Is the East Coast the New West Coast When it Comes to Employment Laws?

Monday 3:15 – 4:15 PM

Session Description

This interactive session will review the latest legislative activity both at the federal and state levels as well as crucial developments that will affect your workplace and your responsibilities. The discussion will highlight key legislation that is currently placing heavy burdens on employers and offer practical advice on how to prepare for coming changes. In this session, we will address:

  • Understanding the United States Department of Labor’s changes to the overtime regulations and state minimum wage requirements
  • Navigating the intersecting laws relating to marijuana in the workplace
  • New England developments in sexual harassment policies and trainings
  • Additional legislation on the horizon and how to prepare for the challenges ahead


Alice Kokodis

Alice A. Kokodis represents employers in a broad range of employment law matters, with a particular focus in the financial services industry. She has litigated claims pending in more than fifteen states and appears before FINRA with respect to employment related matters brought against brokerage firms and other financial institutions. Alice also has extensive experience representing hospitality, retail and technology employers.

In servicing her clients, Alice often acts as an extension of their legal and management team. She advises clients at every stage of the employment relationship, ranging from the initial hiring process, to every facet of daily operations, including compensation, performance management, leaves of absence and reasonable accommodation requests, and employee terminations.

Alice’s litigation experience includes regular appearances before state and federal courts, agencies and arbitral forums on claims related to:

  • Discrimination (race, gender, religion, national origin, age, disability, gender identity, e.g. sexual orientation)
  • Whistleblower and retaliation
  • Contract and quasi-contract
  • Leaves and accommodations
  • Defamation
  • Wage and hour

In addition to litigating and arbitrating claims, Alice is on the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination approved list for remediation, having graduated from the MCAD Certified Train-the-Trainer Program for Preventing Harassment and Discrimination in the Workplace. Alice conducts compliance trainings for human resources professionals, executives and employees on state and federal laws related to discrimination, harassment, accommodations and paid sick leave laws. In the wake of #MeToo, Alice also provides training to employers on conducting effective and thorough workplace investigations.

Alice is committed to pro bono activities and has dedicated her time as pro bono counsel to a Boston area nonprofit that provides programs and services aimed at preventing suicide.

Craig Dickinson

Craig T. Dickinson collaborates with clients to identify and avoid legal problems with their employees, and to resolve them efficiently when they do arise. Craig works with clients in a range of businesses, including hospital and healthcare, financial services, retail, restaurant and hospitality, distribution and logistics, and manufacturing and technology. He has in-depth experience in the following areas:

Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation

  • Advising clients on potential discrimination, harassment and retaliation issues to avoid Title VII, ADA, ADEA, CFEPA
  • and FMLA related claims
  • Training managers and staff on discrimination, harassment and retaliation topics
  • Representing clients in administrative, arbitration, and court proceedings
  • Secured dismissal of cases involving race discrimination, gender discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, age
  • discrimination, disability discrimination, and retaliation claims
  • Secured defense verdicts and arbitration decisions in cases involving sexual harassment, gender discrimination,
  • race discrimination, and retaliation claims
  • Negotiated settlement of dozens of cases involving wide range of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation claims

Disability and Leave of Absence

  • Advising clients on complex accommodation and leave of absence issues
  • Representing clients in administrative, arbitration and court proceedings
  • Secured dismissal of cases involving disability discrimination and retaliation claims
  • Settled dozens of cases involving wide range of failure to accommodate, disability discrimination, and related
  • retaliation claims

Employment Contracts and Noncompete Agreements

  • Advising clients on entry into and dissolution of employment and non-compete agreements
  • Secured defense ruling in arbitration brought by physician against hospital in breach of contract claim
  • Negotiated mutually acceptable resolution of breach of employment and noncompete claims

Jillian Folger-Hartwell

Jillian Folger-Hartwell’s practice focuses exclusively on representing management, litigating and advising on labor and employment law matters. Jillian devotes a substantial portion of her practice to compliance, especially as it relates
to managing leaves of absence under the Family and Medical Leave Act, disability issues under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and compliance with other similar state laws. She has deep knowledge of the Rhode Island Healthy and Safe Families and Workplaces Act, the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time law, and other paid sick leave laws, nationally, in addition to defending employers on a myriad of employment-related issues, including:

  • Wage and hour compliance
  • Hiring and firing policies
  • Employee terminations
  • Noncompetition agreements
  • Executive and other employment agreements
  • Employment handbooks and manuals

Jillian has extensive experience representing employers in the healthcare, higher education and hospitality industry settings. She also defends employers, in court and agency settings, against discrimination claims based on race, sex, age, religion, national origin and disability and other protected classes, and handles matters related to:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act
  • The Rhode Island Fair Employment Practices Act
  • Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 151(b)
  • The National Labor Relations Act

Jillian’s litigation experience extends to claims for violations of noncompetition and confidentiality agreements, misappropriation of trade secrets, and unfair competition claims. She also represents unionized employers in grievance arbitrations and related matters.

Jillian serves on the faculty of the National Business Institute and regularly speaks at seminars and conferences on labor and employment topics. She routinely conducts in-house training on employment-related topics, including anti- harassment and #metoo training seminars.

Previously, Jillian worked for the American Arbitration Association, managing arbitration proceedings for a variety of labor clients. After law school, she was a law clerk to Justice Robert G. Flanders, Jr. of the Rhode Island Supreme Court.