Blog Posts: Taking Care of HR Business

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Human resource professionals, supervisors, and company executives alike face a constantly changing and evolving legal landscape. Verrill's Taking Care of HR Business blog is here to keep you up to date on the newest and most important legal developments for employers.

2021 LexisNexis “Workers’ Compensation Emerging Issues Analysis”

I just read a wonderful resource for anyone who has dealings with any aspect of workers’ compensation law. “Workers’ Compensation Emerging Issues Analysis”, the 2021 LexisNexis volume co-authored by Thomas A. Robinson and National Workers’ Compensation Defense Network member firms contains well-written articles on multiple topics in the workers&rsquo...
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This Week's Show: Beth Smith – What’s Covered? Workers’ Compensation 101

On Saturday, August 7, Tawny Alvarez, Verrill attorney and co-host of HR Power Hour, interviewed fellow Verrill attorney Elizabeth Smith for this segment of HR Power Hour. For this episode, Tawny and Beth discuss pre-existing injuries, emotional wellness, stress, a skiing accident—are they covered by workers’ compensation? Beth has...
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This Week's Show: COVID 19 and Workers’ Compensation

On Saturday, January 16, Tawny interviewed Elizabeth Smith, Counsel in Verrill's Employment and Labor Group, for this segment of HR Power Hour. For this episode, Beth and Tawny discuss what COVID-19 means for workers' compensation Beth has litigated numerous employment and labor law matters in the course of her...
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NWCDN Workers' Compensation in a Post-COVID World

Join the National Workers' Compensation Defense Network (NWCDN) and the WorkersCompensation.com Center for Education Excellence for a live virtual seminar on November 12, starting at 10:00AM E.S.T. This year, due to COVID-19 concerns, the organization has partnered with WorkersCompensation.com to bring you two virtual stages, offering panels that will...
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The NWCDN’s COVID-19 Benefits Survey: A State By State Analysis

The National Workers’ Compensation Defense Network (NWCDN), a nationwide and Canadian network of law firms, has published COVID-19 updates, including “COVID-19 Benefits Survey,” a state by state analysis of the pandemic layoffs and affects on benefits as of April 13, 2020. Beth Smith , a member of the NWCDN...
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Should Employers Recognize COVID-19 As A Work-Related Injury?

While we know that everyone is being bombarded with COVID-19 recommendations, advice, news and data, one area that appears to have been overlooked is the question of whether COVID-19 infection, if acquired at work and due to the work performed, might result in a workers’ compensation injury. That specific...
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Compromise Reached in Maine Workers’ Compensation Reform

Governor Mills has signed into law amendments to the existing Workers' Compensation Act that are the product of a bipartisan effort to avoid a series of proposed legislation that would have had the very real risk of dragging Maine back to pre-1992 status. With the election of a Democratic...
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NCCI Maine Advisory Forum 2018

On Thursday, March 22, 2018, Attorney Beth Smith attended the morning session of the National Council of Compensation Insurance (NCCI) State Advisory Forum for Maine, held in Portland, Maine. Justin Moulton and Jim Davis hosted on behalf of NCCI, and there were roughly thirty attendees. The session opened with...
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Medical Marijuana: Is it reasonable and necessary?

Verrill Dana Labor & Employment attorney Beth Smith discusses the anticipated decision in Bourgoin v. Twin Rivers Paper Company that should provide some clarity about whether or not workers' compensation insurers will be compelled to compensate for medicinal marijuana expenses incurred by injured workers. Stream the podcast online here...
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Straight to the Heart of Dixie: Alabama Workers' Compensation Act Ruled Unconstitutional

On Monday, May 8, a Jefferson County (Birmingham) Circuit Court Judge found two specific provisions of the Alabama Workers' Compensation Act unconstitutional, and because one or more provisions of the law were unconstitutional, the entire law was struck down. The two provisions at issue were a maximum cap of...
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Breaking News on Medical Marijuana in Maine Workers' Compensation

We have just learned that the State of Maine Supreme Judicial Court, sitting as the Law Court, has accepted Bourgoin v. Twin Rivers Paper Co., L.L.C., and Decision No. 16-26 , one of a pair of Administrative Law Judge decisions addressing medical marijuana that the Appellate Division affirmed last...
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Your Watch Does What? Wearable Technology in the Workplace… For Better or Worse

smartwatch
From wristwatches that can take pictures to retinal scanners to fitness trackers, wearable devices are becoming increasingly popular in everyday life, including at work. A study found that employees using wearable technology reported an 8.5% increase in productivity and a 3.5% increase in job satisfaction. Although wearable devices can...
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A Bourbon Conundrum

