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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. 

Wednesday
May252016

Final FLSA Overtime Rule: Guidance for Non-Profit Employers and Board Members

You likely received notice that the U.S. Department of Labor released its final overtime regulations on May 18. Many non-profits will now be required to take steps to revise their pay practices and work distribution. This poses difficulties for non-profits of all sizes, including those that are funded by government grants and contracts, as well as those with limited staff. Whether you are the executive director of a non-profit or serve as a board member, we hope you find the below information helpful in analyzing how your organization will be affected.

Step 1: Does this new FLSA salary minimum even apply to my organization?

Yes. While many organizations may argue they do not have annual revenues (volume of sales or business) of over $500,000, that, in and of itself, is insufficient to conclude that your organization is not covered by the FLSA.

Click to read more ...

Friday
May202016

Want to Talk About Something Other than Overtime?

Its been a busy week in H.R. land. We feel you. It’s been a busy week for us too. Well, let’s end things on a high note, and no we’re not talking about weed at work. 

Last week the President signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act. I know what you’re thinking: “I just get the payroll people out of my office and now I will have to deal with IP lawyers on Monday?” Well, study up on science fiction references over the weekend, maybe get ready to crack a Jar Jar joke, because the IP folks will be knocking on your door to amend confidentiality agreements and here’s why:

Along with providing a federal forum for claims of trade secret misappropriation, the Defend of Trade Secrets Act allows your company to sue employees for breaching their employment contract’s trade secrets provisions.

Click to read more ...

Friday
May202016

Benchslapped! EEOC & NLRB May Have to Pull Out Their Debit Cards

For those employment lawyers who believe that the EEOC and NLRB have tended to overreach of late (i.e., the defense bar), two separate decisions handed down against those agencies caused a distinct feeling of schadenfreude.1

Or, as one legal scholar noted in a somewhat different context, “Hey! Gotta gotta pay back!! (The big payback).

On Thursday, the Supremes ruled (8-0) that the EEOC may be ordered to pay an employer’s attorneys’ fees under Title VII when the agency’s lawsuit is dismissed because it failed to satisfy its pre-suit requirements. The ruling in CRST Van Expedited, Inc. v. EEOC reversed the 8th Circuit’s decision that a ruling on the merits of the underlying discrimination claim is required for an employer to be deemed a “prevailing party” that can seek its fees. It sets up a remand to the 8th Circuit in which CRST Van Expedited, Inc. is expected to seek approximately (gulp) $4.5 million in legal fees.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
May182016

FINALIZED Overtime Rule: How does it impact you? 

The Department of Labor released its long-awaited final overtime regulations today. The most significant impact of the new regulations is that they more than double the salary threshold for classifying an employee as exempt from the overtime requirement to $47,476. While slightly less than originally anticipated, this is still a big increase in the salary threshold. Not sure if this will impact you? Chances are it will. The new regulations will likely impact the exemption status of 4.2 million employees, which will result in U.S. employers paying an estimated additional $1.4 billion in wages in just the first year of implementation.

If you have not already begun to do so, now is the time to start thinking about and analyzing how the new regulations will impact your business. We hope that the following information is useful to you as you consider your next steps.

Click on the image to download a print-friendly version of this decision chart.Further Impacts to Consider…

  • How will this impact employee morale?
  • What should I communicate to employees about the change?
  • How will this impact financial planning for my business?
  • What additional training do my managers need?
  • Do I need new policies that address these changes?

Determining whether you are impacted by this change is relatively simple—it’s how to respond to the impact that is more difficult. Verrill Dana’s Labor & Employment attorneys are here to help. We can help you analyze the impact of these new regulations on your business and develop a plan that incorporates best practices for how to respond to these changes to minimize the impact on operations.

Friday
Apr292016

White Collar Salary Increase Update #1

BNA Bloomberg is currently reporting that yesterday word was leaked from a Washington staffer that the DOL white collar salary threshold will be in the $47,000 per year range—as opposed to the $50,440, which has been proposed. The $47,000 range is still almost double the current $23,660 level. Reports have been made by policy advisors that this decrease in the proposed salary cap will decrease the number of individual employees affected from 13.5 million to 12.5 million people.

For more on how to respond to the likely salary increase, check out our previous post here. As we have noted, now is the time to do a full wage and hour audit to determine the effects this change will have on your pay practices. Contact a member of Verrill Dana’s Labor & Employment Practice Group to discuss more.

Tuesday
Apr262016

Belief in the Flying Spaghetti Monster Does Not Confer Religious Protections Under the Law

On Monday, Stephen comes into work dressed like a pirate. As his employer, you think this is strange, and maybe pushing the limits of the dress code, but there are other more important things on your plate, so you decide to deal with it later. On Tuesday, Stephen is again dressed like a pirate, and this time he is also wearing a colander on his head. Before you have a chance to remind Stephen that the dress code prohibits hats (to the extent a colander could be considered a hat), Stephen approaches you and tells you that he will no longer be working on Fridays because he is a Pastafarian, a member of the religion FSMism (Flying Spaghetti Monster-ism), and under FSMism every Friday is a religious holiday. After a quick Google search, you also learn that wearing pirate garb and a colander are practices of FSMism. Do you have to tolerate Stephen’s new wardrobe and grant his request for Fridays off as a religious accommodations?

Click to read more ...