Robert S. Mantell
10 Tremont Street, 2nd Floor, Boston, MA 02108 Phone: 617-742-7010 | Fax: 617-742-7225
Robert S. Mantell
Robert S. Mantell is a partner at Powers, Jodoin, Margolis & Mantell LLP and represents employees seeking to oppose discrimination, end harassment, and obtain proper wages and benefits. He negotiates separation/severance agreements, obtains unemployment benefits for clients, and opposes the enforcement of onerous non-competition agreements.
Mr. Mantell was elected by his peers to be President of the Massachusetts Employment Lawyers Association (MELA), in June 2008, and he was re-elected for a second and final one-year term in June 2009.
He served for years on the MELA Executive Committee. Mr. Mantell has served as a member of the Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education’s Employment and Labor Law Curriculum Advisory Committee, and he served a two year term on the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Section Council. He is frequently called upon to lecture and write on employment law, and was named a “Massachusetts Super Lawyer” by Boston magazine in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022. He was listed in Super Lawyers’ “Top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyers” in 2021 and 2022.
Mr. Mantell is a graduate of the Duke University School of Law, and he received his B.A. from Tufts University (Political Science), and a Master of Arts Degree in Political Science from the Duke University Graduate School.
Sexual Harassment: Mr. Mantell has had many recent successes in the field of sexual harassment. Mr. Mantell and co-counsel Lori Jodoin, Esq. prevailed in the jury trial of a sexual harassment claim against a car dealership, obtaining a judgment for the employee in excess of $700,000. He was able to secure the finding of liability on appeal. Gyulakian v. Lexus of Watertown, 475 Mass. 290 (2016). Mr. Mantell, along with co-counsel, successfully defended a sexual harassment claim, obtaining a very favorable decision on the topic of vicarious liability. Sauer v. Belfor USA Group, Inc., 2016 U.S. Dist. Lexis 120781. Mr. Mantell tried and prevailed in the case of Tasker v. EMCO Engineering, Inc., 21 MDLR 213 (1999), which involved a workplace pervaded by sexist statements and forced kissing. Mr. Mantell successfully opposed summary judgment in Duff v. Buckley Associates, Inc., C.A. No. 03-00233, Norfolk, ss., a case involving harassment based on gender, failure to train, and failure to provide equal pay. Mr. Mantell served on a Massachusetts Bar Association committee assisting the MCAD in drafting Sexual Harassment Guidelines, which were issued in October 2002.
Sex Discrimination: Mr. Mantell argued at the Supreme Judicial Court in the gender discrimination case of Haddad v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 455 Mass. 91 (2009). The decision resulted in the highest award of punitive damages ($1,000,000), ever affirmed by that Court in an employment case, and ordered the largest period of front pay (over $700,000) ever affirmed by that Court in an employment case. Mr. Mantell argued on behalf of the plaintiff in the sex discrimination case of McPadden v. Wal-Mart Stores, East, L.P., 2016 U.S. Dist. Lexis 126789 (D.N.H.), in which the Court upheld the finding of liability, emotional distress damages in the amount of $500,000, and other significant damages awards. Mr. Mantell co-wrote a successful amicus brief in the case of Jancey v. School Committee of Everett, 421 Mass. 482 (1995), in which the Supreme Judicial Court held that gender pay disparity may be addressed by c. 151B and the Massachusetts Equal Pay Act. He successfully opposed a summary judgment motion seeking dismissal of a gender discrimination claim in Patoski v. HUD, C.A. No. 05-11086-RCL (D. Mass.).
Retaliation: In 2022, Mr. Mantell successfully co-counselled a retaliation case against Lawrence Public Schools, which resulted in a judgment of over $1,500,000. Mr. Mantell successfully argued the Appeals Court case of Tryon v. MBTA, 2020 Mass. App. Lexis 162, which affirmed a verdict under the Whistleblower Protect Act, which included the award of treble damages. Mr. Mantell argued successfully in Noviello v. City of Boston, 398 F.3d 76 (1st Cir. 2005), that an employee can pursue a retaliation claim based solely on workplace harassment. Mr. Mantell was co-counsel in the case of Che v. MBTA, 342 F.3d 31 (1st Cir. 2003), where the jury awarded Mr. Che $500,000 on a retaliation claim, and where the First Circuit later permitted Mr. Che to seek additional amounts in punitive damages, and reinstatement. Mr. Mantell successfully tried a c. 151B retaliation case, established that a lateral transfer was an adverse, retaliatory action, and obtained a judgment in excess of $1,000,000. He successfully defended the judgment on appeal. Kelley v. Dept. of Conservation and Recreation, 2016 Mass. App. Unpub. Lexis 1007. Articles written by Mr. Mantell on the subject of retaliation include, R. Mantell, Counterclaims Based on MCAD/EEOC Complaints: A Per Se Retaliatory Litigation Strategy, 17 MBA Labor & Employment Section News No. 3 (August 1998); R. Mantell, Mandatory Arbitration Could Constitute an Unlawful Interference with Chapter 151B Rights, MBA (January 2000).
