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 made by the employees, I think that there are two things we can focus on: 1) sometimes the PR of a change in policy/practice costs more than you’re trying to save by changing the policy or practice; and 2) there are specific factors that must be met when we use a tipped minimum wage. (more…)
Posts by: Tawny Alvarez
Last week, on March 22, 2018, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission issued an Advisory on cannabis in alcoholic beverages. Here is a copy of the Cannabis in Alcohol Advisory. While retail sales of cannabis are expected to be lawful under Massachusetts law (while still an illegal schedule I drug under federal law), as of July 1, 2018, the Commission noted that “it will remain unlawful to manufacture and/or sell alcoholic beverages containing any cannabinoid extracts, including tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”) and cannabidiol (“CBD”), regardless of whether it is derived from the cannabis plant or industrial hemp.”
Specifically, the Commission noted that “Cannabinoid extract from the cannabis plant is considered a Schedule I drug by the Drug Enforcement Agency” and “[i]nfusing or otherwise adding cannabinoid extract in alcoholic beverages is considered adulteration of alcohol” under Massachusetts General Law chapter 270, chapter 1. The Commission notes that in addition to being considered an adulteration of alcohol under Massachusetts law it would also likely be a violation of the federal Food and Drug Administration’s Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, as “A food shall be deemed to be adulterated . . . [i]f it bears or contains any poisonous or deleterious substance which may render it injurious to health . . . .” 21 U.S.C. § 342(a). (more…)
Multiple New England breweries in the last week have made the difficult decision to no longer permit four-legged friends within tasting rooms. This article provides absolutely no opinion on those decisions—they are difficult decisions that are personal to the breweries. If, however, you own, manage, or are simply employed by a bar, brewery, or other establishment that has made the decision to no longer permit four-legged friends, understanding what your responsibilities are in allowing service animals on the property is paramount.
The media has hyped up pigs on planes, emotional support turkeys, miniature horses—but understanding what must and need not be accommodated under federal public accommodation laws is important. Understanding what qualifies as a service animal, as well as what federal requirements permit and prohibit, is necessary to know your rights and responsibilities under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). (more…)
We all enjoy tax savings, and breweries and distilleries should be taking advantage of recent legislation that went into effect earlier this year that makes the Research and Development tax credit permanent and enhances the tax credit by not limiting the credit to Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). Further, the legislation provides a new potential payroll tax credit offset opportunity! You can read more about the credit here or contact a member of Verrill Dana’s Breweries Distilleries and Wineries Practice Group and Tax Practice Group to discuss more.
Late last month, Massachusetts’s Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission issued an advisory entitled “Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (“ABCC”) Advisory to § 18 Wholesalers/Importers and § 19 Manufacturers Regarding Alcohol-Infused Ice Cream.” The Advisory notes that Massachusetts General Law chapter 138 prohibits the importation, manufacturing, and sale of ice cream that contains alcohol with one limited exception—“where the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (“TTB”) has classified in writing that a particular product is a ‘nonbeverage product.’” The ABCC further noted that the TTB classification was “specific to each individual product a business manufactures, and not a business’s entire line of products.” The advisory is available here.
Late last week, while everyone was focused on the summer holiday, the Department of Labor announced that pursuant to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvement Act, OSHA’s maximum penalties, which have not been raised since 1990, will increase by 78 percent. This will increase the “serious”, “other-than-serious” and “posting requirements” penalty from $7,000 to $12,471 per violation, the failure to abate from $7,000 per day beyond abatement date to $12,471 per day beyond abatement date, and increase the maximum penalty for willful or repeated violations from $70,000 to $124,709. These figures can drastically hinder any business, let alone any start-ups or craft-beverage producers. (more…)
To say that alcohol laws are antiquated is an understatement, but there’s only one thing we can do about it—go to our legislators and change them. That is exactly what Massachusetts business-owners are doing.
On Tuesday, two modest changes to Massachusetts alcohol laws were presented to the House of Representative to consider: (more…)
Appellate briefing to the Second Circuit was completed earlier this week in Manhattan Beer Distributors LLC v. NLRB, a case in which the NLRB, in 2015, held that Manhattan Beer Distributors violated an employee’s Weingarten rights when they terminated a distribution employee who “reeked” of marijuana after he refused to submit to a drug test without a union representative present.
In NLRB v. J. Weingarten Inc. (1975), the U.S. Supreme Court held that an employee has a statutory right to request a union representative during an investigative interview which the employee reasonably believes could result in disciplinary action. In the current action, the question was whether the submission to a drug test was “an investigatory interview” which would thus result in the employee having Weingarten rights. (more…)
With college exams finalized we hear from many companies that bring on college interns for a few weeks in late December and early January. It provides clients with help to catch up on things that slipped through the cracks during the course of the year and provides the intern with a really sweet line on their resume—I mean who wouldn’t want to work in a brewery/distillery/or winery?
Insofar as the company is a small establishment, or simply operating with limited funds, the thought of an unpaid internship may be appealing—this blog post (unfortunately) is likely going to squash that unpaid intern dream for you. Over the last few years we have been seeing more and more lawsuits across the country from interns in coveted positions who are claiming that state and federal wage and hour laws have been violated, either for failure to pay the minimum wage and overtime, or failure to pay at all. (more…)