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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 Appeal (32)


FLSA Exempt Salary Adjustment Update

On Thursday, Judge Amos Mazzant of the Eastern District of Texas issued an order concluding that the Department of Labor’s amendments to the FLSA—increasing the minimum salary threshold from $23,660 annually to $47,476.00 in order to qualify as exempt—were invalid.  Specifically, the Memorandum Opinion and Order found the plaintiffs had standing, the issue was ripe for review, and then reviewed each of the plaintiffs’ arguments in support of the position that the amendment was invalid. 

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Spouse’s “Unjustified Jealousy” is Sufficient to Maintain Sex Discrimination Claim

Has your attorney ever told you justice is not swift?  Well just ask Yogi Dilek Edwards, she would likely have some general thoughts on the speed of justice.  Three and a half years ago we posted that a Manhattan yoga instructor had filed a claim of gender discrimination after she was fired from Wall Street Chiropractic and Wellness clinic for being “too cute.”  The Plaintiff’s claim initially was dismissed by the trial court with a finding that a termination that is motivated by spousal jealousy does not constitute sex discrimination.  Ms. Edwards appealed the decision to the Appellate Division and on Tuesday, the court found that terminations motivated by sexual attraction generally is prohibited and has remanded the case back to the trial court.

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Seventh Circuit Holds Sexual Orientation Bias Exists Under Title VII

Earlier this week, the Seventh Circuit in an en banc (all member of the court participating as opposed to only three) decision held that Title VII’s ban on sex discrimination encompasses discrimination based on sexual orientation.  The 8-3 ruling represents the first federal court of appeals ruling to find that Title VII covers sexual orientation bias.

While many state statutes prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, Courts across the country diverge on whether sexual orientation is protected under Title VII.  This decision (Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana) overruled previous Seventh Circuit precedent and makes it much more likely that the Supreme Court will grant review to determine whether Title VII prohibits sexual orientation bias.  Judge Diane P. Wood authored the opinion and noted that the ruling needed to be “understood against the backdrop” of Supreme Court decisions that had discussed sexual orientation including the 2015 decision recognizing a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

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Can the Gravity of the Employer’s Reasons for Termination Outweigh the Employee’s Evidence of Retaliation?

As employment lawyers we have seen some pretty awful examples of behavior in the workplace. If we are involved, we are usually helping our clients weigh the risk of litigation against the need to remove an employee from the company. When we consult with people we usually ask about whistleblowing activities.  After telling us about a report the employee might have made, or complaints the employee might have, our clients ask, “but doesn’t the employee’s bad behavior weigh against any claim that they are a whistleblower?” A jury will certainly weigh an employer’s reason for termination against the reasons argued by the employee, but do you want to trust a jury with that decision and pay attorneys' fees for getting the case to that point?

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Employee Again Shows Genitals to Co-Workers: Litigation Again Follows

Dear reader, we know that after seeing this headline, you are saying to yourself: Super; and in other news, scientists have determined that the big bright thing in the sky is pretty warm. Fear not, however, because in this tale of southern exposure, the alleged harassment victim did the pants dropping (!) Plus, there’s stuff about softball, fortune telling and allegations of breakfast food with a side order of sexual innuendo.

(Like you’re not going to keep reading.)

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Worked to Death in the Keystone State

While we often remind employers that complaints about on-the-job stress could be a reportable event to a workers’ compensation carrier, we do not often warn employers not to work their employees “too hard” or “to death.” In this case, however, that was exactly the question at issue—did Lower Bucks County Joint Municipal Authority work an employee to death?

Robert Dietz worked for the Lower Bucks County Joint Municipal Authority as a field maintenance worker, doing work involving heavy physical labor, for 20 years. On November 7, 2007, however, Mr. Dietz suffered a fatal heart attack while working—he was 48 years old. As a result of his death, his wife, Judith Dietz filed a fatal claim petition with the Workers’ Compensation Board alleging that Decedent’s work caused his heart attack and death.

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