Biography

Michael C. Birch (“Mike”) is a labor and employment lawyer and business litigator. He advises private and nonprofit businesses on all aspects of employment law, including hiring, discrimination and harassment, wage and hour compliance, paid and unpaid leave, restrictive covenants and noncompetition, terminations, reductions-in-force, and personnel policies.  He advises clients on federal and state employment laws, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title VII, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Massachusetts Wage Act, Chapter 151B, the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law, and the Massachusetts Pay Equity Law.

With respect to traditional labor law, Mike helps clients negotiate collective bargaining agreements and represents clients in labor arbitrations and unfair labor practice proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board.

As a litigator, Mike vigorously represents clients in employment and business litigation matters before state and federal courts and government administrative agencies.  He has litigated cases in a variety of areas, including wage and hour class actions, employment discrimination, ERISA, breach of contract, business torts, commercial real estate and land use, and professional liability.  Mike has obtained successful results for clients in trial courts, appellate courts, and before administrative agencies.

Practice Areas

Education

  • Northeastern University School of Law, J.D., 2010
  • Binghamton University, B.S., Management, 2006

Recognition & Professional Affiliations

  • Named a Massachusetts Super Lawyer – Rising Star (Top 2.5% of lawyers 40 and under), published in Super Lawyers Magazine, 2013-present
  • Named 2017 Excellence in the Law Up and Coming Lawyer by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly
  • Alumni/ae Board of Directors, Northeastern University School of Law
  • Member, Boston Bar Association
  • Member, Massachusetts Bar Association

Published Works & Appearances

  • Presenter, Up in Smoke: Are the Rules Changing for Employers Dealing with Drugs and Alcohol in the Workplace, Association for Behavioral Health, March 2017
  • Presenter, 2017 Employment Law Update, Small Business Association of New England, Human Capital Series, March 2017
  • Presenter, Employment and Immigration Law Issues for Nonprofits, Lawyers Clearinghouse Community Investment Series, June 2017
  • Presenter, Employee Handbooks 101: The Basics of Reviewing Handbooks for Employers, Boston Bar Association, January 2017
  • Presenter, Representing Clients before the MCAD in Employment Discrimination Cases, Boston Bar Association, April 2016
  • Presenter, Updated Overtime Regulations: What Nonprofits Need to Know, Lawyers Clearinghouse Community Investment Series, October 2016
  • “Miller & Anderson: The NLRB Reverses Itself Once Again, Permitting Mixed Bargaining Units of Temporary and Regular Workers Without Employer Consent,” Bender’s Labor and Employment Bulletin, September 2016
  • Presenter, Employment Law Issues for Nonprofits, Lawyers Clearinghouse Community Investment Series, April 2016
  • Presenter, Employment Issues When Hiring Student Interns, Northeastern Co-op Employer Conference, May 2015
  • Take Some Land for the Ball Game, Sports Stadiums, Eminent Domain, and the Public Use Debate, 19 Sports Lawyers Journal 173, Spring 2012

Bar Admissions

  • Massachusetts, 2010
  • United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, 2011
  • United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, 2014

Representative Matters

Wage and Hour

  • Successfully defended and obtained summary judgment for property management company on former building manager’s Wage Act retaliation claim and claim for unpaid overtime on the basis that she was misclassified as exempt from overtime pay.  Also successfully obtained decertification of the case as a class action after it was previously certified.
  • Represented senior assisted and independent living facility in putative wage and hour class action brought by nursing assistant in which the plaintiff claimed that he and other employees were unlawfully denied payment for half-hour meal breaks because they worked during their meal breaks.  Obtained favorable settlement terms after exchanging written discovery and deposing plaintiff, and before a motion for class certification was filed.
  • Represented company president in Wage Act case in which former engineer claimed he was misclassified as an independent contractor and owed wages as an employee.

Discrimination

  • Successfully defended and obtained summary judgment for a property management company on race, sex, and age discrimination claims by former property manager.
  • Represented numerous clients at the MCAD, defending discrimination claims by employees, obtaining lack of probable cause findings and favorable settlements.

Employment Counseling and Training

  • Counseled and trained clients on all aspects of employment law, including terminations and other disciplinary actions, severance agreements, requests for disability accommodations, investigating harassment complaints, the classification of employees as exempt or nonexempt from overtime pay, the applicability of the white-collar overtime exemptions, the classification of employees as independent contractors versus employees, equal pay for men and women, enforcing and drafting restrictive covenants, drafting and reviewing employee handbooks and policies, meal breaks, leave policies and practices, drug testing and drug free workplace policies, criminal background checks, social media in the workplace, union avoidance, and the interpretation of collective bargaining agreements.

Traditional Labor Law

  • Helped negotiate collective bargaining agreements on behalf of non-profit health care clients and human services providers
  • Represented clients in labor arbitrations
  • Represent clients in unfair labor practice proceedings filed with the NLRB

Business Litigation

  • Obtained summary judgment and $1 million judgment for lighting manufacturer in breach of contract dispute against lighting distributor.
  • Represented enterprise staffing software developer in dispute with licensee over delivery of software capabilities under a contract and settled on favorable terms at mediation.
  • Represented a public company, its key executives, and its deferred compensation plan in federal lawsuits in Philadelphia, San Francisco, New Orleans and Washington D.C. regarding status of “top hat” status of the plan and the participants’ rights to distributions under ERISA.  Settled on favorable terms after several key rulings in favor of client.
  • Favorably settled insurance coverage dispute at mediation, recovering a $700,000 reimbursement by an insurer under a director and officer liability policy for legal fees incurred defending ERISA breach of fiduciary duty claims.
  • Represented supermarket and its individual owners on claims by vendors for unpaid goods and services.  Settled on favorable terms after getting individual owners dismissed from the case.
  • Obtained favorable settlement at mediation for government entity client against former independent auditors for audit malpractice.

 

Prior Experience

Prior to joining Hirsch Roberts Weinstein, Mike was an employment and business litigation attorney at a Boston law firm.  In that position, Mike’s practice involved counseling private businesses, nonprofit entities, and public entities on all aspects of federal and state employment law and representing clients in a variety of employment and business litigation matters.

 

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