Archive for the ‘business’ Tag

ATC is Proud to Announce Eadaoin Waller Named Partner

Eadaoin WallerAndersen, Tate & Carr, P.C. is proud to announce that Eadaoin Waller has been elected by the shareholders as a partner in the firm. Brad Carr, head of the firm’s corporate department, said: “Through her career at ATC, Eadaoin has developed expertise in guiding our corporate clients through the spectrum of corporate and non-profit issues, with a strong focus on common sense solutions, efficiency and service.  We are excited to welcome her to the ranks of partnership.”

Eadaoin Waller is part of the corporate group of Andersen, Tate & Carr. Her practice focuses on employment law (employee handbooks and contracts; severance agreements; employer policies and procedures; non-compete/non-solicit and confidentiality agreements; intellectual property protection issues), mergers and acquisitions (stock and asset transactions), general corporate law (choice of entity and entity formation; shareholder and partnership agreements; general corporate advice) and non-profit law (including the assistance of charitable entitles in obtaining 501(c)(3) tax exempt status).

Eadaoin serves on the Boards of the Human Resources Management Group at the Gwinnett Co. Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club of Oconee County and the Oconee County Arts Foundation (OCAF).  Born in Ireland, she is a passionate member of Atlanta’s Irish community and of Atlanta’s Irish Chamber of Commerce.

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Interview by Daily Report; Matt Reeves and Robert Thomas successfully defend against appeal…   Leave a comment

R. Matthew Reeves

Waterscape, [represented by Andersen, Tate & Carr attorneys R. Matthew Reeves and Robert D. Thomas], [recently asked the] Forsyth County Superior Court Judge David Dickinson to disqualify [attorney George] Butler from representing the [opposing party], on the basis that Butler had been a lawyer for Waterscape.

Waterscape sought dismissal of the appeals, saying that the disqualification order was not a final order, meaning that Butler and his clients had to obtain a certificate of immediate review or follow the application procedures for an interlocutory appeal. Butler’s clients argued that there was a conflict in Georgia case law on whether a disqualification order is directly appealable.

[In reviewing the brief filed by Mr. Reeves and Mr. Thomas], the Nov. 13 opinion by Court of Appeals Judge Lisa Branch, joined by Chief Judge Herbert Phipps and Judge John Ellington…sided with Waterscape, ruling that Butler and his clients could not appeal the disqualification order at this point in the litigation.

The cases are Settendown Public Utility v. Waterscape Utility, No. A13A0830, and Butler v. Waterscape Utility, No. A13A0831.

Read more:

http://www.dailyreportonline.com/PubArticleDRO.jsp?id=1202628794506&Panel_Parties_Appeal_Over_Loss_of_Lawyer_is_Premature#ixzz2l9Bx9Ho7

– photos and summary courtesy of the Daily Report (Nov. 19, 2013).

 

Trinity Hundredmark Appears as Legal Analyst Discussing “Banning the Box”

HundredmarkTrinity Hundredmark recently appeared as a legal analyst on Cavuto on the Fox Business Network.   Trinity discussed an administrative order issued by  Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn “banning the box” on applications for state government jobs. Pursuant to the order, state government job applicants with criminal histories will no longer have to check a box disclosing that they have been convicted of, or pled guilty to, a crime.  Trinity explained that by removing the box, every individual gets a fair opportunity to make a first impression and stand on their job qualifications, at least initially.

The Fair Labor Standards Act – a Formidable Opponent to Employers

Recently, a client approached us after losing his job as a cashier at a convenience store.  He contended that he had been terminated over religious differences with his boss and coworkers.  Our client was Hindu and his coworkers Muslim.  As a result, he felt that he was routinely given the worst tasks of all of the staff, and ultimately, that he was fired for complaining about the discriminatory treatment.

This client relied heavily on his steady income and was suffering from its sudden loss. We agreed to pursue a claim of wrongful discharge based on religious discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.  In preparing a complaint and computing the damages to the client resulting from the loss of his job, we asked him more about his lost earnings – what was his hourly rate? how many hours did he work in a typical week?  It became Immediately apparent that, not only had the client been unlawfully terminated, but, working 60 – 80 hour weeks at a “straight time” rate of $10.00/hr, he had not been paid overtime (or “time and a half”) for all hours in excess of 40/week in accordance with his rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).   Suddenly, this client’s case became focused on the three years of unpaid overtime to which he was entitled – a clear, easily calculated claim which was not dependent upon proving the discriminatory mindset of the employer.

Once an overtime violation is alleged by an employee, the burden shifts to the employer to disprove the entitlement to overtime and/or back pay. For that reason, FLSA allegations are notoriously difficult to disprove, and such wage and hour claims allow the plaintiff to seek back pay, front pay, attorney’s fees and liquidated damages.

