Taking Care of HR Business

A blog from the attorneys of Verrill

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What will COVID-19 Liability Litigation Look Like for Consumer Facing Businesses?

The short answer is, no one knows right now because the issues arising from COVID-19 are extraordinarily rare and distinguishable from more typical claims against retail, restaurants, and similar consumer facing businesses. For example, when a patron experiences a slip and fall accident , food poisoning , a hot...
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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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This Week's Show: Visual Leadership

On Saturday, March 28, David Ciullo, co-host of HR Power Hour, interviewed Todd Cherches, CEO and Co-founder of BigBlueGumball, for this segment of HR Power Hour. For this episode, David and Todd discuss Todd's new book about visual leadership. Todd is also a three-time award-winning Adjunct Professor of leadership...
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This Week's Show: Opportunity Under COVID-19

On Saturday, April 25, David Ciullo, co-host of HR Power Hour, interviewed Chris Cynkar, Franchise Consultant of FranChoice, for this segment of HR Power Hour. For this episode, David and Chris discuss job opportunities and options during COVID-19. Chris Cynkar knows the challenges of finding the perfect business opportunity...
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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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Can I Require Employees to be Tested for COVID-19 Before Entering the Workplace?

Yesterday, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published guidance in response to this question and the agency’s answer was yes—“an employer may choose to administer COVID-19 testing to employees before they enter the workplace to determine if they have the virus.” (See Q. A.6). The EEOC noted that under...
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This Week's Show: Intellectual Property for HR Professionals

On Saturday, April 18, Tawny interviewed Kelly Donahue, Partner in Verrill's Intellectual Property Group, for this segment of HR Power Hour. For this episode, Kelly and Tawny discuss intellectual property for HR professionals, including delving into trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and patents. Kelly assists small and large businesses in...
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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...
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This Week's Show: Training, Development, and Humanizing Recruiting

On Saturday, March 28, David Ciullo, co-host of HR Power Hour, interviewed Saïd Eastman, CEO and General Manager of JobsinME, for this segment of HR Power Hour. For this episode, David and Saïd discuss training and development, a key driver to employer retention and engagement. Founded in Maine, JobsInME...
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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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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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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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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...
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This Week's Show: AARP Legislative Initiatives

On Saturday, March 14, David Ciullo, co-host of HR Power Hour, interviewed Sarah Mysiewicz Gill, Senior Legislative Representative of AARP Governmental Affairs Department, for this segment of HR Power Hour. For this episode, David and Sarah discuss what her job is like in the AARP Governmental Affairs Department and...
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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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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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This Week's Show: Next Stage in Your Retirement

On Saturday, February 1, David Ciullo, co-host of HR Power Hour, interviewed Thomas B. Wilson, Founder and CEO of Wilson Group, for this segment of HR Power Hour. For this episode, David and Thomas discuss Wilson Group, retirement, and Thomas' book, Next Stage In Your Retirement Create the Life...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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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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...
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