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Paul Zimmerman
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Showing 133 posts from 2015.

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National Restaurant Association Challenges Minimum Wage Law

Earlier in 2015, the New York Legislature rejected a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $11.50 in the Big Apple, and to $10.50 in the rest of the state.  Governor Andrew Cuomo utilized his ability to direct the labor commissioner to convene a panel to consider whether fast-food workers' minimum wage should be raised in an effort to raise all restaurant workers' pay.  The panel ultimately concluded that the minimum wage will gradually increase to $15/hour by 2018. The National Restaurant Association (NRA) appealed this decision to the New York Industrial Board of Appeals. (Read more)

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Overtime Changes are Coming: Will You be Ready?

On June 30, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) proposed changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (“FLSA”) white-collar exemption rule, which would raise the salary threshold for exempt employees from $23,660 or $455 per week, to $50,440 annually or $970 per week. The proposed change also includes automatic period increases to the salary threshold. Statistics show that, if adopted, these changes will affect approximately 4.6 million employees that are currently classified as salary-exempt, including a large number of employees in the hospitality industry. (Read more)

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Trader Joe’s Targeted in Class Action Suit

On Tuesday, December 2, a California federal court struck down a consumer group’s 2013 claim that Trader Joe’s had misled shoppers into thinking “soy milk” was “cow’s milk.”  Judge Vince Chhabria held that Trader Joe’s had not violated the FDA’s food advertising/misbranding rules, because no reasonable person would confuse soy milk with cow’s milk. Judge Chhabria, however, allowed the group to proceed with potential class allegations that the grocery store deceptively used the term “evaporated cane juice” in place of sugar on the ingredient list of its store branded yogurt, and failed to disclose use of certain additives in its products. (Read more)

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Google Cracking Down on Advertising Fraud

Google is cracking down on domains that falsely represent advertising inventory with its Ad Traffic Quality Team, currently showcasing a filtering tool—DoubleClick Bid Manager (DBM)—that detects when publishers are trying to trick advertisers. (Read more)

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Digital Information – Now Protected More Than Ever

In the event that you missed it, on October 8th, 2015, California Governor, Jerry Brown, signed into law the California “Electronic Communications Privacy Act” (CalECPA) which requires any California state law enforcement agency to obtain a warrant before demanding inspection of any digital information from a business including, but not limited to, digital communications (e-mails and text messages), and other documents stored in the cloud. The law also requires a warrant before law enforcement can track the location of electronic devices (smart phones and other mobile devices).  (Read more)

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A New York State of Mind

Famed Olympian and reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner helped raise awareness of the struggles the transgender community faces when she broadcasted her transition from male to female. Transgender people often face a long and strenuous internal battle to act upon their gender identity and transition to the gender that allows them to live as their most authentic self. (Read More)

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Massive Fraud Alleged by Camarillo Pharmacist

Russell Reitz, a Camarillo pharmacist, with a modest prescription-filling service, R&O Pharmacy, sold his business to Philidor Rx Services, a mail-order pharmacy, for $350,000.Reitz stayed on as manager, only to see an avalanche of insurance money flood the pharmacy—on a course to equal $230 million annually. Reitz would learn that federal investigators were probing the operations of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, a company with close ties to Philidor.  (Read more)

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FTC and FCC Sign Memorandum of Understanding

On November 16, 2015, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) announced they had executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Continued Cooperation on Consumer Protection Issues. This formalized protocol of cooperation is significant, and acknowledges both agencies’ operational authority in similar space with respect to consumer protection issues. Notably, the MOU formalizes the agencies’ combined work efforts, providing for joint enforcement actions, inter-agency consultation on investigations, collaboration on consumer and industry outreach, as well as regular meetings between senior officials from the FTC and FCC, including the creation of “Designated Liaison Officers.” (Read more)

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California Court of Appeal Rules in Favor of Nurse in Wrongful Termination Lawsuit

In Nosal-Tabor v. Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, a recent California Court of Appeal decision, Plaintiff Karen Nosal-Tabor, a registered nurse and former employee of defendant Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center (Sharp), sued Sharp for wrongful termination and retaliation. Nosal-Tabor claimed that she was terminated for refusing to perform nurse-led cardiac stress testing. Before she was terminated, she had complained to Sharp’s management that its policy of allowing nurses to perform unsupervised cardiac stress tests was unlawful, because Sharp did not have legally adequate standardized procedures to allow nurses to perform such testing, as required under California law.  (Read more)

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Sound and Savvy Operational Solutions to Offsetting the Increased Minimum Hotel Wage

Article originally appeared in HALA Newsletter

In the last issue, we discussed the Los Angeles City Council’s approval of a Citywide Hotel Worker Minimum Wage Ordinance, which required establishments with at least 300 guest rooms to raise their minimum wage to $15.37 by July 1, 2015. Those with 150-300 rooms have until July 1, 2016, to comply, and only hotels that demonstrate severe prospective financial hardships will be exempt.

In order to mitigate the impact of the increased wage, hotels should consider evaluating their operations to find ways to offset these costs. The following are some ways that establishments can take a sound and savvy approach to operational issues in order to keep their bottom lines intact: (Read more)