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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 hrlawupdate@verrilldana.com, the submission of a comment or question does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and you. 

Entries in Legislation (20)

Thursday
Sep222016

Despite Recent Challenges to Overtime Rule, Employers Should Continue Preparing for Implementation on December 1

On September 20, two lawsuits were filed in federal court seeking to stop the new overtime regulations from going into effect on December 1.  One lawsuit was filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with a number of other business groups.  The other lawsuit was filed by a coalition of 21 states (Nevada, Texas, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Iowa, Maine, New Mexico, Mississippi, and Michigan).  Both lawsuits were filed in the Eastern District of Texas and seek an injunction to block the overtime rule from going into effect.

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Wednesday
Aug032016

“The Writing is On the Wall”: Seventh Circuit Clears Up Any Misconceptions the Public May Have on the Court’s View on Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Late last week, the Seventh Circuit issued an opinion in Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College, in which it held that Title VII provides no redress for discrimination of the basis of sexual orientation. The Seventh Circuit is the first federal court of appeals court to rule on the issue since the EEOC’s administrative ruling in July 2015 that bias based on sexual orientation is discrimination in violation of Title VII.

While the court relied on previous holding of the circuit that sexual orientation was not a protected case, the court provided an extended analysis of the EEOC’s 2015 decision in Baldwin v. Foxx, EEOC Appeal No. 0120133080, 2015 WL 4397641, at *5, *10 (July 16, 2015), where the EEOC concluded that: “sexual orientation is inherently a ‘sex-based consideration,’ and an allegation of discrimination based on sexual orientation is necessarily an allegation of sex discrimination under Title VII.” In support of this position, the EEOC has been relying in large part on the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Price Waterhouse where the Court held that gender stereotyping constituted discrimination on the basis of sex in violation of Title VII.

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Tuesday
Aug182015

Maine’s Newest Employment Laws

Earlier this month, Maine’s highest court, the Law Court, held that Governor LePage’s veto attempts came too late—meaning that 65 laws which he had not taken timely action on are law. Included in these 65 laws is L.D. 921, which (as a result of the Governor’s failure to act) became law on July 12, 2015. 

L.D. 921 has two components: 1) it provides damages for employees who have been denied rights under Maine’s Employment Leave for Victims of Violence; and 2) it enacts Maine’s Employee Social Media Privacy law.

26 M.R.S.A. § 850 is Maine’s Employment Leave for Victims of Violence law. While the law has been in effect since 1999, there were no damages available to the affected employee. Previously, the Department of Labor could assess a civil penalty of up to $200 for each violation (if the employee notifies the DOL within 6 months of the occurrence), however there previously was no damages available for the employees who’s rights were violated. The new penalties portion of the statute provides that the DOL may assess a fine of up to $1,000 for each occurrence and the employer will be required to pay “liquidated damages to the affected individual in an amount equal to 3 times the amount of total assessed fines.” Additionally, if an individual is terminated for attempting to use statutorily protected time as a result of domestic violence, the former employee could receive either the liquidated damages previously noted or re-employment with payment of back wages.

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Thursday
May072015

Maine Labor Committee Rejects Right-to-Work Bill

Maine will not become the first state in the Northeast to pass a right-to-work law. Yesterday, law makers in Augusta on the Legislature’s Labor Committee voted 7-6 to recommend that the full Legislature kill the bill. Right-to-work laws guarantee that employees who work in a unionized environment not have to join the union or pay fees for the unions representation if they so choose. The text of the bill is available here.

Tuesday
Apr282015

Legislative Update: Maine’s “Retail Workers Bill of Rights”

For all our friends and colleagues in the hospitality and retail sectors of the Maine economy, please be mindful of two pending pieces of legislation in Augusta that could affect minimum standards as to pay and work schedules for Maine employers in the retail industry. Read more here.

Wednesday
Mar252015

Indiana Discrimination Bill: A Higher Law?

By now you’ve likely heard about the “Indiana Discrimination Bill” that passed through the Indiana legislature on Monday after a vote of 63-31. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act has been described as allowing any individual or corporation to cite their religious beliefs as a defense when sued by a private party. The intent, it would appear, was to protect business owners who did not want to serve same-sex couples. Let us use as a hypothetical a bakery that does not want to bake a cake for a same-sex couple as a result of the bakery owner’s religious beliefs. One of the primary authors of the bill, Senator Scott Schneider noted: “You don’t have to look too far to find a growing hostility towards people of faith.”  ACLU advocate Eunice Rho has been quoted as saying, “This bill would give anyone the right to argue that they don’t have to follow state or local laws—including basic civil rights laws related to employment, housing and public accommodations.”

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