Monday, February 8, 2016

Legal News & Knowledge: February 2016 Newsletter

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Employment Law and HR

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Appellate Court Reinstates Sex-Discrimination Claim of Transgender Worker

By Jon Hyman, Esq.
 
A federal appellate court reinstated the sex-discrimination claim of a transgender auto mechanic. Credit Nation Auto Sales fired Jennifer Chavez less than three months after she notified it of her gender transition.

Full Article
 



Inclement Weather: Tips for Handling Absences and Pay When Bad Weather Blows In

By Joanna Vilos
 
Blizzards, flooding, tornadoes--parts of the country have been slammed with bad weather recently. What should you do if inclement weather shuts down your business or makes it impossible for employees to get to work?

Full Article
 



HR Managers Can Help Stem the Tide of Huge Damages

By Adair Buckner, Esq.
 
According to a January report from the large national employment law firm, Seyfarth-Shaw*, the value of class-based employment-related litigation and enforcement actions reached an all-time high in 2015. This does not include all those actions that are not class-action type lawsuits or enforcement proceedings.

Full Article
 



EEOC May Obtain Private (And Arguably Unnecessary) Employee Information

By Yonaton Aronoff
 
Employers served with an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) subpoena requesting private employee information--regardless of its arguable relevance--may nevertheless be compelled to respond, according to a decision from late last year by one of the country's most influential appellate courts.

Full Article
 



Granting Non-Exempt Workers After-Hour Access To Company's E-mail System: Are You E-mailing Your Way to a Wage and Hour Lawsuit?

By Freddy Perera
 
Betty's at the dinner table with family, talking about her day, savoring her mashed potatoes when . . . flash--the phone lights up. Work e-mail. She reads it, steps away from the table, and starts drafting a response. Fifteen minutes later, she fires it off and returns to the dinner table.

Full Article
 


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ACA, ADA, and FMLA

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More Delays for the ACA: New Filing Deadlines and "Cadillac" Tax Date

By R. Brent Gambill, Esq.
 
The IRS has unexpectedly extended the deadlines by which insurers and self-funded employers must provide health plan enrollment and coverage information to employees and the IRS under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Full Article
 



'Take my spouse ... please?' Employers weigh pros, cons of healthcare coverage 'carve-outs'

By Jennifer Carsen, JD
 
You are undoubtedly weary of hearing about everything the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires of you in terms of the employee health care coverage you're mandated to provide.

Full Article
 



Court to EEOC: "Teamwork" Does Not Replace Performing Essential Functions of Position

By Marti Cardi and Gail Cohen
 
In a case against auto parts retailer AutoZone, the EEOC asserted that AutoZone should accommodate an employee with a disability by enforcing its "teamwork" company policy.

Full Article
 



Use the "Rolling" Method to Calculate FMLA Leave! This Employer Learned the Hard Way

By Jeff Nowak
 
Every once in awhile, I find myself counseling an employer with either no FMLA policy or one completely lacking any meaningful details. Often, these policies fail to include key provisions to protect against liability.

Full Article
 



DOL fact sheet lays out joint employer responsibilities under FMLA

By Wolters Kluwer
 
At the same time it issued its Administrative Interpretation on joint employment under the FLSA, the Labor Department issued sub-regulatory guidance on the joint employment relationship and the corresponding responsibilities of primary and secondary employers under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Full Article
 


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Workers' Compensation

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Can You Be Liable for an Independent Contractor's Injuries?

By Janette Levey Frisch, Esq.
 
The beauty of outsourcing work to independent contractors is that you get the benefit of the services and no responsibilities, except for timely payment, right? While you might need workers' compensation insurance in case your employees are injured on the job, you have no such responsibility toward your independent contractors, right?

Full Article
 



OSHA Fines Expected to Increase for the First Time in 25 Years

By Anton A. Dirnberger II, Esq.
 
On November 2, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 . . . [which] contained a provision that allows the Occupational Safety and Health Administration ("OSHA") to increase its maximum penalties for the first time since 1990.

Full Article
 



Hoping That the Revolution in Medical Care Reaches Injured Workers

By Rod Rehm
 
Wearable medical devices are making remarkable advances, according to respected workers' compensation commentator Robert Wilson.

Full Article
 



Workers' Comp--Predictions for 2016

By Joe Paduda
 
Just realized I've yet to post my annual Top Ten Predictions for Workers' Comp--my apologies!

Full Article
 



2015 Top Ten Workers' Compensation Fraud Cases

By Rod Rehm
 
In what has become a yearly tradition, here are the 2015 top 10 workers' compensation fraud cases, provided by guest author and respected colleague Professor Leonard Jernigan, from The Jernigan Law Firm in North Carolina.

