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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. 

Tuesday
Feb132018

Is Hiring a Full-Time Interpreter a Reasonable Accommodation?

Maybe. The United States District Court for the District of Connecticut issued a ruling on Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment in Cadoret v. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. on February 9, 2018, holding there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether hiring a full-time American Sign Language interpreter for an Electrical Installer was a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

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Monday
Feb052018

(PODCAST) What Employers Need to Know about Non-Compete Agreements 

As issues of covenants or agreements to not compete become increasingly prevalent in employer/employee relationships, attorney Calvin Woo discusses what employers need to know about non-compete agreements in this Verrill Voices podcast. As Calvin explains at the start of the podcast, non-compete agreements are a form of restrictive covenants which certain employers require of their employees. 

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Monday
Jan222018

When Employees Speak Out

On Saturday, January 6, labor and employment attorney Tawny Alvarez joined David Ciullo for a segment of HR Power Hour on News Talk WLOB radio. On the show, Tawny discussed what employers can and cannot do when employees speak out. Further, she explains the difference between free speech in a public and private sector, and the importance of understanding the First Amendment and Freedom of Speech in a private work environment. As people are putting more information out on social media, it becomes easier for people to collect data about you and your views. Tawny discusses employees' activity on social media (from liking to sharing content) and the added issues if and when an employee associates themselves with the organization online. 

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Thursday
Jan182018

(PODCAST) With Potential Government Shutdown, Federal Contractors Should Prepare

With another potential federal government shutdown possible on Friday, January 19, federal contractors need to be prepared. A shutdown can have a variety of negative effects on the business and employees of federal contractors, whether employees are locked out of their job sites or federal funding dries up.

In this Verrill Voices podcast, labor and employment attorney Joanna Bowers discusses how federal contractors should prepare and what steps they can take once a shutdown goes into effect. Although this podcast was recorded in anticipation of the looming federal government shutdown in April 2017, the lessons and recommendations remain true for the current potential shutdown.

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Thursday
Jan182018

Oops, Wrong Button. Do We Discipline for the Mistake or the Effect of the Mistake?

In the wake of last week’s “oops,” when a Hawaii civil defense employee sent out an Emergency Alert to those on the island which stated: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII.  SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL” it’s a good time to discuss disciplinary issues in the workplace—both for mistakes and for blatant conduct.

Here we find ourselves with a situation in which an employee, attempting to send out an internal test alert on Saturday morning accidently chose the option “Missile alert” from a drop-down menu, as opposed to “Test missile alert.”  It took 38 minutes for the error to be corrected and in the meantime panic across the island ensued.  The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency has publicly stated it is working to fix the problem regarding how easy it was to make the mistake.  Currently, the employee who pressed the button has been temporarily reassigned pending the outcome of the investigation.

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Tuesday
Jan092018

The Walking Dead Producer Walks into Serious OSHA Fines after Death on Set

The company that produces The Walking Dead television series was recently fined $12,675.00 after an OSHA investigation following the fatal July 12, 2017 fall of stuntman John Bernecker.  Specifically, Mr. Bernecker fell approximately 20 feet onto a concrete floor, resulting in his death, while performing a stunt. 

OSHA relied upon the general duties clause (Section 5(a)(1)), finding that Stalwart Films, LLC had failed to protect from a foreseeable hazard that could have been mitigated by not minimizing the distance need for falls or providing adequate pads to protect falling performers.

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