News & Insights

If I could sum up this week in one word, it would be grateful. Give me two? Excited. The celebrations, affirmations, reminders and look back over all that we have accomplished in the past decade have left me humbled and grateful. Grateful for every person who has played a role in getting us here —...

Elijah Davis joined Stanton Law to develop his mediation practice after working as a litigator at one of Georgia’s largest insurance defense firms. While representing insurance companies and third-party administrators in numerous workers’ compensation claims, he quickly realized the value of mediation in resolving both litigated and pre-litigation disputes. Elijah is a Henning-trained mediator and...

Childcare: The Working Mom and Employer’s Conundrum  As primary caregivers, many working women have been disproportionately affected by increased personal responsibilities resulting from the pandemic. As a result, they have scaled back or totally left the workforce in staggering numbers.  While not yet a widely litigated issue, the potential employment hotspots created by this issue...

There are many reasons an employee might have their wages garnished. There are also many corresponding pitfalls for employers in successfully navigating a wage garnishment and responding to a summons of garnishment. This is understandable when you consider the overlapping federal and state laws that apply to employee wage garnishments. For employers, improperly responding to...

The birth or adoption of a child is a momentous event in an employee’s life. And an employer’s parental leave policies, or lack thereof, can communicate the company’s values and, if structured incorrectly, its unchecked biases. In particular, employers and their HR teams should be wary of policies that treat male and female employees differently...

Recently released guidance from both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) promotes continued COVID-19-related safety precautions in the workplace. On one hand, the CDC’s updated guidance slightly relaxes its recommendations for fully vaccinated people. OSHA, however, has not made any significant changes to its COVID-19-related...

The newly enacted American Rescue Plan Act is likely to impact your business and its workforce. On par with the first COVID-19 relief bill, passed one year ago last week, the reverberations of this new law are hard to predict and difficult to quantify. There are, however, a few things we do know:  1.The new...

Stanton Law LLC is proud to announce that Paul Knowlton is joining the firm as Counsel. Paul, who holds a Master in Divinity in addition to his law degree, brings years of experience as a patent and intellectual property attorney as well as a focus in family and estate planning, business law and consulting, and...

Service dogs and emotional support animals (ESAs) are increasingly common fixtures of modern society. As a business owner, you may consider yourself an “animal person” and still have some hesitation about allowing dogs and other animals into your place of business. How should you respond to customers with animals, on balance with clients and employees...

Workplace Vaccine Mandates Although the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has determined that employers can mandate COVID-19 vaccination, the real question is whether employers should impose a companywide vaccine mandate. There are many factors to consider when deciding whether, and how, to address the COVID-19 vaccine with employees, wrote Josh Joel of Stanton Law and...

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of our lives, requiring us to adjust our work habits, be more involved with our children’s education, reduce traveling, learn to cope with uncertainty, and more. Many Americans were hit hard with layoffs, fear of exposure to the virus, and insecurity about the future. Since March 2020, businesses...

The Important Relationships Businesses and HR managers should recognize that providing better resources and support to employees during this workforce crisis will help prevent turnover and mitigate future off-budget expenses. While the options available will differ depending on the size and nature of your business, all employers should be putting policies in place that acknowledge...

As President-elect Joe Biden and his administration prepare to take office, they seek to expand worker protections and increase agency enforcement of existing laws and regulations. In addition, the incoming Biden administration expressed support for several pieces of federal legislation that passed the House in 2019 and 2020 but failed in the Republican-controlled Senate. Employers...

Congress recently passed a second stimulus package in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The Cares Act 2.0 includes a number of provisions that may impact your business. Here is a summary of what we know so far. Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) The law does not extend the requirement to provide employees with...

Caregivers are often women Unlike past recessions, where men were often unemployed at higher rates than women, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced women out of the workforce at disproportionately high rates. This shift in workforce participation will have lasting consequences for years to come. Women leaving the workforce is not simply a crisis for women;...

In a year when so many businesses have been negatively impacted by the pandemic, the issue of whether, and when, to execute terminations may be top of mind for many employers. Although it might be tempting for some to clean house in preparation for the new year, employers should think twice about terminating employees during...

