Legal Updates

Pension death benefits and spousal bypass trusts: time to review

April 2015 saw another radical overhaul of the taxation of UK pensions on death.  Gone is the 55% tax charge on payment of a lump sum death benefit after death, if the pension member either died after their 75th birthday or died pre-75 having already entered into drawdown.  Instead, pension payments from a money purchase pension can now be paid to the member’s nominated beneficiary in the form of either a lump sum, annuity or flexi-access drawdown and no 55% charge is payable at that time.  The nominated beneficiary is taxed at their highest marginal rate of Income Tax in respect of any benefits received.  In addition, the nominated beneficiary can pass on any remaining funds tax free on their death. 

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What Monitoring Technology Allows, the Law May Prohibit

Gregg Settembrino

Recently I attended the American Bar Association’s (“ABA”) 2016 mid-year National Symposium on Technology in Labor and Employment Law (“Conference”) in Washington, D.C.  The Conference highlighted a number of technology related issues that should be of interest to employers, such as the use artificial intelligence in the workplace, cybersecurity, and new trends in the National Labor Relations Board’s technology-based decisions and rulemaking.

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CSA Targets Brokers to Raise Conduct Standards

On April 28, 2016, the Canadian Securities Administrators (“CSA”) published CSA Consultation Paper 33-404 (“CP 33-404”) which proposes for discussion regulatory action to hold securities advisors, dealers and representatives (“Advisors”) to a higher standard in dealings with their clients.

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Hot Topics Seminar on Tax Issues Relating to Stock Options – May 18, 2016

Two of our Corporate Finance & Securities partners, Virgil Hlus and Angela Blake, are speaking at an upcoming event being put on by Manning Elliott Accountants & Business Advisors. The event is called “Hot Topics Seminar on Tax Issues Relating to Stock Options” and is taking place on May 18, 2016 from 3-5pm at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver.

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TSX Venture Exchange Announces Four Character Stock Symbol Reservations

The TSX Venture Exchange has announced that it is now accepting initial reservation requests for four letter root trading symbols. Currently, root trading symbols on the Exchange are limited to three letters. The Exchange anticipates that four letter symbols will commence trading by the end of the fourth quarter of 2016.

In order to provide issuers with an equitable allocation process, the period for initial application for a four letter symbol will expire on May 20, 2016. After May 20, 2016, reservations for four letter symbols will be made by the usual reservation process on a “first come, first serve” basis.

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‘All Natural’ Claims Challenged by FTC; Four Companies Settle and One Is Charged

Four companies have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission (FTC) allegations that they falsely marketed personal care products online as “all natural” or “100% natural” although they contain artificial ingredients. The FTC charged a fifth company with making similar claims.

The FTC’s Allegations According to the FTC’s complaints against the companies and a statement it released announcing the proposed settlements:

  • Trans-India Products, Inc., doing business as ShiKai, based in Santa Rosa, Calif., markets “All Natural Hand and Body Lotion” and “All Natural Moisturizing Shower Gel,” both directly and through third-party websites including and, although the lotion contains the synthetic ingredients Dimethicone, Ethyhexyl Glycerin and Phenoxyethanol and the gel contains Ethylhexyl Glycerin and Phenoxyethanol.

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Preparing for the New STEM OPT Regulations: May 10 Is Coming! May 10 Is Coming!

Jang Hyuk Im

Jang Hyuk Im

Many high-tech companies are recovering from the recent April mad-dash to file H-1B cap petitions allowing for the continued employment of their foreign student graduate population.  Since the H-1B cap season closed abruptly following the first week of April, and USCIS has completed its computer-generated lottery determining which of the 200,000-plus petitions submitted have been accepted for the limited 85,000 H-1B cap slots available, employers now must turn their attention immediately to define viable alternative visa options for those foreign students not fortunate to be selected.

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DOL Releases New Poster and Employer’s Guide to FMLA

Retailers should note that the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (“DOL”) has just released a new Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) poster and The Employer’s Guide to The Family and Medical Leave Act (“Guide”).

New FMLA Poster

The FMLA requires covered employers to display a copy of the General FMLA Notice prominently in a conspicuous place. The new poster is more reader-friendly and better organized than the previous one. The font is larger and the poster contains a QR code that will connect the reader directly to the DOL homepage. According to the DOL, however, the February 2013 version of the FMLA poster can continue to be used to fulfill the FMLA’s posting requirement.

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Prince – Dying Without A Will?

The recent passing of music legend Prince serves as yet another reminder to get your estate plan in place.  As reported in the press, Prince’s sister has filed papers with the Court alleging that her brother died without a will.  Dying without a will in place is called “intestate.”  You can find my summary of Indiana’s intestate laws, here and here.  The intestate laws act as a default estate plan, and very likely may not include all of your intentions.

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Terminating Employees Not Easy Anymore for Schools

With strict regulations being implemented on schools from time to time, the Delhi schools have been saddled with another compliance to be followed before terminating services of their employees as has been clarified by the Supreme Court of India (“SC”) in its recent judgment passed in the matter of Raj Kumar vs. Director of Education & Others (“Judgment”). While considering in detail the provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (“ID Act”) and the Delhi School Education Act, 1973 (“DSE Act”) relating to termination of services of employees by schools, the SC interpreted Section 8(2)1 of the DSE Act which requires obtaining prior approval of the Director of Education (“DoE”) before passing any order of dismissal or termination of services of its employees by school. The SC in its Judgment has, inter alia, observed that Section 8(2) of the DSE Act is a procedural safeguard in favour of an employee to ensure that an order of termination or dismissal is not passed without the prior approval of DoE. 

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