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Webinar, Nov. 30: Year in Review – Trade Secrets and Non-Compete Developments

Many businesses progressively fear that their trade secrets and valued business relationships are at risk of attack by competitors – and even by their own employees. Do you know what it takes to protect those critical assets in the ever-changing world of trade secret and non-compete law?

Join Epstein Becker Green attorneys Anthony J. Laura,  Robert D. Goldstein, and Peter A. Steinmeyer on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. EST for a complimentary, 75-minute webinar hosted by Practical Law.  This webinar offers insights into recent developments and expected trends in the evolving legal landscape of trade secrets and non-competition agreements. This webinar will focus on how to navigate this developing area and effectively protect client relationships and proprietary information. Topics will include:

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The Independent Worker: An Interview with Gene Zaino, CEO of MBO Partners

Gene ZainoGene Zaino, a nationally recognized expert in the contract workforce market, launched MBO Partners to re-invent the way independent consultants and organizations work together. MBO Partners provides technology solutions and personal service that both simplify and expedite business processes for self-employed professionals including: incorporation, contract setup, billing, financial management, payroll, tax compliance, and health and retirement benefit programs. MBO Partners also provides access to the largest network of “engagement ready” enterprise companies, as well as portable benefits to independent workers.  Zaino is a major force in the independent workforce movement, committed to making it easier for self-employed professionals and their clients to work together.

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Application of the FLSA’s Tip-Credit Requirements Remains Hotly Disputed

Over the past year, there has been an increased discussion of Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) requirements for tipped employees. The courts have focused on a number of issues related to tipped employees, including addressing who can participate in tip pools and whether certain deductions may be made from tips. While the FLSA requires employers to pay a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour in most cases, Section 203(m) of the FLSA provides that employers may take a “tip credit” and pay as little as $2.13 per hour to employees who customarily and regularly receive tips, so long as two criteria are satisfied:

  • the employee’s wages and tips are at least equal to the minimum wage, and
  • all tips “received” by a tipped employee are actually retained by the employee or added into a tip pool that aggregates the tips of a group of tipped employees.

Notably, 29 CFR § 531.55 states that a “compulsory charge for service . . . imposed on a customer by an employer’s establishment, is not a tip . . . .” However, some states (such as New York) have their own requirements for determining whether a service charge will be considered a “tip.”

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DOJ and FTC Release Antitrust Guidance for Human Resource Professionals – Employment Law This Week

The top story on Employment Law This Week: The DOJ intends to investigate anti-competitive trade practices.

The Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission released joint guidance for HR professionals on how antitrust laws apply to employment. The guidance explains that agreements among employers not to recruit certain employees—or not to compete on terms of compensation—are illegal. Notably, the DOJ announced that they plan to criminally investigate “naked no-poaching or wage fixing agreements” that are unrelated to legitimate collaboration between businesses. In the past, both agencies have pursued civil enforcement. Peter Altieri, co-editor of this blog and a Member of the Firm at Epstein Becker Green, is interviewed.

Watch the segment below and read our previous post on this topic.

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HOWARD & HOWARD CONTINUES TO EXPAND ROYAL OAK OFFICE

Royal Oak, Michigan, November 1, 2016: Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC is pleased to announce that Kevin Sanker has joined the firm. He will practice out of the firm’s Royal Oak office.
Mr. Sanker concentrates his practice in real estate, corporate law, and business transactions. Prior to practicing law, Mr. Sanker worked in the auto industry where he managed inbound freight for one of the major automotive manufacturers in Michigan. He also worked in the mortgage industry for several years. As a mortgage banker, he counseled hundreds of clients through the home buying and mortgage lending process. As an underwriter, he analyzed financial and credit information to make lending decisions for a major retail mortgage lender.

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Davis Malm Named to 2017 “Best Law Firms” List in Metropolitan Boston Market by U.S. News – Best Lawyers®

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Transgender Teenager’s Death Leads to ACA § 1557 Discrimination Suit Against Hospital

Kyler Prescott was a 14 year old transgender boy who was receiving puberty-delaying medication to help him transition.  Shortly before Kyler’s death he had “suicidal ideation” and was taken to Rady Children’s Hospital – San Diego in April 2015.  The hospital has a Gender Management Clinic to provide services to children with gender dysphoria and related issues.  A lawsuit under the ACA’s non-discrimination provision, § 1557, alleges that after admission, despite assurances that he would be referred to with masculine pronouns, hospital employees referred to Kyler as a girl.  The suit claims that the hospital’s actions discriminated against Prescott “resulting in his inability to access necessary services and treatment during a dire medical crisis.” The federal lawsuit, filed in the Southern District of California, further alleges that the use of female references exacerbated his condition and that he thereafter had further difficulties and ultimately committed suicide.

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Supreme Court Tosses Finding of Contempt Against Student Leader

The Supreme Court of Canada released this week its decision in a case overturning a ruling in which a court in Quebec had found a student leader guilty of contempt of court – Morasse v. Nadeau-Dubois 2016 SCC 44.

 The background goes back to the spring of 2012, when massive and sustained student protests took place in the province of Quebec over the issue of proposed increases in university tuition fees.  The increases were announced as part of the budget introduced by the provincial government.  Several student organizations which were opposed to the increases organized protests. 

 

The protests paralyzed several post-secondary institutions.  Classes at several institutions were cancelled.  Student organizations held votes declaring themselves to be “on strike”.  Picket lines were formed at several universities and CEGEPs.  Students and teachers were prevented from entering the buildings in which classes were to be held.  As a result, several injunctions were sought to resist these blockages and help ensure the continuation of the school year.

 

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White House Call to Action Could Spur More States, Including New York, to Act Against Non-Competes

Political winds disfavoring non-compete agreements for low wage and rank-and-file workers continue to blow, and appear to be picking up speed.

On October 25, 2016, the White House took the unusual step of issuing a “Call to Action” to states regarding non-compete agreements, as part of the President’s initiative to stoke competition across the economy.  Calling non-competes an “institutional factor that has the potential to hold back wages and entrepreneurship,” the Call to Action seeks to reduce the misuse of non-compete agreements nationwide.

President Obama called on state policymakers to join in pursuing best-practice policy objectives, including:

  1. Banning non-compete clauses for categories of workers (such as low wage workers or workers laid off or terminated without cause);
  2. Improving transparency and fairness of non-compete agreements; and
  3. Incentivizing employers to write enforceable contracts (i.e., discouraging overreaching provisions) by, for example, promoting the “red pencil doctrine” which renders contracts with unenforceable provisions void in their entirety.
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What does the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council Dealing with in 2016?

There aren’t a lot of rules on the Internet. The World Wide Web is a wild west environment where the standard rules regarding sales tax, privacy, and decorum don’t apply. All of which makes it seem like a strange place for self-regulation. And yet, that’s the mission of the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council, the industry body that regulates advertising not only on traditional media such as print, TV, and radio, but also online.

Given how quickly advertising has expanded on Internet sites and social media, that’s not just a tricky job—it’s a very big one. This year, the Commissioner of the Federal Trade Association delivered a keynote at a summit hosted by one of ASRC’s constituent organizations (the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation … Continue Reading

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