Valuable employees with increased caregiving responsibilities, due to Covid 19 or otherwise, are feeling pressure to leave the workforce. Recent events have forced these otherwise qualified and hardworking employees to prioritize their loved ones over the long-term consequences on their careers. In large part, the fallout in caregiver workforce participation reflects upon employers’ inability or...

November and December are peak months for rationalizing short-term indulgences and ignoring the bigger picture to the detriment of our future selves. Unlike seasonal stress eating and overspending, however, firing an employee during “the most wonderful time of the year” is a decision the dedicated attorneys at Stanton Law are qualified to counsel against. As...

Although not entirely unprecedented, many recent events have forced issues surrounding race and politics into the forefront and into the workplace. The social temperature is high, and for a lot of employers and employees, there’s an ongoing debate over whether, and in what capacity, these issues belong in the work setting, wrote Todd Stanton and...

Related legal obligations Employees love to receive them, and employers may even love to give them, but rewarding good performance with bonus pay is not always a straightforward, isolated transaction. Most employers are familiar with the legal requirement to pay non-exempt employees, i.e. hourly employees (and even some who aren’t), for overtime hours at a...

Stanton Law LLC is proud to announce that David W. Adams is joining the firm to lead its transactional practice. David brings years of experience in mergers and acquisitions, expansions, financing transactions, and financial institutions law to Stanton Law. His practice will expand Stanton Law’s offerings to include transactional services to current and new clients....

Amid national and local headlines about protests, social injustice and police reform, employers have grappled with whether to make public statements or otherwise take action. Consider internal as well as external ramifications before taking any stand, making a statement or encouraging employee action, wrote Todd Stanton and Amanda Farahany of Barrett & Farahany in a July 10 Fulton...

You’ve gotten a subpoena, now what? Subpoenas and Non-Party Discovery A subpoena is the legal mechanism that commands (1) the production of documents, electronically stored information, or other information, (2) the inspection of premises, (3) testimony at a deposition, hearing, or trial, OR a combination of all three. The applicability and legal force of a...

Offices are opening but employees might be tentative about returning to the workplace without a coronavirus cure or vaccine. How do employers handle this potential conflict? Remain reasonable, assess the rationale behind the employee’s hesitancy, and find creative solutions, wrote Todd Stanton and Amanda Farahany of Barrett & Farahany in a June 22 Fulton County Daily Report...

Todd Stanton co-wrote the article “Employment Lawyers from Both Sides Highlight Keys to Paycheck Protection Program” with Amanda Farahany of Barrett & Farahany  for the April 16 edition of the Fulton County Daily Report. The article focused on the employment implications, including headcount and firing, of the Paycheck Protection Program. The FCDR article also looked...

Stanton Law LLC is proud to announce the hiring of three attorneys and two law school clerks. In a time when most firms are shrinking, Stanton continues to grow with both lateral and new-graduate hires. In addition, Stanton has maintained its clerkship program, offering valuable firm experience to select law school students.  In March, Danielle...

As states reopen, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued new enforcement guidance and outlined its plan for investigating claims of workplace violations related to COVID-19 infections. The updated policies supersede OSHA’s previous COVID-19 related guidance and went into effect on May 26, 2020. Under the new guidance, the pivotal question remains whether...

Check out our recent articles in the Daily Report. Don’t have a subscription? You can get a free one and view 3 articles per month. Employment Lawyers From Both Sides Highlight Keys to the Paycheck Protection Program Todd Stanton and Amanda Farahany highlight the keys to the Paycheck Protection Program and how to recognize the...

So you’re ready to reopen your business, eh? You’ve cleaned the office, installed new hand-wash and sanitizer stations, and ordered a pallet of disinfectant wipes. You’re prepared to screen employees, you’ve adjusted schedules to allow spacing, and you are all set to encourage social distancing. You’re pleased that most of your employees have heeded the call...

The same tight timetable that forced businesses to quickly shutter their brick-and-mortar locations and go remote could apply for businesses opening back up. Witness Georgia governor Brian Kemp’s recent amendment to his executive order earlier this week allowing certain businesses to reopen with only five days’ notice. Regardless of whether you agree with our governor’s...