Age Discrimination: In 2022, Mr. Mantell succeeded in having summary judgment reversed in an age discrimination case, convincing the Appeals Court that evidence of pretext and bias against older workers was sufficient to permit a jury to find the plaintiff was wrongfully discharged. Adams v. Schneider Electric USA, Inc., 101 Mass. App. 516 (2022). Mr. Mantell tried and prevailed in the age discrimination cases of MCAD and Malone v. City of Boston Public Facilities Department, 26 MDLR 267 (2004), and Hunt v. MWRA, Suffolk ss., C.A. No. 01-2796 (jury verdict in 2003). In the Hunt case, damages were awarded in excess of $500,000. Mr. Mantell prevailed in Hurley v. Melrose, Decision of the Full Commission, MCAD Docket No. 98-BEM-3304 (October 28, 2008), in which the MCAD’s Full Commission more than tripled the damages initially awarded by the original hearing officer. Mr. Mantell authored a chapter on age discrimination, and co-authored another chapter on the subject in publications of the Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE). Mr. Mantell advocated for a broadening of the Massachusetts age discrimination law in R. Mantell, Age Discrimination Shown by Disparate Impact, 6 MBA Section Review No. 2, 24 (2004).
Constitutional/First Amendment Claims: Mr. Mantell has successfully argued in support of claims arising under the Constitution and the First Amendment, including in the cases of Lyons v. Cavanaugh, C.A. No. 99-10196 (D. Mass.), and O’Donnell v. City of Everett, C.A. No. 02-10519 PBS (D. Mass).
Defamation: Where an employee of the MBTA publicly accused the Deputy Manager of being a racist and harasser, and the Deputy Manager responded by suing the employee for defamation, Mr. Mantell represented the employee, and was successful in obtaining a dismissal of those claims. Puccia v. Edwards, C.A. No. 98-00065, Norfolk ss.
Family Medical Leave Act: Obtained liquidated damages in an FMLA retaliation claim, along with an award for punitive damages in a parallel handicap discrimination claim, in the case of Daprato v. MWRA. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed a judgment worth over $2 million in DaPrato v. MWRA, 482 Mass. 375 (2019)
Handicap Discrimination: Mr. Mantell represented the plaintiff in the case of DaPrato v. MWRA, in which a jury, in 2018, awarded $1.2 million in an FMLA and Reasonable Accommodation retaliation case. The Judgment was affirmed by the Supreme Judicial Court in June 2019. DaPrato v. MWRA, 482 Mass. 375 (2019). Mr. Mantell drafted the plaintiff’s appellate brief in the case of Dartt v. Browning Ferris Industries, 427 Mass. 1 (1998), which is a crucial decision that established a favorable burden of proof for victims of handicap discrimination in Massachusetts. Mr. Mantell successfully opposed a Rule 56 motion in the handicap discrimination case of Valenti v. Trustees of Boston University, C.A. No. 08-3394, Suffolk, ss., Connolly, J., February 1, 2011, in which the defendants asked the court to dismiss the case without a trial. Mr. Mantell tried and prevailed in the case of Keeling v. Wilfert Bros. Realty Co., 22 MDLR 201 (2000), which found that the Complainant had been harassed and terminated because of his handicap. In Noonan v. PERAC, 19 Mass. L. Rptr. No. 7, 163 (April 25, 2005), Mr. Mantell successfully contested a refusal to reinstate a firefighter who had been disabled, and established a liberal standard for reinstatement. Mr. Mantell served on a Massachusetts Bar Association committee assisting the MCAD in drafting Handicap Discrimination Guidelines, which were issued in March 1998.
Jury Trial Right: Mr. Mantell argued before the Supreme Judicial Court on behalf of complainants in two of the four consolidated cases presented in Stonehill College v. MCAD, 441 Mass. 549 (2004). That case reversed earlier precedent, found that the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination has jurisdiction to enter enforceable final judgments awarding money damages, and upheld the right of civil rights victims to a jury trial in discrimination claims. The Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly reported that the Stonehill College decision was the most important Massachusetts decision of 2004.
