North America

Regulators Continue Their Focus On Disclosures

FTC2014 marked a year of significant change in the marketing communications industry.  To help understand these changes, Davis & Gilbert produced our 2014 Lessons Learned/2015 Practical Advice, where our lawyers highlight major developments in the marketing communications industry, and offer tips and best practices for marketers and their agencies in 2015.

Over the next few weeks, I will share with you a few pieces I authored on the topics of: FTC – Regulatory and State, Emerging Hardware – Robots, Drones and Connected Devices, and the NAD. To view the full 2014 Lessons Learned/2015 Practical Advice document, click here.

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FTC Focus on Privacy

At the International Association of Privacy Professionals (“IAPP”) Global Privacy Summit in Washington, D.C. on March 5th and March 6th, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) was clear in its message that privacy was a top priority for the agency.  The FTC had a strong presence at the conference.  Three of the five Commissioners and the Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection (Jessica Rich) all spoke at the conference and relayed a message of the importance of consumer privacy and security.  In that regard, the FTC speakers stressed the importance of:

  • informing consumers of the collection of consumer information;
  • informing consumers how such collected information will be used; and
  • providing strong safeguards for information collected.
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Virginia Employers: Don’t Force Facebook Friendships

Virginia has now joined the chorus of jurisdictions that ban social media snooping by employers.  As we previously reported here and here, in a growing trend a number of states prohibit employers from requiring prospective or current employees to provide access to their social media accounts during the hiring process.  On March 7, 2015, the Virginia legislature passed H. 2081, a law prohibiting employers from asking or requiring employees or applicants (1) to disclose the username and password to their social media accounts, and (2) to add an employer to the list of contacts associated with their social media accounts.  This law will take effect upon signature by Governor Terry McAuliffe or, if he does not sign or veto the bill, on March 29, 2015.

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Teamsters and Technology : Developing Labor Issues for Technology Industry Employers

Employers in the Technology Media and Telecommunications (“TMT”) industries have generally not thought that union organizing was an issue that affected their businesses and workforces.  Recent developments suggest that this is no longer the case.

These industries have earned reputations for innovative workplaces, generous benefits, and free food. At the same time, technology companies have outsourced many non-core functions such as campus security, maintenance, and transportation to third party suppliers.  Employees of these vendors  generally receive less generous compensation, benefits and perks than high tech employees. The different treatment of primary employees and ancillary workers employed by subcontractors has given rise to claims that the industry is divided into the “haves” and “have not’s” and provoked a rising backlash among many workers.

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Healthcare Alert: Important Medicare deadlines on March 20

Physicians face March 20, 2015, submission deadlines in order to qualify for Medicare meaningful use and Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) incentive payments for the 2014 reporting year, and avoid payment reductions under both programs in 2016.

Eligible professionals (EPs)1 who have not attested to their meaningful use under the Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program for the 2014 program year have until 11:59 p.m. ET on March 20, 2015, to do so. The previous deadline was February 28, 2015, which the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently extended to allow additional time for EPs to submit their 2014 meaningful use data.

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Multistate Tax Update — March 12, 2015

Last week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in King v. Burwell, one of the most anticipated cases of the year. The case focuses on whether the premium tax credit provision of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is legal and whether the statute permits individuals to receive a tax subsidy when they purchase their health insurance on a federally established exchange. The premium tax credit is critical to purchasers who live in any of the 34 states that have not established their own healthcare exchanges.

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Telemedicine and Employers: The New Frontier

As we have explored a number of times on this blog, telemedicine has gone mainstream.  The more recent development is that employers seem to be paying more attention now. The numbers speak for themselves. A recent Towers Watson study focusing on employers with at least 1,000 employees concluded that U.S. employers could save up to $6 billion per year if their employees routinely engaged in remote consults for appropriate medical problems instead of visiting emergency rooms, urgent care centers, and physicians’ offices.

Attitudes towards telemedicine more generally in the United States also have undergone a significant shift:

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Richard Weiland to present at “Trusts: Planning for Success”

As an industry leader, Richard Weiland has been asked to present at “Trusts: Planning for Success,” a Law Society of BC-accredited program on key developments and challenges in trusts law. Tax, financial and estate practitioners can register here to learn new planning techniques, practice tips and practical solutions.

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The Supreme Court Approves DOL Interpretive Rules Holding That Mortgage-Loan Officers Are Entitled To Overtime

The United States Supreme Court has upheld an Administrator’s Opinion issued by the United States Department of Labor stating that “typical” mortgage-loan officers are not covered by the Administrative exemption to the FLSA’s overtime requirements.

The Supreme Court’s decision in Perez v. Mortg. Bankers Ass’n reversed a Circuit Court decision vacating the Opinion for failure to comply with the procedural requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”).  Specifically, the Supreme Court ruled that the APA expressly exempts the Department of Labor (and other federal agencies) from the notice-and-comment rulemaking process when it makes changes to its own interpretive rules.

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Did employer unintentionally create duty to protect?

By Michael R. Lied Michael R. Lied, of Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC, has practiced employment, labor and immigration law for more than 30 years. A frequent author and lecturer on these subjects, he is former chair of the Illinois State Bar Federal Civil Practice Section Council and Employment Section Council. He can be reached at mlied@howardandhoward.com and 309­ 999­6311.

Lawyers are fond of saying that no good deed goes unpunished. This case may provide an example.

Sheri Coleman and her young sons were murdered in their home in downstate Columbia outside St. Louis. Her husband, Christopher Coleman, was charged with and subsequently convicted of the murders. More…

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