Despite COVID-19 turning your business upside-down for the last month with new laws and stay-at-home orders, remember business owners are still required to comply with all the other employment laws that predated this crisis: “FMLA Classic,” FLSA, Title VII, ADEA, ACA, ADA, etc., etc. None of these laws are dormant while you figure out how...

Today’s Daily Digest will start with some good news (at least to us). Yesterday seemed to be the first day in three weeks at Stanton Law that we were finally able to take a breather. Our phones were not ringing off the hooks and emails were not coming in a mile a minute regarding the...

Here’s today’s entry in our daily digest designed to keep you updated with the ways the COVID-19 outbreak may affect your business. • The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) is active, and you must implement Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act (EFMLA) policies now. The U.S. Department...

As we announced yesterday, Todd Stanton will join bankers and other subject matter experts at a virtual roundtable today, April 1 at 2PM to share their insights on the impact that the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) provision of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the CARES Act) will have on commerce. To participate...

Today’s daily digest starts with an announcement: Todd Stanton joins bankers and other subject matter experts at a virtual roundtable tomorrow, April 1 at 2 p.m. to share their insights on the impact that the Payroll Protection Program provision of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act will have on commerce. To participate in...

Good morning – Here’s hoping this week brings brighter news. It’s already started with some welcomed clarity on the employment-law front. We’ll keep the timely information coming but may switch to an every-other-day format as things start to (fingers crossed) shake out a bit. • Over the weekend, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released...

Thank you to the 350+ attendees of our webinar! Our attorneys discussed the COVID-19 outbreak and related emergency legislation, major business changes, like remote working, layoffs, closings, and leaves of absence, and a host of new laws. Missed it? Click below for multiple webinar viewing options. Click here to view on YouTube. Or click below...

Good morning, Here’s today’s daily digest, designed to keep you updated with the ways the COVID-19 outbreak may affect your business. • Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published a news release that provided additional guidance for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The news release included two posters that fulfill the notice...

Good morning, Today’s daily digest will be a slight change of pace. We compiled all of the questions we received during last Friday’s webinar and over the last week regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and will be answering the top three questions asked most frequently below. We will still provide a brief...

Good morning, Here’s today’s daily digest, designed to keep you updated with the ways the COVID-19 outbreak may affect your business. • Late yesterday afternoon, the Department of Labor (DOL) released guidance on the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). This guidance is in the form of Q&A and attempts to answer frequently asked...

The COVID-19 outbreak, and related emergency legislation, are causing a wide variety of workplace challenges. Employers and employees are trying to deal with major business changes, like remote working, layoffs, closings, and leaves of absence, and a host of new laws. Join employment law attorneys from Barrett & Farahany (plaintiff) and Stanton Law (defense) as...

Good morning, Here’s today’s entry in our daily digest designed to keep you updated with the ways the COVID-19 outbreak may affect your business. • The general trend continues to be towards more shutdowns, with states closing down non-essential businesses for the time being. Maryland, Michigan, and Ohio now join many other states that have...

We hope everyone had a safe weekend. Below are some highlights you may have missed. As we mentioned in prior daily digests, the general trend seems to be towards more shutdowns, with states closing down non-essential businesses for the time being. Over the weekend, New Jersey, California, and Connecticut joined several other states ordering all...

Thank you to the 400+ attendees of our webinar! Our attorneys discussed the latest updates on proposed paid sick, family, and medical leave, best practices for dealing with the ongoing crisis, and all the latest breaking CV19 news. Missed it? Click below for several webinar and presentation viewing options. Full Audio/Video Webinar on YouTube Presentation Only...

Please read today’s entry in our daily digest designed to keep you updated with the ways the COVID-19 outbreak may affect your business. • Please don’t forget our webinar today. More than 400 folks are registered and will be online with us today at 11:30. Please register here. • As of yesterday afternoon, the U.S....

As promised, here’s our continued, quick effort to keep you on top of things. • Yesterday, after several hurdles and several senators’ attempts to amend the bill, the Senate officially passed and President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) into law. Among other things, the FFCRA expands the Family and Medical Leave...

