Monthly Archives: January 2012

International Expansion: Legal Risks of Setting Up Outside the US

From Sonia Agee at Ropers Majeski Kohn & Bentley, who reminds business owners of the risks that can accompany the rewards of establishing international operations: “Establishing a foreign subsidiary may have lucrative business advantages, but if you’ve decided to pursue this strategy, it’s important to stay informed, plan ahead and follow proper compliance with both… Read more »

Legal Contracts: 6 Drafting Tips for Small Businesses

If you own or manage a business, you’re likely to have entered into contracts with employees, vendors, consultants, renters and landlords, banks and other financial institutions, insurers, and, of course, customers and clients. To help prevent your agreements from getting you into the wrong kind of bind, here are six tips on drafting legal contracts:… Read more »

New NLRB Report on Social Media Cases in the Workplace

On January 24th, 2012, general counsel for the National Labor Relations Board released an updated reported on recently reviewed social media cases. The report looks at 14 new cases – many of which focus on social media policies in the workplace. Of note to managers, HR professionals, employment specialists, and – really – anyone with… Read more »

Crowdfunding & Startup Capital: A Look at Legislative Initiatives to Ease Restrictions

“There has been a lot of talk recently about a phenomenon called crowdfunding, a new type of fundraising that relies on social media and the Internet to raise small amounts of capital from large numbers of individuals. Despite the talk, crowdfunding remains impermissible under the securities laws absent a costly registration with the SEC and… Read more »

Telemarketers Beware: Supreme Court Raises Stakes of Telephone Consumer Protection Act Violations

On January 18, 2012, a unanimous Supreme Court ruled that consumers are permitted to file private actions under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act in federal as well as state court. The decision in Mims v. Arrow Financial Services opens the door for additional TCPA complaints, particularly those brought by consumers in states with weaker consumer… Read more »

Employer Health Care & W-2s: Mandatory Reporting of Costs in 2013

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, in 2013 employers must begin reporting “aggregate costs” they pay for employee health coverage on the individual W-2 Forms of those employees. For your reference, five takeaways from the recently published Internal Revenue Service guidance on the reporting requirement: On Aggregate Costs… “‘Aggregate cost’ is the total… Read more »

Wage Theft Prevention Act in New York and California: Effective January 1, 2012

On January 1, 2012, wage-theft legislation went into effect in both California and New York, two of the nation’s three most populous states. The new laws require employers to provide employees with a standard set of information regarding their employment conditions. For your reference, here’s a roundup of recent legal commentary and analysis on those… Read more »

Doing Business in California

From Fox Rothschild, a comprehensive overview of doing business in the nation’s largest state: “The allure of doing business in California is undeniable. It is the world’s sixth largest economy and a market of more than 36 million people. For employers, however, California presents unique challenges because its laws differ significantly from federal laws and… Read more »

PPACA: Reporting Employer Healthcare Costs

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, in 2013 employers must begin reporting “aggregate costs” they pay for employee health coverage on the individual W-2 Forms of those employees. Morgan Lewis’ comprehensive overview of recently issued Internal Revenue Service guidance on the reporting requirement provides a useful resource for employers: “The Affordable Care Act… Read more »

Exempt or Non-Exempt Employee? 6 Questions to Help Employers Know the Difference

“As an employer, you may assume you know the difference between non-exempt employees who are entitled to overtime, and exempt employees who are not. For example, you may assume that an employee paid a salary and given certain supervisory authority is exempt. But this assumption is wrong. Misclassifying an employee as exempt when s/he is… Read more »

Defined Contribution Plans: New Disclosures in 2012

A quick, January reminder that administrators of defined contribution plans are held to new transparency regulations in 2012, and that you have just a few months to change the way you handle such matters. Background from law firm Patterson Belknap: “The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) has long been concerned about transparency regarding fees and… Read more »

NLRB Rules Mandatory Class Action Waivers Unlawful: 6 Takeaways for Employers & Employees

On January 3, 2012, the National Labor Relations Board ruled in D.R. Horton that the National Labor Relations Act prohibits mandatory arbitration policies forcing employees to give up their rights to participate in class action lawsuits over workplace conditions. As a result, employers with arbitration policies in place will need to review those policies to… Read more »

Supreme Court Says Separation of Church and State Applies to Hiring Decisions – Confirms “Ministerial Exception”

Are religious institutions (i.e., churches) free to dismiss ministers without regard to federal employment discrimination laws? On January 11, 2012, a unanimous Supreme Court answered that question with a resounding “yes:” “… the Courts of Appeals have uniformly recognized the existence of a ‘ministerial exception,’ grounded in the First Amendment, that precludes application of [employment… Read more »

Workplace Discrimination Includes “Retaliation” – 5 Ways to Recognize & Avoid It

“More and more employers are recognizing what employment attorneys have long known. The most prevalent type of employment discrimination claim is not one based on race, sex, religion, disability or age. Rather, it is one alleging unlawful retaliation. In fact, in 2010, for the first time ever, retaliation claims surpassed race discrimination claims to become… Read more »