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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 Social Media (28)


When Employees Speak Out

On Saturday, January 6, labor and employment attorney Tawny Alvarez joined David Ciullo for a segment of HR Power Hour on News Talk WLOB radio. On the show, Tawny discussed what employers can and cannot do when employees speak out. Further, she explains the difference between free speech in a public and private sector, and the importance of understanding the First Amendment and Freedom of Speech in a private work environment. As people are putting more information out on social media, it becomes easier for people to collect data about you and your views. Tawny discusses employees' activity on social media (from liking to sharing content) and the added issues if and when an employee associates themselves with the organization online. 

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Searching for Answers: Ex-Google Employees File Suit

Yesterday, James Damore, the engineer who authored the Google Memo, which set forth his view on gender bias and diversity in technology, and who was later fired, filed a class-action lawsuit in the Santa Clara Superior Court in California.  Joining him in the suit is fellow ex-employee, David Gudeman, who alleges he too was wrongfully terminated in December of 2016.  The Complaint itself claims that Gudeman and Damore were “ostracized, belittled and punished for their heterodox political views, and for the added sin of their birth circumstances of being Caucasians and/or males.”

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Is This Mic On?: NLRB Finds Whole Foods Policy Has Chilling Effect

Recently, the National Labor Relations Board reviewed upscale grocer Whole Foods’ policy within its General Information Guide (“GIG”) which banned employees’ from recording in the workplace without prior management approval. Specifically the policy provided:

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Does Your Social Media Policy Need An Anti-Parasitic Drug?

My Facebook news feed blew up last week with reaction to Martin Shkreli’s company, Turing’s, 5,000% increase in the price of the anti-parasitic drug Daraprim from $13.50 per pill to $750 per pill. While an interesting case study in ethics, politics, and how health care and pharmaceuticals are managed in our culture, on its face the problem likely didn’t make you think about employment law issues—but it should.

As the news of Mr. Shkreli’s price hike hit the media, reporters quickly uncovered information concerning Mr. Shkreli’s past—including a recent lawsuit filed in the Southern District of New York alleging breach of the duty of loyalty on the part of Mr. Shkreli as to his former company Retrophin(a biotech company he started at the age of 29). In that suit, Retrophin is seeking more than $65 million in damages. In addition to the breach of the duty of loyalty lawsuit, Mr. Shkreli, during his time at Retrophin, was accused in an unrelated lawsuit by a former Retrophin employee of engaging in a social media attack against the former employee and his family (allegedly hacking into the former employee’s social media accounts as well as threatening the former employee’s family through text messages and Facebook). As a result (or at approximately the same time), Mr. Shkreli was removed as the company’s CEO.

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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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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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