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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. 

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Entries in Age Discrimination (4)


“Capturing” the Affect of Pokemon Go in the Office

This is reality. This is not a test. There are Pokémon in your office. Well, maybe; it’s more like there are not real Pokémon chilling outside your door, but more that in an augmented reality there are graphical elements placed within your real world. The thing is, either way, it can result in real productivity drains—likely 151 productivity drains (for those still learning that’s how many Pokémon there apparently are to collect), but this blog post will only comment on a few. So let’s get to it; while we have all seen people walking around waiving their phones in the air over the course of the last two weeks, have we sat down and considered the implications of this in the work environment?

  1. Integration: There’s something fascinating about augmented reality, I mean, look at the image here, I pulled six attorneys away from their desks to “capture” Butterfree (yes there is an attorney hiding behind the Pokémon). Is this a way to bring people together in your organization? Maybe, it brought us together—but there are probably other options to consider. At the same time, I thought starting this post off on a positive note was nice.

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Makers of Milk’s Favorite Cookie not Favorites of Employer, Says Union

In anticipation of planned layoffs at a Chicago factory that produces such confections as Oreos and Chips Ahoy, the union for workers at the factory has taken the somewhat unusual (albeit not unprecedented) step of filing a complaint of discrimination with the EEOC. In its complaint to the EEOC, the union alleges that the planned layoffs are improperly motivated by age and racial bias.

The owner of the factory, Mondelez International, has said that the layoffs are necessary to save $46 million per year in order to provide for technology upgrades and to prevent locating up to 600 positions to a factory in Mexico. In its complaint, however, the union countered that none of the other Mondelez factories that required capital expenditures sought to save money for doing so by laying-off workers. Additionally, the union argued that the demographics of the Chicago factory are different than those of the other Mondalez factories in that about 86% of the employees in the union are over the age of 40 and about 68% are people of color. Despite those assertions and arguments, the union did not, however, provide the demographics of non-union employees at the factory or the demographics of employees at the other factories that allegedly did not require lay-offs.

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Hershey Managers will not Receive 100 Grand PayDay for Alleged Snickers about Their Age

You can’t have your Hershey’s Bar and eat it too—or at least you can’t when you have signed a valid waiver of age discrimination claims in return for severance pay and you then attempt to sue your employer for exactly that. Nonetheless, that didn’t stop a group of ex-managers of the Hershey Company from trying.

In 2009 and 2010, Hershey terminated the employment of six managers. In exchange for severance pay, each manager was given the option of waiving his or her claims against the company, including those for age discrimination. Each manager did so. Approximately two years later, realizing that more money may have slipped through their Butterfingers and hoping to Skor S’more money from Hershey, the managers sued the company for age discrimination.

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Father-Daughter Dance Against Connecticut Wedding Caterer/Event Venue Results in Significant Personal Liability to Business Owners

As we near Father’s Day, Ferguson v. Fairfield Caterers, Inc., serves as an appropriate case to remind employers of the many facets of a retaliation claim—including the personal liability that attaches. Kelli Ferguson and her father worked for Defendant until early 2010. Ferguson’s father, Kevin Heslin managed wedding sales and promotions and Ms. Ferguson, who had worked for Defendant for over two decades and had worked her way up from part-time coat check attendant, was the general manager of the operations—overseeing her father, among other employees. In late 2009, Defendant’s ownership met with Ms. Ferguson and recommended that it was time for Mr. Heslin to retire because he was “too old” and brides could not relate to him. Mr. Heslin’s employment with the company terminated in January 2010, on his 71st birthday, and he soon after filed a complaint with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, alleging his termination was based on his age in violation of law.

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