Southwest Florida Employment Law Blog

2016 HR Law & Solutions Seminar: Registration Now Open!

Posted in Discrimination, Employee Handbooks, HR Seminars, Immigration, Social Media, Workplace Investigations

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We are so excited to announce that registration is now open for the 2016 HR Law & Solutions Seminar. Now in its 24th year, this full-day seminar is a fantastic opportunity for both new and experience HR professionals and other business executives to learn about important employment laws, network with their peers, and, of course, have a little fun! This year, we return to the gorgeous Sanibel Harbour Resort and Spa on, Monday, April 4, 2016. Topics and speakers include:

  • Legislative and Case Law Update. Attorneys Robert Shearman and Vicki Sproat will provide an interactive update on notable court decisions, including cases addressing contentious employment policies and contract provisions, and other noteworthy employee claims.
  • The Intersection of Immigration and Employment Law: What You Need to Know and Probably Don’t. Immigration law is a hot button topic in our country’s current political landscape, particularly since this is an election year. For many HR professionals, the relevancy of immigration law is limited to I-9 forms and E-Verify. Attorney Tulio Suarez will give attendees insight on key immigration-related HR issues potentially faced by all employers.
  • Breakout Sessions. Henderson Franklin’s employment law, immigration, and workers’ compensation attorneys will break out in smaller groups to facilitate discussions and give attendees an opportunity to gain more information on specific topics of interest to them and answer any legal questions on any aspect of laws and issues impacting their workplace. More specifically:
    • Welcome to the Company, Please Sign Here. In such a litigious climate, it is more important than ever for employers to have their workplace documentation in order from the start of the employment relationship. Attorneys John Agnew and Suzanne Boy will give HR professionals, business owners, and managers guidance on how to prepare and implement solid employment policies and contracts.
    • You’re From the Government, and We’re Here to Help. Claims against government or other public sector employers often present special challenges. Attorneys John Potanovic and Bob Shearman will delve into the framework of, and best practices in dealing with, Florida Public Sector Whistleblower claims and Constitutional claims.
    • Tips to Recognize, Reduce, and Deal with Workers’ Compensation Fraud in the Workplace. For many HR professionals, employers, agents, attorneys and adjusters, fraud in the workers’ compensation system is often frustrating and confusing. Attorneys David Roos, Michael McCabe and Tania Ogden will give attendees insights on key issues and strategies to recognize and identify insurance fraud at the time of hire, after a reported work accident, during the course of providing benefits and how to best deal with the situation.
  • Ego vs. EQ: How Top Business Leaders Beat Eight Ego Traps with Emotional Intelligence. Somewhere along the line, while climbing the corporate ladder or growing their own company, highly-technical strong employees can struggle with maintaining a healthy level of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) that keeps them connected to their workforce and grounded in the day-to-day realities of their business. The risk of falling into “ego traps” increases, hurting the business and threatening their hard-won success. In this session guest speaker Jennifer Shirkani will help attendees discover ways to be an inspirational and emotionally-engaging leader.
  • Lawful and Unlawful Use of Social Media for Hiring and Retention. Researching applicants for employment is common place in today’s online environment. If your company searches prospective candidates on social media without appropriate guidelines to ensure compliance with state and federal laws, you may be subject to lawsuits for discrimination. Social Media Attorney Ethan Wall will educate attendees on the laws that govern the use of social media for hiring and retention.

Continuing Education

This conference has been approved by SHRM for 5.25 PDCs and by HRCI for 5.25 Recertification Credit Hours (General).

Conference Partners

We are grateful for the support and sponsorship of Lykes Insurance (lunch sponsor), Charlotte County SHRM, SHRM SWFL, and HR Collier.

Overnight Accommodations

Since the seminar is on Monday this year, we have reserved a block of rooms at Sanibel Harbour for $189/night. To make hotel reservations, click here. Reservations must be made by March 3 to take advantage of the group rate.

Seminar Registration

Registration is $40 per person and includes a continental breakfast, plated lunch, seminar materials and valet parking. Click here to download the brochure. Click here to register.

If you have any questions, please let us know. We look forward to seeing you all on April 4!

