Monthly Archives: November 2011

TARK GRUNTE SUTKIENE 20th anniversary celebration in Riga

Law firm TARK GRUNTE SUTKIENE this year has its 20th anniversary and in the company of our clients we celebrated it on 20 October 2011 in the Art museum Riga Bourse. There, in one of the Riga’s most splendid premises, we let ourselves be taken for a journey in the world of art and gourmands to draw inspiration for new challenges.

TARK GRUNTE SUTKIENE lawyers always welcome new approaches and non-standard solutions, because we believe that with good efforts and imagination impossible could be made possible. Hence the slogan of the evening was „Everything is possible”. A discussion in line of this theme was developed by prof. dr. Andrejs Ērglis, proving that it is possible to live for 120 years, and a lecturer in the Riga Stockholm School of Economics, one of the pioneers of the social business and author of the MAMMU idea Fionn Dobbin, and a participant of the IRONMAN 2011 World Chamionship Rinalds Sluckis, who shared his experience of transformation from a ‘white collar’ individual to an ironman.

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Eugenija Sutkienė elected a Board member in two international organisations for economic relations

On 12 October 2011, Eugenija Sutkienė, Managing Partner of TARK GRUNTE SUTKIENE was elected a Board member and vice-president of the Association Lithuanian Business Council of Economic and Trade Cooperation with the Republic of Belarus.
The main objective of the Association’s activities is to prepare proposals for the improvement of conditions for trade and economic cooperation between the Republic of Lithuania and the Republic of Belarus, to represent the interests of the Association and its members before State authorities and non-State institutions and organisations of the Republic of Lithuania and the Republic of Belarus.

Eugenija Sutkienė was reappointed a Board member of the Association Lithuanian-Israel Chamber of Commerce for a second term.

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Estate Planning Alert: Low interest rates plus low valuations create extraordinary planning opportunities

Interest rates are at historic lows.  Market values of many assets are lower than they were a few years ago.  This juxtaposition creates potentially significant wealth transfer opportunities.  A few strategies offer particular advantage.  Let’s first review why the juxtaposition works and then review the planning opportunities.

The interest rates for loans to family members and related party transactions are lower than they have been in several decades because they are set by the IRS each month based on U.S. Treasury rates.  These rates in turn set the valuation rate used to determine the value of property transferred in certain types of gift strategies. As a result, this rate is at an all time low of 1.4% (in November).  In the valuation process, this interest rate is the assumed rate for valuing the remainder interest that is the taxable gift component in some of the strategies discussed below.  This rate is often referred to as the “hurdle-rate” in terms of the rate of return required for the strategy to perform as well as the valuation projection for tax purposes.  While relative investment rates of return are low, the assumed rate is fixed at the time of the transfer, so when rates of return increase to more normal levels and market values increase as a result, the chance for success of these strategies should be greater than under normal circumstances.

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ILN Today Post

Interns: potential costs of this unpaid workforce

What do AT&T, IBM, the Cleveland Indi- ans, and more than 800 other employers have in common? At present, they are all openly seeking unpaid interns on Craigslist and Monster. Unpaid interns allow companies to keep costs down while continuing to provide high-quality services and products to customers and clients – all in an economic climate where employers are looking to reduce expenses. Given that the nation’s unem- ployment rate is hovering around 9%, there is a large pool of candidates willing to take unpaid internships to demonstrate their considerable skills and experi- ence in the hopes of a paid position at the company or elsewhere.

For the full article, please click here.

 

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PROPOSED LEGISLATION MAY EXPAND THE SCOPE OF THE COMPUTER EMPLOYEE EXEMPTION

By Douglas Weiner and Meg Thering

On October 20, 2011, the Computer Professionals Update Act (“the CPU Act”) – one of the first potential pieces of good news for employers this year – was introduced in the U.S. Senate.  If passed, the CPU act would expand the computer employee exemption of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).  S. 1747.

Unlike much of the other legislation affecting employers that has been proposed or passed this year, the CPU Act would make business easier for employers and decrease the risk of employee misclassification lawsuits.  If the proposed legislation passes, employers would be able to classify more employees as exempt from the overtime provisions of the FLSA.  This would be a welcome change from the persistent drum beat of enhanced enforcement initiatives announced by government agencies and upticks in class and collective actions this year.

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ILN Today Post

Will you shut your business over the festive season?

With the Christmas and New Year period fast approaching, employers need to consider whether they intend to shut down their business over the Christmas and New Year period or beyond, and whether they intend to require employees to take annual leave during a shut down.  read more

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ILN Today Post

Have you really considered redeployment?

A recent decision of Fair Work Australia involving the dismissal of a manager for reasons of redundancy places employers at risk if they do not offer employees lesser roles before making them redundant. A failure to do so may lead to the redundancy being held not to be genuine for the purpose of excluding an employee’s ability to apply for an unfair dismissal remedy.  read more

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Congress Accuses OSHA of Inserting Itself Into Hotel Labor Disputes

By:  Amanda Strainis-Walker

OSHA’s recent string of hotel inspections in response to formal safety and health complaints filed by UNITE-HERE and others on behalf of hotel housekeepers is under serious scrutiny from the House of Representatives Subcommittee that oversees OSHA’s operations.  OSHA leadership is defending its decision to inspect hotels, and is signaling that OSHA will not shy away from inspecting employers in the midst of organizing campaigns and/or contentious bargaining over labor agreements.

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Another employer fights the good fight… and wins

As we reported earlier, employers are challenging – and courts are taking steps to reign in — EEOC subpoena power.  In a recent decision issued by a federal court in Illinois, the employer successfully challenged an EEOC subpoena that sought confidential health information that was irrelevant to the charge before it.

In EEOC v. Loyola University Medical Center.PDF, the EEOC was charged with investigating the allegations of one employee who claimed that she had been discriminated against on the basis of a disability because she was required to undergo a fitness-for-duty examination.  In the course of its investigation, the EEOC subpoenaed records for all employees who had been required to undergo a fitness-for-duty examination regardless of whether the employee held a position similar to the charging party, worked for the same supervisor, or had anything else in common with the charging party that might shed light on the validity of her allegations.  The employer refused to provide the records, citing their irrelevance to the charge and their confidentiality.  In response, the EEOC sought court enforcement of the subpoena.

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James B. Durkin interviewed by Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Arnstein & Lehr Attorney James B. Durkin

James B. Durkin

In an October 25 Chicago Daily Law Bulletin article titled “Legislators give back through pro bono,” Chicago Partner and legislator James B. Durkin was interviewed regarding his decision to take up a pro bono case that allowed a Guatemalan man to gain asylum in the United States. In the article, Mr. Durkin encourages attorneys to provide pro bono services. To view the article in full, please click here.

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