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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
Nov222016

Federal Judge Enjoins Upcoming DOL Overtime Salary Basis Increase

On November 22, 2016, a federal judge in the Eastern District of Texas granted a motion for preliminary injunction filed by the State of Nevada and twenty other states (State of Nevada, et al. v. United States Department of Labor et al., 4:16-cv-00731 (E.D. Tx. Nov. 22, 2016)). This ruling applies nationwide.

The Court ruled on a preliminary basis that the DOL did not have authority to increase the FLSA salary minimum from $455 per week to $913 per week. As most employers know, this rule was set to take effect on December 1, 2016. 

Verrill Dana expects the DOL will appeal this ruling to the Fifth Circuit and employers should understand the rule’s legality has not been finally determined. Verrill Dana will be monitoring and reporting on developments as they occur. 

Wednesday
Nov092016

Maine Passes Recreational Marijuana Statute—What Does This Mean for Employers

While still up for debate (as of the time of the writing of this blog), most news outlets and agencies in Maine are reporting that Question 1 on yesterday’s ballot has passed—therefore providing for recreational use of marijuana in Maine. What does this mean for employers?  That is the question of the day.

The statute itself provides the following as to employers:

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Nov092016

Holiday Party: The Morning After

From dealing with employees who flirt or tweet off-color jokes to resolving altercations between employees, there are a great deal of risks and misbehaviors that come with corporate celebrations. In preparation for the holiday season, Verrill Dana’s Labor & Employment Group will host an informational session, “Holiday Party: The Morning After,” on November 16, from 3:00pm to 5:00pm at the firm’s Portland office, focusing on the most important things companies should be aware of to avoid the hangovers associated with too much holiday cheer. Immediately following the presentation, join the Group for refreshments and networking.

Wednesday
Nov092016

Marijuana is Legal in Massachusetts . . . Now What

On Tuesday, Massachusetts residents legalized marijuana for recreational purposes.  How does this effect your relationship with your employees and what steps should you be taking in the near future? 

First, the statute includes an employment provision which provides that: “This chapter shall not require an employer to permit or accommodate conduct otherwise allowed by this chapter in the workplace and shall not affect the authority of employers to enact and enforce workplace policies restricting the consumption of marijuana by employees.”  Accordingly, now is the time to get out your employee handbooks and your anti-drug policies and review the language included in the policies to make sure that the language restricts the use of drugs that are illegal under either state or federal law, as you don’t want to find yourself in a position arguing that marijuana is “legal” under state law, but “illegal” under federal law.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Nov082016

Western District of Pennsylvania Rules Sexual Orientation Discrimination Protected by Title VII

On Friday, November 4, 2016, the Western District of Pennsylvania issued an order denying Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss in EEOC v. Scott Medical Health Center (No. 2:16-cv-00225) finding that a claim of sexual orientation discrimination is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The order, penned by U.S. District Judge Cathy Bisson, refuses to adopt the Third Circuit’s prior rulings that sexual orientation is not a protected class under Title VII, noting that there have been “significant intervening legal developments that call into question how the [Third Circuit] evaluated Title VII in Bibby” and also noted that in Bibby, the Court was not faced with the same arguments that the EEOC had presented in the current matter. 

Specifically, the Western District held: “Title VII’s ‘because of sex’ provision prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,” and the court saw “no meaningful difference between sexual orientation discrimination and discrimination ‘because of sex.’”

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Tuesday
Nov012016

A Bourbon Conundrum

The recent week-long strike at two Jim Beam facilities in Kentucky highlights a very interesting tension in the current workplace.   Workers at the Boston and Clermont, Kentucky facilities overwhelmingly rejected the second contract proposal in two weeks, stepping out on strike on October 15, 2016.  The second contract proposal included “substantial wage increases” for already very well-paid employees, which left management at a quandary as to why the workers voted to strike. The workers, for their part, wanted a guarantee that the company would hire more full-time workers and stop relying as heavily on temporary workers, among other complaints with the contract proposal.  The crux of their complaint was that they felt that they had to work too much and it was interfering with work-life balance. 

Click to read more ...