In our client’s case, the violations were so blatant (the pay records, of which our client had copies, clearly showed up to 80 hours of work per week paid at a straight time rate) and serious (thousands of hours of underpaid overtime), that the claim was settled within two weeks and before a complaint was even filed.  The resulting settlement to our client was substantial.

Employers provide slam-dunk FLSA cases for disgruntled employees when they

– fail to pay 1.5x the “regular rate of pay” for all hours worked in excess of 40 per week;

– incorrectly calculate of “regular rate of pay” (which is more complicated than it sounds);

– use “comp time” in lieu of overtime;

– incorrectly classify employees as “exempt” (“exempt”  means more than just “salaried and/or responsible”);

– make automatic deductions from pay for meals and breaks;

– permit, or require, “off the clock” work of any description;

– make deductions from pay for the cost of uniforms, damage to property, loss of property, violations of rules/policies;

– retaliate against an employee who complains of FLSA violations.

Employees who feel that their FLSA rights may have been violated should compile good records of their hours worked and pay received for the previous three years, before speaking to an employment lawyer.  Employers should be proactive in consulting an employment lawyer to confirm they are complying with the FLSA.

Jim Joedecke, Liz Clack-Freeman and Eadaoin Waller represent both employees and employers regarding compliance with Title VII, FLSA and in other areas.  By not limiting their practices to “one side,” they have a unique perspective to “both sides” of a claim or potential danger zone.

Join us for the GLQC 2013 Small Business Week Awards Luncheon

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Andersen, Tate & Carr is a proud to be a sponsor for the Georgia Lenders Quality Circle

2013 Small Business Week Awards Luncheon

Thursday, May 23, 2013

11:30 – 2 pm

Villa Christina

400 Summit Boulevard

Atlanta, Georgia

Tom Tate Successful in De-Certification of Class Action

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On March 21, 2013, thanks to the efforts of Tom Tate and other members of the defense team a federal judge in Louisiana decertified a class of plaintiffs who accuse Viking Range Corp. and its distributors of making slipshod appliances in order to create opportunities for repair work, finding the group of products being labeled defective was overly broad and could not be shoehorned into a single case.

 

 

Cost-Effective FLSA Compliance

Eadaoin Waller

We all know that under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), non-exempt workers should be paid for all work hours, including time spent on tasks which may be outside of their core employment obligations – such as training, meetings, education and travel between worksites.  A novel question on this topic cropped up in our employment practice recently, and we thought it worth sharing the answer we found.

A service industry client had been conducting in-house training for its non-exempt employees on a quarterly basis for years.  The training was related to the employees’ jobs – keeping their skills up-to-date and fresh.  However, these training sessions had always been unpaid.  Nobody had ever complained; indeed, the work-based training was viewed as a perk by most employees – an investment in their professional development.  However, it was clear that this would have to be corrected going forward, at a not-inconsiderable cost.  The question was how to minimize this new cost to the business.

There are several options for correcting a wage and hour issue like this one.  The first is to simply pay for the training hours going forward at each employee’s regular rate.  This option proved too expensive for our client.  The next option was to reduce each employee’s hourly rate, and compensate them for the training hours (paying them approximately the same amounts overall, on a quarterly basis, but with a reduced hourly rate of pay).  This would be a tough sell to existing employees, however, as it looks like a pay cut on paper.  It would also impact recruitment negatively.  The third option was to compensate all non-exempt employees for training hours at minimum wage.  Although unorthodox, this is permissible under the FLSA.  There is no requirement that all work be compensated at the same rate – less profitable tasks can be compensated at a lower rate, as long as overtime and minimum wage rules are observed and as long as the employee has notice of how each task will be compensated.

The client issued a notice to all non-exempt employees, stating that from that point forward,  all training hours would be compensated at minimum wage.  Although this did not correct the compliance issue entirely (in order to do that, the employer would have to issue two years’ back-pay [at the employees’ regular rate of pay] for training hours).   However, with that that solution being cost prohibitive, the prospective solution chosen by the client was a perfectly reasonable “next best thing”.

Keep in mind, though, that a good knowledge of the applicable regulations is necessary to navigate the facts in any situation, and just because this solution worked for this client, it may not work for you.  If you are facing a situation like this one we urge you to obtain legal counsel to ensure compliance.

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You may, as long as you include this complete bio with it:

Eadaoin Waller is a Georgia attorney, focusing her practice in corporate law.

Her firm, Andersen, Tate & Carr, P.C., works with all manner of clients in business and personal matters, providing “big firm” sophistication with suburban law firm attention and service.

Website: www.atclawfirm.com

Blog: www.andersentatecarr.wordpress.com

 Copyright © 2013 Eadaoin Waller & Andersen, Tate & Carr, P.C.

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