BCLP Banking Blog

Bank Bryan Cave

Labor and Employment

Main Content

April 2012 Client Alerts

IRS Releases Proposed Rules on New Comparative Effectiveness Fee for Health Plans

On April 12, 2012 the IRS released proposed regulations regarding the collection of the fee for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund (the “Fund”) under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  The Fund will be used to pay for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute which has the goal of helping health care providers and consumers make informed health decisions by synthesizing research comparing the outcome effectiveness of various treatments.  To learn more about proposed  regulations, the plans that will be impacted and the fee, please click here to read the Alert published by the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Client Service Group on April 23, 2012.

The Absolute Priority Rule:  An Endangered Species in Individual Chapter 11 Cases?

The absolute priority rule of Section 1129(b) of the Bankruptcy Code is a fundamental creditor protection in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy case.  The rule implements the general state-law principle that creditors are entitled to payment before shareholders unless creditors agree to a different result.  Recent litigation has raised the issue of  whether the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, which otherwise is a very creditor-friendly statute, modified the Bankruptcy Code in such a way as to eliminate the absolute priority rule if the debtor is an individual.  For a discussion of the issue, please click here to read the Alert published by the Bankruptcy, Restructuring and Creditors’ Rights Client Service Group on April 9, 2012.

Estate Planning in 2012

Generally, there are three basic goals of estate, generation skipping transfer and gift tax planning:  (1) the reduction of estate and gift taxes upon transfer; (2) the deferral of the estate, generation skipping transfer and gift tax burden; and (3) ensuring for the necessary liquidity to pay the taxes when they become due.  As a result of the present low interest rates and the drop in value of most types of assets, there may be opportunities to engage in some estate planning that may not be available to clients when interest rates rise and values are driven higher.  To learn about how to take advantage of these opportunities in 2012, while we are sure we have them, please click here to read a memorandum  published by Bryan Cave’s  Private Client Group on April 10, 2012.  

Data Breaches:  Will You Be Sued, And Can You Lower Risk?

According to a widely reported study, 90% of organizations have had at least one data breach in the last year and almost 60% had two or more breaches over the year.  In light of headlines describing multimillion-dollar data security breach settlements, it is no surprise that businesses fear the worst.   For a discussion of the litigation risks, range of liability and how businesses can lower the risks associated with security breaches, please click here to read an article written by the Data Privacy and Security Team attorneys and published in Law 360 on April 25, 2012.   

Read More

March 2012 Client Alerts

9th Circuit Holds TILA Bars Rescission Suits Filed More Than 3 Years After Consummation

In McOmie-Gray v. Bank of America (9th Cir. Feb. 8, 2012), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that under the Truth in Lending Act (“TILA”), “rescission suits must be brought within three years from consummation of the loan, regardless whether notice of rescission is delivered within that three-year period.”  It ruled that the three year period in the Act is an absolute limitation on rescission actions and that the one year period for bringing claims applies only to damages actions and does not extend the time to file a claim for rescission even where the borrower has sent the Bank a written notice of rescission within three years of loan signing or “consummation.”  To learn more about the facts in this case and the Court’s decision, please click here to read the Alert published by the Commercial Litigation Client Service Group and the Financial Institutions Client Service Group on March 6, 2012.

How Long Should You Retain Data?  Recent Developments May Add Confusion Not Clarity

Businesses have always collected information about their customers, but with the explosion of on-line commerce the quantity of information collected has ballooned.  One question that necessarily arises for almost any business is deciding how long it will keep the data it collects.  Businesses are aware that future developments in technology will improve the usefulness (and value) of the data that is currently in their possession.  Retaining consumer data, however, raises a number of legal risks which are often difficult to quantify in light of the changing regulatory and litigation landscape.  For a discussion of how recent developments add to the legal complexity, please click here to read the Bulletin published by the Data Privacy & Security Team on March 16, 2012.

Supreme Court Weakens EPA’s Enforcement Regine

The United States Supreme Court handed landowners a major victory against the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in its unanimous decision in Sackett v. EPA, No. 10-1062.  The decision announced March 21, 2012, held that Clean Water Act compliance orders can be challenged in court under the Administrative Procedures, undercutting EPA’s historic practice of using compliance orders to, in the words of the Court, “strong-arm” parties into voluntary compliance.  To learn about the case and the Court’s decision, please click here to read the Alert published by the Environmental Client Service Group on March 22, 2012.

Read More

February 2012 Client Alerts

FINRA Issues Guidance on Protection of Customer Accounts

A recent alert from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) is encouraging broker-dealers to reexamine their policies and procedures relating to protection of customer assets and accounts.  FINRA Regulatory Notice 12-05 advises broker-dealers that FINRA has received an increasing number of reports of customer funds being stolen as a result of instructions e-mailed to firms from customer e-mail accounts that have been compromised.  With that notice, FINRA also issued an Investor Alert advising the public about the reported incidents.  To learn more about the Notice and Alert, please click here to read the Alert published by the White Collar Defense & Investigations and Securities Litigation & Enforcement Client Service Groups and Data Privacy & Security Team on February 6, 2012.