E-Verify News Flash

Posted in E-Verify, Immigration

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On October 28, 2015, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the latest enhancements to its E-Verify® Internet-based Employment Eligibility Verification system. The enhancements aim to improve the system’s effectiveness, efficiency and customer satisfaction. The enhancements are:

  • A Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Auto Extension upgrade which purportedly will make it easier for E-Verify to confirm when employment authorization has been automatically extended for TPS beneficiaries. To learn more about how TPS affects the Form I-9 process, visit I-9 Central.
  • A redesign of the Case Details Page which reduces data fields so that users can print case details on one page. This enhancement was implemented in response to a suggestion submitted through the E-Verify Listens website, and aimed at reducing user printing costs.
  • Further Action Notices and Tentative Nonconfirmation (TNC) emails have been updated to now include the my E-Verify Case Tracker The myE-Verify® Case Tracker enables employees to check the status of their own E-Verify case during the TNC process.

Additionally, USCIS has announced that on January 1, 2016, E-Verify must dispose of transaction records that are over ten years old (i.e. those dated on or before December 31, 2005). E-Verify employers have until December 31, 2015, to download case data from the new “Historic Records Report” if they want to retain transaction data that is more than ten years old. For more information and guidance on downloading the Historic Records Report, see the E-Verify Records Retention and Disposal Fact Sheet and Instructions to Download Historic Records Reports in E-Verify.

 

E-Verify Logo Licensed under Public Domain via Wikipedia

EEOC to Present at SHRM SWFL Meeting

Posted in Uncategorized

SHRM-SWFL-ver1-finalI am very excited to announce that Elaine McArthur, the Outreach and Training Manager for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), is speaking at the SHRM SWFL luncheon next week. This is an excellent opportunity for HR professionals, supervisors, and/or business owners to learn straight from the EEOC – the agency charged with enforcing workplace discrimination and harassment laws. Ms. McArthur will provide attendees with important updates on recent development and guidance from the EEOC, and will be available to answer questions from the audience.

The meeting is Wednesday, November 4, 2015 at Crowne Plaza Bell Tower. Registration begins at 11:00. $21.00 for SHRM SWFL members, $25.00 for non-member. Click here to register: https://shrmswfl.wildapricot.org/event-2023961. I hope to see you there!

Immigration Concerns for Southwest Florida Businesses

Posted in HR Seminars, I-9 Compliance, Immigration

Suarez low resThe Immigration and Nationality Act requires employers to verify the identity and employment eligibility of their employees and created criminal and civil sanctions for employment related violations. Under the Act, employers are required by law to maintain for inspection original Forms I-9 for all current employees and certain former employees. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents or auditors enforce compliance via inspections of employers’ Forms I-9. Employers may receive a substantial monetary fine for all substantive and uncorrected technical violations. Evidence obtained through I-9 inspections can also be used to establish that an employer knowingly hired or continued to employ unauthorized workers, potentially subjecting the employer to additional fines, debarment from participation in future federal contracts or from receiving other government benefits, and in certain situations criminal prosecution. I-9 work site enforcement inspections have been on the rise, almost tripling in frequency since 2009.

On the other hand, employers wanting to avoid fines related to I-9 errors often end up going beyond the required process resulting in complaints of discrimination to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) which investigates immigration-related unfair employment practices. DOJ settlements or lawsuits may result in civil penalties assessed on the employer, back pay awards for discrimination victims, hiring orders and/or the requirement that an employer end discriminatory practices and ensure compliance with the anti-discrimination provision.

During the November 17 Southwest Florida C-Suite Summit, I will make sense of the often conflicting requirements associated with completion, maintenance and storage of Forms I-9 and will provide strategies for maintaining compliance while avoiding charges of discrimination. We hope you can join us!  Click here to register or here to view the seminar brochure.

 

Registration is Open — Southwest Florida C-Suite Summit

Posted in HR Seminars, Immigration, Social Media, Success Strategies, Workers' Compensation

10-12-2015 3-48-06 PMWhether you have 10 or 10,000 employees, running a business can be a challenge. Making decisions based on strategic reasoning is critical to the success and longevity of any company. How can members of the c-suite, as well as the small business owner, gain helpful insight into the boardroom and, at the same time, try and avoid the courtroom?

We cordially invite you and your top-level managers to join members of Henderson Franklin’s legal team on Tuesday, November 17, 2015 as they present the Southwest Florida C-Suite Summit at Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort & Spa. Topics and speakers include:

The Recipe for Business Longevity presented by Attorneys Guy Whitesman (Chair, Business and Tax Department), Eric Gurgold (Chair, Estate Planning and Administration Department) and Mark Nieds (Intellectual Property Group). They will outline proven techniques and best practices to preserve, protect, and perpetuate your business. One size does not fit all. The panel will explore avenues to successful business perpetuation, liquidity events and the preservation of wealth.

