Greenberg Traurig Adds Veteran Employment Litigator Charles Thompson in San Francisco

Posted in ERISA & Employee Benefits Litigation

San Francisco employment attorney Charles O. Thompson has moved to global law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP as a shareholder, further strengthening the firm’s Global Labor and Employment Practice. Thompson, a seasoned employment trial lawyer, was formerly managing partner of Polsinelli’s San Francisco office and chair of its Class Action Practice. He has extensive experience litigating employment-related issues for public and private companies, having handled over 1,000 employment matters for clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to Silicon Valley startups.

“Chuck’s broad experience and reputation as one of the nation’s leading labor and employment attorneys further enhance and complement our strong and growing presence in the western states’ labor and employment community,” said Chuck Birenbaum, who serves as Greenberg Traurig’s chair of Northern California. “We are experiencing strong client demand in class actions and high exposure cases, leading us to reach out to experts like Chuck Thompson. We are thrilled to welcome him to our San Francisco office.”

To read the full press release, click here.

New Year’s Resolution: Prepare Yourself for an IRS or DOL Plan Audit

Posted in Compensation, Department of Labor, ERISA & Employee Benefits Litigation, Federal Law, fiduciary, GT Alert, Retirement, Tax

How confident are you that your company’s retirement plans are being run in accordance with all legal requirements under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and the Internal Revenue Code (IRC)? Are you comfortable with the integrity of the annual representations made to your plan auditor that key benefit-plan controls are in place to make sure that your retirement plans are operated pursuant to their terms and applicable law? This Alert addresses what questions you should be asking when attempting to potentially minimize monetary sanctions, serious consequences to your employees, and personal liability for company officials who are ERISA-plan fiduciaries responsible for the investment of plan assets and plan administration that can stem from an IRS or DOL Plan audit.

To read the full GT Alert, click here.

New Patient-Brokering Prohibitions Affect Treatment Facilities and Laboratories

Posted in Compensation, Federal Law, GT Alert, Independent Contractors, Legislation, opioids

Congress passed the Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act (the Act) in 2018 to prevent “patient brokering” in treatment for substance abuse disorders. The Act imposes criminal penalties against anyone who knowingly and willfully “solicits or receives any remuneration . . . in return for referring a patient or patronage to a recovery home, clinical treatment facility, or laboratory” or who knowingly and willfully “pays or offers any remuneration . . . to induce a referral of an individual to a recovery home, clinical treatment facility, or laboratory; or in exchange for an individual using the services of that recovery home, clinical treatment facility, or laboratory.”

The Act applies to all payors, even where no Federal program dollars are at play. Penalties are harsh and may include a fine up to $200,000 and imprisonment for up to 10 years. Because the Act broadly defines the facilities that are subject to its restrictions, any entity or individual providing addiction-treatment and recovery services (even if only as a minor part of their service offerings) and clinical laboratories should evaluate arrangements with referral sources to ensure compliance with the Act.

To read the full GT Alert, click here.

California Employee Can Agree to Non-Compete Clause When Represented by Counsel

Posted in Contracts, GT Alert, State Law

Many employers and attorneys assume that covenants not to compete found in employment agreements are not enforceable against California residents absent narrow exceptions, and that courts would reject any attempt to apply another state’s choice of law provision to draft around this issue. A recent case from the Delaware Chancery Court, NuVasive, Inc. v. Patrick Miles, 2018 WL 4677607 (Del. Ch. Sept. 28, 2018), has recognized, however, that under certain circumstances, non-competes and non-California choice of law and forum provisions may be enforced against California residents.

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Greenberg Traurig’s Wendy Johnson Lario Named Among New Jersey Law Journal’s Top Women in the Law

Posted in Awards and Accolades

Wendy Johnson Lario, shareholder and chair of Greenberg Traurig LLP’s New Jersey Labor & Employment Practice, has been named by the New Jersey Law Journal as one of its 2018 Top Women in the Law. According to the publication, the female attorneys who are listed as Top Women in the Law have influenced the law and legal profession in exceptional ways over the last two years.

