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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; Stamford, 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.  U.S. Treasury Regulations require us to notify you that any tax-related material in this blog (including links and attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties, and may not be referred to in any marketing or promotional materials.  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. 

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Friday
Aug292014

Frantic Friday: How We Want You to Start Your Long Weekend OR How 2,600 Retweets Created an FMLA Nightmare

Last week Christine Byers, a police reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, tweeted with regards to the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri: “Police sources tell me more than a dozen witnesses have corroborated cop’s version of events in the shooting.” @ChristineDByers. The post garnered over 2,600 retweets and a number of news reports.

So why are we posting about it here? Because Ms. Byers was on FMLA leave—and has been since March—when she posted the tweet. The next day Ms. Byers tweeted: “On FMLA from paper. Earlier tweets did not meet standards for publication.” This tweet, however, sparked public outrage with people believing Ms. Byers had been terminated and causing the Post-Dispatch to issue, in part, the following statement: “Christine Byers is a police reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch who has been on FMLA leave since March. She is not involved in the Ferguson coverage while she is on leave. Her tweets are personal.” The line between many employee’s personal identity and work identity can sometimes become blurred—make sure your company takes steps, before issues arise, to guard against such issues.

Friday
Aug292014

I Like You, You Like Me, But Companies Don't Own the "Likes" You See

Recently a Florida District Court Judge held that neither an employee, nor her former employer, owned the Facebook “likes” that had been drawn to an unofficial (later turned official) Facebook fan page. Mattocks v. Black Entertainment Television, 2014 WL 4101594 (S.D. Fl. Aug. 20, 2014). The former employee, Stacey Mattocks, started a Facebook fan page for The Game, a comedy-drama on BET that ran in 2008. While The Game ceased airing shortly after its inception, the Facebook page lived on and in 2010, when BET decided to revive The Game, it reached out to Ms. Mattocks, and offered her a part-time position maintaining the Facebook page as the show’s official fan page. This offer would make sense, considering the page already had approximately 2 million “likes” that Ms. Mattocks had garnered herself.

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Tuesday
Aug262014

Tardy Tuesday: Wrestling with Non-Compete Agreements? So is the WWE.

The WWE is wrestling with issues all around, from allegations of a racially hostile work environment to potential litigation from wrestler Alberto Del Rio, n.k.a. El Patron, who alleges that his one year no-compete stipulation is “unconstitutional” because it prevents him from making a living.  Read more here.

Friday
Aug222014

Governor Patrick Seeks to Adopt Uniform Trade Secrets Act

Do you currently operate or do business in Massachusetts? Do you employ a skilled workforce of any nature, work in technology, or have a sales force? If so, Governor Patrick’s recent announcement could have a significant impact on how you do business in the Commonwealth. On August 13, 2014, Governor Deval Patrick announced that he re-filed legislation that would limit the use of non-competition agreements and adopt the Uniform Trade Secrets Act in Massachusetts.

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Tuesday
Aug192014

LinkedIn Pays Up

The Company dubbed the world’s most boring social network recently agreed to pay almost $6 million in fines to settle claims that it violated the Fair Labor Standards Act.

LinkedIn will pay about $3.3 million in unpaid wages and $2.5 million in liquidated damages, affecting 359 current or former workers in New York, Nebraska, Illinois, and LinkedIn’s home state of California to settle claims that it violated the Act’s overtime and recordkeeping provisions.

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Tuesday
Aug192014

Tardy Tuesday: You Can Paint the Town Red...But Not Tucker Chocolate or Clinton Brown

Clinton Tucker, a New Jersey man and former Benjamin Moore employee has sued his former employer claiming discrimination on account of two of Benjamin Moore’s paint colors—Tucker Chocolate and Clinton Brown. Tucker claims that Tucker Chocolate is “extremely racially offensive” and that despite his complaints and protests Benjamin Moore’s management never changed the names of these colors. Surprisingly, the complaint fails to mention “Tucker Orange” and “Tucker Gray”, colors that are also part of Benjamin Moore’s Williamsburg collection.

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