Taking Care of HR Business

A blog from the attorneys of Verrill

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Category: Discrimination

“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 started with fun backgrounds. Waves in the distance, a meeting in outer space, your favorite...
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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 for partial or full-time return to the office means that we are seeing an increase...
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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 discrimination on the basis of hair texture or style in Federally Assisted Programs, Housing Programs...
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2021 Employment Law Update: Part 12 – Tips and Trends for 2021 and 2022

In 2021, due to the ongoing pandemic, the Employment & Labor Group hosted their monthly Annual Update seminars virtually this year. For the final presentation of the series, five Verrill attorneys provide us with short video segments, detailing some of the top trends of 2021 and ways companies and...
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Public Accommodation Laws and Vaccination Inquiries

Last week, the EEOC provided updated COVID-19 guidance to employers on vaccines and vaccine incentives in the employment realm. One area, however, in which the agencies has been silent is in the public accommodation space and what organizations can/must/should do to protect themselves and their employees from claims of...
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Support for the Black Lives Matter Movement: Affinity Groups at Work (Part 7 of 12)

This is the seventh post in a 12-part series on how companies can show support for the Black Lives Matter movement by changing company policies and practices. This post focuses on creating effective affinity groups to assist in attracting applicants and maintaining productive employees. An affinity group is an...
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Support for the Black Lives Matter Movement: Include Hair Style and Texture In Anti-Discrimination Policies (Part 6 of 12)

This is the sixth post in a 12-part series on how companies can show support for the Black Lives Matter movement by changing company policies and practices. This post focuses on the importance of updating grooming/personal appearance policies and EEO/anti-discrimination policies to include language that forbids discrimination based on...
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This Week's Show: Title VII Protects Sexual Orientation

On Saturday, July 11, 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 U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision, specifically how Title VII protects sexual orientation. Ben learned firsthand that the best product...
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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: 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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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...
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New Episodes in our HR Law 101 Podcast Miniseries: Understanding the HR Basics

Whether you're the founder of a startup, new to HR, or are looking for a refresher on some of the basics, this podcast miniseries will provide you with the building blocks necessary to successfully achieve a healthy and compliant employer/employee relationship. In each episode, Verrill Dana labor and employment...
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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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Diversity Initiatives Versus Affirmative Action

We talk a lot about the importance of diversity in the workforce: Having a diverse group of employees. The ability to choose from a diverse group of applicants. Making a job attractive to diverse candidates. While some employers may be required under federal law to track and maintain a...
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A Podcast Miniseries, HR Law 101: Understanding the HR Basics

Whether you're the founder of a startup, new to HR, or are looking for a refresher on some of the basics, this podcast miniseries will provide you with the building blocks necessary to successfully achieve a healthy and compliant employer/employee relationship. In each episode, Verrill Dana labor and employment...
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Dear Byron: Let's Talk About Prior Salary

[Letter to Byron D. Verrill, who in 1862 began the law practice known today as Verrill Dana, LLP] Dear Byron D. Verrill: When I'm interviewing applicants for a new position is it okay for me to ask about prior or current salary at other employers? Thanks, Hugh Gotthis Dear...
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Massachusetts Equal Pay Act: 6 Things Employers Need to Know

Gender equality
In the latest episode of Verrill Voices, labor and employment attorney Tawny Alvarez discusses best practices for complying with the upcoming amendments to the Massachusetts Equal Pay Act (MEPA), which was initially passed in order to establish pay equity among employees of different genders. Within the podcast Tawny covers...
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Can the Inclusion Rider Exist In and Out of Hollywood?

Frances McDormand ended her Oscar acceptance speech with two words: Inclusion Rider. She forced the audience, the public, and the press to ask, "What's an inclusion rider?" She later informs curious minds that there has always been a rider available to individuals (likely A-list actors/actresses) who negotiate, ask for...
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Searching for Answers: Ex-Google Employees File Suit

Google Magnifying Glass
Yesterday, James Damore, the engineer who authored the Google Memo , which set forth his view on gender bias and diversity in technology, and who was later fired, filed a class-action lawsuit in the Santa Clara Superior Court in California. Joining him in the suit is fellow ex-employee, David...
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Podcast: Employment Policies in the Trump Administration

In this Verrill Voices podcast, labor and employment attorneys Tawny Alvarez and Richard Moon discuss recent administrative and legislative developments, how they affect employers generally. More specifically, they discuss the current position in which the Department of Justice and the EEOC are taking separate and distinct positions on the...
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