- News & Info
- Jan 7 2013
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) initiated the Entrepreneurs in Residence (“EIR”) initiative by launching an online resource center to assist entrepreneurs in navigating the complicated U.S. immigration system. The resource center, Entrepreneur Pathways, provides entrepreneurs who seek to start a business in the U.S. a simple way to navigate the immigration process. The initiative is in response to recent criticism of its often cumbersome immigration system that makes it difficult for aspiring entrepreneurs without U.S. passports to start businesses in the U.S. Two immigration options currently exist for foreign entrepreneurs.
- Jan 3 2013
On December 28, 2012, Governor Snyder signed the Social Network Account Privacy Act, which prohibits employers from requesting “access information” associated with “social networking accounts” for prospective and/or current employees. The law is designed to protect against employers requiring its employees or prospective employees to disclose access information to personal accounts as a requirement for employment. This practice gained national attention earlier this year when it was reported that job applicants were being required to submit their login information for Facebook accounts as part of the application process. The new law prohibits employers from requesting an employee or applicant to disclose access information associated with a social network account and from discriminating against an employee or applicant who fails to disclose the access information. The penalties for violating the law are both criminal and civil in nature. Violation of the act may be a misdemeanor, subjecting the violator to imprisonment up to 93 days and/or a maximum fine of $1,000. A victim may also bring a civil action to recover actual damages or $1,000, whichever is greater, and reasonable attorney fees and court costs.
- Jan 3 2013
Employers recruiting foreign students from U.S. universities or foreign professionals should begin planning for March 31, 2013. That is the date H-1B "professional" visa petitions should be filed to be eligible for fiscal year 2014 H-1B quota slots under the Immigration and Nationality Act. A professional is a broadly defined term that encompasses many higher level positions generally requiring a four-year college degree. The annual visa quota goes fast so plan now to file by April.
- Nov 20 2012
We all know our children are angels, but just in case they are led astray by their friends as this holiday season fast approaches, here are some things you may want to be aware of and possibly discuss with your children.
- Nov 12 2012
Employers that use background checks, credit reports, etc. in making employment decisions are required to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). That Act obligates employers to inform applicants and employees if such reports (which are considered "consumer reports") may be used, to provide certain disclosures, and to obtain written authorization before securing and using the reports. If a “consumer report” will be the basis for “adverse action” such as a refusal to hire or a discharge, the employer must also provide a “pre-adverse action” notice to the applicant or employee and follow up with an “adverse action” notice containing specific information required by the Act.
- Aug 13 2012
By: Ronald M. Redick
On July 31, 2012, the Michigan Court of Appeals issued its published decision in Ter Beek v City of Wyoming. The upshot of the Court’s decision is that Michigan municipalities may not ban the medical use of marijuana conducted in compliance with the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (the “MMMA”), even though this same activity is illegal under federal law.
- Jul 31 2012On July 31, 2012, the Michigan Court of Appeals issued its published decision in Ter Beek v City of Wyoming. The upshot of the Court's decision is that Michigan municipalities may not ban the medical use of marijuana conducted in compliance with the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (the "MMMA"), even though this same activity is illegal under federal law.
- Jul 18 2012The core requirement of the Open Meetings Act ("OMA") is that all meetings of a public body shall be open to the public and held in a place that is available to the general public. Most municipal officials are aware of this basic requirement. However, the OMA also permits closed sessions in certain limited circumstances, and confusion sometimes arises as to when a closed session would be proper. Provided below are answers to some of the most common questions that arise, concerning closed sessions and related matters:
- Jul 13 2012You have just reached an unhappy ending in a trial court "“ as a plaintiff, you did not get the verdict you wanted; or as a defendant, you have had an adverse judgment entered against you. Now what do you do? Assuming you were represented by legal counsel at trial, you might be tempted to "stay the course" with that same counsel. Or, if dissatisfied with trial counsel, you might be decide to go it alone, that is, to attempt to represent yourself on appeal. The former is sometimes not the best option, and the latter is almost always a mistake. Retaining the services of an appellate specialist is, more often than not, your best course of action.
