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.  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, the submission of a comment or question does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and you. 


National Labor Relations Act May Invalidate English-Only Rules Otherwise Justified by "Business Necessity"

Workplace rules which require employees to speak only English while at work or while conducting certain work activities are, and continue to be, relatively controversial. As we discussed previously, linguistic characteristics are closely associated with national origin, and therefore English-only rules can open employers up to national origin discrimination lawsuits.

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Foreign Friday: It’s Like Frantic Friday Except Not in the U.S.

While focusing on the Supreme Court’s decision in Young on Wednesday we aparently missed what many international employees found to be even bigger news—Zayn Malik is leaving One Direction. For our international clients, however, this would not appear to be sufficient to qualify currently distraught employees for “compassionate leave.” Read more here.

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Nine Months Later Supreme Court "Delivers"

Yesterday the Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated opinion on the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in Young v. UPS vacating the Fourth Circuit’s (and District Court’s) grant of summary judgment in favor of the employer, UPS. We’ve previously discussed the background of the case here and here, but for our new readers, the general overview is that Ms. Young sued her employer UPS after it refused to accommodate her lifting restrictions during the course of her pregnancy. UPS’s policy was that it would make work accommodations in three discrete instances: 1) on the job injury; 2) after an employee fails a DOT certification; and 3) if an accommodation is necessary under the ADA. UPS argued that Ms. Young’s pregnancy fell into none of the three exceptions and thus no accommodation for her lifting restriction could be made and she remained out of work the whole of her pregnancy.

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Indiana Discrimination Bill: A Higher Law?

By now you’ve likely heard about the “Indiana Discrimination Bill” that passed through the Indiana legislature on Monday after a vote of 63-31. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act has been described as allowing any individual or corporation to cite their religious beliefs as a defense when sued by a private party. The intent, it would appear, was to protect business owners who did not want to serve same-sex couples. Let us use as a hypothetical a bakery that does not want to bake a cake for a same-sex couple as a result of the bakery owner’s religious beliefs. One of the primary authors of the bill, Senator Scott Schneider noted: “You don’t have to look too far to find a growing hostility towards people of faith.”  ACLU advocate Eunice Rho has been quoted as saying, “This bill would give anyone the right to argue that they don’t have to follow state or local laws—including basic civil rights laws related to employment, housing and public accommodations.”

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Madness or Badness: Is Your Office NCAA Pool Illegal?

It doesn’t matter whether you know a basketball from a hockey puck or a three-point play from a five course meal, every March, office works across the country dutifully fill out their NCAA basketball tournament pool brackets, kick in five dollars, and hope against hope that their months-long lack of interest in college hoops is somehow an advantage in selecting the winners in 67 games. Does anyone stop to ask whether this office bracket challenge is even legal?

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UPCOMING SEMINAR/WEBINAR: The (F)riday (M)onday (L)eave (A)ct vs. Legitimate FMLA Leave

The serious health condition of an employee or his or her family member may entitle the employee to protected leave under either the state or federal Family and Medical Leave Act. But how do you manage this leave? Or, once you’ve figured out how to manage the leave, what do you do when you find out that during the course of the leave the employee has taken a long awaited trip to the Caribbean when they indicated they were caring for an ill family member? Or, how do you respond when an employee’s intermittent leave coincidentally is occurring to provide the employee with long weekends?

This program will present a hypothetical FMLA leave situation in which the employer is presented with a series of complex challenges. Led by Tawny Alvarez, attendees will discuss best practices for responding to these challenges and limiting liability as they navigate around this complex leave statute.

March 19, 8:30 - 10:00 AM

Verrill Dana
One Portland Square, 9th Floor
Portland, ME 04101

Attendees to this seminar will receive complimentary light breakfast and the opportunity to network with colleagues and our Labor & Employment attorneys before and after the program. This program will also be webcast for those unable to attend.

Register to attend this seminar.

Register to participate in this webinar.