Independent Contractors Can Be Useful, But Can Present Traps For The Unwary

As an employment lawyer in Maine, I routinely deal with a number of small, locally-owned businesses. Many small businesses are, at least in my experience, often interested in achieving two interrelated but somewhat competing goals: (a) expanding their operations and/or increasing output; while also (b) minimizing the (sometimes prohibitive) costs and overhead that accompany such […]

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What are Trademarks?

A trademark is a word, symbol, or a combination of words and symbols that identifies the owner or producer of goods that are marked with that trademark.  A service mark is a word, symbol, or a combination of words and symbols that identifies the owner or provider of services that are associated with that service […]

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How Do I Pick A Good Trademark?

A trademark can be nearly anything that can distinguish one’s goods. So what makes a “good” trademark? The first thing to keep in mind is that a trademark might be very catchy but difficult to protect. If it cannot be protected then anyone can use it, and then it loses its value for you. It […]

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What is an Employer’s Legal Exposure from Flu Shots

It’s that time again.  Flu shots are being offered everywhere to you look, from grocery stores to schools.  Many employers also join in.  However, in attempting to encourage flu shots, or at least make it more convenient for employees to get them, employers may be exposing themselves to unwanted liability.  The following are some of […]

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Must I compensate my employee for that? DOL and compensation for time spent in wellness activities.

On August 28, the Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division issued Opinion Letter FLSA 2018-20, which addresses the compensability of time an employee spends voluntarily participating in certain wellness activities, biometric screenings, and benefits fairs. The opinion letter was based on the following scenario: An employer allows its employees to voluntarily participate in “biometric […]

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Before you Sign a Contract: Is That Your Real Name?

Sign Here I’ve practiced in the area of contract law for twenty-five years, and I’ve noticed something: Many people simply do not understand how to sign contracts. This struck me as strange at first, but after years became commonplace. Allow me to explain: By signing the contract, I mean signing their name on the correct […]

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Maine Lawmakers To End Automatic Driver’s License Suspensions That Paved An Easy Road To Felonies

Soon, Maine will stop automatically suspending driver’s licenses as a penalty for failure to pay fines on most offenses unrelated to driving.  This is a big deal, especially for folks with no criminal history.  Why? Imagine a man, 18 years old, just a pup.  No criminal history.  Let’s call him Gary.  He goes fishing but he does not first obtain […]

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Can I Fire My Employee for That?

Many employers are at least generally aware of the fact that Maine is an “at-will” employment state. As they say, however, a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing. The purpose of this article is to alert employers to the fact that firing an at-will employee is not necessarily a risk-free endeavor. Let’s […]

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Maine’s Adult Use Marijuana Market One Step Closer to Reality

On November 8, 2016, Maine voters approved a ballot question legalizing possession and use of marijuana by persons 21 and older, and allowing commercial cultivation and sale of marijuana, subject to state and local regulation.  Almost two years later, however, Maine still has no legal market for adult use marijuana. As summer 2018, however, Maine’s […]

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Third-party Contract Beneficiaries

Frequently, an individual or entity not a party to a specific contract may be affected by a breach to that contract.  For example, a municipality may contract with a landscaper to periodically remove brush and other shrubbery encroaching on a road.  A homeowner uphill from that road gains a benefit from this contract as it […]

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