Nov 11, 2019

The Gift that Keeps on Giving: Gift Cards without Braille may Now Lead to Litigation

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In the past three weeks, almost one hundred lawsuits have been filed on behalf of blind and vision-impaired individuals claiming both restaurants and retailers are in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and its state and local equivalents, for a failure to include braille on their gift cards. The complaints assert that for those patrons who are blind or vision-impaired, gift cards without braille are indistinguishable from other cards with the same shape, and therefore denies such individuals of the ability to distinguish between cards, ascertain the value of the card, or review other information contained on the… Read more

Nov 7, 2019

IRS Cost-of-Living Adjustments Employee Benefit Plan Limitations for 2020


The IRS has released the 2020 cost-of-living adjustments applicable to the dollar limitations on benefits and contributions of retirement plans and health and welfare benefit plans. We recommend plan sponsors update their systems and formulas to include the limits that have been adjusted. These limits are effective January 1, 2020. IRS ANNUAL COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENTS – EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLAN LIMITATIONS FOR 2020 For a printable version, click here. For more information on these cost-of-living adjustments, contact your SGR Executive Compensation and Employee Benefits counsel. SGR is in the process of preparing our yearly laminated chart of benefit limitations, but in the… Read more

Nov 7, 2019

Puerto Rico Enacts Protection for Employees’ Credit History

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On October 8, 2019, effective immediately, the Governor of Puerto Rico signed into law Act No. 150, known as the “Act to Protect Employee’s Credit Information” (“the Act”). The Act prohibits employers from looking into the credit history of current or potential employees, including obtaining credit reports from credit agencies, and from making employment decisions based on such credit history. The Act does not reach all employees or applicants.  Notably, positions which are managerial, regulated by the Department of Justice or the judicial branch, or require access to trade secrets, financial, or personal information, are exempt. Additionally, any position in… Read more

Nov 7, 2019

Illinois Employers Take Heed: Extensive Changes on the Horizon

Alert_Sexual Harassment

In response to the #MeToo movement, Illinois has enacted the Workplace Transparency Act (“WTA”) to increase employee protections from both harassment and discrimination. The WTA, set to take effect on January 1, 2020, impacts employment-related agreements, amends the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA), and creates certain industry specific requirements. The WTA impacts employment agreements by creating prohibitions on arbitration and confidentiality clauses in an employee’s contract in regard to any form of harassment claims. Specifically, it prohibits unilateral agreements between an employer and employee where the agreement bars the employee’s ability to disclose unlawful employment practices, or where it requires… Read more

Oct 22, 2019

Department of Labor Proposes New Rules for Electronic Retirement Plan Disclosures


On October 22, 2019, the Department of Labor (DOL) proposed new regulations that, when finalized, will give employers greater flexibility with respect to electronic delivery of required retirement plan notices. Under the proposed regulations, plan administrators can satisfy their notice delivery requirements by posting retirement plan notices to a website, as long as several specific requirements are satisfied. Covered Individuals.  Website disclosure can be made to any participant, beneficiary or other individual required to receive a notice as long as that individual has provided an e-mail address or smartphone number.  For current employees, an employer-assigned e-mail address or an employer-provided… Read more

Oct 21, 2019

2020 California Employment Laws

Employment Law

California employers take heed!  Numerous new California employment laws are coming your way.  The following six employment-related bills were signed into law and go into effect on January 1, 2020: AB 749: A common provision in settlement agreements is that a former employee is not permitted to seek employment with his/her previous employer. These provisions, also known as “no-rehire” clauses, give an employer the assurance that they will not have to deal with the plaintiff again as a prospective employee. If the plaintiff does apply for a position with the employer, the employer can reject the application outright, no questions… Read more

Oct 15, 2019

UPDATE: DOL Highly Compensated Employee Exemption

Employee Salary Exemption

Effective January 1, 2020, the total annual compensation requirement for the highly compensated employee exemption shall be $107,432 per year, of which $684 must be paid weekly on a salary or fee basis.  The rule does not alter the duties requirements for this exemption, namely that the employee’s primary duties must include performing office or non-manual work and he or she must customarily and regularly perform at least one of the exempt duties or responsibilities of an exempt executive, administrative or professional employee. Importantly, the new salary threshold levels do not apply to United States territories.  The DOL set a… Read more

Oct 1, 2019

Governor Kemp Proclaims October 2019 as “Intellectual Property Month” in Georgia

Through the efforts of the Georgia Intellectual Property (IP) Alliance (GIPA) — a non-profit organization that is bringing together community and lay leaders to promote and enable the many benefits that IP brings to society – October 2019 has been proclaimed to be “Intellectual Property Month” in the State of Georgia.  GIPA is helping to facilitate leadership, resources and advocacy, to make Georgia a global model for the most efficient and effective ecosystem for the creation, protection and enablement of IP rights, for the economic and social well-being of its citizens. SGR IP partners Greg Kirsch and Matt Warenzak have… Read more

Sep 26, 2019

NLRB Creates New Framework for Employers to Anticipatorily Withdraw Union Recognition

On July 3, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) in Johnson Controls, Inc. created a new framework for employers to withdraw union recognition before the expiration of a collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”). If, within 90 days of CBA expiration, an employer receives objective evidence that at least 50 percent of represented employees no longer wish to be represented by the incumbent union, a conclusive presumption arises that the union no longer has majority status, and the employer may give the union notice of the employer’s anticipatory withdrawal of union recognition. The incumbent union then may, within 45 days of… Read more

Sep 25, 2019

Employers May Limit Union’s Access to its Premises for Organizing Purposes— Reversing NLRB Precedent

On June 14, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”), in UPMC Presbyterian Hospital held by a 2-1 majority that employers need not allow non-employee union representatives access to public areas of the employer’s private property, except in rare circumstances. Specifically, the Board reaffirmed the Supreme Court’s precedent from NLRB v. Babcock & Wilcox, Co., holding that although no restriction could be placed on employees’ right to discuss self-organization, “no such obligation is owed to non-employee organizers.” 351 U.S. 105, 113 (1956). Employers may restrict non-employee access to areas of its property regardless of whether the space is closed or… Read more