North America

Five Hot Tips for Client and Business Development

During our recent 2011 Asia Pacific Regional Meeting in Hanoi, I gave a presentation on five hot tips for client and business development.  These are all things that are familiar to the lawyers in our group, and probably all of you as well, but because they’re important, I felt they bear repeating.

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Maryland Restaurant Owner Who also Worked as a Bartender is Ineligible to Receive Tips

By:  Kara M. Maciel

A Maryland federal court recently ruled in Gionfriddo v. Jason Zink LLC that the owner and operator of two taverns could not qualify as a  “tipped employee” under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and the Maryland Wage and Hour Law despite that he also worked as a bartender at his establishments.  Thus, while he contributed tips to the tip pool arrangement when he worked as a bartender, he could not also share in the distribution of the tips.  The court stated that allowing an owner to participate in a tip pool would broaden the FLSA’s tip credit provisions to a point where they would be meaningless.

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Early Retiree Reinsurance Program Benefits Are Limited to Medicare-Eligible Services: Watch Out for Compliance with Additional Government Issuances

by Lynn Shapiro Snyder and Lesley R. Yeung

The Early Retiree Reinsurance Program (“ERRP”) was created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to provide financial assistance to employers, unions, and state and local governments to help them maintain health insurance coverage for early retirees age 55 and older. A report published by the Department of Health and Human Services on March 2, 2011, states that almost 5,500 plan sponsors have been approved to participate in the ERRP and that $535 million in ERRP reimbursement payments have been made to date. It is important for plan sponsors and third-party administrators to understand that the health benefit claims that qualify for ERRP reimbursement are only those for medical services that would be covered by the Medicare program. Compliance is essential for those participating in the ERRP, especially when Medicare rules are relevant to this federal program.

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Partner Paul Starkman discusses the pitfalls of relying on online sites to review businesses

Paul E. Starkman

Partner Paul Starkman was recently interviewed for a “First Business” story that appeared March 2 on the hazards of posting negative comments online of any company you may have done business with or where to shop or dine.  Mr. Starkman’s  notes that consumers may face legal consequences of they go too far with their online comments. To watch the online story, click here. “First Business” news airs online in most US television markets and internationally before the market opens. It is a fast-moving, idea-packed half-hour that looks ahead at the coming day’s trading.

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The NFL Players on Offense: The NFLPA dissolves and takes the owners to court over lockout

By Brendan Fitzgerald and Miriam Rosen

After weeks of mediation failed to produce a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) has dissolved as a union.   Now playing offense, the NFL players are now taking their labor battle with the NFL to court.

On Friday, March 11, 2011, the NFLPA filed paperwork to dissolve as a union. Running the “dissolution” play frees the players to challenge the lockout in court.

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New York State Department of Labor Issues Several Opinion Letters Confirming Strict Interpretation of the Labor Law

EBG colleagues William J. Milani, Dean L. Silverberg, Jeffrey M. Landes and Susan Gross Sholinsky recently prepared an Act Now Advisory discussing five opinion letters issued by the NYS Department of Labor (“NYSDOL”) in February 2011.  While the opinion letters cover various topics, they all demonstrate strict interpretation of the Labor Law. 

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Special Immigration Alert: New H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa Season Starts April 1, 2011

Remember that all new H-1B petitions must be filed on March 31, 2011, to ensure that they are counted toward the 2012 H-1B cap.

The annual H-1B season has arrived! The federal government is authorized by statute to approve only 65,000 new H-1B visas each fiscal year, plus an additional 20,000 H-1B visas set aside for applicants who have master’s degrees from accredited American universities. The federal government’s fiscal year begins on October 1, but the governing regulations permit employers to apply for new H-1B non-immigrant visas up to six months in advance. Hence, the filing date is March 31, 2011.

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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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