North America

Oral Discomfort: Supreme Court Holds That Verbal FLSA Complaints Suffice

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Kasten v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., __ U.S. __ (March 22, 2011), holds that an employee’s oral complaint of a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) constitutes protected conduct under the FLSA’s anti-retaliation provision.

EBG partner Frank C. Morris, Jr., discusses in an EBG Act Now Advisory the fact that the Kasten decision is merely the latest in an ever-growing series of cases where the Supreme Court has broadly interpreted protections against retaliation and for whistleblowers.  The EBG Act Now Advisory also addresses what employers should do in light of these recent decisions.


To review the EBG Act Now Advisory on this issue, click here.

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ILN-terviews: Carole Barrett, Howard Rice

Welcome to ILN-terviews, a series of profiles of ILN member firm attorneys, designed to give a unique insight into the lawyers who make up our Network. For our latest interview, we chose ILN member, Carole Barrett of Howard Rice Nemerovski Canady Falk & Rabkin in San Francisco, California.

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Attorney’s JasonTremblay, Paul Starkman and Jenifer Caracciolo secure significant victory for long-time client

E. Jason Tremblay

Paul E. Starkman

Jenifer H. Caracciolo

Chicago Partners Jason TremblayPaul Starkman, and Jenifer Caracciolo, recently obtained a significant victory on behalf of a global travel technology company. The client was sued by a former employee for gender and disability discrimination, as well as retaliation, after the employee was terminated for his violation of the company’s medical leave policy.

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Medical Marijuana Legislation Update

Read an update on the Legislature’s consideration of medical marijuana bills ESSB 5073 and HB 1550.

For more information please visit

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Special Immigration Alert: USCIS Announces Policy Review on H-1B Cap Exemptions Based on Relation or Affiliation

On March 16, 2011, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) announced that it is currently reviewing its policy on H-1B cap exemptions for nonprofit entities that are related to, or affiliated with, an institution of higher learning. Effective immediately, and as an interim measure, the USCIS will approve H-1B nonprofit entity petitions seeking an exemption from the H-1B numerical cap and filing fees based on affiliation with, or relation to, an institution of higher learning as long as the petitioning entity can demonstrate that: (1) it has secured prior approvals for similar petitions since June 6, 2006; and (2) there has been no material change in circumstances. These interim procedures are temporary and will remain in place until the USCIS releases additional guidance.

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Washington Announces Medicaid EHR Incentive Program Training Webinars

Washington State announces webinars to aid hospitals and eligible professionals in registering for the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program.

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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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