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Archive for the ‘Employment Practices Liability’ Category

Who owns your company’s data? How do you make sure?

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You own your data, but you have to take steps to make sure you can control it, both legally and in the cyber world.

Do your employees use only devices your company owns?
Have they acknowledged that their information on those devices is not private?

If they use their own devices to access your information, have they agreed to let you review any and all information on those devices?
Have they agreed to let you wipe their devices if you find your information on them?

All of this should involve help from your own lawyer.

Even if you get a signed acknowledgement that you can look at their information and look at information on devices they own, you’d better be talking to your own lawyer if you run into a communication between your employee and his or her own attorney.

On the IT front, a good IT provider can help erect barriers to penetration by outsiders, and to theft of data by insiders.

But multiple platforms are complicating IT.  Mobile malware is exploding.  And many small businesses don’t keep current with firewalls and monitoring of data use.

If you’d like to discuss IT issues in more depth, try this link to IT Radix.  And we thank them for putting on the seminar that provoked many of these questions today.

The legal questions in the seminar today were posed by Colin Page, Esq.  Try this link to make contact with his law firm if you have questions on data ownership and employment issues.

Insurance and Employment Law – Outsourcing

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What happens when you outsource jobs?  There are benefits to outsourcing in the right circumstances.  But what problems can come up and what should you do to protect your business?

  1. If the workers are not your employees, they can escape the Workers Compensation system and pursue law suits against you.   If you don’t set it up correctly, you may violate State and Federal labor laws.  See the link below for Colin Page’s blog page laying out a real case of a problem blowing up in the employer’s face.
  2. If you create a 1099 relationship, making someone an “independent contractor”, you have to be very careful to make sure the relationship truly qualifies as an independent.  If you want detailed advice on those rules to observe, on how to stay out of trouble with your State Board of Workers Compensation and Department of Labor, and lawsuits, click on the link below to William Barrett for legal advice.
  3. Employees are generally entitled to Workers Compensation benefits if injured; in New Jersey there are very few exceptions.  Non-employees can sue outside the controlled environment of Workers Compensation.  Make sure you have someone else’s insurance in front of yours; if you have a contract with someone who doesn’t have Workers Compensation, you are probably going to be providing it.
  4. You should follow basic risk management procedures.  If you contract jobs out to another company, get their certificates of insurance for Workers Compensation and General Liability.  Have them name you as an “additional insured” on their policies.  Make sure you have your own Workers Compensation, General Liability, and Employment Practices Liability insurance policies.

For more detail or to kick ideas around, we’ve given you links below to some intelligent lawyers and to our own contact information.

Here’s a link to the Chair of Corporate Law at a large NJ law firm.  Bright lawyer, William Barrett, who has been very solid for us.

Here’s a link to a Colin M. Page & Associates blog with comments on problems with outsourcing work.

Here’s a link to information on Employment Practices Liability Insurance.  GBW Insurance, 3 Gold Mine Road, Flanders, NJ  07836.  1-800-548-2329

Changes in new employee forms required by the Department of Homeland Security

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Effective today 5/7/2013, employers must use the current I9 Employment Eligibility Verification form.  You can get a copy of the current form at at the USCIS website. The US Citizenship and Immigration enforces this.

Every employer must complete a Form I-9 when they hire new employees. You have to retain it, with possible fines if the form is not complete or if you do not keep it.   Some of the new fields call for email addresses and employees’ foreign passport information.  

The employer must certify that ” I attest, under penalty of perjury, that 1) I have examined the document(s) presented by the above named employee, 2) the above-listed document(s) appear to be genuine and to relate to the employee named, and 3) to the best of my knowledge the employee is authorized to work in the United States.”

It’s interesting that the employer has more fields to fill out than does the employee.  And it must be completed no later than the first day of employment.  (Bold print in the original form.)  But never before the employee has accepted a job offer. 

“Reverification applies if evidence of employment authorization (List A or List C document) presented in Section 2 expires.”

Are you getting the idea of why there are 7 pages of explanation for a two page form?

Anyway, if you have questions about on-boarding a new employee, give us a call at 1-800-548-2329.  If we can’t answer a question for you, we may be able to recommend a consultant, or a labor attorney.

New Jersey A3970 – Eliminating Non-Competition Agreements

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Three members of the New Jersey Assembly have introduced A3970.  This would all but eliminate non-competition agreements.  #Businessinsurance  Their intention is to minimize unemployment.

What’s the problem?  For many small businesses, intellectual property is their most valuable property.  Without the ability to defend customer lists and proprietary processes, they don’t have a business.

Perversely, the bill gives small employers the incentive to fight as hard as possible to keep terminated employees from receiving unemployment since unemployment benefits are what triggers destruction of non-competition agreements.

For an intelligent discussion of this bill, try Ken Drossman’s analysis:  http://blog.oakandapplepartners.com/2013/04/26/republican-head-democratic-heart-and-bad-law/

A copy of the text of the bill appears below.

A3970 P.BARNES, III, EGAN
2
1 AN ACT concerning certain employment contracts and
2 unemployment compensation, and supplementing chapter 21 of
3 Title 43 of the Revised Statutes.
4
5 BE IT ENACTED by the Senate and General Assembly of the State
6 of New Jersey:
7
8 1. An unemployed individual found to be eligible to receive
9 benefits pursuant to the “unemployment compensation law,”
10 R.S.43:21-1 et seq., shall not be bound by any covenant, contract,
11 or agreement, entered into with the individual’s most recent
12 employer, not to compete, not to disclose, or not to solicit. This
13 section shall not be construed to apply to any covenant, contract, or
14 agreement in effect on or before the date of enactment of P.L. ,
15 c. (C. )(pending before the Legislature as this bill).
16
17 2. This act shall take effect immediately.
18
19
20 STATEMENT
21
22 This bill will invalidate any covenant, contract, or agreement not
23 to compete, not to disclose, or not to solicit, entered into by an
24 individual with the individual’s most recent employer, if the
25 individual is found to be eligible for unemployment insurance
26 benefits pursuant to the “unemployment compensation law,”
27 N.J.S.A.43:21-1 et seq. The bill stipulates that the provisions of the
28 bill will not apply to any covenant, contract, or agreement in effect
29 on or before the date of the bill’s enactment.