Blog Posts: Taking Care of HR Business

Visit the Full Blog

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.

This Week's Show: The FFCRA and CARES Act

On Saturday, April 4, Tawny interviewed Benjamin Ford, Partner in Verrill's Employment & Labor Group, for this segment of HR Power Hour. For this episode, Ben and Tawny discuss the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic based on information currently available. Topics covered include recent CARES Act and FFCRA...
Go

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...
Go

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...
Go

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...
Go

COVID-19: Updated FAQs

Employers across the country are struggling with how to support their employees and their customers, and also to keep their business afloat, as the cry for social isolation to curb the spread of the novel COVID-19 (coronavirus) grows stronger. There are a lot of complicated issues that we are...
Go

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...
Go

This Week's Show: Maintaining a Strong Culture as Your Organization Grows

On Saturday, March 7, Tawny interviewed Sean Riley, President and CEO of Maine Course Hospitality Group, for this segment of HR Power Hour. In this episode, Sean discusses that Maine Course's purpose is to positively impact lives. He speaks of the company's purpose and values every chance he gets...
Go

The Coronavirus: FAQs for Employers

We’ve been here before. Remember the H1N1 outbreak of 2009? That little bug originated outside of Mexico City. As the virus spread, governments issued travel warnings and schools were on notice to be extra vigilant. There was even a quarantined cruise ship and a run on surgical masks. Sound...
Go

This Week's Show: Verrill's 2020 Annual Employment Law Update

On Saturday, February 22, HR Power Hour published our live interviews at our 2020 Annual Employment Law Update, asking attendees about the all-day event, HR concerns they have for the coming year, and more. Tawny interviewed Eric Altholz, Partner in the Employee Benefits Group at Verrill. She talked to...
Go

This Week's Show: Top 5 OSHA Mistakes Employers Make

On Saturday, February 8, Tawny interviewed Mat Todaro, Partner in Verrill's Environmental & Land Use Practice Group, for this segment of HR Power Hour. For this episode, Mat details the top 5 OSHA mistakes that employers typically make. Mat works closely with clients in many areas, including assisting them...
Go

Podcast: The Legal Perspective of Creating a Respectful and Inclusive Workplace

It's important to remind yourselves that human resource law is ever-changing and it takes acknowledging your organization's environment to be sure it is an inclusive and comfortable place for your employees. In this episode of Verrill Voices, employment and labor attorney Tawny Alvarez discusses how organizations with respectful and...
Go

This Week's Show: Space and Design in the HR World

Announcement: Employment and labor attorney Tawny Alvarez now co-hosts the educational HR radio show, HR Power Hour with David Ciullo! On Saturday, January 11, Tawny interviewed Jeana Stewart, NCIDQ, LEED AP, and workplace studio leader of SMRT Architects and Engineers, for this segment of HR Power Hour. Jeana gives...
Go

Annual Employment Law Update: HR 2020 - Vision for the Future

Foresight is 2020 - join Verrill's Employment & Labor Group on Thursday, January 30 at The Westin Portland Harborview Hotel for a full day of programming highlighting the most significant changes for employers in 2019 and a look into what's to come in 2020, as well as hot topics...
Go

Wage and Hour Update for the New Year

With the New Year comes changes in many state and federal wage and hour laws. Do you operate in a state that has recently experienced a raise in the minimum wage? It is always best practice to check out your state’s Department of Labor website for the most up-to-date...
Go

2019 Wrap Up: 10 Points for Reviewing Executive Employment Agreements

As 2019 ends and 2020 begins, many executives and their employers may be entering into, amending and revising, or renewing employment agreements. It is important for both sides to get it right. An executive’s employment agreement will define expectations regarding role, responsibilities, and performance. It also will establish key...
Go

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...
Go

2019 Wrap Up: Tis the season to be jolly...and anxious...and depressed

Mental Health and Employment Law now and in 2020
The last decade has brought with it a significant increase in the number of claims stemming from allegations of discrimination or retaliation as a result of mental health conditions. While we often see an increase in anxiety and depression around the holidays, the mental health of employees is an...
Go

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...
Go

A Webinar for Home Care Companies

Are you a home care company and wondering about wage and hour differences and electronic visit verification? In this webinar, Verrill's employment and labor attorney Tawny Alvarez and Masspay's HR Generalist Amanda Bridge discuss prevalent wage and hour violations, electronic visit verification, and serious implications for the home care...
Go

