Verrill Dana, LLP

Verrill Dana, LLP is one of New England's preeminent regional law firms. With offices in Portland and Augusta, Maine, Boston and Stamford, 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. 

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Manic Monday: What's His Credit Score?

While not an employment law case in the truest sense, this recent case sums up some of the issues employers could run into if they conduct credit checks of applicants and current employees; especially, apparently, if the applicant’s first name is God. Read more here.


More New Rules Affecting Federal Contractors 

This year is shaping up to be a difficult one for federal contractors, as more and more compliance obligations continue to pile on. March 24, 2014, marked the effective date for new rules affecting the implementation of Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Act. Earlier this year, President Obama signed an Executive Order requiring federal contractors pay certain employees a minimum wage of $10.10 per hour. Yesterday, President Obama took action to regulate to issues related to employee compensation. President Obama’s first action was to issue an Executive Order prohibiting federal contractors from retaliating against employees for discussing compensation (the “Non-Retaliation Order”). His second action was to sign a Presidential Memorandum directing Department of Labor Secretary Thomas Perez to issue rules requiring federal contractors to submit compensation data to the Department of Labor.

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Manic Monday: The Beauty Edition- Hair and Makeup

A Southern District of Alabama court recently granted the motion to dismiss in EEOC v. Catastrophe Management Solutions, finding that a company policy that prohibited dreadlocks did not violate Title VII.  Specifically, the court stated, “Title VII does not protect against discrimination based on traits, even a trait that has sociocultural racial significance.”  Read the opinion here.

California Nordstrom, Inc. cosmetic counter employees have filed an action in federal court alleging that the company failed to provide them with “suitable seats” in violation of Section 14 of California’s Industrial Welfare Commission’s wage orders (which require employers to provide “suitable seats” if “the nature of the work reasonably permits”).  On April 2, 2014, the court granted a stay in the action pending a decision by the California Supreme Court in a separate case that will consider questions surrounding Section 14.  The order staying the matter, Tseng v. Nordstrom, Inc., is available here.


The Nutmeg State Raises its Minimum Wage

On March 27, 2014, Governor Dannel Malloy of Connecticut signed legislation, S.B. 32, that will increase the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2017—making it the highest of any state. On March 26, the measure was approved by the House (87-54) and the Senate (21-14). Connecticut’s minimum wage is currently $8.70 an hour, but will increase to $9.15 on January 1, 2015, to $9.60 of January 1, 2016, and to $10.10 on January 1, 2017. This legislation is estimated to directly affect approximately 90,000 low-wage employees. This legislation makes Connecticut the first state to respond to President Obama’s recent request that the nation increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from its current national rate of $7.25.


NLRB Charges Keebler Elves and Burritos Equal Big Bucks

Seventy-four former servers, bartenders, dishwashers, cooks and other employees were granted default judgment against their former employer, Mama Mexico restaurant chain, and awarded $7.1 million for their state and federal wage and hour claims by a New York federal court last week. Read the opinion here where the court recognizes that this is a “drastic remedy,” but that default judgment was proper.

Last week, the NLRB issued a complaint against Kellogg Co. (the manufacturer of those Keebler cookies and thousands of other products), alleging that the company is engaging in several unfair labor practices as they relate to the continued lockout of workers at a Memphis Tennessee plant. Read more here.


NLRB Refuses to Throw a Penalty Flag

On Wednesday, Northwestern University Wildcats scored an important victory when the Chicago office of the NLRB issued a ruling permitting a group of 85 Northwestern players who receive university scholarships to vote to form a union.

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