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- 2014 was a year of continued growth and expansion for Ohio’s oil and gas industry. Drilling and production increased dramatically, with more than 50 Utica rigs operating in Ohio at year end and over 550 new drilling permits having been issued as of October 2014, which is more than all of 2013.
- With Governor Scott Walker’s signature today, Wisconsin has become the latest state to enact a right-to-work law. Indiana and Michigan last did so in 2012. Wisconsin brings the total number of right-to-work states to 25.
- Businesses have a lot to gain from positive online reviews. Even a business that has overall strong reviews, however, can suffer if a disgruntled person publishes a false and defamatory post. Complaints.com is one website where businesses can become victims of internet defamation, and the website’s header – which reads “CONSUMERS IN CONTROL” – implies the difficulty of a business’s internet reputation being in the hands of other persons.
- Labor and Employment Alert: Is There No Rest From Wage-Hour Class Actions For Weary Employers in California?Any employer who has done business in California is familiar with the state’s byzantine wage-hours laws and the immense liability for even minor violations. The complexity of these laws – and the potential exposure facing employers – has not been lost on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals as the recent case of Mendoza v. Nordstrom demonstrates.
- There is no denying that online reviews are important for businesses. After all, customers regularly search them out and are increasingly relying them.
- Several employment laws recently became effective in Washington, D.C. that impose new requirements on employers operating within the District on wage transparency, marijuana testing, pregnancy accommodations and concealed weapons. Employers should review their current operations and policies to ensure they comply with the new laws’ requirements.
- Effective May 26, 2015, certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants will become eligible for their own employment eligibility.
- Labor and Employment Alert: Department of Labor Finalizes Rule on Same-Sex Spouses for FMLA CoverageThe federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides eligible employees of covered employers with unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family, medical, and military family reasons. On February 25, 2015, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a Final Rule that revises the FMLA’s regulatory definition of “spouse.”
- As the 131st Ohio General Assembly continues to get underway, Senate Democrats recently introduced three bills regulating employers’ use of consumer credit reports, criminal histories and social media accounts.
- Labor and Employment Alert: New Jersey Supreme Court Simultaneously Limits and Expands an Employer’s Liability for Sexual HarassmentUnder the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), an employer can be liable for hostile work environment harassment in two ways. First, an employee can assert a cause of action directly against the employer for negligently or recklessly causing the hostile environment. Second, the employer can be vicariously liable for the acts of its supervisors. The New Jersey Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Aguas v. State, 2015 N.J. LEXIS 131 (2015), significantly impacts the state’s employers when it comes to defending against that second theory of sexual harassment and reinforces the importance of effective anti-harassment procedures.
- Founded in 2007, Glassdoor.com is an online “career community” with a database consisting of several million company reviews, CEO ratings, salary reports, job interview reports and more. But as both the Associated Press and the Wall Street Journal phrased things – in articles published nearly three years apart – Glassdoor is a website where employees can “anonymously dish” on their companies and bosses.
- The Ohio Department of Taxation is expected to begin auditing businesses within the oil and gas industry for sales and use tax compliance (i.e., purchase audits).
- State and Local Tax Alert: Ohio Announces Initiative to Audit Direct Pay Permit Holders: Focus on Sales and Use TaxThe Ohio Department of Taxation has announced its renewed effort to audit Ohio direct pay permit holders for sales and use tax compliance (i.e., purchase audits).
- In a significant victory for the oil and gas industry, on February 17, 2015, the Supreme Court of Ohio, in State ex rel. Morrison v. Beck Energy Corp., affirmed the State of Ohio’s “sole and exclusive” authority over the regulation of oil and gas operations in the state.
- On February 11, 2015, Representative Ryan Smith introduced Ohio House Bill 64 (the Bill), the governor’s proposed 2016-2017 biennial budget bill. As Governor John Kasich previously announced, the Bill contains a number of Ohio tax proposals, including reform of Ohio’s severance taxes.
- The language of Governor Kasich’s 2016-2017 biennial budget bill was recently released. House Bill 64 has 84,757 lines and 2,783 pages of text. Many of the details track very closely to summaries of the bill announced during the preceding weeks. The proposal includes significantly reduced personal income tax rates, continued and expanded small business income tax exclusions and higher personal exemptions.
- On February 9, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the SEC) proposed rules to implement Section 955 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which directs the SEC to require, by rule, each public company to disclose in any proxy or consent solicitation material for an annual meeting of the shareholders of the company whether any employee or director, or any designee of such employee or director, is permitted to hedge the company’s equity securities.
- Courts continue to whittle away at the public disclosure bar, historically one of the best ways to dispose of parasitic qui tam lawsuits. Most recently, the Eleventh Circuit issued a ruling regarding the impact of the 2010 amendments to the False Claims Act’s (FCA) public disclosure rule. In its opinion in U.S. ex rel. Osheroff v. Humana, Inc., the Eleventh Circuitjoined the Fourth Circuit in holding that the public disclosure rule, as amended in 2010, is no longer a jurisdictional bar to an FCA action. Instead, under the amended version of the statute, defendants now must move to dismiss allegations that have been publicly disclosed under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6).
- FLSA claims involving off-the-clock work have become a popular claim in recent years. A recent Eleventh Circuit ruling has made employer defenses to such lawsuits a bit more challenging. In Bailey v. TitleMax of Ga., Inc. (11th Cir., No. 14-11747, 1/15/15), the employer argued that the plaintiff’s claims should be barred because the plaintiff failed to report all hours worked, which caused the company to under-compensate the plaintiff.
- Health Care Alert: Ninth Circuit Affirms Order Requiring Divestiture of a Hospital–Physician Group MergerIn a much anticipated opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld an Idaho district court’s order mandating the unwind of a merger between two health care providers in Nampa, Idaho after determining that the merger violated § 7 of the Clayton Act. In the wake of the FTC’s recent and heightened enforcement in the health care industry, St. Alphonsus Medical Center-Nampa, Inc. v. St. Luke’s Health System, Ltd., No. 14-35173, (9th Cir. Feb. 10, 2015), offers important insight into the hotly debated interplay between the integration encouraged under the Affordable Care Act and the operation of federal antitrust laws.
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