Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Green Earth Wellness Holding Supports Enforceability of State-Legal Cannabis Contracts in Federal Courts

by Adam Foster, Esq.

Operators in any industry need the certainty of knowing that their contracts will be enforceable in court. But cannabis entrepreneurs who obey state law face uncertainty regarding whether a defaulting party will claim that a cannabis-related contract is unenforceable on grounds of public policy. Chief Judge Krieger's holding in Green Earth Wellness Center, LLC v. Atain Specialty Ins. Co. 13-CV-03452 2016 WL 632357 (D. Colo. Feb. 17, 2016) provides persuasive authority for the proposition that federal courts should enforce cannabis contracts that are legal under state law.

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Monday, August 1, 2016

I-9 Compliance: When the Way We've Always Done It Isn't Good Enough

By Kathleen Gasparian, Esq.

Say the words “I-9 compliance” in a room of business owners or human resource specialists and listen for the small groans and watch for the inevitable eye rolls. I-9 compliance isn't sexy or exciting; it's frustrating and tedious. It is meticulous and deceptively simple paperwork that goes against our instincts of human interaction, but it is also one where an empty field can equal a fine.

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

The ACA Makes My Head Hurt!

by Norma Shirk, Esq.

Imagine the following scenario:

Stephanie is the HR Director for her company and she's spent years trying to figure out how to comply with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements for large employers. She works for a company that provides janitorial services to businesses.

The company has issued as many as 700 W-2's in one year but it has a core group of 300 employees who work varying schedules. Turnover is high because few people like working low-paying janitorial jobs. Janitorial jobs are also risky, as when employees slip on newly mopped floors or wrench their backs emptying trashcans. Stephanie fortifies herself with extra coffee to get through the weekly safety meetings reporting injuries.

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Monday, July 11, 2016

Federal Court Blocks DOL's New Persuader Rule

by Amanda S. Smith, Esq.

On March 23, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued the final version of its "Persuader Rule." According to the DOL, the Persuader Rule "realigns the [DOL's] regulations with the text of a law passed by Congress, the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA)."

The rule requires employers, third-party lawyers and other labor consultants (collectively referred to as "consultants") to disclose to the DOL any arrangement to persuade employees directly (consultants talking to workers) or indirectly (consultants scripting what managers and supervisors say to workers) concerning the right to organize or bargain collectively.

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Monday, June 27, 2016

Traveling Employees, Personal Errands, and Workers' Comp Benefits

by David P. Nomberg, Esq.

With the recent Alabama Court of Civil Appeals decision of Hospice Family Care v. Allen, No. 2140861 (Ala. Civ. App. June 10, 2016), employees who are injured during the course of running personal errands may still be able to recover workers' compensation benefits.

In Allen, an employee was frequently traveling as part of her employment. One afternoon, the employee was traveling home to finish completing tasks for her employer when she briefly stopped at the pharmacy to pick up personal items. When the employee left the pharmacy and proceeded towards her house, she was struck by another vehicle and killed on impact. The employee's husband brought suit against her employer for workers' compensation benefits. The employer alleged that because the employee had stopped for a personal errand, workers' compensation did not apply.

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Monday, June 20, 2016

The Whys and Hows of Education and/or Experience Evaluations in the Context of H-1B Visa Preparation and Filing

by David H. Nachman, Esq.; Michael Phulwani, Esq.; and Rabindra K. Singh, Esq.

Most of the prospective H-1B employees and H-1B employers begin with either of the following two thoughts:

"I would like to work in the U.S. using an H-1B visa, but am not sure if I qualify" or
"I want to hire a foreign worker but not sure if the individual qualifies for an H-1B visa."

In order to successfully obtain an H-1B visa, it is mandatory that not only the prospective H-1B employee but both the proffered position and prospective employee should qualify for the H-1B visa. This article will explore the importance of educational and/or experience evaluations, and explain certain precautions that an employer and/or prospective H-1B employee can take in order to avoid a potential Request for Evidence (RFE) and/or denial of the H-1B nonimmigrant petition.

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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Not Every Degree Qualifies Foreign Nationals for H-1B Master’s Cap

by David H. Nachman, Esq.; Michael Phulwani, Esq.; and Rabindra K. Singh, Esq.

Many foreign nationals holding an F-1 nonimmigrant status in the United States, especially those who are engaged in Optional Practical Training (OPT), often intend to change their nonimmigrant status to become a professional specialty workers (H-1B workers). Most foreign nationals seeking H-1B nonimmigrant classification are subject to the 58,200 annual cap.[1] There are an additional 20,000 H-1B visas which are reserved specifically for foreign nationals who receive a master's degree (or a higher degree) from a United States college or university.[2]

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Now Is the Time to Think About Your H-1B Back-Up Plan

by David H. Nachman, Esq.; Michael Phulwani, Esq.; and Rabindra K. Singh, Esq.

On April 7, 2016, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it has reached the congressionally mandated H-1B cap for fiscal year (FY) 2017. USCIS also received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the U.S. advanced degree exemption.

USCIS received over 236,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period, which began April 1, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption. On April 9, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process, or lottery, to select enough petitions to meet the 65,000 general-category cap and the 20,000 cap under the advanced degree exemption.

With uncertainty looming large as to who may or may not get selected in the H-1B lottery, it is time that H-1B visa hopefuls (and their prospective H-1B employers) start to explore other nonimmigrant work visa options to allow them to work and live in the United States on a temporary basis.

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Department of Labor Issues Final Rule Updating Overtime Regulations

by Salvatore Gangemi, Esq.

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) issued its Final Rule modifying overtime requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"). The Final Rule makes material changes to the application of overtime exemptions, and will take effect on December 1, 2016.

In 2014, President Obama directed the Secretary of Labor to simplify and modernize the overtime rules to make them easier for employees and employers to understand and apply.

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Monday, May 16, 2016

President Signs the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016: What Employers Need to Know

by Jonathan T. Hyman, Esq.

On May 11, 2016, President Obama signed into law the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016. It creates a uniform, federal standard for the protection of corporate trade secrets.

What do employers need to know about this new law?

1. It creates a uniform federal cause of action for the misappropriate of trade secrets. Thus, companies, particularly, but not limited to, those that operate in more than one state, can seek nationwide relief from the misappropriate of trade secrets, without regard to differences in state law.

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