Tawny Alvarez

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As the editor of Verrill Dana’s Labor & Employment Group’s Blog, Taking Care of HR Business, Tawny recognizes the effect that social media and technology can have on employers and the issues they may create in the workplace that weren’t prevalent in the recent past. She regularly presents to employers, human resources professionals, and peers on trending issues, best practices, and industry-specific concerns.

Latest Articles

On April 12, 2019, Governor Mills signed into law LD 278, “An Act Regarding Pay Equality.”  Under the new laws (5 M.R.S.A. § 4577; 26 M.R.S.A. § 628-A) employers may not “use or inquire about the compensation history of a prospective employee from the prospective employee or a current or former employer of the prospective employee unless an offer of employment that includes all terms of compensation has been negotiated and made to the…
On March 22, 2019, a federal judge permitted an Ohio man’s class action lawsuit to proceed against Ford Motor Company.  The lawsuit alleges the company discriminated against disabled job applicants because its online job application wasn’t fully accessible.  In the past, experts have advised on the importance of having a well-designed website for marketing purposes, but this case may make the “well designed” nature of a website important not just for aesthetic purposes, but also…
How many times have you heard, as a Human Resources professional, an employee make the statement:  “I need leave, but I don’t want to use my FMLA leave”?  In many cases, our initial response is to educate the employee and help them understand that Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave is not bad and won’t be used against them in the future.  In fact, the primary purpose of the statute is to protect employees who…
Yesterday, March 7, 2019, the United States Department of Labor unveiled a proposal to change the FLSA as it applies to non-exempt employees eligible for overtime.  The proposed change increases the required weekly salary to maintain an exempt position from the current $455 per week to $679 per week (effective January 2020).  Currently, under federal law, the FLSA has a threshold of $24,000 per year for an individual to meet the salary basis test in…
Yesterday, March 7, 2019, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) unveiled a proposal to change the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as it applies to non-exempt employees eligible for overtime.  The proposed change increases the required weekly salary to maintain an exempt position from the current $455 per week to $679 per week (effective January 2020).  Currently, the FLSA has a threshold of $24,000 per year for an individual to meet the salary basis…
Because of how often we hear from clients regarding requests for “emotional support” animals to accompany employees to work, we figured a refresher on how to handle these types of situations would be appreciated. While we do not expect many employees to request to bring a “service hippo” to work, we have certainly been faced with situations where “non-traditional” animals have been requested to accompany individuals both in public accommodation situations, and in the workplace.…
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 diverse workforce, other companies are affirmatively making the choice.  So the question is, what should you know about each? Affirmative Action Programs Federal contractors and subcontractors…
Recent studies reveal that 0.4 percent of Americans (which is between 1 and 1.5 million) identify as Wicca or Pagan, which is more than the people who identify as Presbyterian.  What does this mean to you?  Well next month, if Sally in the office says that she cannot work on the winter solstice, because of her religion, don’t point your Harry Potter wand at her and laugh.  Recall that an employer has obligations to accommodate…
November 26, 2018 9:42 am Over the past few days, while many were preparing turkeys or throwing out lettuce, the Boston Globe posted Trouble is brewing at craft beer darling Trillium.  The article is accessible here, and another article by Paste on the same subject is here, but the long and the short of it is that Trillium changed how it was paying employees, and employee’s aren’t happy. Without getting into the truth behind any…
Over the past few days, while many were preparing turkeys or throwing out lettuce, the Boston Globe posted Trouble is brewing at craft beer darling Trillium.  The article is accessible here, and another article by Paste on the same subject is here, but the long and the short of it is that Trillium changed how it was paying employees, and employee’s aren’t happy. Without getting into the truth behind any of the allegations…