an employer’s first steps in a suit against a former employee to enforce a restrictive covenant is to seek a preliminary injunction to prevent the employee from continuing to violate his or her contractual obligations. But Rhode Island’s healthcare employers may no longer have that option with respect to employees who provide patient care, as a result of Judge Michael A. Silverstein’s recent novel decision in Medicine and Long Term Care Associates, LLC v. Khurshid.