Non-Competition Agreements: Mr. Mantell successfully opposed a preliminary injunction that would have prevented a CPA from serving customers. S&G v. MacNeil, Memorandum of Decision and Order on Plaintiff’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction, C.A. No. 18-1623D, Worcester, ss., Reardon, J., November 14, 2018. Mr. Mantell prevailed in the case of William Gallagher Associates Ins. Brokers, Inc. v. Everts, 13 Mass. L. Rptr. No. 31, 716 (December 17, 2001), which found that a non-competition agreement did not bar an insurance broker from competing with his former employer. Mr. Mantell wrote the successful brief in the case of C.J. McCarthy Ins. Agency, Inc. v. McLaughlin, C.A. No. 03-5617, Suffolk, ss., where Judge van Gestel dismissed a claim against an insurance broker who was covered by a non-competition agreement.
Race Discrimination: Mr. Mantell was co-counsel in the case of Clifton v. MBTA, 445 Mass. 611 (2005), a racial harassment case in which the jury returned one of the highest verdicts in Massachusetts employment law history, $5,500,000. A new trial was ordered to calculate punitive damages.
Wrongful Discharge: In 2021, Mr. Mantell successfully argued before the Supreme Judicial Court that employees may not be terminated for exercising their statutory rights to include rebuttals to negative evaluations in their personnel files. Meehan v. Medical Information Technology, Inc., 488 Mass. 730 (2021). Mr. Mantell has drafted briefs that have been successful in deterring attempts to have wrongful discharge claims dismissed before trial. Cappucci v. Boston University, Memorandum and Order Pursuant to Rule 1:28, Appeals Court, 06-P-887, September 17, 2007; Ercolini v. MPIUA, C.A. No. 94-0415, Suffolk, ss.; Roche v. Massachusetts Co., C.A. No. 93-3388, Suffolk, ss.; Waylett v. Flatley Co., 95-12371-RGS (D. Mass). Mr. Mantell has published articles on wrongful discharge, and has served as faculty at an MCLE seminars on the subject. See R. Mantell, Exceptions to the At-Will Employment Doctrine, 4 MBA Section Review No. 1, 66 (Winter 2002).
Advocacy: Mr. Mantell has dedicated many years to the protection of, and expansion of rights for employees. He served as the chair of MELA’s amicus brief committee for four years, and he has written, alone or with others, many amicus briefs filed with courts considering important employment law questions. Some of those briefs include the following:
Helping a woman who was sued for defamation for complaining about sexual harassment in the workplace. Rosario v. Caring Bees, 97 Mass. App. 1122 (2020).
Supporting a police officer whose career was curtailed based on inappropriately validated cognitive testing. Gannon v. City of Boston, 476 Mass. 786 (2017).
Opposing retaliatory lawsuits filed against employees who have complained about discrimination. Psy-Ed Corp v. Klein, 459 Mass. 697 (2011).
Opposing arbitration and choice of law provisions that divest employees of the right to pursue civil actions under the Massachusetts Wage Act. Okeke v. Dynamex Corp., SJC No. 11564.
Opposing mandatory arbitration agreements. Joule, Inc. v. Simmons, SJC-10712; St. Fleur v. WPI Cable Systems/Mutron, 450 Mass. 345 (2008); Massachusetts Bar Association, Inc. v. Wellington, 2009-P-2137; Rosenberg v. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc., 995 F. Supp. 190 (D. Mass. 1998).
Advocating for broad application of the right to a jury trial in discrimination cases. Ross v. MBTA, Mass. App. Arguing that when an employer asserts untrue reasons for why it rejected an applicant, that such pretext may help to demonstrate that the true reason for the rejection was due to the applicants race or national origin. Poon v. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, amicus in favor of FAR petition.
Opposing restrictive regulations that screen out applicants with disabilities. Carleton v. Commonwealth, 447 Mass. 791 (2006)
Advocating for the survival of age discrimination claims when the employee passes away. Gasior v. Massachusetts General Hospital, 446 Mass. 645 (2006).
Advocating in favor of the recognition of, and timeliness of, broadly worded civil actions. Ayash v. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 443 Mass. 367 (2005); Weber v. Cmty Teamwork, Inc., 434 Mass. 761 (2001).
