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Paul Zimmerman
pzimmerman@mrllp.com
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Showing 7 posts from March 2018.

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Spanish Speaking Employees Need Training in Español

The importance of providing Spanish-speaking employees with training in their native language cannot be overstated. The numbers compiled by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) bear this out: the Hispanic/Latino labor force in the United States was nearly 12.0 million in 1994, 19.3 million in 2004, 25.4 million in 2014, and projected to be 32.5 million by 2024 (or 20% of the entire workforce). The share of Hispanic/Latino workers is exponentially higher in states such as California, Colorado, Florida, New York and Texas. In fact, as of 2014, Hispanic/Latino employees made up 36.5% of the workforce in California, this according to the California Budget & Policy Center. It is not much of a stretch to presume that many of these workers are native Spanish speakers. (Read More)

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Social Media Influencers Who Pay . . . No Way

If your company promotes itself through social media with the help of influencers, then it is a participant in the influencer economy. But because influencers come with a price, you must consider if they are worth the money — and just how influential they truly are.

Companies spend mightily to attach themselves to online tastemakers and social media stars (those with impressive numbers of followers). These individuals — from actors and athletes to mom bloggers and teenage Instagram and Snapchat giants — leverage their booming popularity and social media presence in exchange for lucrative deals with brands. Need proof? An influencer with a million followers can earn upwards of $20,000 for a single promotional tweet. (Read More)

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The Oral Argument in NIFLA at the Supreme Court and Limits on Freedom of Conscience for Healthcare Providers in the States

Another episode in the never-to-be-ended disputes over freedom of conscience played out in the U.S. Supreme Court last Tuesday. At issue in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra was whether California’s FACT Act could require licensed, religious pro-life crisis pregnancy centers to publish statements informing pregnant women about state-provided abortion services or unlicensed centers to post prominent notices disclosing their unlicensed status. Despite the religious elements of the dispute, the argument before the Supreme Court ignored almost any discussion of constitutional protections for religious liberty and focused on protections for speech. (Read More)

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Costco Takes Its Coffee with Cream and a Civil Penalty

The Federal Trade Commission doesn’t have a monopoly on consumer fraud claims – just ask the folks at Costco.

Recently, the District Attorney of Alameda County in California joined with 24 other DA’s in the state in settling a case against Costco Wholesale Corporation and JBR, Inc., a coffee company better known as San Francisco Bay Gourmet Coffee and the Rogers Family Company. Costco and JBR agreed to pay a total of $500,000 in civil penalties and costs stemming from untrue and misleading marketing claims made on plastic coffee pods sold by the companies. (Read More)

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Authorities Split on whether ACA Section 1557 Requires Hospital Staff to Use Pronouns and Terms Consistent with a Patient’s Gender Identity

Among the most controversial of HHS’s ACA Section 1557 regulations is its requirement that covered healthcare entities treat persons consistent with their gender identity. The regulations distinguish gender identity from biological sex, and define it as a person’s internal sense of gender, which can be male, female, neither or a combination of both. HHS’s regulations do not spell out what it means to treat persons consistent with their gender identity. But a voluntary resolution agreement that its Office for Civil Rights (OCR) reached with a hospital in 2015 required it to let patients register their sex and gender upon admission, and to train staff in “appropriate terminology to use when referring to transgender individuals.” Department of Education guidance issued around the same time was even more direct and stated that public schools must use pronouns consistent with a student’s gender identity. (Read More)

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Would HHS’s Healthcare Conscience Rules Enable Physicians to Stay Silent About Legal End-of-Life Options?

Physicians who object to direct involvement with a medical procedure such as assisted suicide have differing views on the extent of their ethical duty to provide patients with information about how to obtain it elsewhere. Currently pending healthcare conscience regulations from HHS may give a healthcare provider a remedy against state laws that compel disclosure, regardless of where the provider draws the line. (Read More)

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When Is Coverage of Residential Care Required under MHPAEA? The Courts Reach Different Conclusions

For years, health plans and insurers have engaged in a tug-o-war with the courts over whether the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) requires them to cover residential care for mental illnesses and substance use disorders (MH/SUD). Recent court decisions indicate that the battle is not over. Not the least because residential care can mean many different things. (Read More)