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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. 

Thursday
Jan182018

(PODCAST) With Potential Government Shutdown, Federal Contractors Should Prepare

With another potential federal government shutdown possible on Friday, January 19, federal contractors need to be prepared. A shutdown can have a variety of negative effects on the business and employees of federal contractors, whether employees are locked out of their job sites or federal funding dries up.

In this Verrill Voices podcast, labor and employment attorney Joanna Bowers discusses how federal contractors should prepare and what steps they can take once a shutdown goes into effect. Although this podcast was recorded in anticipation of the looming federal government shutdown in April 2017, the lessons and recommendations remain true for the current potential shutdown.

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Thursday
Jan182018

Oops, Wrong Button. Do We Discipline for the Mistake or the Effect of the Mistake?

In the wake of last week’s “oops,” when a Hawaii civil defense employee sent out an Emergency Alert to those on the island which stated: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII.  SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL” it’s a good time to discuss disciplinary issues in the workplace—both for mistakes and for blatant conduct.

Here we find ourselves with a situation in which an employee, attempting to send out an internal test alert on Saturday morning accidently chose the option “Missile alert” from a drop-down menu, as opposed to “Test missile alert.”  It took 38 minutes for the error to be corrected and in the meantime panic across the island ensued.  The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency has publicly stated it is working to fix the problem regarding how easy it was to make the mistake.  Currently, the employee who pressed the button has been temporarily reassigned pending the outcome of the investigation.

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Tuesday
Jan092018

The Walking Dead Producer Walks into Serious OSHA Fines after Death on Set

The company that produces The Walking Dead television series was recently fined $12,675.00 after an OSHA investigation following the fatal July 12, 2017 fall of stuntman John Bernecker.  Specifically, Mr. Bernecker fell approximately 20 feet onto a concrete floor, resulting in his death, while performing a stunt. 

OSHA relied upon the general duties clause (Section 5(a)(1)), finding that Stalwart Films, LLC had failed to protect from a foreseeable hazard that could have been mitigated by not minimizing the distance need for falls or providing adequate pads to protect falling performers.

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Tuesday
Jan092018

Searching for Answers: Ex-Google Employees File Suit

Yesterday, James Damore, the engineer who authored the Google Memo, which set forth his view on gender bias and diversity in technology, and who was later fired, filed a class-action lawsuit in the Santa Clara Superior Court in California.  Joining him in the suit is fellow ex-employee, David Gudeman, who alleges he too was wrongfully terminated in December of 2016.  The Complaint itself claims that Gudeman and Damore were “ostracized, belittled and punished for their heterodox political views, and for the added sin of their birth circumstances of being Caucasians and/or males.”

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Wednesday
Jan032018

What Employers Need to Know About Conducting Internal Investigations (PODCAST)

In this episode of the Verrill Voices podcast, labor and employment attorney Doug Steinmetz discusses what employers need to know when considering or conducting internal investigations. Whether the investigation is triggered by an employee conflict, sexual harassment claim, or another event, your ability to conduct an effective investigation can pay enormous dividends. In particular, as stated by Doug in the podcast, it can decrease your liability to employee lawsuits and enforcement actions by government agencies, help to identify problems with your business and their solutions, and can build credibility with your employees. 

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Friday
Dec292017

On Air with Ken and Matt: An Employment Law Update

In case you missed it, labor and employment attorneys Benjamin Ford and Tawny Alvarez were live on air in the Newsradio WGAN studio on the morning of Friday, December 22, discussing the firm's upcoming 2018 Annual Employment Law Update on January 25 in Portland.

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