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Vol. III, Issue No. 2
February 28, 2014
Dear (Contact First Name), 

Our February Briefing adds a new feature to give some insight on matters we're working on or have resolved. This month's feature highlights two recent successful settlements reached on a FINRA and a divorce action. We also talk about our mediation services, a trend we see in increasing Wage and Hour Claims and the potential exposure for failing to renew an employee's contract.  Enjoy the rest of the month - Spring is just around the corner!
Five Ways To Minimize Risk Of A Wage And Hour Claim


Stopwatch and Money - Hourly Wages ConceptEmployers both large and small continue to be affected by Wage and Hour claims. In one recently reported case, a Domino's Pizza franchisee agreed to pay $1.28 million to 61 pizza delivery workers based on claims of unpaid work. HSP was recently retained to represent an employer after the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division demanded an audit of its payroll records. What can an employer do before a claim is made or an audit is demanded?
  1. Conduct periodic internal audits with labor counsel to ensure compliance with applicable laws;
  2. Ensure that employees who are classified as salaried workers and thus exempt from overtime pay are properly classified;
  3. Review written job descriptions to ensure that duties of exempt employees reflect their actual job duties;
  4. Determine that any workers classified as independent contractors are properly classified and are not actually employees; and
  5. Ensure that time record keeping procedures accurately reflect the work done.
These procedures can help minimize the risk of an audit or a claim by an employee for unpaid wages or overtime.
Got Mediation?

Need assistance in resolving your litigation? Mediate! John Hubbard and Mark Snitchler recently completed a 40 hour Circuit Civil Mediation Training program in Orlando, Florida, towards obtaining certification. They are both available for mediation services in both Michigan and Florida. Mark, in fact, recently mediated a successful resolution in a probate case in which no one expected a settlement. 

Can An Employer's Failure To Renew An Expiring Employment Contract Result In Retaliatory Liability?

Illegal retaliation can take many forms - but can an employer's decision to not renew an employee's contract form the basis for Whistleblower Liability?
In another case highlighting the importance of employee termination protocol, the Supreme Court recently heard oral argument in Wurtz v. Beecher Metropolitan District.  The employee alleged that the employer failed to extend his expiring contract because he reported the employer's violations of Michigan law.  The Supreme Court will decide whether to reverse the Court of Appeals decision which found that an employer can indeed be liable under the Whistleblower Protection Act even when an expiring contract does not have a renewal provision.  We will update the Court's decision in a future newsletter.
Successful Resolutions Reached In Cases

- John Hubbard successfully settled a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA") securities arbitration case. He represented an elderly client whose broker improperly sold him investments in limited partnerships, some of which were determined to be Ponzi schemes.

- In a complex divorce action involving business valuation and custody issues, Gavin Fleming obtained a favorable settlement for his client. 
Need a successful Resolution to your issues?  Contact us.

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