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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. 

Entries in ADA (38)


It's the Holidays...Let's Call This the First Day of Christmas

If I had a true love, I don’t expect he would provide me with a partridge in a pear tree, he might—don’t get me wrong—but I think it is more likely that he would recognize that Maine temperatures aren’t currently the best climate for keeping a pear tree alive. He may, however, provide me with a partridge in an attempt to at least stick with the 12-days of Christmas theme despite the current temperatures. Partridges are not, however, native to New England, or North America in general, so he would really have to go out of his way to provide such an extraordinary gift. Of course I would not dissuade him from going above and beyond, but in this case, I’d likely prefer something other than a partridge. You by now are scratching your head—how does employment law come into play here? What is her take on the first gift in the much loved Christmas Carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas”? 

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Pushing a Wheelchair or Pushing the Limits?

An Illinois hairdresser who worked at a nursing home has raised a triable question for a jury as to whether her ability to wheel nonambulatory residents to the salon was an essential function of her job as a hairdresser. The case was on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, after the District Court granted summary judgment in favor of the employer (Petersen Health Care VII, LLC) finding that pushing the wheelchair was, in fact, an essential function of the position. The Seventh Circuit, however, disagreed reversing and remanding the case for trial. The Court noted that wheeling a patient from his or her room to the salon may not have been an essential function “if it was so small a part that it could be reassigned to other employees at a negligible cost to the employer.” Further, the Court noted that even if the employee, Debra Kauffman, was permanently restricted from wheeling patients, this fact does not “automatically” excuse the employer from “making any attempt to accommodate” her. You can read the whole opinion here. If you are faced with questions regarding the ADA or your requirements under the interactive process give a member of Verrill Dana’s labor and employment department a call.


Complimentary Webinar to Review Recent Legal Issues with Wellness Programs

Join Richard Moon and Chris Lockman on Thursday, November 20, from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. for a complimentary webinar that will provide a general overview of the final wellness program regulations and recent EEOC litigation attacking certain wellness programs. The DOL, HHS, and the Treasury Department have released detailed guidance explaining how wellness programs may be designed and operated in a manner that satisfies the nondiscrimination requirements of HIPAA. However, even an employer that has adhered to these regulations may not be insulated from EEOC enforcement activity and lawsuits brought under the ADA, Title VII or GINA. Recent litigation commenced by the EEOC brings these issues to the fore. Richard and Chris will explain the current state of affairs regarding wellness programs and offer recommendations for employers who wish to maintain compliant wellness programs while managing their exposure under the ADA, Title VII, and GINA.
Register for this webinar on the Verrill Dana website.


What to Expect from the EEOC When You Are Expecting: How the EEOC’s Recent Guidance Affects Employers in a Post-Hobby Lobby World

Contraceptives, accommodations, pregnancy, Hobby Lobby, these buzz words have employers and Human Resource professionals on their toes as to how to handle a seemingly regular (albeit wonderful and special) occurrence—child birth. And yesterday, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) decided to shake things up a bit by offering a bit of guidance that further complicates the “limited” Hobby Lobby ruling.

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Where Do You Work?

Depending on your point of view, a recent decision by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals either recognizes the effect that technology has on an employee’s need to be physically present in the workplace or may ultimately require employers to make the choice between allowing workers to use a telecommuting policy to its fullest extent regardless of its effect upon operations and tightening these policies to avoid legal liability.

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EEOC Issues ADA Discussion Letter

On April 22, 2014, the EEOC released an informal discussion letter regarding policies and forms related to reasonable accommodation requests under the ADA. The letter was in response to an inquiry for a “member of the public” who had written regarding the use of a sample reasonable accommodation policy and accompanying sample forms—neither the sample form nor the policy, however, were attached to the EEOC’s letter. While not attached, the letter still provided some more general guidance that we should be mindful of.

The letter notes that because accommodations must be handled on an individualized basis it is “difficult to develop a policy and related forms that can address all variables,” and that because ADA law is constantly developing it is a “risk to conclude . . . that certain things never (or almost never) have to be provided as reasonable accommodations.”

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