Monthly Archives: January 2011

A Fast Lane and Some Speedbumps on the Road as Telecommuting Becomes More Mainstream

Telecommuting has gained favor over the years in certain private sector industries and geographic areas. With the Telework Enhancement Act, signed by President Obama on December 9, 2010, the federal government has entered the telecommuting arena, setting mandates and parameters for programs that create eligibility and assure that participating employees suffer no adverse treatment or consequences in their performance appraisals, work requirements, or other acts involving managerial discretion. Federal agencies are required to (1) establish a policy under which eligible employees may be authorized to telework; (2) determine eligibility for telework participation; and (3) notify all employees of the agency of their eligibility to telework.

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Dodd-Frank Brings Diversity into Sharper Focus for Organizations Contracting with Federal Financial Agencies

Organizations contracting with federal financial agencies, and their contractors, will encounter new scrutiny of their diversity programs and accomplishments during 2011. A feature of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act requires each agency to adopt procedures prescribing that a contractor shall ensure, to the maximum extent possible, the fair inclusion of women and minorities in the workforce of the contractor and, as applicable, subcontractors.

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BC Hydro Revises Standing Offer Program

BC Hydro provided a welcomed boost to the British Columbia clean energy industry by announcing today that it has now completed its two year review and implemented a new standing offer program for clean, renewable energy projects in British Columbia.

Similar to a feed-in-tariff, eligible clean energy projects, 15 MW or under, can prescribe to a set price for delivered electricity and other key project terms.  Specific eligibility requirements and the program rules for BC Hydro’s Standing Offer Program can be found here (pdf).

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Andrews v. Harrison Medical Center: Anti-Nepotism Policies

New case discusses anti-nepotism policies and discrimination based upon marital status under Washington’s Law Against Discrimination.

For more information please visit www.omwmunilaw.com.

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Restaurant Trademarks: Worth their Salt?

The Globe and Mail is reporting on a dispute that has arisen between Vancouver’s Salt Tasting Room, which opened in 2006, and Toronto’s Salt Wine Bar, which opened in the summer of 2010.  The owner of the Vancouver Tasting Room apparently appealed to the Toronto Wine Bar owners to change their name, but without success.

This dispute highlights the need for businesses, restaurant and otherwise, to register their trademarks in Canada and to register them sooner rather than later, since once a registration issues, it grants the registered owner the exclusive right to use that mark or one that is confusingly similar, throughout Canada in association with the claimed goods and services, even if that owner has only used its mark in one city or region of Canada.

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Lidings announces the start of cooperation with Tetra Pak

Lidings announces the start of cooperation with Tetra Pak

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CMS Publishes Solicitation for Industry Comment on RAC Program Expansion to Medicare Part C and Part D: Plans and Their Contracted Providers Should Consider Submitting Comments by 2/25/11 Deadline

On Monday, December 27, 2010, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) published a solicitation for public comments (“Solicitation for Comments”) regarding the expected implementation of the Recovery Audit Contractor (“RAC”) program to the Medicare Part C and Part D programs. 75 Fed. Reg. 81278 (Dec. 27, 2010). RAC auditing has been underway in the Medicare fee-for-service (“Medicare FFS”) program. CMS is now expanding RAC audits beyond Medicare Parts A and B to include Parts C and D as well, as authorized by the Affordable Care Act (“ACA” a/k/a “Health Reform”).[1] The Solicitation for Comments requests industry feedback on several key issues arising under the pending RAC program expansion. Comments are due by February 25, 2011. Managed care organizations (“MCOs”) that contract with CMS to operate Medicare Advantage (“MA”) and Medicare Part D Prescription Drug program lines of business – as well as their contracted providers and Part D pharmacies – are well-advised to submit comments to CMS to help inform the government as to the issues surrounding the expansion of the RAC audit program to the MA and Part D programs.

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New York State Department of Labor Issues Opinion Letter on Internships

EBG colleague Susan Gross Sholinsky recently prepared an Act Now Advisory discussing New York State’s December 21, 2010 opinion letter regarding whether an internship will qualify for an exception to applicable minimum wage rules. The New York State Department of Labor utilizes the United States Department of Labor’s six-step test, but adds an additional five factors to determine whether the internship will be exempt from minimum wage rules. In order to qualify for the exemption, the following eleven factors must be satisfied:

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Offshore Wind Future Development Event

Our John Cowan and Liana Di Ciacca attended the Offshore Wind Future Development event organised by The City of Edinburgh Council in partnership with Scottish Enterprise on 13th January 2011. It was a hugely informative event highlighting the imminent growth in the offshore wind industry. We would be happy to help advise any business involved in the industry, either directly or through logistics or other support services.
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Food Safety and Whistleblowing – New Federal Law May Deliver a Full Basket of Claims

By Allen B. Roberts and John Houston Pope

With virtually no fanfare, a major sector of the American workforce – those who handle food – won whistleblower protections under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (“FSMA”), Pub. L. No. 111-353. The Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) describes FSMA, signed into law on January 4, 2011, as improving food safety by preventing hazards “from farm to table” and making “everyone in the global food chain responsible for safety.”

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