Labor & Employment

Our firm guides clients in virtually all aspects of employment law to resolve workplace problems. Attorneys in our Labor & Employment Law Group have extensive experience in state and federal litigation matters including those alleging breach of employment contract, wrongful termination, wage and hour, harassment, discrimination, and related claims. The firm represents clients before federal and state administrative agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the United States Department of Labor, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Vermont Attorney General's Office, and the Vermont Department of Labor.

Our firm’s attorneys have insight into how matters play out in litigation and use a strategic approach to guide clients through difficult personnel situations. We are experienced in mediating and defending claims in the administrative and court settings. The Labor & Employment Law Group also keeps clients informed of changing federal, state and local employment laws.

Services Provided

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I avoid liability for overtime by paying all of my employees a salary?

No. An employer must pay an employee overtime for all hours worked over 40 in a work week unless the employee specifically meets an exemption from the overtime provisions of state and federal law. If the job duties of an employee’s position do not qualify for an exemption, the employee must be paid overtime (1.5 times their regular rate) for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek.

Why do lawyers say “employee at will” and what does it mean?

“Employee at will” is a legal term that means that the employee has no legal contract with the employer. They can leave the company, or be terminated, with or without cause.

My company is growing, but is still small. When is the right time to prepare an employee manual?

Employee manuals can be good tools to communicate with your clients employees about policies and procedures which you would prefer not to have to repeat again and again when asked. However, you should be extremely cautious in preparing a document that could be read as providing contract rights to your employees. You need to strike the right balance in addressing these conflicting goals.

What should I do if an employee I have terminated for cause still seeks unemployment compensation?

A brief consultation with your attorney will help you to size up whether it is worth contesting the employee’s request. Just because an employee is terminated for good reason does not necessarily mean that they are prohibited from receiving unemployment.

Can I hire a worker as an independent contractor?

There are several different tests to determine whether a worker can properly be classified as an independent contractor instead of an employee, e.g., for federal tax, state unemployment and workers compensation, wage and hour purposes, etc.  Increasingly, state and federal law has narrowed the definition of an independent contractor.  Misclassification of a worker as an independent contractor could lead to substantial employer liability for back taxes, overtime pay, benefits, audits, and other liabilities.  Consult with counsel if you have any questions about worker classification.

I want to terminate an employee for performance reasons. What potential liability could I have?

Even where an employer has terminated an employee for poor performance, there is still a possibility that the employee could claim the employer’s given reason is pretext for some type of unlawful discrimination or retaliation. It is generally in an employer’s best interests to document an employee’s performance issues, outlining how the employee has failed to meet his/her job duties and/or the employer’s expectations, with specific examples. Contact counsel if you wish to discuss potential areas of liability and mitigating risk in advance of any employment termination.

I have heard of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”). Does our company have to comply with the NLRA if our workforce is not unionized?

The NLRA applies to all employers. Regardless of whether an employer is unionized, Section 8 of the NLRA prohibits employers from interfering with, restraining, or coercing employees in their rights to engage in concerted activities. There is a wide range of activities that are considered “concerted”. Generally, “concerted activity” requires two or more employees acting together to improve wages or working conditions, but the action of a single employee may be considered concerted if he/she involves co-workers before acting, or acts on behalf of others. For example, employers must use caution not to prohibit or dissuade employees from discussing their wages or other working conditions, as such action could violate the NLRA.

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Manchester NH
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Burlington VT
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Burlington VT
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Manchester NH
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Burlington VT
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Burlington VT
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Littleton NH
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Burlington VT||Montpelier VT
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Burlington VT||Montpelier VT
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Burlington VT
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Burlington VT
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Manchester NH
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