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Paul Zimmerman
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Showing 10 posts from December 2014.

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New Limits in New York on Commercial Depositions

On Monday, December 23, 2014, New York enacted a rule that will limit the number of depositions to 10 per side, in addition to a maximum of seven hours per witness in the State Supreme Court’s Commercial Division. (Read more)

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Perceived Whistleblower can Maintain an Action for Wrongful Termination

In Diego v. Pilgrim United Church of Christ (November 21, 2014), a California Court of Appeal held that an employer that fires an employee for reporting an alleged violation of a statute or regulation to a government agency can violate public policy, even if the employee did not actually make the report. In Diego, the plaintiff claimed she had been terminated from her position as assistant director of a preschool. She argued that the school’s director mistakenly believed that she had lodged a complaint with a state agency that caused an unannounced inspection of the school. According to the plaintiff, she was asked several questions indicating that the director thought that she had filed the complaint. Shortly after that conversation, the school terminated the plaintiff. The school asserted that the plaintiff had actually been terminated for insubordination. On appeal, the school argued that the plaintiff could not bring a whistleblower claim because she had never, in fact, made a complaint to a state agency.  (Read more)

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Franchisors Beware: You May Be on the Hook for Joint Employment

On Friday, December 19, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued complaints against McDonald’s franchisees and McDonald’s USA LLC, as joint employers, alleging labor law violations. Specifically, the NLRB is claiming that McDonald’s USA and its franchisees retaliated against their employees for participating in union-related activities by reducing hours and terminating employees who participated in fast-food worker protests.  (Read more)

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Being Proactive will Help Restaurants Comply with New FDA Rules

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently released a final rule for publication in the Federal Register, which outlines new menu labeling regulations. The rules will apply to restaurant chains with 20 or more locations, as well as any “retail establishment that offers for sale restaurant or restaurant-type food.” Hence, grocery and convenience stores, movie theaters and takeout services, to name only a few, will all be impacted by the law. These establishments must be in compliance by December 1, 2015. (Read more)

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InterContinental Hotels Group to Buy Kimpton Hotels for $430 Million

One of the world’s leading hotel groups, United Kingdom’s Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG), has agreed to acquire boutique hotel specialist Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants for $430 million. IHG is excited about the deal because the boutique hotel segment is “the fastest growing segment in the industry.”  (Read more)

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In Major Shift, NLRB Allows Work Email Use for Union Organizing Purposes

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ruled in Purple Communications, Inc. and Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO, that employees can use work email for non-work activities, including union organizing. Previously, the NLRB held that employers could restrict the use of work email for organizing-related communications, while still allowing them to use work email for other personal reasons. Under this new decision, employers are not required to let employees use work email for organizing purposes, and can ban work email for organizing purposes during both work and non-work hours, but only if that ban is part of a total ban on non-work use of the email system. The NLRB made clear, however, that the ruling only applies to those employees who have already been granted access to the employer’s email system, and that employers may justify a total ban on non-work use of email where special circumstances make such a ban necessary to maintain production or discipline. And, if the employer does not implement a total ban, it can still apply uniform and consistently enforced controls over its email system to the extent necessary to maintain production and discipline. This ruling applies to employers even if they do not have a unionized workforce.  (Read more)

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House to Vote Today on TRIA Six-Year Extension

UPDATE (DECEMBER 11, 2014): By a vote of 417 to 7, the House voted to approve the passage of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act ("TRIA") of 2014.

One of the most anticipated decisions in the insurance industry may finally be one step closer to a resolution. The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (“TRIA”), created in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, is set to expire on December 31 of this year—leaving many insurers uncertain regarding their potential exposure. With the new political makeup of Congress, a revised version of TRIA that could be passed in 2015 may look very different than the current legislation. (Read more)

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NYC Living Wage Law Adds Life To Minimum Wage Debate

If you are a business operating in New York City, you should be aware of a recent change, via Executive Order, to NYC’s “Living Wage” Law. The NYC Living Wage Law establishes a “minimum wage” based not on a standardized minimum, but upon the cost of living in a certain area. Up until recently, it applied exclusively to companies directly receiving City subsidies, but Mayor de Blasio’s recent Executive Order now changes that. (Read More)

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Alimento Chef-Owner Wants Kitchen Staff Included in Tip-Pool

Alimento, a Silver Lake restaurant, is likely the first in the nation to institute a separate line on all checks for discretionary gratuity for the back-of-the-house (kitchen) staff. After losing two of his best line cooks to higher paying jobs, Chef-owner Zach Pollack implemented this policy in an attempt to create some compensation equity between critical kitchen staff and the customarily tipped servers and bartenders. Back-of-the-house staff frequently make minimum hourly wage or slightly above, while servers and bartenders can walk away with hundreds of dollars nightly in addition to their hourly wage (which in California is usually the same as the kitchen staff since there is no tip-credit). At Alimento, the additional gratuity for kitchen staff, which is entirely at the discretion of the consumer, will be collected in a separate tip-pool. The restaurant’s sous chefs, who are salaried, won’t be getting a cut and, of course, neither will Pollack. (Read more)

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Shortage of Southampton Hotels? Law Strives to Boost Hospitality Business

While the Hamptons are consistently portrayed as the east coast’s playground for the rich and famous, there’s a surprising dearth of hotels, motels and B&B’s. Two legislators recently addressed that issue. (Read more)