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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 Employee Handbook (13)


NLRB Rules Company’s Moonlighting Ban is Unlawful

An NLRB administrative law judge has ruled that it is illegal for companies to ban employees from moonlighting without permission. 

In the case Nicholson Terminal & Dock Co. and Steve Lavender, NLRB Administrative Law Judge Elizabeth M. Tafe ruled that the company was unlawfully maintaining a handbook rule prohibiting employees from working other jobs unless approved by a company executive.  Nicholson was ordered to rescind or revise the moonlighting rule, due to the “significant potential impact” on employee rights.

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Policy to “Conduct only . . . business while at work” Found to Violate NLRA

The Casino Pauma expects employees to work while at work—a concept that is not foreign to many of us. In fact, they put the expectation into writing and placed in their employee handbook a clause which provided: “Team members are to conduct only Casino Pauma business while at work. Team members may not conduct personal business or business for another employee during their scheduled working hours.” Administrative Law Judge Robert A. Giannasi, however, in a July 18, 2016 decision found that this provision violates the National Labor Relations Act because it was overbroad and unlawfully restricted employees rights to discuss unions and engage in other protected activity during non-work time. (Casino Pauma, No. 21-CA-161832 (July 18, 2016)).

Specifically, the ALJ found that the “only business while at work” clause, “can reasonably be read to restrict the communications of employees with each other about union or other Section 7 protected rights in non-work areas and on non-work time.” The ALJ found the “while at work” language to be too broad “because it is not properly restricted to ‘work time,’” as set forth in the second clause.

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National Labor Relations Act May Invalidate English-Only Rules Otherwise Justified by "Business Necessity"

Workplace rules which require employees to speak only English while at work or while conducting certain work activities are, and continue to be, relatively controversial. As we discussed previously, linguistic characteristics are closely associated with national origin, and therefore English-only rules can open employers up to national origin discrimination lawsuits.

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Four Calling Birds - Who They’re Calling and The Safety of Your Data

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me four calling birds and a potential data breach from that small hand-held device he called me from. The technological connectivity we each experience in our daily lives is often driven by a small hand-held device that holds more data than one ever would have expected ten years ago. The device is not just for “calling” anymore. Instead, now we have one device that can track location, hold contacts, direct its user to the best meal in town, wake everyone up, talk back, and provide applications that measure how fast one runs and how many calories are burnt. While these advantages are great, these mobile devices can also serve as the gate to a data breach where the security of private confidential data is put at risk. Even without regard to confidential data, those mobile devices could be creating a potential wage and hour issue or be used as a vehicle to harass your employees. Accordingly, as we role closer to the new year, it is an important time to reassess your Electronic Use Policy, specifically your BYOD Policy, or, if you’re currenty operating without an electronic use policy, to impliment one.

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What Are You Smoking?

While E-cigarettes have been available in the United States for almost a decade, their popularity over the last year has grown tremendously. Research shows that every week there are tens of thousands of new e-cigarette users in the United States. Not currently regulated, the FDA is only recently beginning to address the impact of e-cigarettes on users. Why are we posting about this? Because like so many things that become hot, they quickly make their way into the employment realm and if you don’t have a policy in place to govern the use of e-cigarettes, you could get burned (pun intended, or not, since e-cigarettes don’t really burn).

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Lessons Learned from Don Sterling: Banning Harassment from the Top Down

What do you do when the racism or discrimination isn’t occurring with middle management or on the shop floor, but instead is the result of actions of your CEO or owner? Does it change how you deal with the issue? The steps you take in dealing with and resolving the issue may be different from your normal investigation, but the outcome should be the same—a zero-tolerance policy for racist and inappropriate conduct. It’s this issue that comes to the forefront when examining the recent racial remarks by Los Angeles Clippers owner Don Sterling.

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