The recent week-long strike at two Jim Beam facilities in Kentucky highlights a very interesting tension in the current workplace. Workers at the Boston and Clermont, Kentucky facilities overwhelmingly rejected the second contract proposal in two weeks, stepping out on strike on October 15, 2016. The second contract proposal...
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Breaking News on DOL “Threats” to Federalize Workers’ Compensation

On Wednesday, October 5, 2016, a much-anticipated report generated by the NASI (National Academy of Social Insurance) was released. The report had been shrouded in secrecy, with even supposed "insiders" complaining of having been shut out of the process. Then, over the weekend, the Department of Labor held a...
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Letters from the Workers' Compensation Trenches

I am just back from an invigorating seminar put on by the national group to which we belong as the sole Maine member, the National Workers' Compensation Defense Network and want to share some highlights. This year's seminar, held in Chicago on September 22, included presentations on lots of...
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Will The New Maine Opiate Control Law Impact the Workers’ Compensation System?

Stories of the horrors of opiate over-prescription and abuse are abundant, and Maine has not been spared the ravages of that epidemic. In response to the growing problem, Governor LePage, in April of this year, signed into law a bill intended to place some limits on the prescription of...
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When Pain and Suffering is Anything But

In Massachusetts, as in many states, when an employee is injured in the course of work, but the injury is caused by a third party, the employee is entitled to receive workers' compensation benefits and also seek damages from the third party. For example, employee Ernie is driving the...
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Co-Workers with Zenefits

Apparently it is going to be a lot less fun to work at Zenefits, a health insurance brokerage start-up, than it used to be. A month ago, David Sacks, the aptly named CEO of Zenefits, banned alcohol in the workplace. Apparently, occasionally co-workers would gather in the office to...
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CDC Issues Opioid Guidelines

On March 18, the CDC finally issued much-anticipated guidelines for the prescription of opioids in chronic pain management "outside of active cancer treatment, palliative care, and end-of-life care." Over-prescription of opioids in the realm of workers' compensation has long been an issue of national importance. 47,055 lethal drug overdoses...
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Dear John, Number Two

Loyal blog readers may recall our post last August reporting on an Ohio company that required its workers to swipe into and out of the restroom at work , so as to monitor the amount of time spent on bathroom breaks. Predictably, that policy was not one tolerated by...
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Firm Highlights

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News of Supreme Court Leak is a Good Reminder to Revisit Confidentiality Policies

If you have been on social media today (or yesterday) or picked up a newspaper or listened to the radio or watched television—really if you have consumed news in any format, you likely are...

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Supreme Leak: Religion at Work

Over the last year, our society has navigated COVID-19 and rules concerning vaccination and masking. As a society and on this blog, we have discussed regularly the role religious freedoms play in the work...

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More Madness: Catch Up With NCAA Happenings

While there’s no denying March Madness brings the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) considerable attention, the Association has been the subject of significant press over the last year for several hot-button employment-related issues. First...

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HR 2116 and What You Need to Know About Hairstyle Discrimination

On March 18, the United States House of Representatives passed HR 2116 by a vote of 235-to-189. The Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act (a/k/a CROWN Act) , would restrict...

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“Mug-shots”: Are Employees’ risky beverage containers a cause for concern?

Prior to (and more so during) the pandemic, many individuals who found themselves working from home were limited in ways to express their uniqueness, their personalities, the things that made them, well, them. It...

Publication/Podcast

Workers' Compensation and Employers' Liability Committee

In the spring of 2021, employment and labor attorney Beth Smith published an article in the American Bar Association's The Brief publication. Entitled "Workers' Compensation and Employers' Liability Committee," Beth discusses how this committee...

Publication/Podcast

Labor & Employment Annual Update: Tips and Trends for 2021 and 2022

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Supreme Leak: NLRA Rights

For blog followers, you likely saw last week’s post reminding you to revisit your confidentiality policies in the wake of the leaking of the Supreme Court’s draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health...

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Limiting Harassment Claims When Returning to IRL Engagement

It is April 2022 and after 2 years of pandemic-related in-person meeting restrictions (also known as meeting In Real Life (IRL)), we are seeing increases in employers permitting work-related travel. That, coupled with requirements...

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2021 LexisNexis “Workers’ Compensation Emerging Issues Analysis”

I just read a wonderful resource for anyone who has dealings with any aspect of workers’ compensation law. “Workers’ Compensation Emerging Issues Analysis”, the 2021 LexisNexis volume co-authored by Thomas A. Robinson and National...

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