Gripe Sites: Your Employees & Their Social Networks

Do you know what your employees are saying about you on Facebook? If it’s negative, do you have any legal standing? Here’s what we know so far.

Your employees may be talking about your business, your customers, their co-workers, or you on their Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, or other social networking page. Most employers have considered whether or not to prohibit access to such sites during the workday. However, many employees can access sites through their cell phones and, of course, before and after work.

As I log onto my Facebook account to do some research for this article, I see posts from my “friends” which state things like “1 hour and 45 min. left of work then I’m on my way to Opening Day!!!!” and “I haven’t done one productive thing today.” These comments are mild compared to those that have come to the attention of some employers which include discriminatory references to other employees and angry outbursts regarding dislike for supervisors and management. Further, many of these comments were made during the work day. As importantly, several recent studies have made clear what we all know; employees
who access these sites during working hours have a measurable decline in productivity.

Gripe Sites.pdf

A Ten-Step Program for Hiring a Litigation Attorney

I. Recognize The Signs
Nowadays, people are more likely to file a lawsuit. Moreover, the dire economic
problems that many people face today have increased the number of people willing to become defendants in lawsuits by intentionally refusing to make payments, failing to deliver goods and services, or neglecting to properly perform contractual obligations. Learn to recognize when a dispute will likely result in litigation. Be practical, realistic, savvy – and trust your instincts. Do not jeopardize your interests by failing to recognize the warning signs.

II. Pull Up The Draw Bridge
As soon as you hear that bell go off in your head and decide that you are at risk for litigation, pull up the draw bridge. Acknowledge that your customer has
become an adversary. Be prepared to defend your interests by taking decisive action in a timely fashion.

Ten Step Program for Hiring a Litigation Attorney (KevThornton).pdf

Your Business Insurance – You Deserve A Good Night’s Sleep

Whether your business is small or large, your business insurance portfolio may be your most crucial and most inexpensive asset. Any discussion of your insurance coverage must begin with a candid and honest dialogue with your insurance agent or broker. Your agent or broker is the gatekeeper for all of your insurance coverage.

In any discussion with your agent or broker, you should be asking the difficult
question as to what other like-size businesses carry for their insurance needs.
The follow-up question is whether in this current economy should you have your
insurance coverage increased, in our litigious marketplace?

You may have a professional and personal relationship with your insurance agent or broker, but there is no harm, and there may be a significant financial benefit, if you shop your coverage package with others in the insurance industry.

You Deserve a Good Night’s Sleep.pdf

Pip Insurer May Recover Payouts — Even Where Plaintiff Is Not Made Whole

On Thursday, July 16, 2009, the New Jersey Supreme Court narrowly upheld a doctrine that states PIP carriers are entitled to be reimbursed by a tortfeasor’s insurer even if that leaves the injured person without compensation. In Fernandez v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company A-54-08, the Supreme Court, by a 3-3 decision, affirmed the Appellate Division’s holding.

The injured plaintiff was involved in an accident on February 2, 2004 when his car was struck by a commercially owned and insured truck. The injured plaintiff’s PIP carrier paid $250,000 in PIP benefits to the claimant. This insurer then sought, and recovered this $250,000 which reduced the commercial liability policy from $1,000,000 to $750,000. The commercial liability insurer deposited the remaining $750,000 into Court.

PIP Insurer May Recover Payouts.pdf

New COBRA Subsidies Under The Arra

NEW COBRA SUBSIDIES UNDER THE ARRA
EMPLOYERS REQUIRED TO TAKE PROMPT ACTION

OVERVIEW

On February 17, 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (“ARRA”), commonly known as the Economic Stimulus package. One of the key provisions of the ARRA provides for a subsidy of COBRA benefits. Employers advance this subsidy for payment of COBRA premiums, which is thereafter reimbursed through a credit against the employer’s payroll taxes. If the subsidy exceeds the employer’s liability for payroll taxes, the IRS will reimburse the employer such amount. The Act provides for a 65% premium subsidy for up to 9 months of COBRA benefit continuation coverage for qualified beneficiaries who were “involuntarily terminated” from their employment (including for poor job performance) between September 1, 2008 and December 31, 2009. This premium reduction applies to periods of health coverage beginning on or after February 17, 2009.

The Act also provides for an additional election opportunity for health benefits under COBRA.

Included in the Act is a provision which allows higher paid individuals to waive their right to a COBRA premium subsidy.

New COBRA Subsides under the ARRA (RussL).pdf

Seeking Payback

When you think about the amount of money businesses spend on collecting outstanding debts you realize that those costs are ultimately passed on to
consumers. Now imagine, if part of that cost could be borne by the government,
and the culprit could be charged criminally. If your state relies on its primary industry to serve as its economic engine, chances are the legislature makes
it a crime to draw and pass bad checks, as well as outstanding markers.

In Nevada it is a felony to intentionally draw a marker or pass a check with a
value of $250 or more in order to obtain money, delivery or use of property,
services, or credit extended by a licensed gaming establishment. Nevada Revised
Statute (NRS) 205.130 et. seq. The original statutory scheme was promulgated in an effort to protect businesses from being victimized by dishonest customers purchasing goods or services knowing there were nonsufficient funds to pay for the costs incurred. In 1983, the statute was amended, to include “credit extended by any licensed gaming establishment,” primarily to provide criminal
jurisdiction over otherwise untouchable international gamblers.

Read complete article here – Seeking Payback

Businesses Must Use Revised Form I-9

As you are aware, the Department of Homeland Security – United States
Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly INS) announced in the
Federal Register on November 26, 2007 that employers must transition to
the revised Employment Eligibility Verification Form (I-9) not later than
December 26, 2007.

The revised I-9 is required to be completed for all new hires and
reverifications occurring after December 26, 2007. The USCIS has advised
that employers who do not use the revised I-9 for employee
verification/reverification after that date may be subject to penalties.

Businesses must use revise I9 form.pdf

No Expert Testimony Required For Admissibility Of Photograph Of Vehicle Minor Physical Damage To Disprove Serious Injury Claim

On May 30, 2007, the New Jersey Supreme Court, reversing its Appellate Division,
opened the door to the admissibility of photographs that depict minor vehicle physical damage as a factor to establish that claimed serious injuries were not caused by the accident or that their severity was questionable.

In Brenman v. Demello, the trial judge admitted a photograph of minor motor
vehicle physical damage without an expert testifying that the minor impact could not have caused the claimed injuries. The Appellate Division reversed the trial judge, indicating that such expert testimony linking the vehicle damage to the plaintiff’s injuries was required. Now, the Supreme Court has reversed the Appellate Division, ruling that such expert testimony is not required.

However, the proponent of such a photograph, devoid of expert testimony,
still must meet certain evidential requirements.

No Expert Testimony Required.pdf

Filing Charges for Theft of Service: Probably a Very Bad Idea

A customer comes to your marina or shop asking you to repair his engine or boat. You get a signed work order and make all the necessary repairs. However, the customer never pays and leaves the boat in your yard. Or he pays part of the bill, you allow him to have his boat back – but he later refuses to pay the balance due. A friend suggests that you go to the local police station to file a Summons in the Municipal Court under New Jersey’s criminal statute of theft of services.

For a person to be found guilty of the offense of theft of services, it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the customer used deception or threats to obtain the valuable services. This means that your case might be very weak if the situation can be interpreted as a dispute.

If the customer is found guilty of theft of services the judge may require him to pay a fine which goes to the State (which does not help your bottom line) and might impose a jail sentence (if the value is high enough). In some cases, the judge might order restitution as well.

Filing Charges for Theft of Services.pdf