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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 New Hampshire (10)

Friday
Feb262016

While There WAS No "I" in Defendant, There Is Now: New Hampshire Supreme Court Finds Individual Liability in State Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Retaliation Statutes

Earlier this week the New Hampshire Supreme Court issued a decision in EEOC v. Fred Fuller Oil Company, Inc., finding that New Hampshire’s anti-discrimination statute imposes individual employee liability for aiding and abetting in discrimination in the workplace and that New Hampshire’s anti-retaliation statute similarly imposes individual employee liability.

The case was before the Supreme Court on two certified questions from the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire. Specifically, the questions before the court were:

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Wednesday
Jan062016

Refusal of Employee’s Request for “Peaceful Calm Environment” Does Not Constitute Failure to Accommodate Under the ADA

Last week Judge Joseph N. Laplante of the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire issued a decision in Posteraro v. RBS Citizens, N.A., Civil No. 13-cv-416 (D.N.H. Dec. 29, 2015), on Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment. The case involved a former Citizens Bank employee who was terminated from Citizens Bank after failing to return to work after a leave of absence for her medical conditions—post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”), depression, and anxiety. Ms. Posteraro brought claims for disability discrimination (for failure to provide a reasonable accommodation); sexual and disability harassment causing a hostile work environment (including allegations that her tenure at Citizens Bank was “rife with gender and disability-based harassment”); intentional infliction of emotional distress; wrongful discharge; retaliation (after she opposed the alleged sexual harassment and pursued accommodations for her disabilities); and constructive discharge.

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Wednesday
May132015

April Showers Brought May Flowers and A Host of Employment Action in New England

New England administrative agencies and courts have sprung into spring with a litany of action last week that will affect New England employers. Here’s the run-down:

Connecticut: Last week the Connecticut Assembly passed a measure that would bar Connecticut employers from requiring employees or applicants to provide access to personal online accounts. The bill is similar to those passed across the country and would make Connecticut the 21st state to adopt such legislation. This bill, S.B. 426, specifically would prohibit employers from requesting or requiring that passwords, user names, or any other access be granted to employers or require the applicant/employee to access the account in front of the employer or invite or accept an invitation from the employer to join a group. The bill has been sent to Governor Malloy for consideration. 

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Monday
Jan052015

New Hampshire Decision Clarifies Accommodation Request Threshold and Reminds Employers of Importance of Manager Training

On December 29, 2014, the District of New Hampshire issued a decision denying Summary Judgment and allowing a claim under the ADA to proceed to a jury after the former employee’s supervisor stated: “Your Asperger’s got in the way of your ability to interact with your boss, and we are tired of it,” while informing the former employee that his employment contract would not be renewed. Bellerose v. SAU 39, 13-cv-404.

The summary judgment record presented to the Court was filled with contradictory evidence, including medical documentation from the time in question that indicated the Plaintiff did not have Asperger’s Disorder. Plaintiff, however, presented a recent medical evaluation diagnosing Asperger’s Disorder. Viewing the facts in a light most favorable to Plaintiff, the Court accepted that the plaintiff was an individual with a disability within the meaning of the ADA. In determining that the ultimate termination and disability may be causally connected, the Court based it’s decision off the principal’s statement that the plaintiff’s “Asperger’s got in the way of [his] ability to interact with [his] boss.” As a result, the Court allowed the ADA discrimination claim to proceed.

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Tuesday
Aug192014

When It Will Bite You: Not Everybody Sees Bullying As Requiring Legislation

Late last month, New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan (D) vetoed legislation intended to curb workplace bullying in state government offices. One cannot be sure of the exact motivation behind Governor Hassan’s veto, but it is interesting to see that when the effect of legislation will be in your own backyard, i.e., the proposed legislation only applied to state government agencies, then the desire to have bullying addressed by legislative action decreases. Indeed, Hassan is quoted as saying that she believed the bill “contains a number of poorly defined and unworkable provisions that will inevitably lead to a dramatic increase in unwarranted workplace-related litigation.” She added that the bill was “an attempt to legislate politeness”.

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Thursday
Jul172014

Governor Hassan Signs Equal Pay Bill

Earlier this week New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan signed S.B. 207 into law which requires employers to pay male and female employees equally. In discussing the bill Governor Hassan noted that while over half of New Hampshire women are primary or co-breadwinners, they earn only 77 cents on the dollar compared to men in similar jobs. A similar federal bill had been proposed, the Paycheck Fairness Act, but that bill has stalled in Congress. 

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