More Than 30 Years Of Employment Law Experience
Block & Roos, LLP, provides counsel to Massachusetts employees and employers, helping clients navigate the complex world of laws, regulations and common law rights affecting the workplace. Boston attorney Jessica Block brings more than 30 years of experience to this field and has developed a reputation for prompt, fair resolutions. Because Jessica frequently acts as an arbitrator in the American Arbitration Association’s Employment Tribunal, she brings to her employment matters a unique perspective on how a judge might evaluate a case. Resolution of employment matters handled by Jessica often includes creative ideas for moving forward.
Jessica handles the following types of employment law matters, among others:
- Executive employment agreements
- Noncompete agreements and other restrictive covenants
- Executive compensation, separation and change of control agreements
- Wage and hour disputes and unpaid commissions
- Employment discrimination and harassment — age, race, national origin, sexual harassment, sexual orientation, disability, etc.
- FMLA and ADA litigation — employee leave, disability accommodations, advice regarding the interactive process
- Retaliation claims — common law and statutory whistleblower claims
- Employment consulting — proactive counsel to resolve disputes and avert lawsuits
- Other employment-related litigation and advice (breach of contract, terminations in violation of public policy
- Drafting employee handbooks and policies
- Neutral internal investigations
- Litigation over disability insurance
Striving To Resolve Employment Disputes Quickly And Efficiently With Professional Reputations Intact
Jessica Block analyzes the legal and factual issues to develop a course of action most likely to achieve desirable outcomes. Whether representing an employee or an employer, she understands that achieving a prompt and private resolution usually is in the best interests of her clients. The costs, uncertainty and public nature of litigation frequently make this option unattractive for employee and employer alike. Whenever possible and appropriate, she strives to reach agreement through negotiation or more formal alternative dispute resolution such as mediation. She also offers behind-the-scenes employment counseling to improve communication and ensure that litigation does not ensue.
Where litigation is required, Jessica prosecutes or defends the case vigorously and strategically, usually leading to pre-trial resolution. For instance, she moved for summary judgment on a plaintiff’s contract claim after minimal discovery, and after winning that motion, she promptly obtained for the client the full amount of his incentive compensation, including interest and a substantial settlement of his discrimination claim. In another case, after prevailing over multiple motions to dismiss, the day before the hearings before an administrative agency, she obtained a six-figure settlement for her client. In an employment matter where she represented the company, after briefing the issues before the administrative agency and thus demonstrating the weaknesses in the other side’s claims, she proposed mediation and the matter settled for less than the cost of defending the case in court.
Jessica has secured many five- and six-figure settlements for employees often without going to court, and has worked with opposing counsel to develop transition packages to maximize the chances that her clients will become re-employed quickly. On behalf of employers, she has provided counsel that prompted a fair resolution and avoided litigation. When litigation has been filed against her employer-client, she has developed litigation strategies that led to quick dispositions of the cases.
Arbitration Of Employment Disputes
In addition to representing employees and employers, Jessica regularly serves as an arbitrator in employment matters. As a neutral on the Employment Panel of the American Arbitration Association (AAA) since 2004, Jessica has arbitrated a broad range of employment matters, including: executive compensation disputes (stock grants and options and other equity interests, incentive compensation, severance related to terminations without cause) commission disputes, disputes over the exercise of “good reason” rights in change of control agreements; noncompete violation disputes; discrimination claims (race, gender and age) claims arising out of the Family and Medical Leave Act and other federal and state legislation, disputes over classification (employee versus independent contractor) in a franchise system. Her experience as an arbitrator adds depth and perspective to her employment practice. Each year she authors a chapter on employment arbitration for an annual publication, Chapter 17, Arbitration of Employment and Labor Disputes, The Alternative Dispute Resolution Practice Guide, Roth/Wulff/Cooper, Thompson/West. Jessica also acts as advocate for employment and commercial clients before the AAA.