Opposing the implementation of laws of general application in a manner that would interfere with the Fair Employment Practice Act, c. 151B. Thomas v. EDI Specialists, Inc., 437 Mass. 536 (2002).
Advocating for stronger gender pay-equality rules. Jancey v. School Committee of Everett, 421 Mass. 482 (1995).
Opposing sexual harassment in the workplace. Bowman v. Heller, 420 Mass. 517 (1995).
R. Mantell, “The Misplaced Expectation of Close Timing in Retaliation Cases, MBA Labor and Employment Section Review, March/April 2022, at 4.
R. Mantell, “Pretext After Bostock — Disproving One of the Employer’s Reasons is Enough,” 28 Wash. & Lee J. Civ. Rts & Soc. Just. 65 (2021)
R. Mantell, “All Relevant Respects: the Impossible Standard for Comparator Evidence in Discrimination Cases,” July/August 2020 MBA Section Review 17
R. Mantell, Proving Motive, Causation in Bias Cases Post-Bostock, 49 M.L.W. No. 31, at 31
R. Mantell, Factors Supporting the Award of Punitive Damages, presented at January 9, 2019 MELA program on “Making a Million Dollar Practice”
R. Mantell, Reinstatement as a Remedy in Employment Discrimination Cases
R. Mantell, Front Pay Damages in Employment Cases: Calculating Future Loss, Presented at MCLE Program on Proving and Valuing Damages in Employment Cases
D. Conforto, R. Mantell, E. Quinn-Judge, B. Robb, Proving Pretext in Employment Law Cases, Presented at an MCLE Program on Bringing and Defending Summary Judgment Motions in Employment Cases, 2017
Mantell, C. Tiwari, “Judges Should Affirm Damage Awards That They Consider to be Unreasonable,” Presented at an MCLE Program on Proving and Valuing Damages in Employment Cases, 2016.
Mantell, “Proving “But For” Causation After the Supreme Court Decision in Nassar, presented by Mr. Mantell at the 2015 National Employment Lawyers Association conference in Atlanta, GA.
Mantell, “Issues Involving Settlement of Employment Law Claims,” presented at a MELA program on Negotiating Settlement Agreements, October 2014.
Mantell, “Summary Judgment: the Real World,” discussing effective Rule 56 statements of fact, presented by Mr. Mantell at the Massachusetts Bar Association’s 2010 Employment Law Conference.
Mantell, “Public Policies that Protect At-Will Employees,” presented by Mr. Mantell at a 2010 MCLE Seminar on Wrongful Termination and Exceptions to Employment At-Will.
Mantell, “How to Prove Discrimination When the Employer Has Manipulated the Selection Process,” presented by Mr. Mantell at a 2010 MCLE Seminar on Employee Selection Exams & Criteria in the Hiring and Promotion of Private and Public Sector Employees.
Mantell & S. Smolik, “Traps and Tips for the Plaintiff-Side Employment Lawyer in Massachusetts,” published in connection with a February 2007 meeting of the Massachusetts Employment Lawyers Association.
Mantell, “Survey of Discrimination Law, 2006, Race, National Origin, Retaliation and Awards of Interest, Discrimination Law Survey,” published by the MBA in connection with its Annual Labor and Employment Law Spring Conference, June 2006
Mantell, “Individual Liability Under Mass. Gen. Law Chapter 151B: Defeating the New Defenses,” presented by Mr. Mantell at NELA’s New England Regional Conference, May 2006, at 297
Mantell, The Cooperative Approach: An Emerging View of ERISA Law, 7 MBA Section Review No. 2, 21 (2005)
Mantell, Age Discrimination Shown by Disparate Impact, 6 MBA Section Review No. 2, 24 (2004)
Mantell, Age Discrimination in Employment, Chapter 14, Estate Planning for the Aging or Incapacitated Client in Massachusetts, MCLE, 1998, with update in 2002
Mantell, The Liberal Interpretation of Chapter 151B, 4 MBA Section Review No. 3, 23 (Summer 2002)
Kugell, R. Mantell, Age Discrimination, Book Chapter, Massachusetts Employment Law, MCLE, with updates in 2003, 2006, and 2009.
Mantell, Exceptions to the At-Will Employment Doctrine, 4 MBA Section Review No. 1, 66 (Winter 2002) Survey of Discrimination Law, 2001, Age and Gender, published by the MBA, 2000.
