Biography

Your culture defines your business and Tawny prides herself on assisting clients comply with the law, while simultaneously creating an amazing place to work.

Tawny centers her practice on the understanding that the employment landscape is ever-changing and that many organizations do not have the time or resources to keep abreast of all of these changes—from medical (and recreational) marijuana’s effect on drug testing, to the effect of social networking in the workplace and mobile devices’ effect on wage and hour issues. In this evolving landscape, Tawny recognizes that for companies to remain profitable and successful they must be proactive, not merely reactive, to these employment issues.

As many of these issues are swiftly evolving, Tawny prides herself on keeping current on their development and crafting cost-effective solutions for adapting. She sensibly recognizes that one size representation does not fit all and focuses her practice on providing creative, cost-effective, and individualized labor and employment counseling and representation to clients while maintaining the culture that they have worked so hard to construct. She has represented diverse clients in a broad range of industries from small family-owned businesses and non-profits to Fortune 100 companies across the country. In each situation, she recognizes that each company’s culture and employment needs are distinct and crafts her practice to providing solutions that take these individualized needs and cultures into account.

Tawny frequently advises clients and defends them in court and before administrative bodies throughout the Northeast with issues including:

  • Wage and hour;
  • Whistleblowing;
  • Harassment/Discrimination/Retaliation (FMLA, ADA, FCA, FLSA, OSHA, USERRA, GINA, and ADEA);
  • Unemployment compensation;
  • Employment agreements (including breach of separation agreements and restrictive covenant agreements, such as non-competes and non-solicitation);
  • Drug testing;
  • Supervisor liability; and
  • Social media and technology in the workplace

Her experience working with judges across the country at the trial and appellate levels provides her with a unique level of insight as to the ins-and-outs of state and federal litigation. Outside the adversarial setting she counsels clients on best practices to minimize potential litigation with current and former employees including preparation of separation agreements and drafting and revising policy handbooks.

Tawny serves as editor of Verrill's Labor & Employment  Blog, Taking Care of HR Business, and regularly presents to employers, human resources professionals, and peers on trending issues, best practices, and industry-specific concerns. Tawny created the HR Law 101 Series to provide individuals that are new to Human Resources with guidance on best practices regarding issues that frequently develop.

Tawny also co-chairs the Firm’s Food & Beverage practice group. Using the same mindset—that one size does not fit all—she enjoys helping small and large companies in the food and beverage community stay in compliance with state and federal regulations, while simultaneously maintaining a culture that works for the organization. She represents retail and manufacturers producing wine, beer, ice cream, and other yummy specialties, as well as restaurants and bars throughout the Northeast. 

Outside the office, Tawny enjoys: reading fiction; exploring art museums and the Maine coast; experiencing Portland’s myriad drinking, dining, and cultural options; travelling; and spending time playing with her daughter.

Services / Industries

Education

  • Pace University School of Law  (J.D., magna cum laude)
  • Thomas College  (B.S., summa cum laude)

Public Service

  • Board of Directors, Greater Portland Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) 
  • Portland Museum of Art Contemporaries Steering Committee 
  • United Way Greater Portland Brick and Beam Society - Membership & Programming Committee

Bar Admissions

  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Vermont
  • Iowa

Honors

  • Recognized in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business under Labor & Employment
  • Received Katahdin Counsel Recognition for Pro Bono efforts (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017)
  • Selected by peers for inclusion in New England Super Lawyers© under Employment & Labor 

To learn more about third-party ratings and rankings, and the selection processes used for inclusion, click here.

Clerkship

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Hon. Thomas I. Vanaskie
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Hon. Thomas I. Vanaskie
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court - Northern District of Iowa, Hon. Thad J. Collins
  • Iowa Judicial Branch, District Court

Court and Other Admissions

  • U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Maine
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court - District of New Hampshire
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

Firm Highlights

Matter

Wage & Hour

Forcing the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to provide clarity as to exemptions under state wage and hour laws, we successfully achieved summary judgment in a class action brought against a national explosives company.

Blog

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...

Blog

UPDATED: Summer Break - Massachusetts Employers Get Extension on Paid Family and Medical Leave Implementation

UPDATE:  The Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave announced that along with the start of contributions being delayed from July 1, 2019 to October 1, 2019, the following aspects of the program are...

Blog

Update on the 2019 Annual Employment Law Update

Last month, on January 31, Verrill Dana hosted its 2019 Annual Employment Law Update at the Westin Portland Harborview Hotel. The full-day conference provided employers and HR professionals with updates on recent legal developments...

Publication/Podcast

Summer Break - Massachusetts Employers Get Extension on Paid Family and Medical Leave Implementation

Those closely following the timeline for  implementation of  Massachusetts’s new Paid Family and Medical Leave, are aware that on July 1, 2019, employers  were  required to begin to make payroll deductions for the paid...

Publication/Podcast

A Deeper Dive into FMLA & PFMLA

In late April, labor and employment attorney Tawny Alvarez and Senior HR Advisor Sheri Heller of MassPay partnered to discuss the similarities and differences between the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Paid Family...

Matter

Discrimination Defense

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

Blog

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...

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.

Publication/Podcast

What Maine Employers Need To Know About Changes In Personnel Practices Following This Legislative Session

In late June, labor and employment attorney Tawny Alvarez and Division Leader Paul Carelis of MassPay partnered to deliver a discussion on the latest laws and regulations that were enacted during Maine's most recent...