“We are incredibly proud of Wendy for her well-deserved recognition as one of the New Jersey Law Journal’s Top Women in the Law,” said Philip R. Sellinger and David Jay, co-managing shareholders of the firm’s New Jersey office, in a joint statement. “She is a remarkable leader and mentor at Greenberg Traurig and in the local community.”

To read the full press release, click here.

California Appellate Court’s Expansive Opinion Creates Doubt Over Employee Non-Solicitation Agreements

Posted in GT Alert, Litigation, State Law

Although California law generally prohibits non-competition agreements, some courts in a number of unpublished opinions have enforced non-solicitation clauses restricting former employees from pirating their former colleagues. A California appellate court, however, recently invalidated such a provision in a published opinion, calling into question an employer’s ability to rely upon such agreements.

In AMN Healthcare Inc. v. Aya Healthcare Services, AMN sought to enforce a non-solicitation provision against former employees and their new employer. The trial court ruled in favor of the individuals and corporate defendant Aya, enjoining AMN from enforcing a provision that prohibited the non-solicitation of employees.

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Greenberg Traurig’s Todd Wozniak Selected as a Law360 Benefits MVP

Posted in Awards and Accolades, Benefits

Shareholder Todd D. Wozniak, of global law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP, was named a 2018 Law360 MVP for Benefits. Law360’s MVP series showcases standout attorneys who have had significant client wins and contributions to their practice area in the last year.

Co-Chair of the firm’s ERISA & Employee Benefits Litigation group, Wozniak has tried more than 40 cases or arbitrations to verdict. He is one of the few attorneys in the U.S. who has substantial experience handling traditional labor disputes and collective bargaining, employment litigation, and ERISA litigation; has tried complicated employment and employee benefits cases to judges and juries; and has defended dozens of class and collective actions. Wozniak is a frequent lecturer and writer in the employment benefits space and a go-to attorney for colleagues, peers, and clients. Wozniak’s recent work includes a historic settlement in a putative Employee Stock Ownership (ESOP) class action (Hoover v. Brijon Management) where the district court certified the non-opt out settlement class and awarded no damages or attorneys’ fees to plaintiffs and their counsel.

To read the full press release, click here.

Employers’ Obligations Under the California Consumer Privacy Act

Posted in GT Alert, Labor, Privacy, State Law

Jan. 1, 2020, marks the effective date of the recently enacted California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), a new law that requires companies to comply with numerous requirements related to collecting and processing personal information of California employees and other individuals.

Don’t let the “Consumer” language of the CCPA fool you – under the CCPA, the definition of “consumer” can easily include employees so long as they are natural persons who are California residents because they are either domiciled in California for a temporary or transitory purpose or are in California for more than a temporary or transitory purpose.

To read the full alert, click here.

VA Supreme Court Holds Employer Owes Duty to Employee’s Family

Posted in GT Alert, Workplace Safety

On Oct. 11, 2018, the Virginia Supreme Court extended the duty of care owed by an employer beyond just employees to any family members or third parties who may be affected by the employer’s action. In a 4-3 decision, the court ruled in Quisenberry v. Huntington Ingalls, Inc. that if an employer knew or should have known that an employee’s clothing dusted with asbestos could be handled by others, the employer owed a duty of care to those other people. Recognizing that the impact of this decision on tort law and business litigation in general will extend beyond the asbestos claims at issue in the case, the dissent warned that after this decision, “no one will be able to predict who else among the host of possible targets will be subjected to this novel theory of liability.”

To read the full GT Alert, click here.

OSHA Clarifies Position on Workplace Safety Incentive Programs and Post-Incident Drug Testing

Posted in drug testing, Workplace Safety

On Oct. 11, 2018, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a memorandum (the Memorandum) clarifying its position that 29 C.F.R. § 1904.35(b)(1)(iv) does not prohibit employers from instituting workplace safety incentive programs or post-incident drug testing. OSHA stated that to the extent any of their other OSHA interpretive documents conflicted with the Memorandum, the Memorandum would govern.

Employers must be cognizant of the guidance in the Memorandum to make sure that any negative actions taken regarding their safety incentive program or post-incident drug testing contain adequate precautions to ensure their employees feel free to report an injury or illness.

To read the full GT Alert, click here.

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