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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 Social Media (26)

Thursday
Jan142016

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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Wednesday
Sep302015

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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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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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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Friday
Aug292014

Frantic Friday: How We Want You to Start Your Long Weekend OR How 2,600 Retweets Created an FMLA Nightmare

Last week Christine Byers, a police reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, tweeted with regards to the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri: “Police sources tell me more than a dozen witnesses have corroborated cop’s version of events in the shooting.” @ChristineDByers. The post garnered over 2,600 retweets and a number of news reports.

So why are we posting about it here? Because Ms. Byers was on FMLA leave—and has been since March—when she posted the tweet. The next day Ms. Byers tweeted: “On FMLA from paper. Earlier tweets did not meet standards for publication.” This tweet, however, sparked public outrage with people believing Ms. Byers had been terminated and causing the Post-Dispatch to issue, in part, the following statement: “Christine Byers is a police reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch who has been on FMLA leave since March. She is not involved in the Ferguson coverage while she is on leave. Her tweets are personal.” The line between many employee’s personal identity and work identity can sometimes become blurred—make sure your company takes steps, before issues arise, to guard against such issues.

Friday
Aug292014

I Like You, You Like Me, But Companies Don't Own the "Likes" You See

Recently a Florida District Court Judge held that neither an employee, nor her former employer, owned the Facebook “likes” that had been drawn to an unofficial (later turned official) Facebook fan page. Mattocks v. Black Entertainment Television, 2014 WL 4101594 (S.D. Fl. Aug. 20, 2014). The former employee, Stacey Mattocks, started a Facebook fan page for The Game, a comedy-drama on BET that ran in 2008. While The Game ceased airing shortly after its inception, the Facebook page lived on and in 2010, when BET decided to revive The Game, it reached out to Ms. Mattocks, and offered her a part-time position maintaining the Facebook page as the show’s official fan page. This offer would make sense, considering the page already had approximately 2 million “likes” that Ms. Mattocks had garnered herself.

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