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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. 

Friday
Mar162018

Time is Running Out – New Disability Claims Procedures Take Effect April 2, 2018

It has been a long time coming, but the Department of Labor’s final rule regarding disability benefit claims procedures (the “Final Rule”) will finally take effect on April 2, 2018.  Employers need to determine which of their ERISA plans will be subject to the Final Rule and implement the changes necessary to comply by April 2, 2018.  Any benefit plan that is subject to ERISA and allows a claims administrator to exercise discretion in determining whether a participant is disabled (rather than relying on an independent determination from the Social Security Administration for example) must take steps to comply with the Final Rule. 

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Wednesday
Mar142018

Massachusetts Equal Pay Act: 6 Things Employers Need to Know

In the latest episode of Verrill Voices, labor and employment attorney Tawny Alvarez discusses best practices for complying with the upcoming amendments to the Massachusetts Equal Pay Act (MEPA), which was initially passed in order to establish pay equity among employees of different genders.

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Monday
Mar052018

Can the Inclusion Rider Exist In and Out of Hollywood?

Frances McDormand ended her Oscar acceptance speech with two words: Inclusion Rider.  She forced the audience, the public, and the press to ask, “What’s an inclusion rider?”  She later informs curious minds that there has always been a rider available to individuals (likely A-list actors/actresses) who negotiate, ask for, or demand a percentage of diversity in either the casting or the crew in a film. An in-depth discussion of the concept is available in Stacy Smith’s 2016 TED Talk available here.

The questions: What if Hollywood demanded further diversity?  What if board members demanded diversity in the organizations they run?  What if executives, in negotiating contracts, demanded diversity in order to accept employment?  What if, executive compensation was determined through with an eye towards achievement of the inclusion rider? 

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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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