North America

Department of Labor Seeks Bigger Budget to Increase Wage and Hour Enforcement Efforts

by Kara Maciel

Once again, the U.S. Department of Labor is requesting additional funding from Congress in its 2012 budget proposal to increase its efforts toward regulation and enforcement of wage and hour and employment laws. While the DOL’s budget proposal would reduce its overall discretionary spending by 5%, the budget cuts will not affect the staff and resources that enforce wage and hour laws. Instead, the Wage and Hour Division is asking for $241 million – an increase of $13.3 million from last year’s estimated budget.

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Red Flags Rule No Longer Applicable to Healthcare Providers

New Appellate Court ruling determined that based on the Red Flags Rule Clarification Act of 2010 the applicability of the Red Flags Rule to lawyers, and by analogy to healthcare providers is no longer valid.

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Court of Appeals Analyzes Red Flag Program Clarification Act

The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issues the first case analyzing the Red Flag Program Clarification Act of 2010.

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A new Ammendment to the Company Law in the DR

Current Company Law No.479-08, have been modified by Law No.31-11 of February 10th, 2011. Some of the company types have been modified, as well as new types have been created. We´ll prepare an in depth look into this new law and will share with our readers the most important aspects.

Come back soon as I´ll be posting my thoughts on the new law.

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Immigration Alert: March 2011

March 2011

  1. Potential Immigration Consequences of Government Shutdown
  2. Employers Must Now Complete Revised Form I-129 and Answer Questions Relating to Export Controls and “Deemed Exports”
  3. ICE Sends Out Form I-9 Audit Notices to 1,000 Employers
  4. DHS Plans to Implement E-Verify Self-Check System
  5. Second Circuit Directs Discovery of Immigration Status in NLRB Proceeding to Determine Eligibility for Backpay
  6. Illinois District Court Directs Discovery into Immigration Status in Personal Injury Action
  7. New York District Court Finds Employer Violated FLSA by Refusing to Reimburse H-2B Workers for Visa, Travel, and Other Expenses
  8. Eighth Circuit Rejects Discrimination Claim Based on Immigration Status
  9. IRS Instructs Employers Regarding Alien Withholding
  10. DOS Issues March 2011 Visa Bulletin
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Paul Starkman discusses gender bias claims in Business Insurance article

Paul E. Starkman

Chicago Partner Paul Starkman was quoted in the February 21 Business Insurance article, “Gender bias claims not slowing down.” Mr. Starkman discussed the factor of increased litigiousness by employees.

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On January 12th, 2011, the Court of Appeal of the district of Montreal rendered a judgment in the case of Promutuel Bagot c. Lévesque (published at EYB 2011-184931 (C.A.)), regarding the scope of a clause included in a residential insurance policy which excluded constructions used in whole or in part for criminal activities. The three judges analyzed the factual circumstances of the case, but did not conclude in the same manner.

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A November 3, 2010 Quebec Court of Appeal decision has been touted as a significant victory for the rights of common law spouses living in Quebec. The case of Droit de la famille-102866, 2010 QCCA 1978, focused on the constitutionality of Article 585 of the Civil Code of Quebec (CCQ), which provides that “[m]arried or civil union spouses, and relatives in the direct line in the first degree, owe each other support”. Unlike all other Canadian provinces, unmarried cohabitants (“de facto” or “common law” spouses) in Quebec do not have rights under Article 585 CCQ or any other law to claim spousal support upon the termination of their relationship.

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H-2B Reimbursements


By Robert S. Groban Jr

On February 15, 2011, the United States District Court for the Western District of New York denied a motion to dismiss a complaint by foreign H-2B workers that alleged that their employer violated the minimum wage provisiosn of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by refusing to reimburse the workers’ transportation, visa and recruitment expenses. See Teoba v. Turgreen Landcare LLC, No. 10-6132 (W.D.N.Y. Feb. 15, 2011).  In Teoba, the plaintiffs seek to represent a class of H-2B workers who were recruited over a three-year period by Trugreen, a landscape services company, but not reimbursed for the recruitment, visa and transportation costs they incurred to accept employment. The district court recognized that there was a split of authority on this issue in the circuits but sided with the courts that found FLSA violations for the failure to reimburse these challenged expenses. 

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Keyword Advertising Appeal Discounts Trademark Analogies

Canada continues to await its first Court decision on the use of trademarks in keyword advertising.  The British Columbia Court of Appeal issued its decision this week in the case of Private Career Training Institutions Agency (the Agency)  v. Vancouver Career College (Burnaby) Inc. (VCC).  While the Trial Judge’s decision, that the use of keyword advertising in this case was not misleading in the context of the applicable Bylaw, was upheld, the reasoning of the Trial Judge, to the extent it relied on an analysis of confusion under trademark law, was overruled.

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