A Podcast Miniseries for Your HR Needs: HR Law 101

In case you missed it, here is a recap of our Verrill Voices podcast series, HR Law 101: Understanding the HR Basics, hosted by employment and labor attorney Tawny Alvarez. Each episode is intended to provide startup entrepreneurs and HR newcomers with a strong foundational knowledge of the laws...
Go

Certain Bonuses Must Be Included When Calculating Overtime Pay

Money Exchange
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) generally requires that nonexempt employees who work more than 40 hours in a workweek be paid 1.5 times their “regular rate” for the hours above 40. Calculating overtime pay is simple if the employee receives only a basic hourly rate as compensation...
Go

Five Employment Law Traps For CFOs Tasked with HR Oversight

Overseeing human resources -- a hat that many CFOs wear -- may mean having to make crucial decisions about hiring and policy, performance management and discipline, and employee terminations. Such decisions may affect HR expenses and employee morale, and also may expose the company to the risk of expensive...
Go

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...
Go

Tip: Administrative Assistants Only Rarely Are Exempt From Overtime Pay

Working Professional
Office workers who perform secretarial, receptionist and other administrative tasks are often incorrectly classified as exempt from overtime pay because they receive a salary and have job titles such as "executive assistant." These employees; however, will not necessarily be found exempt from the requirement to pay overtime merely because...
Go

Overtime Update to Have Wide Reaching Effect on Employers

Overtime pay graphic
Today, September, 24, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a final rule to increase the salary threshold necessary to remain an exempt employee. The change is estimated to affect 1.3 million American workers under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Below is a synopsis of the facts embodying...
Go

EEOC Announces EEO-1 Component 2 Pay Data Collection WON'T Be Renewed

Yesterday, September 11, 2019, the EEOC announced that it will not seek to renew collection of EEO-1 Component 2 Data for 2019, 2020, and 2021. This does not impact employer's current EEO-1 obligations to file Component 2 Data due on September 30, 2019. In the publication the EEOC admitted...
Go

Firm Highlights

Publication/Podcast

Congress Passes the Paycheck Protection Program

On March 27, the United States Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES” Act). The Act contains many provisions affecting broad swaths of the U.S. economy. The purpose of...

Matter

Discrimination Defense

We successfully defended a regional hotel chain against administrative claims of ADA and MHRA disability discrimination.

Blog

This Week's Show: The FFCRA and CARES Act

On Saturday, April 4, Tawny interviewed Benjamin Ford, Partner in Verrill's Employment & Labor Group, for this segment of HR Power Hour. For this episode, Ben and Tawny discuss the current state of the...

Matter

Discrimination Defense

We successfully defended a large aviation ground handling service company against claims of violation of the ADA and the FMLA—garnering summary judgment in their favor.

News

Foresight is 2020, Full-Day Conference to Explore the Future of HR

Maine Department of Labor Commissioner Featured Event Speaker (January 16, 2020) – The new year brings new changes for employers - Verrill will examine recent legal developments in labor and employment law and discuss...

Event

Central Maine Human Resources Association Chapter Meeting: Flexible Work Options

Employment and labor attorney Tawny Alvarez will be presenting at the Central Maine Human Resources Association Chapter Meeting. This month's chapter meeting will focus on flexible work options. Tawny will discuss how policy impacts...

News

Tech traps for companies: What employers need to know

New technologies continue to invade the workplace, from biometrics to artificial intelligence. With the benefits come legal concerns for employers. In the latest issue of Mainebiz , employment and labor attorneys Tawny Alvarez and...

Blog

COVID-19 Alert: State of Maine and City of Portland Issue Orders to Close Non-essential Businesses

On Tuesday March 24, 2020, both the City of Portland and the State of Maine issued comprehensive new limitations on business establishments in order to further limit the spread of the coronavirus. Both actions...

Event

How To's for Family Business: Managing with COVID-19: Health, Banking, Legal & HR

The Institute of Family-Owned Businesses is hosting a webinar on May 6, How To's for Family Business: Managing with COVID-19: Health, Banking, Legal & HR. Presenting will be David Ciullo of Career Management Associates...

Publication/Podcast

Should Health Care Employers Prepare for COVID-19 As A Work-Related Injury?

While we know that everyone is being bombarded with COVID-19 recommendations, advice, news, and data, another important issue to manage in the workplace is the possibility of COVID-19 infection, if acquired at work and...