North America

The New Year Brings New Guidance on FLSA Issues from the U.S. Department of Labor

In its first installment of opinions letters in 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) addressed two issues under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”): (i) the salary basis requirements in the context of per-project compensation arrangements and (ii) calculation of overtime pay for employees who receive nondiscretionary lump-sum bonus payments earned over time and not tied to a specific period.  (A third letter, FMLA2020-1-A, considered FMLA requirements vis-à-vis public employees.)  While neither of these FLSA opinion letters addresses controversial or novel issues, they offer useful guidance to employers facing similar scenarios and helpfully reiterate general principles of broad applicability.

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RSS Introduces its Recruits for 2020

January 15, 2020 — Year after year, RSS remains as appealing as ever for lawyers looking to practice in the ideal professional atmosphere. Over the last months of 2019, a number of top-quality recruits joined our team:

Maro Coric, a partner with 15 years of experience regarding coverage issues and who has specific expertise regarding cyber matters, now practices in our Montréal office;

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What Employers Should Know About the SECURE Act’s Lifetime Income Provisions

Predictable lifetime income is often of paramount concern to retirees.  Yet, as employer-sponsored retirement plans have moved away from the traditional pension plan model, participants in defined contribution plans may be faced with managing their own account balances and plan distributions, which may not lead to a steady stream of lifetime income in retirement.  The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (the “SECURE Act”), signed into law on December 20, 2019, may aid in securing retirements.   Employers who sponsor defined contribution retirement plans, such as 401(k) plans, now have: (1) new participant disclosure obligations; (2) the ability to adopt certain portability design features related to lifetime income investment options; and (3) guidelines to encourage inclusion of lifetime income investment options in plan investment line-ups.

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Non-Solicitation Agreements: Court Finds Financial Professionals Have a Duty to Notify Clients About a Change of Employment

Our colleague Janene Marasciullo, a Member of the Firm at Epstein Becker Green, has a November 2019 post on the Trade Secrets & Employee Mobility blog that will be of interest to many of our readers in the financial services industry: “Enforcing Non-Solicitation Agreements Against Financial Professionals: A Court Finds Financial Professionals Have a Duty to Notify Clients About a Change of Employment.”

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Federal Court Extends TRO to Enjoin Enforcement of New California Arbitration Statute

As we recently wrote here, on December 29, 2019, just days before California’s new arbitration statute known as AB 51 was to go into effect, a federal judge in the United States District Court of the Eastern District of California granted a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) to enjoin enforcement of AB 51.

The new law, which was set to go into effect on January 1, 2020, would outlaw mandatory arbitration agreements with employees.

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DOJ False Claims Act Recoveries FY 2019: Total Collections Rise – Almost 90 Percent Relate to Health Care

Through a January 9, 2020, press release, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) reported more than $3 billion in total recoveries from settlements and judgments from fraud-related civil matters brought under the False Claims Act (“FCA”) for fiscal year (“FY”) 2019. An increase over the $2.9 billion recovered in FY 2018, FY 2019 reflected the ninth highest amount of recoveries in the past 30 years. The accompanying statistics released by DOJ reflect several themes related to FCA enforcement concerning the health care and life sciences industry.

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California State Court Judge Rules That Controversial New Independent Contractor Law Does Not Apply To Approximately 70,000 Independent Truckers

Following the challenges to AB 5, California’s controversial new independent contractor law, can be a difficult endeavor.  Every day seems to bring a new development.

We have written before about the hasty passage of the statute, about a ballot initiative to escape the scope of the law by ride-share and delivery companies, and challenges by independent truckers, freelance journalists and photographers, and ride-share and delivery companies.

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Howard & Howard Names Class of 2020 Shareholders

ROYAL OAK, Mich., January 9, 2020– Following the end of a successful, anniversary celebration-filled year, Royal Oak, Michigan-based law firm Howard & Howard is pleased to announce its 2020 class of shareholders: Justin D. Gingerich and Michael D. Solt.

Named for their significant contributions to the firm, Justin and Michael continue their practices out of the Chicago, Illinois and Royal Oak, Michigan offices, respectively.

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7 Hot Health Care Industry Sectors for Investment, Growth & Consolidation in 2020

Based on their extensive experience advising health care industry clients, Epstein Becker Green attorneys and strategic advisors from EBG Advisors are predicting the “hot” health care sectors for investment, growth, and consolidation in 2020.  These predictions for 2020 are largely based on the increasing confluence of the following three key “drivers” of health industry transformation that is substantially underway:

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EPIC Files Complaint with FTC Regarding AI-Based Facial Scanning Software

As we have previously blogged, use of third-party digital hiring platforms to select job applicants using video interviews can present an array of potential legal issues. A recent Complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) by a consumer advocacy organization, Electronic Privacy Information Center (“EPIC”), illustrates some of those potential pitfalls. EPIC asks the FTC to investigate the recruiting technology company HireVue for alleged discriminatory screening of job applicants through its face-scanning software. HireVue asks job applicants to video-record answers to pre-approved questions and upload those recordings. HireVue then uses artificial intelligence (“AI”) to scan applicants’ faces during the recorded answers to analyze facial expressions and grade applicants’ expressions according to a non-public rubric.

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