Articles

Impact Of COVID-19 Orders On New Hampshire Contractors: Is Construction an “Essential” Service?

By Construction, Coronavirus

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the State of New Hampshire has issued various emergency orders aimed at reducing the spread of the Coronavirus.  For example, on March 26, 2020, the Office of the Governor signed Emergency Order #17 Pursuant to Executive Order 2020-04, which substantially limits the activities of “non-essential” services state-wide through May 4, 2020. Read More

Update on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

By Coronavirus, Labor and Employment

On March 18, 2020, Congress passed, and the President signed, a revised version of The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the Act) that was first passed out of the House on March 14.  The Act requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide COVID-19-related paid sick and family leave to eligible employees.  Significant changes from the original House version that we reported on are noted by underline, below.  The Act will take effect within 15 days (April 2, 2020). Read More

USDOL Publishes Families First Coronavirus Response Act Leave Poster

By Coronavirus, Labor and Employment

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires that employers post a notice advising employees of their rights under the new law.  The United States Department of Labor has now published the poster that employers are required to post regarding the new emergency paid sick leave and family medical leave requirements.  A copy of the poster can be found here.

The DOL explains that employers can satisfy the posting requirement for employees who are working at home by emailing or mailing the notice to employees. The DOL FAQ states:

  • Where do I post this notice? Since most of my workforce is teleworking, where do I electronically “post” this notice?  Each covered employer must post a notice of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requirements in a conspicuous place on its premises.  An employer may satisfy this requirement by emailing or direct mailing this notice to employees, or posting this notice on an employee information internal or external website.

Please contact Bill Sheils or Dawn Harmon if you have any questions.

Impact Of COVID-19 Orders On Maine Contractors: Is Construction an “Essential” Business?”

By Construction, Coronavirus

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the State of Maine and local governments have issued emergency orders aimed at combating the transmission of the Coronavirus in our communities.  For example, on March 24, 2020, the Office of the Governor issued An Order Regarding Essential Businesses and Operations, substantially limiting the activities of “non-essential” businesses and operations state-wide.  On that same day, the City of Portland issued a Proclamation Declaring Continued State of Emergency and Requirement to Stay at Home, also limiting the activities of non-essential businesses and operations within the City of Portland.  Central to both orders is the requirement that all non-essential businesses and operations cease activities that are public facing, and essentially close their physical workspaces and facilities. Read More

Employment Alert: Maine Legislature Passes COVID-19 Legislation to Aid Employees

By Coronavirus, Labor and Employment

Yesterday evening, March 17, 2020, the Maine Legislature passed Legislative Document No. 2167, “An Act to Implement Provisions Necessary to the Health, Welfare and Safety of the Citizens of Maine in Response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency” as emergency legislation to take effect immediately.  Included in the Act is a provision that makes employees who are temporarily laid off due to the COVID-19 crisis, or who are sick or quarantined or caring for a family member as a result of COVID-19, eligible for unemployment benefits.  There is no waiting period, and there will be no charge against the employer’s experience rating record.   If you are in the unfortunate circumstance of having to temporarily cease operations during this public health emergency, the State of Maine has provided a safety net for your employees.   Employees should be advised of this emergency unemployment benefit if you need to suspend operations or if an employee is quarantined or caring for a sick family member as a result of COVID-19. Read More

COVID-19: Legal and Practical Guidance for Your Business

By Coronavirus

Perkins Thompson attorneys have prepared the following comprehensive presentation offering legal and practical guidance for your business or non-profit in light of the COVID-19 pandemic:

COVID-19 Legal and Practical Guidance for Your Business (.pdf download)

For assistance with issues you or your business may be facing, please contact our office at (207) 774-2635.  Attorneys and staff are currently working remotely and are available to assist.

User Experience (UX) Design Agreements: 4 Essential Clauses to Include

By Intellectual Property, Software & Startups

User Experience (UX) design is a bedrock part of software and website development.  It includes the study and optimization of the user’s experience – the totality of the ways in which humans interact with and experience products.  (Definitions of UX vary; in the classic definition by designer Don Norman, it includes a person’s interaction with not just a product but the company that provides it as well).  Software companies employ UX designers in a range of ways including market research, the development of product business requirements, wireframing, prototype design, and watching behind two-way mirrors as testers struggle to navigate interfaces. Read More

