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- 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.
- Whistleblower Defense Alert: Sixth Circuit Affirms Importance of Government Witnesses in Materiality AnalysisA recent Sixth Circuit opinion provides defendants a valuable roadmap for using government witness testimony to defeat False Claims Act (FCA) claims on materiality grounds at the summary judgment stage. In U.S. ex rel. American Systems Consulting, Inc. v. ManTech Advanced Systems Int’l Inc., Case No. 14-3269 (6th Cir.), the court rejected the relator’s argument that materiality decisions should be left to a jury. Instead, the court expressly held that “a judge may decide as a matter of law whether a misrepresentation was material under the FCA.”
- State and Local Tax Alert: Ohio Governor Kasich Proposes Numerous Tax Changes in 2016-2017 State BudgetOhio Governor John Kasich recently outlined the tax changes he will include in his 2016-2017 biennial state budget. The governor’s proposal is a mixture of cuts, increases and elimination of taxes which he says will result in a net $500 million tax cut for Ohioans. The taxes included in his package are: sales tax, commercial activity tax, oil and gas severance tax, individual income tax and tobacco tax.
- Labor and Employment Alert: A New Ohio General Assembly = Potential Challenges Ahead for Ohio EmployersGroucho Marx once said that “politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies.” So as we welcome the 131st Ohio General Assembly, we already have the introduction of pro-employee wage-and-hour legislation. On February 2, 2015, Senator Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) introduced Senate Bill 25 which would make significant changes to Ohio’s employment laws.
- This is a reminder to all employers with employees in California to implement the new workplace bullying training requirements that went into effect for California employers on January 1, 2015.
- As multistate employers are well aware, several states have enacted “wage theft prevention acts.” These laws are designed to ensure employees know how much they are being paid by requiring employers to provide detailed notices to employees on a set schedule, including at the time of hire. California and New York have had laws on wage theft for several years. Washington, D.C. enacted a new law late last year dealing with wage theft and making other, perhaps more disturbing, changes to wage and hour law in the District.
- Negative media coverage has always posed a challenge for businesses and professionals. Given the current internet landscape and the ability of articles to spread quickly through social media, businesses must be especially active in trying to deal with bad publicity.
- President Obama delivered his sixth State of the Union address on Tuesday, and labor and employment matters took center stage. While the president’s address does not have the force of law, it highlights for employers what issues the White House plans on pursuing in the coming year.
- Client Alert: U.S. Supreme Court Holds That Borrowers Need Only Give Notice of Intent to Rescind Under TILA within Three Years of ClosingOn January 13, 2015, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of homeowners seeking to rescind their loans and mortgages with written notice to lenders within three years of completion of a real estate transaction, where lenders allegedly failed to comply with the federal Truth in Lending Act (TILA). Based on this decision in Jesinoski v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., it is not necessary that a homeowner actually file a court action within those three years.
- Before there was Yelp, there was Citysearch. Founded in 1995 as an online guide for finding local businesses, Citysearch helped pave the way into an era of consumers posting online reviews. While Yelp has blown Citysearch and other competition out of the water in recent years, Citysearch is nevertheless still active and businesses are still very much vulnerable to false reviews on the website.
- Health Care Alert: Federal Court Strikes Down DOL’s New Companionship Services Exemption RegulationsNew U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) regulations concerning the companionship services exemption to the minimum wage and overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) were scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2015.
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