Reporting Cybersecurity Risks — New Obligations for Publicly Traded Companies 

Most companies are aware that they may be required to report data security breaches to consumers and, in some instances, state attorneys general, the FTC, or HHS.  Publicly traded companies should bear in mind that they have to notify another group — their investors.  The SEC last year offered  first-of-its kind guidance on when companies should report cybersecurity incidents in their disclosure statements.  To learn more about the new requirements, please click here to read the Alert published by the Data Privacy & Security Team on February 14, 2012.

DOL Issues Final Fee Disclosure Rule

Earlier this year, the Department of Labor issued a final rule on the disclosure requirements for a contract or arrangement for services to a covered plan to be deemed “reasonable” under Section 408(b)(2) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1973 (“ERISA”).  These disclosure requirements become effective July 1, 2012 and apply to service contracts and arrangements entered into both before and after that date.  To learn more about the disclosures required and what plans or contracts may be excluded from the rule, please  Click here to read the Alert published by the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Client Service Group on February 7, 2012. 

Read More

December 2011 Client Alerts

SEC and FINRA Issue Guidance on Broker Dealer Branch Inspections

Broker-Dealers who face inspections from regulators should take heed of recent guidance provided by the two principal securities regulatory agencies.  The regulators are the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) and the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations.  Their jointly issued “National Examination Risk Alert” offers guidance on policies and procedures that broker-dealers should consider for branch office inspection programs.  To learn more, please click here to read the Alert published by the White Collar Defense & Investigations and Securities Litigation & Enforcement Client Service Groups on December 13, 2011.

State Taxation of Former Residents’ Retirement Income

Recently, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance issued an Advisory Opinion regarding whether New York State may impose income tax on distributions from a nonqualified deferred compensation plan made to a former resident.  The opinion, consistent with federal law, concluded that New York State may not impose tax on these retirement payments.  To read more about the Advisory Opinion, please click here for the Alert published by the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Client Service Group on December 28, 2011.

Reminder Regarding Information Reporting For Corporate Actions That Affect Stock Basis

Issuers of securities who undertook an “organizational action” in 2011 that affected the basis of such securities are required to file an information return reporting such action.  The Information Return for actions taken in 2011 was due to be filed January 17, 2012 for actions taken in 2011.  For more information on timing of returns for actions in 2012 and subsequent years, please click here to read the Tax Advice and Controversy Client Service Group Bulletin published December 30, 2011. 

Read More

October 2011 Client Alerts

NLRB Postpones Effective Date of “Employee Rights” Posting Requirement

The National Labor Relations Board announced on October 5, 2011, the decision to postpone until January 31, 2012 the effective date of its recently published rule requiring employers to post notices informing employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act.  The NLRB finalized its new notice-posting requirement in August and at that time announced that the rule would take effect on November 14, 2011.  However, federal lawsuits were filed challenging the rule and prompting many questions and uncertainty from employers across the nation.  To learn more about the rule, please click here to read the Alert published by the Labor & Employment Client Service Group on October 6, 2011.

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) — The Benefits of a Computer Use Policy That Restricts Employee Access

Employers that provide employees unfettered access to company computer systems may unwittingly forfeit a valuable statutory remedy against the misappropriation of electronic data.   Such employers should ensure that they have a computer use policy in place that explicitly distinguishes between authorized and unauthorized use.  To learn more about the Act and the  federal avenue it provides to pursue employees who have misappropriated electronic information, please click here to read the Alert published by the Labor & Employment Client Service Group on October 27, 2011.

Qualified Retirement Plan Limits for Calendar Year 2012

 The IRS has announced its 2012 cost-of-living adjustments for retirement plans.   To access a chart reflecting the qualified plan limits for calendar years 2009-2012, please click here for the Alert published by the Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Client Service Group on October 24, 2011.

FINCEN Issues a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Requiring Cross-Border Report for Prepaid Cards

The Financial Crimes Enforcement bureau has released a proposed rulemaking that would require consumers holding prepaid cards aggregating more than $10,000 in value to report the cards when crossing into or out of the U.S., in the same way that they report cash, travelers checks and other monetary instruments.  Please click here to read the Alert published by the Financial Institutions Client Service Group on October 18, 2011.

Read More

September 2011 Client Alerts

Social Media and the National Labor Relations Act:  A Trap for Unwary Employers

The use of social media has become one of the most rapidly-changing areas in employment law today.  What most employers do not realize is that the National Labor Relations Board has become very active in policing both the substance of social media policies and the actions of employers in addressing social media concerns.  Please click here to read an overview of NLRB activity in the area of employee use of social media published by the Labor & Employment and Internet & New Media Client Service Groups on September 23, 2011.