Good morning, everyone, As promised, here’s our quick effort to keep you on top of things. Also, please don’t forget about Stanton Law’s webinar Friday at 11:30 a.m. We’ll be running down the latest news and providing best practices advice for how your shop can contend with this nuttiness. Register Here • Attention all Georgia...

What Employers Need to Consider with Coronavirus Join Stanton Law this Friday as our attorneys discuss the latest updates on proposed paid sick, family, and medical leave, best practices for dealing with the ongoing crisis, and all the latest breaking CV19 news. Date: Friday, March 20, 2020 Time: 11:30 a.m. Click here to register today! Topics include:...

Obviously, the Coronavirus is on everyone’s mind. Stanton Law intends to keep you updated on the breaking news that may affect your business. Expect a daily digest of news and quick takes on what it means for employers. • The U.S. Senate will reconvene at some point this week with the goal of approving Families...

by Amy Thomson. You’re an employer covered by the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) and have an FMLA-eligible employee who is having surgery (which you’ve determined is an FMLA-qualifying reason) and will be out for a period longer than the 12 weeks of unpaid FMLA leave to which she is entitled. Your employee has two weeks...

by Elizabeth Sigler. With the coronavirus still raging on and spreading across the U.S., employers need to be ever more vigilant. Now that COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, employers should take reasonable measures to avoid contributing to the disease’s spread worldwide. In a recent post, we discussed employers’ potential...

by Elizabeth Sigler. The coronavirus and other illnesses may pose complications for employers that require their employees to travel. International travel can complicate whether the illness constitutes a workplace injury under workers’ compensation law. If for some reason it’s not covered by workers’ compensation insurance, employers could face direct liability for the harm, which could...

by Emily Gaston. The U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) recently published its finalized rule for determining whether a business qualifies as a “joint employer.” If you’re unfamiliar, a joint employer is a secondary business subject to liability under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The rule outlines the approved test for determining joint employment liability...

by Todd Stanton. In Georgia, employers must provide exiting employees with a Separation Notice when the employee leaves employment. This is because employment and earnings information is necessary to make unemployment benefit determinations and the employer’s potential “chargeability” for such benefits. Individual employees are provided with form DOL 800. This form (and other Separation Notices)...

by Erika Pitzel. The new year (and decade) has rolled around. As you think about setting goals and making resolutions, consider discussing with your college student the need to put in place some basic estate planning documents. Documents to consider include a Power of Attorney, an Advance Directive, medical information releases, and possibly a will....

by Emily Gaston. The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) The ADA is a federal law enacted in 1990 that requires all places of “public accommodation” to be accessible to individuals with disabilities. Historically, this definition has included businesses generally open to the public, such as restaurants, movie theaters, schools, office buildings, recreation facilities, etc. In...

by Amy Thomson. Employers required to file an annual EEO-1 report should have submitted Component 1 data by May 31, 2019, unless they requested a two-week extension (to June 14, 2019). However, Component 2 data, a new requirement, must be submitted for the years 2017 and 2018 by September 30, 2019. Who is required to...

Every year, the University of Georgia Alumni Association’s annual Bulldog 100 list celebrates the fastest-growing businesses owned by UGA grads. Spanning industries from retail to real estate, the list spotlights successful entrepreneurs across the country, fostering the Georgia alumni network and helping to inspire other graduates looking to lead the way in business. But with...

by Amy Thomson. More than likely, you have heard about the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) proposed rule change that would increase the salary level requirement for the Executive, Administrative, and Professional (EAP) and highly-compensated employee (HCE) exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). If you’re not sure what we’re talking about, read our...

by Manori de Silva. “Well, I heard she only got the job because she had a fling with the manager.” How many of us have heard something along these lines during our careers? Office gossip is often dismissed as harmless banter and a form of de-stressing, but beware. Times are changing, and the legal repercussions...

by Manori de Silva. ‘Tis the season of holiday parties. Employers want to show thanks to their employees, and the team wants to let their hair down. But in the era of the #MeToo movement and social media, employers should plan their office parties carefully to avoid their celebration turning into a lawsuit. Here are...

by Mat Toomey. Since the data breaches in 2017, security and protection have received more attention from a nervous public. With more than 140 million Americans’ information potentially exposed, Congress reacted by passing the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act in May 2018. The new law requires nationwide consumer reporting agencies to provide a...

by Jessica Winans. During its presentation last summer at the giant video game conference E3 Expo, Ubisoft announced a collaboration with Joseph Gordon Levitt’s company, hitRECord, for Ubisoft’s upcoming video game, Beyond Good and Evil 2. This collaboration, Ubisoft and Levitt announced, would allow fans to submit graphics, music, and other content that might make...

