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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. 


EEOC Changes Course And Extends Title VII Protection To Transgender Individuals

The EEOC recently ruled that Title VII provides protection to individuals who file charges based on "gender identity, change of sex, and/or transgender status."  The EEOC's decision represents a signifcant change in how the agency views transgender issues; specifically, the EEOC had previously ruled that Title VII did not extend protection to transgender individuals.

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Reasonable Accomodations and Using Arrest and Conviction Records In The Hiring Process: EEOC To Hold Public Meeting To Discuss These Issues

On April 25, the EEOC will hold a public meeting in Washington D.C. to discuss the legality of employer's consideration of an applicant's arrest and conviction record when making hiring decisions.  At this same meeting, the EEOC also plans to offer guidance on reasonable accommodations and undue hardship under the ADA.  It is expected that the EEOC will offer additional, and perhaps written guidance, on these topics at the meeting or shortly after the April meeting.

In 2011 the EEOC's office of Legal Counsel issued a non-binding advisory opinion on employer use of arrest and conviction records during the hiring process.  The opinions not only reaffirmed the EEOC's  interest in employer background checks, they also outlined the EEOC's current thinking on the subject.  Specifically:

  • The EEOC will continue to draw a distinction between arrest and conviction records;
  • The EEOC is not yet prepared to adopt a presumption of disparate impact when employers use arrest (or conviction) records in the hiring process; and
  • The EEOC encouraged employers to make sure their criminal background checks related to the job duties for the position in question.

The EEOC also a public meeting in June 2011 to discuss reasonable accommodations and leaves of absence under the ADA.  The EEOC indicated in that meeting that it would be releasing further enforcement guidance on that issue, but has not yet done so. 


Social Media In The Workplace: Maryland Closes The Door On Employer Access To Employee And Applicant Social Media Sites

Maryland has become the first state to pass a bill banning employers from asking employees or applicants for their social media passwords and login information.  The User Name and Password Privacy Protection Act prohibits employers from taking or threatening adverse action based upon an employee's or applicant's refusal to provide a user name or password to a "personal account" accessed through a "computer, telephone, personal digital assistants, and other similar devices."   Commentators expect Maryland's Governor to sign the bill into law in May and it will take effect on October 1, 2012.

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DELAYED AGAIN: D.C. Circuit Delays The NLRB's Notice Posting Deadline

On April 17, the United States court of appeals for the District of Columbia issued an injunction preventing the NLRB from implementing its notice posting rule.  The notice posting rule, which requires employers to post a notice of employee rights under the NLRA, was previously set to take effect on April 30.   With this injunction, and last week's ruling by a federal district court in South Carolina that the notice posting rule is invalid, employers nationwide have a good faith basis for refusing to post the notice on or before April 30.  The injunction will remain in effect until the D.C. Circuit rules on the legality of the notice posting rule.

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Workers' Comp Update: A New Labor Member for the Maine Workers’ Compensation Board of Directors 

Ronald P. Green, Jr., of Plymouth, Maine ( a small town about 24 miles south of Bangor) is to be voted on to the Board of Directors of the Maine Workers’ Compensation Board at the April 11, 2012 Board meeting.  He will be replacing Ginette Rivard on the Labor panel of the Board.

Mr. Green is a firefighter with the City of Bangor Fire Department, where he has worked since 1990.  He is active in his union, the International Association of Fire Fighters, currently serving as the 4th District Vice President of the local chapter of the Professional Fire Fighters of Maine.  According to his biography, he has worked on many committees on behalf of his union, has been the Executive Board Chairman, Grievance Chairman, Treasurer and Past President of Local #772.  Interestingly, his term as 4th District Vice President is not set to expire until January of 2013, meaning that he will be active in both capacities, at least for the duration of this year.


Social Media Currency: How Much Is Your Company Twitter Account Worth?

This is the precise issue being litigated in PhoneDog v. Kravitz, a case pending before the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.  The case involves a dispute between an employer, a former employee, and 17,000 Twitter followers.  The employer is not only seeking the return of its Twitter account but is also pursing money damages against the employee for using the account after leaving the company.  When the court issues its final ruling it will likely serve as a guide to other courts on how to treat (and value) disputes involving Facebook Friends, Twitter Followers, and other social media currency.

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