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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
Sep132011

Facebook Fired?

The National Labor Relations Board (the “Board”) has recently offered guidance, including fourteen case summaries, on when an employer can lawfully fire an employee for her Facebook or other social media postings.  At issue in the cases filed by the Board is whether or not the content of an employee’s social media posting for which she is fired amounts to concerted protected activity under the National Labor Relations Act.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Aug152011

An Over-the-Counter Remedy for the Health Risk Assessment Headache

The following article was originally published on the Verrill Dana Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation group's blog EmployeeBenefitsUpdate.com.

A number of clients have recently asked a relatively simple question: Can they require an employee to take a health risk assessment (“HRA”) as a condition of participation in a wellness program or group health plan? This question seems simple enough. Nevertheless, the answer involves unraveling a complex web of federal and state privacy, discrimination, and disability-related laws – and that’s just the beginning! Parsing through these laws will give even the most savvy HR professional a headache. This post offers an over-the-counter remedy for that headache by describing some basic principles that employers can follow to determine what they can and cannot do in designing HRA incentives. But first a bit of background about HIPAA, the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (“ADAAA”), and a recent case that appears to help.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Aug112011

To Exempt or Not to Exempt?...and Other Employee Classification Questions

On August 10, 2011, Anne Birgel Cunningham and Matt Bahl, attorneys in Verrill Dana’s Labor & Employment Group, led this workshop, which included a review of the various laws and regulations impacting how you pay and classify your workforce.

To view slides from this presentation click here.

Wednesday
Jul062011

10 Questions On Every Employer's Mind About Maine's New Bring Your Gun To Work Law

Last month Maine passed L.D. 35, a law that allows employees with valid concealed firearm permits to keep a firearm in their vehicle at work – so long as the vehicle is locked and the firearm is not visible. This new law raises serious concerns for employers about property rights and employee and customer safety. Because this new law has generated so many questions, we’ve provided the following brief, practical answers to common concerns. Keep in mind, however, that the below answers are based on a narrow reading of L.D. 35 and only a viable “test case” can provide more definitive guidance.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jun282011

NLRB Proposes New "Quickie" Election Rules

The Employee Free Choice Act may be a lame duck, but the NLRB seems dead set on changing the representation election process – and not for the better. On June 21, 2011, the NLRB proposed amendments to its existing rules and regulations governing procedures in union representation cases. The proposed amendments would:

Click to read more ...

Friday
Apr012011

Effective Date Arrives For New ATM Accessibility Standards

March 15, 2011 marked the effective date for new regulations (the “2010 Standards”) implemented by the US Justice Department (“DOJ”) that govern accessibility for places of public accommodation, including automatic teller machines (“ATMs”).  The regulations include technically specific accessibility requirements that were previously lacking in the general accessibility requirements established in 1991 (the “1991 Standards”).   While the 1991 Standards require ATMs to be accessible and independently useable by persons with visual impairments, the 2010 Standards related to ATMs include but are not limited to technical requirements for speech output, privacy, tactilely-discernable input controls, display screens, and Braille instruction. 

Safe harbor provisions, allowing for continued compliance with the 1991 Standards for a period of time, do not apply to these technical specifications that are new to the 2010 Standards.  Consequently, the technical, communications-related elements required for ATMs in the 2010 Standards must be implemented by March 15, 2012, unless compliance would cause an “undue burden” for the financial institution.  Therefore, unless you can make a showing of “undue burden,” ATMs must be upgraded to the new standards on or after March 15, 2012, “to the extent readily achievable.” 

Generally speaking, it is much more difficult to meet the standard for an “undue burden” than the standard for what is not “readily achievable.”  An undue burden requires “significant difficulty or expense.”  In each case, the DOJ considers these standards to require individualized, case-by-case analyses.  The requirements of the new regulations are lengthy, and financial institutions should develop implementation plans to the extent their ATMs are not in compliance with the regulations. 

The regulations may be found here: http://www.ada.gov/regs2010/titleIII_2010/titleIII_2010_regulations.htm.

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