If you have questions about your rights as an employer (and what your employees’ rights are), you’re not alone! Employment law can be confusing, and there are often many details and exceptions. The Atlanta attorneys at Stanton Law are well-versed in the intricacies of employment law and can help you understand your company’s situation and how to select the best option. To get started, we’ve compiled some of our most frequently asked questions and answers below.

Unless you’ve been living underneath a rock the past month, you’ve heard about the now infamous Roseanne Barr tweet and the ensuing fallout. Just in case you missed it, Barr, whose career was recently revived after the reboot of her eponymous TV show, tweeted out a racist declaration about a former political advisor. Although she...

I recently had lunch with a friend who is happily expecting her first child. While this is certainly an exciting time for her and her husband, she couldn’t help but be anxious about her company’s attitude concerning her pregnancy and the new arrival. Specifically, when she asked the company’s HR Manager about her options for...

I frequently get calls from entrepreneurs and existing business owners looking to establish a business entity, such as an LLC or corporation. Their chief concern? Limiting liability for their new venture. While formalizing the business organization is part of the process for most new business ideas, it’s not necessarily the first place to start when looking to “limit liability.” Creating a business entity is of course important and a priority for any business set-up. I am a business attorney, after all. Set-ups, contracts, deals, and operations are all offerings of my practice. But it’s important to first understand one’s actual liability exposure before taking actions and making investments to limit it. Some tools and techniques may be overkill or completely ineffective. Or, depending on the capital available for start-up and operating costs, they may fall lower on the priority list. To make educated decisions, a little homework is in order.

What are you doing to protect your Company’s intellectual property?  Hopefully more than Domino’s… In late 2017, YouTuber Samcrac purchased a Domino’s DXP delivery car at a salvage auction. These cars were the result of an extensive, crowd-sourced campaign to design the car’s features, which included a flashy Domino’s-colored paint job, customized Domino’s logo car...

Companies hire interns for various reasons – often primarily to save money while at the same time giving an up-and-comer in the business world an opportunity to gain valuable experience. Some companies choose to hire unpaid interns to maximize the economic benefit. However, while hiring an unpaid intern may appear economically beneficial, it could prove...

There is little doubt that if an employee spewed hate-filled racist messages in the workplace or wore a Nazi swastika t-shirt to work, the employer would have justification to terminate their employment.  Even in the public sector, where employers have First Amendment considerations, it would be hard to conclude that such behavior was constitutionally protected....

In March 2017, bills were introduced to the House and Senate that would include the death of a child as a qualifying event under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). Parents who are eligible employees who work for qualified employers could take up to twelve (12) weeks of unpaid leave to mourn the loss of...

In case you hadn’t heard, on November 22, 2016, a federal judge prohibited the U.S. Department of Labor’s new regulation from taking effect on December 1, 2016.  The regulations would have, but for the Court’s injunction, increased the salary threshold for exempt employees from $455 per week to $913 per week. The injunction applies in...

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Labor published a new rule that will increase the salary requirements for “exempt” employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The time for complying with the new rule is just around the corner – the regulation goes into effect on December 1, 2016 regardless of the pending new...

For employers who are required to file an annual EEO-1 report, beginning in March 2018, the EEOC will also require those employers to report various types of pay data on their employees. The new rule changes the scope of the data that must be reported, the timing of the data collection, and the reporting deadline....

The Defend Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”) of 2016 that became effective May 11, 2016 creates a federal private cause of action for trade secret misappropriation and provides remedies including injunction, damages, exemplary damages up to two times the amount of damages for willful and malicious appropriation, and reasonable attorney’s fees for the prevailing party under...

