Not only are our Maine employment attorneys dedicated to fighting for individual employees who have suffered unlawful treatment, but we also have successfully defended and assisted Maine businesses-facing employment law problems.

Since we represent both employees and employers, we understand the concerns of our clients and anticipate the legal maneuverings of their opponents.

We handle the following cases:

  • sexual harassment
  • whistleblower retaliation workplace discrimination
  • contract disputes
  • Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  • wrongful termination

Employees

We have successfully represented employees against large and small businesses in cases involving sexual harassment, whistleblower retaliation, and employment discrimination based on age, gender, pregnancy, race, disability, and religion.

Whether your case requires pursuing your rights through court, filing a claim with the Maine Human Rights Commission, or simply negotiating a severance agreement, we will protect you.

Employers

Drummond & Drummond has a strong history of successfully defending Maine employers against employment and discrimination claims.

As Portland, Maine employment lawyers, we understand the difficulties these situations can create for employers, particularly when an employee remains on the job after lodging a complaint or filing a lawsuit.

Even the smallest of employment decisions can affect the employee in question and become potential retaliation claims. Our employment law attorneys have advised numerous Maine businesses on ways to mitigate potentially tense situations to head off claims.

Whatever the type of claim, our labor law attorneys can help your business navigate the difficulties that arise during these disputes.

What does it mean to be a whistleblower?

Maine law protects employees from retaliation by their employers because they either reported or refused to commit illegal acts.

The Maine Whistleblowers’ Protection Act protects employees who do any of the following:  (1) reports (either to the authorities or to the employer) what the employee has reasonable cause to believe is either a violation of a law or a condition or practice that would put at risk the health or safety of any other individual; (2) refuses to engage in such an activity after the employer refused to fix the problem, or (3) participates or is requested to participate in an investigation.

Maine employers cannot retaliate against any employee by taking any adverse action against them, such as firing, disciplining, threatening, or otherwise harming the employee’s compensation, work conditions, or any job privileges.

In almost all cases where an employee claims that an employer violated these rights, the employer argues that it had a valid, nondiscriminatory reason for the adverse employment action (often the employer claims that they fired the employee for misconduct or poor work quality).

An employee can defeat that defense by showing the employer’s stated legitimate reason is nonsense.  Usually that is shown where there are contradictions, inconsistencies, weaknesses, implausibilities, or incoherencies in the employer’s stated reason (the employer violated its own discipline/termination policies, the employer treated similar employees differently, or the employer made up its rationale long after it fired the employee).

How do employees prove that their employer discriminated against them?

This depends on the facts.  In rare cases, an employer makes statements showing an obvious discriminatory intent (such as saying that they don’t hire certain races or that an employee is too old to keep working).  In those cases, once an employee establishes that the employer said things like that, then the employer has the burden of proving that it would have taken the same adverse action against the employee even if it didn’t have discriminatory motives.

Where there is no direct evidence of discrimination, an employee can still prove it by showing circumstantial evidence.  But to do so, the employee needs to jump over a few hurdles.

First, the employee must show that s/he was a member of a protected class (40-years-old or older, a specific race, gender, etc.).

Second, the employee must show that the employer took an adverse employment action such as firing, disciplining, threatening, or otherwise harming the employee’s compensation, work conditions, or any job privileges.

Third, the employee must show that the employer treated other workers differently, such as replacing the employee with a younger worker, hiring only men for certain positions, etc.

Once the employee jumps over those hurdles, then the employer may argue that it had a valid, nondiscriminatory reason for the adverse employment action (often the employer claims that they fired the employee for misconduct or poor work quality).  The burden is on the employee to defeat that defense by showing the employer’s stated legitimate reason is nonsense.  Usually that is shown where there are contradictions, inconsistencies, weaknesses, implausibilities, or incoherencies in the employer’s stated reason (the employer violated its own discipline/termination policies, the employer treated similar employees differently, or the employer made up its rationale long after it fired the employee).