U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (“USMCA”) Signed Into Law

By Immigration

President Trump signed the USMCA into law on Wednesday, January 29, 2020, completing the process of U.S. ratification of the agreement and moving it one step closer to replacing NAFTA. With Mexico already having ratified the USMCA, Canada is the only signatory country whose legislature has yet to act. It is expected that Canadian ratification of the USMCA will be completed in Spring 2020, but with the liberal party no longer holding a majority in the House of Commons, Canadian ratification of the USMCA will require bipartisan support, which may delay implementation of the new treaty. Read More

A Hiring Checklist for U.S. Tech Companies

By Labor and Employment, Software & Startups

Hiring employees presents unique challenges for tech companies that do not confront other American businesses. In our experience as outside counsel to tech companies, legal mis-steps typically result from oversight rather than a deliberate intention to flout the law. The checklist below is a structured guide to avoiding these common pitfalls in the hiring process. It applies to Software-as-a-Service providers, custom software developers, mobile app developers, I.T. consulting firms and other tech employers. Read More

USDOL Issues Final Rule On New Minimum Salary Threshold For Executive, Administrative, and Professional Exemption To Overtime Rule

By Labor and Employment

Back in March, we reported that the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) had released proposed regulations adjusting the salary level required for the executive, administrative, and professional employee (EAP), or so-called “white-collar” exemptions from the FLSA’s overtime pay requirements. The USDOL has now issued its Final Rule, which is set to take effect on January 1, 2020. Read More

Maine’s Double Payment Defense: What Subcontractors Need to Know

By Construction

When a person provides labor, material, or services to a residential construction project without a contract with the owner (e.g., subcontractors or suppliers), Maine’s mechanic’s lien law provides a “double payment” defense for the homeowner.  Under Maine law, most residential subcontractor and supplier liens can only be enforced to the extent that there is a “balance due” for the labor, materials, and/or services covered by the lien to the person with whom the owner has a contract with (e.g., general contractor).  In other words, if a homeowner has paid his or her general contractor for the work that is the basis of the lien, the lien will not be enforceable.  The homeowner is protected from having to pay for the subcontractor’s or supplier’s work twice.  A subcontractor or supplier lien will only be enforceable to the extent that the homeowner has not paid for the work. Read More

129th Maine Legislature Update

By Energy, Hospitality, Labor and Employment, Land Use & Municipal Law, Municipal

The First Regular Session of the 129th Maine Legislature has adjourned, leaving a number of new laws for us all to understand and comply with.  Listed below by topic area are what we believe are some of the most important new laws for our clients and readers to know about.  We have provided summaries to highlight the major effects of these new laws, but as always, there are details.  Please let us know if you are interested in how these new laws might affect you or your business, institution, or governmental body.

The new laws listed below become effective on September 19, 2019 except as otherwise specified. 

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Maine Places Limits on Noncompete Agreements and Prohibits No-Hire/No-Poach Agreements Between Employers

By Labor and Employment, Software & Startups

Governor Mills signed into law “An Act to Promote Keeping Workers in Maine” (26 M.R.S. §§599-A and 599-B), set to become effective September 19, 2019, placing significant limitations on the use of employee noncompete agreements and prohibiting agreements among employers not to solicit or hire each other’s employees. In passing this legislation, Maine joins its New England neighbors, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, in restricting the use and enforceability of noncompete agreements and joins the national trend in striking down so-called “no poaching” agreements. Read More

What’s My Defense?  New Hampshire Statute Provides List of Contractor Defenses to Defect Claims

By Construction

As we discussed in a prior blog post, New Hampshire’s residential construction statute provides contractors with a statutory right to notice of claimed defects prior to being sued.  This statute, however, also provides contractors with another benefit that is often overlooked.  It contains an extensive list of things that residential contractors will not be liable for.  Specifically, NH RSA 359-G provides that residential contractors are not liable for damages caused by: Read More

Contractors’ Right to Notice: New Hampshire’s Residential Construction Statute Requires Homeowners to Provide Notice of Defects Prior to Suing

By Construction

Under New Hampshire law, homeowners are generally required to provide notice of any claimed construction defects prior to filing a lawsuit against their residential contractor.  The purpose of this law is to “encourage the out-of-court resolution of disputes between homeowners and contractors relative to residential construction defects.” N.H. RSA § 359-G. Assuming the contractor has preserved this right to notice (by including required language in its contract), homeowners must provide at least 60 days’ notice of any claimed defects prior to filing a lawsuit. Read More

eBay Fumbles Breach Notification

By Data Security
Recently, eBay discovered that hackers utilized the credentials of three of its corporate employees to gain access to user’s non-financial personal information. Users’ encrypted passwords, names, addresses, phone numbers and...
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