In 2010, the EEOC received a complaint that Crothall Services Group was using criminal background checks and criminal history to make hiring decisions that had a “disparate impact” on African-Americans, Hispanics, and male applicants – that is, even though the criteria was facially non-discriminatory, the criteria disproportionally affected certain protected groups.  Before reaching whether Crothall’s...

If you are an American seeking to do business in Europe, or vice versa, it is useful to have an overview of the cultural and legal differences between the two continents to understand how these impact the respective work cultures.  As each state in the U.S. and each country in Europe has its own quirks,...

Manori de Silva is taking on the International Sector at Stanton Law. Qualified as an attorney in England (solicitor) and the United States, she uses her understanding of cultural differences to help European companies to do business in the United States. She also helps American companies navigate the complex web of worker protections in Europe. Click here to check out...

Transgender issues are in the news as of late, most notably surrounding transgender individuals and the use of public restrooms. What would you, as an employer, do if an issue involving a transgender employee were to arise in your workplace? What happens if a transgender employee wants to use the restroom of her choice and...

What do you see as you look around a typical office?   Once you get past the coffee cups, computer monitors, and creatively designed (or not so creatively designed) desks, it’s about the people.   Diversity in the workplace has increased substantially within the last 10-15 years. There is a wealth of information out there about diversity...

An employee tells you she is pregnant. After the initial rush of happiness and congratulations, is there anything else to consider? “No problem,” you say, “she’ll work as usual. If she needs time off for a doctor’s appointment, no big deal. When she’s on maternity leave, we’ll hire a temp.” But what happens if she...

The work is piling up and you could really use an extra pair of hands around the office. But you’re managing labor costs. Even though the economy has improved, it’s a competitive world out there. We’re all doing more with less. An unpaid intern seems to be the answer. Talk about the best of all...

Affordable Care Act The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the Fourth Circuit Court decision in King v. Burwell, holding that individuals who get their health insurance through the federal government exchange will be eligible for tax subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. The decision leaves employers in largely the same position they’ve faced since ACA’s passage,...

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has recently released decisions and guidance with potentially significant implications for employee handbooks. These new developments are of mixed weight, and some we expect may eventually be more critical to incorporate than others. Regular review of your handbook by an employment attorney helps ensure that your company is up...

Employers offering employee benefits to their employees are required to meet virtually innumerable legal requirements under the Employee Retirement and Income Security Act (“ERISA”), the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), the Internal Revenue Code, as well as dozens of other federal and state laws related to benefits.  These requirements fall into three categories...

Ebola is on the minds of many in recent months, so it is perhaps unsurprising that HR managers have been bombarded with questions about how their companies will respond. OSHA and the CDC have released guidelines for specific high-risk sectors primarily aimed at disease prevention and control, but little guidance exists for workplaces where the...

Last month the EEOC published new enforcement guidance on the application of federal laws prohibiting discrimination to pregnant employees in the workplace. The agency takes the position that employers must reasonably accommodate certain temporary impairments arising out of pregnancy that may be considered “disabilities” under the Americans with Disabilities Act. It further states that a...

Georgia General Assembly Bills 826 and 60 were signed by Governor Nathan Deal April 22 and 23, respectively, and represent the latest wave of legislation addressed to gun ownership and possession in Georgia. HB 60, or the “Safe Carry Protection Act” has been referred to by critics as the “Guns Everywhere” Law, notably expanding the...

Last week I received a rather unusual call from a good friend who is a VP of HR at a well-known company outside of Atlanta.  It seems that Sheryl (not her real name) had been the recipient of an email from an employee in another department.  This employee’s email contained info on someone else at...

Last Thursday, President Obama announced his directive to the Department of Labor to begin the process of revising federal regulations to expand the number of Americans eligible for overtime under Fair Labor Standards Act. He specifically targeted the “white collar” exemptions from overtime, including the administrative, executive, and professional exemptions. Currently, employers paying certain employees...

We’ve received several contacts from clients and other lawyers concerning employment issues that have come up as a result of the inclement weather. Here’s a few quick answers to common questions (under Georgia and federal law), but please let me know if you have others or need a more thorough explanation about anything covered here:...

