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


Traditionally Behind the Scenes, Indirect Persuader Activities Go Public 

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) intends to put a spotlight on the relationships between companies and the lawyers and consultants companies rely on for labor relations advice. For more than 55 years, the DOL has imposed limited reporting requirements on employers and consultants retained to persuade employees regarding union-organizing activity – but, only when they interacted with employees face-to-face.

New rules announced by the DOL on March 24 expand the definition of reportable “persuader” activity to include most of the services that have been traditionally performed by lawyers behind the scenes, so-called “indirect persuader” activities.

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Service Advisor Question Sent Back to Ninth Circuit

The Supreme Court issued its decision today in Encino MotorCars, LLC v. Navarro. A background of the case is available here, but the question at issue was whether service advisors at car dealerships are exempt from the FLSA’s overtime pay requirements.

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Post-It Up or Pay It Up: The Double-It Year Continues

You know how we harp on the easy things? Like having all the required state and federal posting requirements hung in a place where employees can easily find them? This serves as just another friendly reminder that those postings are important. 

Prior to 2014, the maximum penalty for failing to have the appropriate posters hung was $110 per violation. In 2014, it was raised to a maximum of $210 per violation. As of July 5 of this year that number will be raised from a maximum of $210 per violation to a maximum of $525 per violation. Do you see a pattern here with federal agencies doubling numbers this year? Federal posting requirements include those under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.

Contact a member of Verrill Dana’s Labor & Employment Practice Group if you have questions regarding posting requirements in your jurisdiction.


Connecticut Enacts “Ban the Box” Legislation

On June 1, 2016, Governor Dannel Malloy signed into law Public Act 16-83, entitled “An Act Concerning Fair Chance Employment,” joining a national trend of legislation to “ban the box” in the hiring process. Effective January 1, 2017, Connecticut’s new legislation modifies C.G.S. § 31-51i and prohibits virtually any employer—public or private—from inquiring about a prospective employee’s arrests, criminal charges or convictions on an initial employment application. The statute provides two exceptions that allow an initial inquiry if (1) the employer is required to do so by an applicable state or federal law; or (2) a security or fidelity bond or an equivalent bond is required for the position for which the prospective employee is seeking employment.

The legislation does not provide a private right of action for prospective employees against a covered employer, but instead allows a complaint to be filed with the Labor Commissioner alleging an employer’s violation.

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Beer Distributor Appeals NLRB Finding as to Terminated Union Employee Who Reeked of Marijuana

Appellate briefing to the Second Circuit was completed earlier this week in Manhattan Beer Distributors LLC v. NLRB, a case in which the NLRB, in 2015, held that Manhattan Beer Distributors violated an employee’s Weingarten rights when they terminated a distribution employee who “reeked” of marijuana after he refused to submit to a drug test without a union representative present.

In NLRB v. J. Weingarten Inc. (1975), the U.S. Supreme Court held that an employee has a statutory right to request a union representative during an investigative interview which the employee reasonably believes could result in disciplinary action. In the current action, the question was whether the submission to a drug test was “an investigatory interview” which would thus result in the employee having Weingarten rights.

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FLSA Overtime Guidance for Educational Institutions

You likely received notice that the U.S. Department of Labor released its final overtime regulations on May 18. Many education institutions will now be required to take steps to revise their pay practices and work distribution. This poses difficulties for education institutions of all sizes, whether at the elementary, secondary, or post-secondary level. We hope you find the below information helpful in analyzing how your institution will be affected.

Step 1:  Does this new FLSA salary minimum apply to employees of my institution?

Yes, but there are some exceptions. Generally, in order to be exempt from the overtime requirements as an executive, administrative, or professional employee, the employee must be paid above the new salary minimum of $47,476 per year (or $913 per week). Pertinent to education institutions, however, the salary threshold does not apply to employees whose primary duty is “teaching, tutoring, instructing, or lecturing in the activity of imparting knowledge.”

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