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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
Jul262017

Maine Department of Labor Directly Clarifies Its Position on Drug Testing & Marijuana

Based off of information received in a Portland Press Herald article, we previously noted that the Maine Department of Labor Director of Policy, Operations and Communications, Julie Rabinowitz, reported to the legislature’s Marijuana Legalization Implementation Committee that businesses with Maine-state drug testing policies should not test job applicants and workers for marijuana, because even if the tests came back positive, employers cannot fire the individual.  The Maine Department of Labor issued a press release shortly after the article was posted (and after our initial blog post) noting that this interpretation would only be relevant if the legislature does not change the current language of the statute prior to February 2018 when the law takes affect—at this time, however, employers may permissibly refuse to hire an applicant who tests positive for marijuana. 

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Tuesday
Jul252017

The Bay State Rules Qualified Medicinal Marijuana User Has Civil Remedy Against Her Employer

Last week, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts issued an opinion in Cristina Barbutos v. Advantage Sales and Marketing, LLC, SJC-12226 (Ma. July 17, 2017), finding that an employee qualified to use marijuana under the Commonwealth’s medicinal marijuana statute had a cause of action against her former employer through the Commonwealth’s handicap discrimination statute.  The opinion reversed the lower-court’s dismissal of the former employee’s cause of action, but simultaneously found that the medicinal marijuana act itself did not contain an implied statutory private right of action.

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Tuesday
Jul182017

Trump Administration Issues New Form I-9

On July 17, 2017, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a revised Form I-9 that employers will be required to use beginning September 18, 2017.   The new form may be used immediately.  Employers may continue to use the previous Form I-9 (Revision Date of 11/14/2016) through September 17, 2017. Changes include revisions to the  Instructions and the List of Acceptable Documents, and are outlined below.  Employers must continue to follow existing storage and retention rules for all previously completed Form I-9.

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Wednesday
Jun212017

Medical Marijuana: Is it reasonable and necessary?

Verrill Dana Labor & Employment attorney Beth Smith discusses the anticipated decision in Bourgoin v. Twin Rivers Paper Company that should provide some clarity about whether or not workers' compensation insurers will be compelled to compensate for medicinal marijuana expenses incurred by injured workers. Stream the podcast online here or listen below. 

 

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Thursday
May252017

Termination of Wife Swapping Deputies is Constitutional

As the Fifth Circuit noted, the facts are undisputed.  The Chief Deputy Sheriff learned that two sheriff’s deputies had “taken up residence in the other’s house, exchanging spouses without having divorced their current wives.” As a result he placed the two deputies on leave for violating the Sheriff’s Code of Conduct which included the following standards:

Conduct yourselves at all times in such a manner as to reflect the high standards of the Bossier Sheriff’s Office . . . [and] do not engage in any illegal, immoral, or indecent conduct, nor engage in any legitimate act which, when performed in view of the public, would reflect unfavorabl[y] upon the Bossier Sheriff’s Office.

Not only did the Chief Deputy Sheriff believe the Sheriff’s Code of Conduct had been violated—but also that the deputies had violated policy by failing to inform their direct supervisors of a change in address within 24 hours of the change.  The deputies were given a specified period of time to cease living with the woman who was not his spouse or they would be considered to have voluntarily terminated employment.  The deadline passed, the deputies living situations had not changed, and a lawsuit was instituted by Plaintiffs.

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Wednesday
May242017

PODCAST - Workers Compensation in a Modern Marine Economy

The so-called “blue economy” is evolving at a rapid pace.  As a result, innovative marine-based businesses are finding themselves exposed to risks when technological development outpaces legal development.  This podcast discusses the risk of worker’s compensation exposure that modern marine businesses face and how best to manage that exposure. Listen to the podcast below or download it on Soundcloud or iTunes