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) is a complex and detailed federal law governing the administration of employee benefits. ERISA’s application to a particular plan is itself a complex issue, but the law generally governs pension, “welfare benefit,” and profit sharing plans employers offer their employees, and is supplemented by other federal statutes with...

Beginning January 2014, the IRS will begin enforcing guidance it published in a June 2012 ruling classifying automatic gratuities on restaurant checks as service charges and not tips. Many restaurants include automatic gratuities on checks for large parties or in the event of special promotions or discounts (Groupon or Scoutmob deals, for example) to ensure...

Much of our advice to clients flows from observing two principles of human behavior, the first being: Angry people sue. Appreciating Principle #1 often helps employers navigate turmoil (or near-turmoil) with existing employees. Having patience and taking extra steps to manage employee expectations can sometimes avert or downgrade a brewing conflict, and proactively maintaining a...

The Department of Labor has issued temporary guidance outlining the requirements of the notice provision that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) added to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Under FLSA Section 18B, employers must distribute notices announcing the existence of the Health Insurance Marketplace (i.e., the “Exchanges”) created by Health Reform, and explaining the...

When was the last time you saw a headline on Google News announcing yet another executive scandal? It happens almost daily, right? Our media is plagued with accounts of corporate fraud, audit scandals, and inter-office indignity. How can we, as HR, employment law and talent management professionals avoid the selection of leaders who dive off...

On January 17, 2013, the Department of Health and Human Services released final regulations which provided sweeping changes to the rules under privacy, security, enforcement, and breach notification requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”), the Health Information Technology for Economic Health (“HITECH”) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (“GINA”). “Covered entities”,...

Over the past few years, employees across the country have been raising questions about health care reform and how it will impact them. The following communication has been created to help inform and educate employees about the possible changes that may affect them in the future. What is Health Care Reform?  The Affordable Care Act...

The U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released a newly revamped and reformatted Form I-9, along with corresponding instructions and M-274 Handbook for Employers. The new form, with revision date “(Rev. 03/08/13) N,” must be used effective May 8th, after which date employers should no longer submit forms bearing the revision dates (Rec. 08/07/09)...

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued updated Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) regulations ahead of schedule, and just in time for the FMLA’s 20th birthday. The Final Rule addresses family military leave and rules applicable to airline flight crews. The effective date for these updates will be March 8, 2013, for those provisions...

Who is an artist? For that matter, who gets to decide? These are existential questions rarely touched upon by folks who are not artists themselves.  But if your business employs creative types, you, unfortunately, must also wade into this philosophical quagmire, at least for the purposes of determining whether the artist is entitled to overtime...

As an employer, you’re likely aware of the requirement of managing and calculating “imputed income” for your employees.  This requirement of the IRS applies to employees who are covered by an employer-provided benefit of more than $50,000 in term life insurance.  This requirement is tedious and challenging, especially if you have a payroll or software...

A.             Definition of Family Medical Leave Family Medical Leave (FML) is a benefit that eligible/covered employers are required to offer to all eligible employees.  FML was created by the Department of Labor (DOL) through the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 (often referred to as “FMLA”). THE PURPOSE OF FML Family Medical Leave was designed...

As thousands of Reservists and National Guardsmen and women return home from overseas campaigns to a less-than-booming economy, it has become hard not to notice the employment-related challenges facing military families. In 2001, the Defense Department began deploying record numbers of non-career military personnel under to a new manpower strategy designed to respond to unprecedented...

    Employer Benefits Compliance – October 15th Deadline Medicare D Creditable Coverage Notification If you are an employer who provides prescription drug coverage as part of your benefit package, you are required under the Medicare Modernization Act to annually disclose to your Medicare-eligible population whether the pharmacy plan is “creditable” or “non-creditable”.  “Creditable” means...

Never content with the current regulatory burden upon employers, our estimable federal government has decided that the existing Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) regulations and forms are insufficiently onerous.   Accordingly, one of Washington’s latest bureaucracies, the Consumer Financial Protection Board (“CFPB,” the agency that has assumed FCRA-enforcement responsibilities from the Federal Trade Commission), has issued...

This article was originally published in the June 29-July 5, 2012 edition of the Atlanta Business Chronicle.  It is republished with the permission of the author. Like most adages or clichés, “lonely at the top” rings true most of the time.  Whether you own your business, are a CEO, or the head of your department,...

