Given the pandemic and its effect on financial markets coupled with the loss of contribution hours in certain industries, such a construction, many defined benefit pension plans have become underfunded once again. What may come as a surprise to contributing employers of multi-employer pension plans is the impact an underfunded pension plan can have on their business upon withdrawal from the plan. Employers should be aware of withdrawal liability and how to minimize its financial consequences. Continue reading ›
While shelter-in-place and other restrictions on business remain in effect due to the pandemic, many expect re-openings (whether gradual, on a timeline, based on industry, or otherwise) are imminent. If you have not adhered to the old adage to “learn from the past lest it repeat itself” maybe now is a good time to review some of your company policies. Continue reading ›
In the April 9, 2020 edition of The Legal Intelligencer Edward T. Kang, managing member of Kang Haggerty wrote “When to Hire Outside Lawyers to Conduct an Internal Investigation: Revisited”
In early November 2019, I wrote an article about the high-profile women who had called on Comcast to conduct an internal investigation regarding the alleged widespread culture of sexual harassment within the company. I discussed this issue and the rising calls for internal investigations within many industries and companies and their importance.
Since that article was published, Comcast has not been able to leave the spotlight on this issue. If anything, the calls for an internal investigation have only grown stronger. For example, four Democratic presidential candidates (Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren) called on the Democratic National Committee to make a formal demand on Comcast to perform an investigation regarding sexual misconduct before the November debate which was hosted by Comcast-owed MSNBC. Also, in November, Comcast went before the U.S. Supreme Court in an appeal of a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decision permitting a $20 billion racial discrimination suit to proceed against the company. Though the Supreme Court has not yet ruled on the matter, you should keep an eye out for its decision in Comcast v. National Association of African American-Owned Media.
Among the various challenges businesses are facing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, one is particularly garnering attention – the issue of business interruption insurance policies which are not being paid out to those who have faced losses due to coronavirus-related business closures. Business interruption insurance is designed to replace business income lost due to forced closure, typically due to natural disaster-related property damage, and is intended to cover operating expenses during the closure. Like elsewhere in the United States, governments in Pennsylvania and New Jersey responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by, among other measures, closing non-essential businesses unless remote work is available. In light of these closures, many businesses turned to their business interruption insurance policies, only to find Continue reading ›
In the November 7, 2019 edition of The Legal Intelligencer Edward T. Kang, managing member of Kang Haggerty wrote “When to Hire Outside Lawyers to Conduct an Internal Investigation.”
The call for an internal investigation, not unique in the wake of the #MeToo movement, is not simply confined to the media and entertainment industries—although we may know more about them due to the high profile of many of those involved.
Recently, a number of high-profile female journalists associated with NBC News called for its parent company, Comcast, to begin an internal investigation to address alleged sexual harassment within the news network’s workplace. As one of the country’s most successful corporations, Comcast, based here in Philadelphia, is faced with a need duplicated by many Fortune 500 companies—hiring outside counsel to investigate an internal matter.
Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson, key figures in exposing the decades of misconduct by the late Roger Ailes, have been vocal in their support of the need for an internal investigation. In that case, Fox failed to address complaints aimed at the former chair and CEO of Fox News. The allegations detailed in Ronan Farrow’s current best seller, “Catch and Kill,” not only reveals the depth of the issues, but highlights the potential damage to the profile of a successful business. The letter signed by Kelly and Carlson reiterated claims of a “corporate culture of widespread sexual harassment and abuse.”
The call for an internal investigation, not unique in the wake of the #MeToo movement, is not simply confined to the media and entertainment industries—although we may know more about them due to the high profile of many of those involved. Continue reading ›
We are often asked by our clients for non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements (often referred to as NDAs) in the transactional setting as well as in litigation settlement agreements – but what if the employment contract or settlement includes provisions regarding a discrimination claim?
Effective as of March 18, 2019 in New Jersey, lawyers must be wary of employment or settlement agreements that include any provision that “has the purpose or effect of concealing the details relating to a claim of discrimination, retaliation or harassment.” If a provision is contained in a settlement agreement to which the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) applies, it is unenforceable against the employee. If the employee chooses to reveal claim specifics in a way that the employer is “reasonably identifiable,” the employer may likewise reveal formerly confidential information. In fact, such settlement agreements must contain a bold, prominently placed notice that “although the parties may have agreed to keep the settlement and underlying facts confidential, such a provision in an agreement is unenforceable against the employer if the employee publicly reveals sufficient details of the claim so that the employer is reasonably identifiable.” Continue reading ›
In situations where employers also make their employees, or certain employees, agree to restrictive covenants, particularly noncompetes, companies expect the same uniformity and predictability regarding their enforceability as to each employee, regardless of where the employee works or lives. Employees, on the other hand, often expect (as we learned through a recent case) that even with another state’s choice of law provision, they will still be afforded the protection of the laws of their own state. This disconnect is no clearer than where non-California headquartered companies hire California residents as employees and require them to sign noncompetes governed by another state’s law. In California, noncompete agreements are generally unenforceable (with some limited exceptions). This is well-known, particularly by California residents. So, what happens in this situation if the California employee violates their noncompete? Continue reading ›
As a business owner, you want to make sure that your company successfully continues for generations to come. So, when you eventually retire or step down from your position, it is important to consider how you want to proceed with passing on your business to the next generation. Consider the following five tips.
1. Highlight your goals. Do you plan on passing your business down to your family, or do you prefer to transition to a buyer? Figure out your goals behind transitioning your business well before you intend to pass on your business. You should give yourself ample time to prepare for any obstacles along the way.
2. Create a clear strategy. Create a clear exit plan strategy as you move forward with the transition. Always be sure you have this plan set before you start so you do not run into confusion while transitioning. Consider the following to include in your strategy as you prepare:
When considering creating a social media policy, it is important to keep in mind that you will never be able to completely control social media use by your employees. There are, however, a few ways that you can successfully create a social media policy that will allow you to place legal boundaries around media use.
1. Create a Policy and BE Informative: Notify your Employees that you are creating a policy. Keeping them informed mitigates future “I didn’t know” excuses. Also, employees have the legal right to be informed about any new policy change or creation.
2. BE Informed: Before you start drafting anything, be informed about recent legislation regarding Social Media policies and cases that have created different interpretations of existing policies. Three major examples are:
1. Define your goals. What is your ultimate goal in transitioning your business? Do you plan on funding your retirement through this transition? Is it to leave a legacy? The reason behind your desire to transition will determine how you proceed.
2. Plan & Implement Your Strategies. Create a clear plan as you move forward with the transition. Always be sure you have this plan set before you start so you do not run into confusion while transitioning. Consider the following to include in your strategy as you prepare:
a. Financial. If your goal is towards retirement, how will you be funding it? What will be your compensation as you leave the company? Be sure you highlight financial issues clearly and consult with the appropriate experts to make sure these issues are handled well.