Full Article
 


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Real Estate and Property Management

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The Abandoned Property Dilemma: New Jersey Landlord-Tenant FAQs

By C. Gavin Oppermann, Esq.
 
An oft neglected issue at the termination of a tenancy: What is the proper way to handle a tenant's personal belongings after they have turned over possession?

Full Article
 



Are Residents Listing Your Property on Airbnb?

By Becky Bower
 
The problem has grown nationwide as these residents' subleasing has begun to affect the multifamily housing industry. Even college students are renting out their spare dorm beds on Airbnb, sneaking their guests past campus security and their ever-watchful resident advisors.

Full Article
 



Axio Reports 4.7% Rent Growth in 4Q

By Brian Croce
 
Last year ended on a high note for the apartment rental industry, as Axiometrics early fourth quarter/year-end apartment data shows an annual effective rent growth of 4.7% in the fourth quarter, which is a seven-basis-point increase from the figure one year earlier.

Full Article
 



Do property managers have to comply with debt collection law?

By AAOA
 
Q: I am a property manager and work for condominium associations as well as private residential rentals. In both capacities, I have to collect rent and condominium fees, and often I have to send collection letters. I was recently told I have to comply with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Can you explain?

Full Article
 



San Francisco Office Rents Eclipse Manhattan's for First Time in History


Colliers Reports Watershed Year for San Francisco Office Market as Unstoppable Technology Surge Rolls into 2016 as Rents Surpass Manhattan's Marking Transfer of Economic Power to West.

Full Article
 


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Law and Politics

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Top 10 Most Popular Posts of the Year

By Elizabeth Kramer
 
Looking back over 2015, it was a great year! With eighty-four articles contributed by our wonderful and knowledgeable speakers and twelve monthly newsletters, we've had the honor of featuring nearly a hundred posts last year.

Full Article
 



"You're Fired" or Not? Possible Impacts of the 2016 Presidential Election on Employers

By Douglas Gerhardt, Esq.
 
Presidential elections will impact employers and employees, nationwide. While many local and state labor laws dictate specific entitlements and actions, who is in the White House also matters. With 2016 being an election year, a lot may be impacted.

Full Article
 



Appropriations Bill Includes Marijuana Provisions but the Legalization Debate Continues

Posted by Weber Gallagher
 
The recent Omnibus Appropriations bill that was passed by Congress on December 16, 2015, funding the federal government through the 2016 fiscal year, included two marijuana provisions. The first prevents the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from spending money to interfere with the implementation of state medical marijuana laws.

Full Article
 



Another Reason Not to Use Email for Confidential Communication

By Sam Harden
 
In a scheme called "spear phishing," hackers are targeting small law firms that handle real estate transactions in order to steal client funds. The hackers sneak into the lawyer's email accounts and monitor the emails between the lawyers, clients, and closing or title agents.

Full Article
 



Recent Decision Warns of Emerging Crisis in Service by Publication

By Jonathan M. Riddle, Esq.
 
As all practitioners know, service of process isn't as simple as it appears in the movies. In a perfect world, we would all have a half Bond, half Indiana Jones at our disposal who could serve all defendants while they are enjoying a drink at their favorite watering hole or pretend to be a nurse and serve them as they begin a surgery.

Full Article
 


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Top Shared Content

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New Overtime Rules' Implementation Substantially Delayed

By Adair Buckner, Esq.
 
Earlier this year, I predicted we would have to deal with the new Department Of Labor (DOL) regulations defining who can be classified as exempt on January 1, 2016. However, after the proposed regulations were released on June 30, 2015, a massive number of public comments came in.

Full Article
 



Patient's Best Interest Swept Aside When NY Attorney General Intervenes

By Elizabeth Andreoli, Esq.
 
At the time of this story, Sheila Pouliot was in her early forties, and had become chronically ill as a result of complications from cerebral palsy, including a seizure disorder, osteoporosis, the dislocation of various joints, and widespread flexion contractures involving her elbows, knees, and hips.

Full Article
 



Six Options for Complying with New DOL FLSA Salary Rules

By Ron Flowers, Esq.
 
It is rare for an employee's salary to double with one raise, yet, under the Department of Labor's proposed rule, employers will need to double some employees' salaries to continue to pay them salaries without overtime.

Full Article
 



You've Received a Discrimination Charge: Don't Throw It in the Trash!

By Dora Lane, Esq.
 
When asked about a discrimination charge sent to them months ago, a client once answered "I did not know what to do with it, so I threw it in the trash." Needless to say, that was a bad idea.

Full Article
 



Harassment vs. Discrimination vs. Obnoxious Behavior

By Kristi D. Rothschild, Esq.
 
What Is Harassment? "[H]arassment consists of conduct outside the scope of necessary job performance, conduct presumably engaged in for personal gratification, because of meanness or bigotry, or for other personal motives."

Full Article
 


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