Regions

Alabama: Expired Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program could be renewed

In 2013, the Alabama legislature signed HB 140 into law, designed to provide tax help for owners who rehabilitate residential or commercial properties. The program, known as the Alabama Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program (Program), offered a tax credit of up to 25 percent for the substantial rehabilitation of a historic residential or commercial property. The Alabama Historical Commission notes that between 2013 and 2015, $20 million in tax credits were available, for a total of $60 million. Commercial projects could receive the credit for up to $5 million in qualified expenses, and private residential properties up to $50,000.
The Program expired in May 2016, but at least one lawmaker is eager to bring it back, according to the Alabama NewsCenter. When the legislature convened on February 7, 2017, and State Sen. Jabo Waggoner revealed that he plans to introduce a similar measure to encourage the rehabilitation of abandoned buildings.
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Immigration checks and Right to Rent

Recent changes have been announced to the Immigration Act 2016 (which came into effect from 1 December 2016), which have “upgraded” the failure to meet Right to Rent requirements to a criminal offence including a jail term of up to five years.

Right to Rent was a scheme introduced across England on 1 February 2016. The scheme requires landlords or their letting agents to make adequate immigration checks before letting a property. If they do not, they can be liable for a fine of up to £3,000.

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Tread carefully when you step down

This article was published in Construction News on 1 December 2016.

Stepping down relevant clauses to subcontractors is rarely quick and easy when done properly – but it’s worth taking the time to do so.

Let’s take a familiar scenario: an employer engages a contractor to carry out works, but the finished works are already subject to agreements for lease between the employer and future tenants of the finished project.

The terms of the agreements for lease are likely to contain duties relating to the performance of the works. Some common examples include:

  • practical completion conditions;
  • the provision of collateral warranties or third party rights;
  • liquidated damages;
  • deadlines for practical completion and access prior to completion (e.g. to fit out a retail unit); and
  • maximum and minimum area limits which, if not adhered to, allow the tenant to terminate the agreement for lease or entitle the tenant to a reduction in rent and/or liquidated damages.

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NAD Action Requiring the Kardashians and Fit Tea to Disclose Their Connections in Social Media Posts

As part of its ongoing monitoring program, the National Advertising Division (NAD) reviewed endorsements by Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian and Kylie Jenner (the Kardashians) that failed to disclose that they were paid to endorse a dietary supplement known as “Fit Tea” in their social media posts. In response to the NAD’s action, Fit Tea revised its social media posts to disclose Fit Tea’s material connections with its celebrity endorsers.

Background
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Endorsement and Testimonial Guides (FTC Endorsement Guides) require clear disclosure of any material connections between an advertiser and its influencers and other endorsers, including when their endorsements are posted on social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram. The FTC contends that, in the absence of such disclosure, consumers might believe that an endorsement on social media is a spontaneous recommendation of a product made without any compensation rather than a paid endorsement.

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Labor Department Backs Away From Permitting Unions At OSHA Safety Inspections

As we reported last week, the U.S. District Court refused to dismiss a challenge to OSHA’s controversial 2013 Fairfax Memorandum, which allowed for the participation of union representatives in OSHA safety inspections at workplaces where the union did not represent the workers. We asked at the time whether the Trump Administration would continue to defend that change in policy. This week, we saw the first concrete evidence suggesting that OSHA is at least reconsidering and may at a minimum drop its defense of the practice.

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Court Refuses To Dismiss Challenge To OSHA Practice Allowing Unions To Accompany OSHA Workplace Investigations

A United States District Court in Texas has refused to dismiss a law suit challenging OSHA’s practice of allowing union representatives and organizers to serve as “employee representatives” in inspections of non-union worksites. If the Court ultimately sustains the plaintiff’s claims, unions will lose another often valuable organizing tool that has provided them with visibility and access to employees in connection with organizing campaigns.

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New mandatory data breach notification legislation

The long awaited Privacy Amendment (Notifiable Data Breaches) Bill 2016 (Bill) was passed in the Australian Parliament on 13 February 2017. The Bill amends the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act) to introduce a mandatory data breach notification regime (notification regime). The notification regime is a significant change to the data breach notification obligations of organisations holding personal information.

The Bill is likely to commence 12 months after it receives Royal Assent (which is expected to occur shortly).

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Talking Tax – Issue 65

Legislation

Next stage for Diverted Profits Tax

In the next stage of implementing the Diverted Profits Tax (DPT) for large multinational corporations, the Diverted Profits Tax Bill 2017 and the Treasury Laws Amendment (Combating Multinational Tax Avoidance) Bill 2017 (Bills), have been introduced into Parliament.

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Ecuadorean Villagers Continue Legal Battle Against Chevron

Yaiguaje v. Chevron Corporation 2017 ONSC 135 (CanLII)

The saga continues.  This case returned to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for consideration after a hearing at the Supreme Court of Canada.  Forty-seven individual plaintiffs in this action, representing approximately 30,000 indigenous Ecuadorian villagers, are suing Chevron and Chevron Canada to attempt to enforce a  US$9.5 billion judgment.  The enforcement proceedings first came before the Ontario Court where a motions judge – Justice D.M. Brown (now on the Ontario Court of Appeal) – held that the Ontario Court had jurisdiction to recognize and enforce the Ecuadorian judgment but on his own motion stayed the proceedings.  The Ontario Court of Appeal over-ruled Justice Brown’s imposition of a discretionary stay but upheld his decision on the jurisdictional issue.  The Supreme Court of Canada upheld the decision of the Court of Appeal. 

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Employers: How to Handle F17, Mass Strikes, and Political Activity in the Workplace

Our colleagues Jeremy M. Brown, Steven M. Swirsky and Laura C. Monaco, at Epstein Becker Green, have a post on the Management Memo blog that will be of interest to many of our readers in the retail industry: “F17 and the General Strike Movement – Best Practices for Addressing Political Activity in the Workplace.”

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