Most employers are too busy with their day-to-day operations to expend much bandwidth wringing their hands over the nuances of employment-law compliance.  With this in mind, take a quick look at a rundown of the four most common employment law issues we see in our practice.  Simply knowing that these land mines are out there...

The 1986 Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act  (“COBRA”) requires certain employers’ group health insurance plans to offer qualified beneficiaries (including employees, former employees, and certain dependents) the opportunity to continue health insurance despite events (such as termination) that would otherwise result in the loss of coverage.   Information on employers’ and employees’ rights and obligations under...

I recently had lunch with a friend who is happily expecting her first child. While this is certainly an exciting time for her and her husband, she couldn’t help but be anxious about her company’s attitude concerning her pregnancy and the new arrival. Specifically, when she asked the company’s HR Manager about her options for...

Conflict comes in all sizes and shapes.  It can be both constructive and destructive, productive and unproductive.  But one thing is certain:  where there are people, there is the potential for disagreements, disputes and interpersonal flare-ups that can undermine the health and well-being of any environment. Being aware of the different types of conflict and...

The most common problem I’ve encountered since opening up my practice is employers who are not compensating their employees correctly.  Unfortunately for these employers, wage and hour cases are big business for plaintiffs’ attorneys, and the Department of Labor loves making examples out of unsuspecting employers who are, in many cases, simply uninformed about the...

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission earlier this month issued its final rule extending employers’ record keeping obligations under Title VII and the Americans with Disabilities Act to those organizations covered by the Genetic Nondiscrimination Act, or GINA. Effective April 3, 2012, employers with 15 or more employees must retain all personnel and employment records for...

Research confirms what HR Professionals already knew:  employees that are in the divorce process are often less productive, stressed, and more prone to distractions and increased absenteeism. A recent study by Integrated Organizational Development estimated the cost per worker going through a divorce at about $8,300, an amount that not only quantifies the decrease in...

When the Georgia Supreme Court ruled late last year that companies were required to respond to a Georgia garnishments through an attorney licensed to practice in Georgia, many companies were caught off-guard.  Until the Court’s decision, most companies’ payroll personnel simply made the garnishment calculations, withheld the appropriate amount from the garnishee’s check, and returned...

On December 23, 2011, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) again postponed implementing its requirement that employers expressly notify employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”).  Unless there are further delays (which is quite possible given the several challenges to the rule), the posting requirement will now go into effect on...

In one of my posts last month, I raised the specter of misclassified independent contractors.  If you’d like a refresher about the risks to companies posed by misclassification, take a look here: http://goo.gl/Ptz06.  Trust me – it can get ugly. Among the perils created by misclassification are the potential back taxes, interest, and penalties imposed...

A few weeks ago, I tried to talk you out of clinging to your traditional employee performance evaluation. I suggested you scrap your company’s formal, stress-inducing, time-consuming, and ineffective “1-5” annual review in favor of a ongoing, interactive performance management system.   I proposed that by involving employees in the goal-setting process, offering immediate and rolling...

Tips for Choosing the Right Business Attorney by Mitesh J. Patel, Principal, MJ Patel Law Group How much time and effort do you put into hiring a new employee? Between writing the job description, reviewing resumes, interviewing candidates and discussing your options internally, it adds up to quite a bit of time, right? So how...

Does My Company Really Need a Logo? When most business people are asked, “What is branding?” they are quick to answer, “a logo.” And they are partially correct; a strong logo should be the foundation of your brand. But it’s so much more too. Ultimately, your brand is your promise to your customers and clients...

This is the first in a two-part post addressing a workplace issue that likely causes employees and supervisors as much consternation as any aspect of their employment:  The Annual Performance Evaluation. A growing number of small and medium-sized employers are jettisoning the traditional annual performance evaluation for more innovative and inspiring ways of measuring and...

Raise your hand if you’re an abusive boss. Raise your hand if you’ve had an abusive boss. If my experience holds, a lot more hands went up in response to the second question than the first. I’ve found that the reason for this disparity is two-fold. First, one obnoxious manager can wreak havoc on the...