- Jul 9 2012Some people like it. Some people hate it. The Supreme Court has now spoken. What does the Supreme Court decision upholding most of the ACA mean for employers? What do we do now? Even though the Supreme Court has ruled, political debate will continue. Some employers may want to adopt a "wait and see" approach. After all, it is an election year and we do not know what will happen with the election or after the November election. We do not have enough clarity in our crystal ball to determine which ACA provisions might stay or be readopted and which provisions, if any, might be repealed. But we know that some of the ACA provisions become effective this year or before the next Congress can act. Regardless of election results, many of the ACA provisions will either be continued or adopted in some form in any successor health law.
- Jun 5 2012The IRS just published timely and helpful guidance regarding implementation of the upcoming $2,500/year health FSA limit that is effective beginning in 2013. In a recent Client Alert, we notified clients and friends about some issues involved when implementing the Affordable Care Act limit of $2,500/year on Health Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). IRS Notice 2012-40 addresses the concerns raised in that message as well as other concerns.
- May 30 2012It is hard to keep one eye on the Supreme Court, another eye on Congress and the election and have any resources left to address your obligations under the Affordable Care Act. But here is an issue that bears some immediate attention for some.
- Feb 10 2012When dealing with their health care plans, clients often ask "What do I have to do to stay out of trouble?" This question appears more frequently as the rules applicable to health care plans become more and more complex. The IRS has taken a step to help answer the question, but not in a way that will please you. They have published a form that you never want to file. We recommend you review the instructions to it, so that you become familiar with the steps you must take to avoid filing it.
- Jan 20 2012Perhaps the biggest news involving health care plan administration for 2012 was the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) requirement to prepare and distribute a four-page Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC). Another issue for 2012 is the requirement to report employee health care plan costs on Form W-2. Finally (for purposes of this bulletin), employers should be anticipating the application of the health insurance plan discrimination rules. These issues have been the subject of delay, partial delay and delay.
- Jan 19 2012Updated February 22, 2012 The most important issue for 401(k) plan sponsors in 2012 will be responding to the new participant-level fee disclosure regulations. Plan sponsors have a fiduciary duty to make sure that fees paid from plan assets are reasonable. But historically this information has been presented in a dizzying array of sometimes inconsistent information. How does a plan sponsor sort through this information when choosing an investment fund line-up and how do participants evaluate this information when making their individual investment decisions?
- Nov 16 2011Recently the Michigan legislature adopted a law limiting the flexibility of cities, villages, townships, counties and other Michigan public employers providing medical benefit plans for their employees and elected public officials. Governor Snyder signed the legislation and it became effective September 27, 2011. This law is known as PA 152 and can also be found at MCL sections 15.561-569.
- Feb 28 2011In 2001, Congress passed tax legislation that increased the estate tax exemption from $1,000,000 over several years through 2010 when the estate tax was repealed for one year.
- Jan 12 20102009 ended without Congress having taken action to change our current transfer tax laws (estate, gift and generation-skipping law). Under current law, estate and generation-skipping taxes are repealed for 2010. While this may sound like a good thing to many, the repeal will only last for one year. Unless Congress takes further action, the tax breaks that led to the one year repeal under the 2001 tax act will end on January 1, 2011 when the estate tax returns with an exemption of only one million dollars. Last year, the estate tax exemption was 3.5 million dollars.
- Jan 4 2010On February 17, 2009, Congress authorized the special COBRA premium reduction in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The ARRA allowed assistance eligible individuals ("AEIs") to purchase COBRA coverage at a reduced premium rate of 35% of standard COBRA rates for a period of nine months. This reduced premium was available only if the individual experienced a COBRA qualifying event that was an involuntary termination and only if the qualifying event occurred between September 1, 2008 and December 31, 2009.
- Nov 16 2009Just when you thought you were on top of the 2009 changes to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Congress has changed it yet again. On October 28, 2009, President Obama signed the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act (2010 NDAA), which (among many other things) amends the recently-enacted "qualifying exigency" and "care for servicemember" provisions of the FMLA.