The Comeback Kid: Southwest Florida’s Ongoing Economic Recovery. Attorneys Denis Noah (Chairman of the Horizon Council) and Russell Schropp (Horizon Council Task Force Chair) will provide a look at the state of Southwest Florida’s economic recovery – from a lawyer’s perspective! Continue Reading

LGBT, Social Media and EEOC Charges to be addressed at Fall Employment Law Conference

Posted in Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), HR Seminars, Social Media, Wages & Overtime

radical color copyWe are excited to announce that Suzanne Boy will be presenting at the Florida Law Alliance Employment Law Conference, taking place on Thursday, November 12, 2015 at the law offices of Hill, Ward & Henderson in Tampa, Florida. Henderson Franklin is a member of the Florida Law Alliance, a group of six independent law firms practicing throughout Florida. The firms have combined their knowledge, efforts, and resources to increase efficiency, lower costs, expand the scope and improve the quality of legal services each firm provides to its own clients.

Topics and Speakers

Avoiding and Defending Wage and Hour Class and Collective Actions presented by Attorney Craig Salner from the Clarke Silverglate firm in Miami. Employers know that the only lawsuit you win is the one that never gets filed. In the case of wage and hour litigation, this is particularly true of collective actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and class actions under State law counterparts. This presentation will focus ways to defend class and collective actions or better yet, avoid them altogether. Continue Reading

Department of Labor Investigator to Speak at SHRM SWFL About Wage/Hour Issues

Posted in HR Seminars, Wages & Overtime

I am very excited to announce that Paul Dean, a local investigator with the Department of Labor (DOL), will speak at next week’s SHRM SWFL meeting about various wage/hour issues. No, I am not excited because my favorite group of HR professionals plans to throw food at Paul (if you’re reading this, Paul, I promise we won’t do that!). I am excited because this is an excellent opportunity for employers to learn straight from the DOL – the agency charged with enforcing the ever-changing and ever-dangerous wage/hour laws. Paul will address important issues that impact nearly all businesses, including exemptions from overtime, record-keeping requirements, deductions, and tip credit issues.

The meeting is Wednesday, August 12, 2015 at Crowne Plaza Bell Tower. Registration begins at 11:00. $21.00 for SHRM SWFL members, $25.00 for non-member. Click here to register: http://hrmaswfl.shrm.org/events. I hope to see you there!

Image courtesy of wikimedia commons

Suzanne Boy to present at Southwest Florida Symposium on Addiction in the Workplace

Posted in HR Seminars

Boy low resAddiction is one of the most prevalent and costly issues affecting businesses today. Yet the strategies employed by most human resource professionals have changed very little since the Drug Free Workplace Act was signed into law in 1988. Human resource professionals will have an opportunity to hear from national and local experts who will deliver cutting-edge information and practical tools to address this significant problem.

The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, SHRM SWFL and the Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce will present “New Strategy and Tactics for HR Professionals to Address the Largest Threat to Workplace Health” on August 11, 2015 from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Florida Gulf Coast University in Edwards Hall 112 in Fort Myers. Patrick Nolan, anchor and journalist from WFTX-TV, will provide opening remarks and introductions. Cost for the full day is $25 and includes breakfast and lunch. Attendees will receive up to eight certification credits through HRCI and SHRM and a newly released research update will also be distributed to the attendees upon completion of the program.

Speakers and Topics: Continue Reading

Yikes…Uber Drivers are Employees, Not Independent Contractors?

Posted in Department of Labor

Uber_app_icon - wikimedia commonsRonald Reagan famously once said: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.'”

On January 13, 2015, the State of Florida entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) with the goal of preventing the misclassification of employees as independent contractors. It is part of DOL’s “Misclassification Initiative.” Nationally, this initiative has meant a significant increase in the number of investigations undertaken by DOL, and Florida employers can expect greater scrutiny in light of the agreement with DOL.

How’s the initiative going so far? Two very recent cases caught my attention. Just a few days ago FedEx settled with the DOL by agreeing to pay $227 million to delivery drivers in California that were classified as independent contractors. FedEx will bounce back – aren’t drones going to be delivering packages soon anyway?

Continue Reading