North America

Special Alert: ICE Expands Worksite Enforcement Activities in the Southeast

On Tuesday, March 2, 2010, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) announced that it was expanding its worksite enforcement strategy in the Southeastern United States. As part of this strategy, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), the agency within DHS directly responsible for worksite enforcement, indicated that it is issuing Notices of Inspections (“NOIs”) to 180 businesses in Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. These NOIs alert the businesses that ICE will be inspecting their Form I-9s and seeking to review voluminous other business records, including a list of current and terminated employees with hire and termination dates; the names, social security numbers and dates of birth of all active employees; quarterly wage and hour reports and/or payroll data on all employees covering the period of inspection; quarterly tax statements; all correspondence with the Social Security Administration (including “No-Match” letters); and more! All of this is an effort by ICE to determine whether the businesses are complying with federal employment eligibility verification laws and regulations.

This DHS announcement is the latest in a series of expanding worksite enforcement efforts by the Obama administration. Instead of raids, the Obama administration has focused its efforts on auditing and investigating employers to determine if they are satisfying the Form I-9 requirements and are knowingly or unwittingly employing illegal workers. Hector Chichoni, the Chair of EBG’s Southeastern Immigration Practice, notes: “this action by ICE underscores what the Immigration Law Group at EBG has been advising clients since the Obama administration took office. Businesses need comprehensive employment verification and related compliance plans in place because the civil and potentially criminal consequences of this enforcement strategy can be severe. Businesses that ignore this important aspect of their operations can face substantial fines that make compliance now not only good corporate citizenship, but also good risk management.”

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The Changing Numbers of Women on Wall Street, in the Workforce, and in Boardrooms

The New York Times recently published a few intriguing articles about women that I wanted to share with you.

Women are working in the financial industry in fewer numbers these days, despite more than 20 years of increased hiring and promoting, according to the article “Where Are the Women on Wall Street?” What is responsible for this decline? As The Times notes, fewer female graduates are seeking careers in the financial industry and women are abandoning the industry faster than men. And when women are laid off from a financial job, it’s harder for them to return to the industry because they face an environment that’s more hostile to women than men. While this is disappointing news, The Times adds, on a positive note, that women continue to maintain “a strong presence in some areas in finance, including wealth management.”

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Update: Massachusetts Data Privacy Rules

As we discussed in our January 22, 2010, client alert Massachusetts Data-Protection Regulations To Have National Impact (click here), the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will begin to enforce new …

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Immigration Alert: February 2010

Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals finds Oklahoma E-Verify Law Unconstitutional

TPS Registration Process for Haitians

H-2B Oil Rig Workers Win Bid To Amend Overtime Action

USCIS Issues Guidance on H-1B Requirements for Employer–Employee Relationship

CBP Implements New Admission Policies at Newark, NJ, Airport to Identify Fraud in Employment-Related Visa Classifications

CBP Reminds U.S.-Bound Travelers from Visa Waiver Program Countries to Complete Online Travel Authorization

DOS Issues March 2010 Visa Bulletin

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California Supreme Court Holds That Labor Code Section 233 Is Not Applicable To Sick Leave Policies That Provide For Unlimited Number Of Days Off

While employers are not required to provide paid sick leave to their California employees, those that do provide such a benefit are required to abide by the provisions of Labor Code sections 233 and 234. Labor Code section 233 mandates that employers who provide a paid sick leave benefit must allow employees to use one-half of their annual accrued paid sick leave to care for an ill family member (parent, child, spouse or registered domestic partner). This provision of the Labor Code is commonly called “kin care” leave. In addition, Labor Code section 234 prohibits employers from disciplining or terminating employees because they use “kin care” leave.

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Payment and Delivery System Reform – It’s Only a Matter of Time

 

In my most recent article in the series I have been writing for the BNA’s Health Law Reporter on payment and delivery system reform, accountable care organizations and bundled payments, I comment on where things are now that federal reform has stalled. The article, titled “Payment and Delivery System Reform: It’s Only a Matter of Time,” argues that changes in payment and delivery are on the horizon regardless of the pace of federal reform and that providers (and payers as well) should continue their efforts toward accountable care to meet the cost and quality challenges that are no less daunting today than they were a month ago. Please click here to view. I hope you find it of interest.

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AHRQ Announces a Request for Applications for Partnerships to Participate in ACTION II

by Lynn Shapiro SnyderLee H. Rosebush and Daniel G. Gottlieb

February 2010


On January 20, 2010, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (“AHRQ“) announced its Request for Proposal (“RFP“) No. AHRQ-10-10005 entitled Accelerating Change and Transformation of Organizations and Networks (“ACTION II“).[i] Letters of Intent are due March 1, 2010. Applications must be received by noon (ET) on March 23, 2010. AHRQ anticipates awarding 12 to 15 “cost reimbursement, multiple-award, task order-type contract[s] . . . for a period of five years, [t]hree years with one two-year option.”[ii]

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UPDATE – COBRA Subsidy: DOL Issues Updated Model COBRA Notices and Other Guidance

As we advised you in our Client Alert that was issued on December 24, 2009 (“UPDATE: Cobra Subsidy: What it Means for Employers Now“), President Obama signed into law the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2010 (the “Act”), which, among other things, extended and expanded certain provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (“ARRA”) pertaining to premium assistance for benefits under the Consolidated Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (“COBRA”). The Department of Labor (“DOL”) has issued the following updated information, of which we wanted to make you aware:

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MARJORIE SUISMAN NAMED ONE OF BOSTON’S 2010 FIVE STAR WEALTH MANAGERS

February 12, 2010 – Boston, MA
For more information contact: Jeanie Griggs
(617) 589-3895; jgriggs@davismalm.com

Davis, Malm & D’Agostine, P.C. is pleased to announce that Marjorie Suisman was selected as one of Boston’s 2010 FIVE STAR Wealth Managers. Ms. Suisman is featured in the February issue of Boston Magazine. In a survey conducted by Crescendo Business Services by mail and phone, more than 100,000 high net worth residents in the Boston area and subscribers of Boston Magazine, and more than 10,000 financial services industry professionals, were asked to evaluate wealth managers. After a very thorough selection and evaluation process, the resulting list of 2010 FIVE STAR Wealth Managers was chosen by a blue ribbon panel comprised of individuals from within the financial services industry. This elite group represents less than 4% of the wealth managers in the Boston area and only 536 of the top-scoring wealth managers made this year’s list. For more information about the FIVE STAR Award please visit the FIVE STAR website.

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A Benefit for the People of Haiti

If your schedule permits, please join us on March 12, 2010, for an event in Manhattan to raise funds to help the people of Haiti. Daniel Boulud and other chefs will graciously donate delicious treats for all guests to enjoy. The benefit also will feature music, art, and a silent auction. Click here for more information.

Money raised at the event will be given to World Hope International, a faith-based relief and development organization that is deeply committed to the long-term, sustained rebuilding of Haiti after last month’s tragic earthquake.

Please save the date. I hope that you can make it!

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