Alison Reif is a partner in Choate’s Labor, Employment and Benefits practice group. With more than twenty years of experience advising companies and executives on all aspects of employment relationships, Alison Reif provides practical and efficient advice to clients on employment issues and specializes in finding workable, real world solutions.
Also a seasoned litigator, Ms. Reif has successfully represented companies in more than fifty lawsuits brought by their employees, involving a wide variety of claims. Ms. Reif specializes in advice to international companies, particularly in the United Kingdom and Canada, who are starting operations in the United States and require assistance in navigating United States employment laws.
Ms. Reif also serves as counsel to a number of Independent Schools in the New England area.
She is listed in Best Lawyers in America and has repeatedly been named a Massachusetts Super Lawyer.
Employment Counseling: Advises companies on hiring and employment agreeements, terminations and RIFs, disability and leave issues, wage and hour compliance and audits, harassment investigations, employment and severance agreements, employee handbooks and policies, non-competition and other post-employment restrictions, independent contractor arrangements, employee classifications and virtually all other issues facing modern employers.
Employment Litigation: Handles employment litigation, arbitration and administrative cases regarding discrimination, harassment, whistleblowing, non-competition and other post-employment restrictions, ERISA benefits and contract- and tort-based employment claims.
- Conducted external audits of companies for compliance with Equal Pay Acts.
- Successfully represented large national company in Department of Labor audit regarding employee classifications, resulting in full dismissal of charges.
- Guided companies through complete audit of their employee practices and forms to ensure legal compliance and implement best practices.
- Obtained full defense verdict for large Massachusetts employer in jury trial of discrimination and retaliation claims.
- Conducted multiple external investigations for Fortune 500 and smaller companies, into allegations of harassment, discrimination and retaliation.
- Provided training to client’s management team on compliance with various employment laws, including harassment, discrimination and leave laws.
- Successfully represented departing executive and new company in litigation over noncompetition agreement.
- Represented large medical products manufacturer in complex federal court litigation involving “whistleblower” claim.
- Obtained full defense verdict in trial before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination of sexual harassment and retaliation claims.
- Represented major insurance company in arbitration over change-in-control severance benefits.
- Represented major insurance company in federal court litigation over ERISA pension plan benefits.
- Successfully counseled large and small employers through complex situations involving employee disability and leave issues, employment aspects of mergers and acquisitions, violations of non-competition agreements and discrimination and harassment allegations.
- Drafted employee handbooks and employment agreements for compliance across multiple states.
Presentations and Publications
- "Diversity and Harassment in the Workplace: Current Trends and Best Practices," presenter, Boston Private Venture and Private Equity Conference, June 2018.
- "Key Employment Law Principles for Companies Entering the U.S.," presenter, Travers Smith London Seminar, October 2017.
- “Navigating Non-Compete Agreements: a Board Primer,” moderator, Stybel Peabody & Associates' Seat at the Table, September 2014.
- "Severance Agreements and Considerations," presenter, April 2014.
- "Massachusetts CORI Reform and Personnel File Law Update," presenter, Hospitality, Financial and Technology Professionals Association Cape Cod Meeting, October 2010.
- “Best Practices for a Reduction in Force: A Basic Checklist,” co-author, Employee Relations Law Journal, July 2010.
- “Massachusetts Legislation Requires Implementation of Electronic Data Protection Policies and Procedures,” panelist, Duff & Phelps Panel Discussion, June 2009.
- "Employment Law for U.S. Startups," presenter, Swiss House for Advanced Research and Education Innovation and Entrepreneurship, June 2009.
- “New Guidance Issued on ADA’s Association Provision,” Boston Business Journal, 2005.
- “An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure: Preventing Employee Theft and Fraud,” co-author, Massachusetts Bar Association Section Review, 2003.
Professional and Community Involvement
Ms. Reif is a member of the Labor and Employment Sections of the Massachusetts Bar Association and the Boston Bar Association. She has served on the Board of Directors for Greater Boston Legal Services and is a member of the Firm's Pro Bono Committee.
Education & Credentials
- Stanford Law School
- JD, 1997
- Oberlin College
- BA, 1993, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa
District of Massachusetts
U.S. Supreme Court
The SEC reports more dollars to whistleblowers and more tips reported to The Commission than ever before. This reflects both a growing, robust Whistleblower Program and recent changes in the legal landscape.
The United States Supreme Court recently declined to hear a case involving alleged retaliation against a whistleblower at a public university, suggesting that employees who report problems to their employer as part of their normal job duties do not engage in “protected activity” sufficient to trigger protection from retaliation.
In a split decision which the blistering dissent calls “a landmine that we have now laid for employers,” the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit recently held that an HR employee engaged in “protected activity” when she encouraged another employee to file a discrimination lawsuit against her employer.
Choate represented Great Hill Partners, a leading growth-oriented private equity firm, in its definitive cross-border agreement to sell its controlling interest in portfolio company Ascenty, LLC, the largest provider of data center and fiber infrastructure services in Brazil, to Digital Realty (NYSE: DLR). The transaction values the company at over $1.8 billion.
The Federal District Court of Massachusetts holds that an employer can be liable for taking adverse action against an employee who only complains internally about violations of company policy, if those complaints concern potential violations of criminal law.