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.

Attention Portland Employers: Updates on Mask Mandate, Hazard Pay

On Monday, Portland City Councilors took two significant actions that affect employers in Portland, Maine. First, the Council repealed an emergency order from March 2020, eliminating the hazard pay provision set forth in the city’s minimum wage ordinance. Second, the Council enacted a city-wide indoor mask mandate affecting most...
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Myth Buster: Employers, Vaccine Information, and HIPAA

With the nation’s ongoing focus on COVID-19 vaccinations, you may be hearing information—and misinformation—about your obligations under HIPAA, the federal Health Information Portability and Accountability Act. In this segment of Myth Busters , we address some common misconceptions about HIPAA and its applicability to employers and employee health information...
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Federal Vaccine Mandates – What We Know and What We Don’t

On September 9, President Biden announced plans to require that federal workers, federal contractors, and employees of employers with 100 or more employees are vaccinated or tested weekly for COVID-19. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force have been tasked with drafting regulations...
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This Week's Show: What is Covering?

On Saturday, May 15, Tawny interviewed Elizabeth Johnston, Associate in Verrill's Employment & Labor Group, for this segment of HR Power Hour. For this episode, Liz and Tawny discuss what it means to cover in the workplace, as well as HR best practices for diversity and inclusion. A regular...
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This Week's Show: Employment Law and Elections

On Saturday, October 31, Tawny interviewed Liz Johnston, Associate in Verrill's Employment & Labor Group, for this segment of HR Power Hour. For this episode, Liz and Tawny discuss employment law and how it applies to the upcoming election. A regular contributor to Verrill’s Taking Care of HR Business...
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Getting Ready for Election Day: Employee Voting

Election Day is right around the corner. While many employees may choose to vote by mail, chances are you may have employees requesting time away from the workplace (or a remote work set-up) to vote in person. Now is a better time than ever to brush up on employers&rsquo...
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This Week's Show: Don't Forget General Obligations When Focusing On COVID-19

On Saturday, May 9, Tawny interviewed Elizabeth Johnston, Associate in Verrill's Employment & Labor Group, for this segment of HR Power Hour. For this episode, Liz and Tawny discuss the importance of not forgetting employers' general obligations in the midst of COVID-19. A regular contributor to Verrill’s Taking Care...
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Hiring During the COVID-19 Pandemic: What You Can Do

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, business—and hiring—must go on. As the EEOC continues to update its guidance regarding employment practices during the pandemic, here are common questions regarding how to implement legally-sound hiring practices while protecting your workplace. Q: May I screen job applicants for COVID-19, and if so...
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BREAKING: Massachusetts and Connecticut Order Closure of Non-Essential Businesses

Massachusetts has joined an increasing number of states ordering the closure of non-essential businesses in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak. On March 23, 2020, Governor Charles Baker signed COVID-19 Order No. 13 , which requires all businesses and organizations that do not provide “COVID-19 Essential Services” to temporarily...
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To Test or Not to Test: Employer Considerations Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Q: I am concerned about employees coming to work with a fever—can I test employees’ temperatures before allowing them to work to avoid spreading the coronavirus? Verrill’s View: Maybe—but there are many factors to consider. Generally, taking an employee’s temperature would be a restricted medical examination, but employers may...
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2019 Wrap Up: New Tech, New Issues

Over the past several years, technology has infiltrated more and more aspects of life—including the employment context. With new consumer and business products and platforms being introduced to the workplace on a daily basis, there are ever-growing opportunities to use tech to improve worker safety, optimize efficiency in the...
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Verrill’s Employment and Labor Wrap Up

As the year and decade come to a close, it is hard not to reflect on how the labor and employment landscape has changed in recent years. Economic forces, political shifts, and new technology are just some of the factors that have been at play in shaping policy and...
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Identifying and Handling a Hostile Work Environment

Employee claims of “hostile work environments” continue to make news both in Maine and on a national level, putting potentially embarrassing and damaging workplace and employee interpersonal issues into the public eye. But when do workplace issues rise to a level where a lawsuit might ensue? What steps can...
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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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Maine’s New Paid Leave Law: Employer Confusion

On May 28, 2019, Governor Mills signed into law the nation's first ever paid leave law requiring leave for any reason. The statute itself is uniquely brief, giving the impression that it is straightforward, but there are a host of important issues that the statute does not address. Below...
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DOL’s Proposed Rule Making on Regular Rate of Pay

The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division recently announced a proposed rule updating regulations governing what items are included in an employee's regular rate of pay. This constitutes the first update to the definition of the regular rate of pay in over fifty years. Under the Fair...
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On The Twelfth Day of HR, Verrill Dana Gave to Me…

…a stocking full of tip summaries! After a very musical few weeks, we've arrived at the final installment of our 12 Days of HR series. We hope that you've enjoyed singing along with us on our holiday-themed journey through various employment law issues—and learned a few things along the...
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12 Days of HR: Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot, Preparing for 2019 Should Not

We're halfway through December, which means that the New Year is right around the corner. January 1st always seems to inspire a host of new goals and aspirations for the year ahead, and if you are in human resources, we have some resolutions to consider as 2019 gets ready...
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12 Days of HR: All I Want For Christmas Is . . . A Side Hustle?

In recent years, "side hustles" have become an increasingly common phenomenon among employees in all industries to supplement income from a "traditional" job. A key attribute of side hustles is that they are self-managed, and there are seemingly endless opportunities—from tutoring to digital design services to creating online video...
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12 Days of HR: I’ll Be Home for Christmas—Because of Leave Under the FMLA

Employees often take time off around the holidays. In many cases, an employee's days off might be pursuant to a planned vacation or time with loved ones. However, an employee might request leave for a situation that would entitle them to leave pursuant to the federal Family and Medical...
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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year…

That's right—with the kids jinglebelling and everyone telling you to be of good cheer, we can safely say that the holiday season is here. In years past, Verrill Dana's Labor & Employment Practice Group has celebrated by sharing festive labor and employment lessons based on the "Twelve Days of...
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Firm Highlights

Blog

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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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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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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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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“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...

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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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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...

News

Verrill Attorney Elizabeth T. Johnston Elected as New Lawyers Section Representative of Maine State Bar Association (MSBA) Board of Governors

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How to Break Up With An Employee: 10 Tips for Avoiding Claims and Liability

As with other types of relationships, breaking up with an employee is seldom easy. And employee terminations result in more lawsuits than any other employment action. Employers should keep the following 10 tips in...

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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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