Discrimination Law Survey – Materials by Liz Rodgers and Robert Mantell R. Mantell, Mandatory Arbitration Could Constitute an Unlawful Interference with Chapter 151B Rights, MBA (January 2000)
Mantell, The Range of Emotional Distress Damages Under Anti-Discrimination Laws, 2 MELA Online Law Journal No. 1, August 1999
Mantell, Shocking to the Conscience: Six Figure Punitive Damages Awards in Employment Discrimination Cases, 2 MBA Section Review No. 2, 48 (March 2000)
Powers, R. Mantell, Damages in Massachusetts Workplace Defamation Cases, MCLE (1997)
Mantell, Counterclaims Based on MCAD/EEOC Complaints: A Per Se Retaliatory Litigation Strategy, 17 MBA Labor & Employment Section News No. 3 (August 1998)
Mantell, Tips for Complainants’ Lawyers Bringing Their First Case Before the MCAD, in Presenting and Defending Your First MCAD Case, MCLE, at 202 (1999)
Mantell, Recent Developments in Settlement Agreements and Releases, Chapter 17, Part III, Drafting Employment Document in Massachusetts, MCLE (1998)
Mantell, ‘But For’ Burden of Proof and Ch. 151B Claims, 24 M.L.W. 159 (October 2, 1995)
Messing, R. Mantell, Motions to Dismiss and Massachusetts Employment Law (1992)
ADDITIONAL SELECTED LECTURES
But-for Causation in Employment Discrimination Claims after Bostock v. Clayton County, Speaker at meeting of the Houston, TX affiliate of the National Employment Lawyers Assoc. 2021
Discussion of Successful Trial in FMLA Retaliation case of DaPrato v. MWRA
“Sexual Harassment Litigation in the Wake of Gyulakian v. Lexus of Watertown: A Perspective From Trial Counsel,” Worcester County Bar Association, January 2017
The Appeal of the Sexual Harassment Case of Gyulakian v. Lexus of Watertown, Massachusetts Employment Lawyers Association, November 2016
Issues Involving the Prosecution of a Sexual Harassment Case, Including Evidentiary Issues, Cross- and Direct Examinations, Jury Instructions and Jury Selection, Massachusetts Employment Lawyers Association, February 2015
Issues Involving Settlement of Employment Law Claims, Massachusetts Employment Lawyers Association, October 2014
Proving Knowledge, Notice and Awareness in Discrimination Cases, Massachusetts Employment Lawyers Association, 2011
List serve topics, National Convention of the National Employment Lawyers Association, June 24, 2009
Wrongful Termination & Exceptions to Employment At-Will, Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, June 15, 2007, June 28, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013
Traps and Tips for Employment Lawyers, Massachusetts Employment Lawyers Association, February 22, 2007
Hot Immigration Topics for Employment Lawyers, Massachusetts Bar Association, September 12, 2006
27th Annual Labor & Employment Law Spring Conference, Massachusetts Bar Association, June 15, 2006
Hot Topics In Employment Law, National Employment Lawyers Association Regional Conference, May 20, 2006
The Continuing Violations Doctrine After Clifton v. MBTA, Massachusetts Bar Association, January 20, 2005
The Changing Landscape of Jury Trial Rights Under G.L. c. 151B, Massachusetts Bar Association, March 9, 2004
Post-Trial Motions and Appeals: How to Protect Your Jury Verdict, National Employment Lawyers Association Regional Conference, April 5, 2003
Asserting and Litigating Reverse Discrimination Claims, Massachusetts Bar Association, November 12, 2002
The New MCAD Sexual Harassment Guidelines, Massachusetts Bar Association, October 24, 2002
Recent Developments in Massachusetts Employment Law, Massachusetts Bar Association, September 25, 2002
Litigating Employment Discrimination Cases: State v. Federal Court, Massachusetts Bar Association, June 2002
The Frontiers of Bringing and Defending Retaliation Claims Massachusetts Bar Association January 11, 2000
Presenting and Defending Your First MCAD Case, Massachusetts Bar Association, June 18, 1999
Punitive and Emotional Distress Damages, Massachusetts Employment Lawyers Association, June 22, 1999
Race and National Origin Discrimination, National Employment Lawyers Association Regional Conference, April 17, 1999
Taking Depositions Workshop, Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, January 30, 1998
Employment Discrimination Update, 1996 Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, November 20, 1996
Motions to Compel – Hot Topics In Discovery in Employment Litigation, Massachusetts Employment Lawyers Association, October 24, 1996
Updated as of January 2023