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Verrill Dana, LLP

Verrill Dana, LLP is one of New England's preeminent regional law firms. With offices in Portland and Augusta, ME; Boston, MA; Westport, CT; Providence, RI; and Washington D.C. Verrill Dana provides sophisticated legal representation to businesses and individuals in the traditional areas of litigation, real estate, business law, labor and employment law, employee benefits, environmental law, intellectual property and estate planning.  The Firm also has industry-focused specialties including higher education, health care and health technology, energy, and timberlands. 

Disclaimer:  The content presented in this blog is for general information only, is not intended to constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon by any person as legal advice. While we welcome you to contact our blog authors at hrlawupdate@verrilldana.com, the submission of a comment or question does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and you. 

Monday
Apr152019

Maine Employers Must Cease Seeking Compensation History

On April 12, 2019, Governor Mills signed into law LD 278, “An Act Regarding Pay Equality.”  Under the new laws (5 M.R.S.A. § 4577; 26 M.R.S.A. § 628-A) employers may not “use or inquire about the compensation history of a prospective employee from the prospective employee or a current or former employer of the prospective employee unless an offer of employment that includes all terms of compensation has been negotiated and made to the prospective employee, after which the employer may inquire about or confirm the prospective employee’s compensation history.”  Each violation of the statute will amount to a fine of between $100 and $500 and the affected employee/applicant can file a civil action seeking compensatory damages.  There are exceptions to the statute, allowing employers to seek information after all the terms of compensation have been negotiated, if state or federal law requires disclosure, or if the “employee or prospective employee has voluntarily disclosed compensation history information, without prompting by the employer or employment agency, the employer or employment agency may seek to confirm or permit a prospective employee to confirm such information prior to an offer of employment.”

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Monday
Apr012019

DOL’s Proposed Rule Making on Regular Rate of Pay

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division recently announced a proposed rule updating regulations governing what items are included in an employee’s regular rate of pay.  This constitutes the first update to the definition of the regular rate of pay in over fifty years. 

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers must pay nonexempt employees an overtime rate of at least one and one-half the employee’s regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of forty per week.  Regular rate of pay is not always the employee’s hourly rate of pay, but instead, “regular rate of pay” is a legal term of art.  Under the current rules, there has been many questions concerning what benefits need to be included in the calculation of the regular rate.  The new rule clarifies that the following items are excluded:

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Monday
Apr012019

Is Your Website Accessible to Disabled Online Job Seeker?

On March 22, 2019, a federal judge permitted an Ohio man’s class action lawsuit to proceed against Ford Motor Company.  The lawsuit alleges the company discriminated against disabled job applicants because its online job application wasn’t fully accessible.  In the past, experts have advised on the importance of having a well-designed website for marketing purposes, but this case may make the “well designed” nature of a website important not just for aesthetic purposes, but also from an accessibility standpoint.

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Wednesday
Mar202019

I’m Sick - I Need Leave - But I Don’t Want To Use FMLA Leave

How many times have you heard, as a Human Resources professional, an employee make the statement:  “I need leave, but I don’t want to use my FMLA leave”?  In many cases, our initial response is to educate the employee and help them understand that Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave is not bad and won’t be used against them in the future.  In fact, the primary purpose of the statute is to protect employees who need to take leave as a result of the birth or placement of a child, their own or a family member’s health condition, to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness, or any qualifying exigency arising out of a family member’s covered active military duty.  

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Friday
Mar082019

Breaking: DOL Unveils Proposed Changes to FLSA Overtime Pay Requirements

Yesterday, March 7, 2019, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) unveiled a proposal to change the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as it applies to non-exempt employees eligible for overtime.  The proposed change increases the required weekly salary to maintain an exempt position from the current $455 per week to $679 per week (effective January 2020).  Currently, the FLSA has a threshold of $24,000 per year for an individual to meet the salary basis test in order to qualify as an exempt employee under the federal FLSA (in addition to meeting the duties test for exemption).  In 2016, the Obama administration attempted to increase the salary threshold to $47,476.00.  The current proposal instead results in a federal yearly required salary (under the FLSA) of $35,300.00.

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Friday
Feb222019

Update on the 2019 Annual Employment Law Update

Last month, on January 31, Verrill Dana hosted its 2019 Annual Employment Law Update at the Westin Portland Harborview Hotel. The full-day conference provided employers and HR professionals with updates on recent legal developments in labor and employment law. Special guest speakers from Live + Work in Maine, Bath Iron Works, University of Maine at Augusta, and Southern Maine Community College joined us to give their perspectives on the industry. 

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