Check It Out and Check It Off:  2012 Group Health Plan Checklist

While the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended (“PPACA”), required significant design changes for group health plans in 2010 or 2011, some additional requirements must be implemented for 2012.  Please click here to read the Alert published by the Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Client Service Group on September 7, 2011. 

IRS Establishes a Voluntary Classification Settlement Program

The IRS recently announced a new settlement program for employers with misclassified workers.  Under the new program, employers can get a significant reduction in their federal employment tax liability associated with past nonemployment treatment by agreeing to properly classify their workers for future tax period.  The announcement came on the heels of recent announcements that the IRS, Department of Labor and various state agencies are collaborating on examining worker misclassification issues.  To learn more about the new program, please click here to read the Alert published by the Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Client Service Group on September 30, 2011.

Department of Labor Issues Final Rule Requiring Follow-On Contractors to Hire Their Predecessor’s Employees

The Department of Labor issued a final rule just before Labor Day that, in effect, will given certain employees now performing under Federal government service contracts employment for life or at least for as long as the government continues to contract for those services.  Although the rule does not take effect until the Federal Acquisition Regulation Council issues its complementary regulations, matters are sufficiently final that contractors should begin planning for how they are going to comply.  To learn more about this new regulation, click here to read the Alert published by the Government Contracts Team on September 8, 2011.

U.S. House Panel Hears Divergent Opinions on SRO Oversight of Investment Advisers

Fund managers and other investment advisers should be aware that Congress is now considering legislation that would significantly alter regulation of the nation’s registered investment advisers.  A key House subcommittee has heard widely divergent views on the proposed legislation entitled the “Investment Adviser Oversight Act of 2011.”  To learn more about the draft legislation, click here to read the Alert published by the White Collar Defense and Investigations Securities Litigation and Enforcement Client Service Groups on September 20, 2011.

New Patent Reform Bill Poised to Significantly Change U.S. Patent Law

On September 8, 2011, Congress approved the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act of 2011.  The Act materially alters a long history of patent law in the United States.   Among the provisions addressed by the Act are who is entitled to a patent (“first to file” versus “first to invent”) and who may file a “false marking” lawsuit.  To read more about how the Act alters patent law, please click here to read the Bulletin published by the Intellectual Property Client Service Group on September 12, 2011. 

FinCEN Issues Final Rule on Prepaid Access; Extends Compliance Date for Many Aspects of the Final Rule

New anti-money laundering regulations that directly impact retail business that issue or sell gift cards or other prepaid cards were issued by the Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN),  The regulations require the collection and verification of customer information when certain prepaid cards are sold or reloaded.  To read an overview of the Final Rule, please click here for the Alert published by the Financial Institutions Client Service Group on September 6, 2011. The Final Rule was set to go into effect on September 27, but FinCEN announced that it has extended the compliance date for most aspects of the regulations.  For information on how the compliance dates changed, please click here to read the Alert published on September 12, 2011.

New Dual/Third Country National Rule Continues to Present Challenges

A new rule took effect in August which amended the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) to include a new license exemption for the transfer of defense articles to dual/third country national employees of approved non-U.S. licensees under ITAR agreements.  To read about the new rule, please click here for International Regulatory Bulletin published September 28, 2011.

DDTC Updates its “Guidelines for Preparing Electronic Agreements” to Implement New Dual/Third Country National Rule

In August, DDTC updated its “Guidelines for Preparing Electronic Agreements” (the “Guidelines”) to reflect implementation of the new rule and provide guidance to exporters preparing ITAR agreements.  To learn more, please click here to read the International Regulatory Bulletin published September 28, 2011.

 Electronic Payment of Registration Fees

The Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) issued an amendment to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) that requires a change in the method of payment for registration fees.  Effective September 26, 2011, all registration fees must be paid electronically via Automated Clearing House.  To read about the amendment, please click here for the International Regulatory Bulletin published September 15, 2011.

French Working Time for Executives:  Lump-Sum Remuneration Agreements Based on a Fixed Number of Working Days Per Year (so-called Forfaits-Jours)

The legal duration of work for employees in France is 35 hours per week, meaning that any hours required to be worked above this limit would normally be considered overtime.  Executives are, however, most often not subject to this limit.  For an outline of how the French Labor Code distinguishes between three types of executives, please click here to read the September 2011 Briefing published by the Paris Labor & Employment Client Service Group.

 The Agency Workers Regulations 2010

UK’s new Agency Workers Regulations come into force on 1 October 2011.  The regulations are intended to give agency workers the same basic employment rights and conditions as permanent staff employed directly by the relevant company.  To learn about the new regulations, please click here for the September 2011 Briefing published by the London Labour and Employment Client Service Group.

China Announces Legal Changes That May Broaden Power to Investigate Bribery

In August the National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China released the draft Criminal Procedure Law Amendment to the public for comment.  If passed, the amendment is expected to provide additional protection to the civil rights of accused parties.  However, critics say that the amendment would also provide authorities legal cover to utilize secret locations to detain subjects suspected of engaging in acts involving national security, terrorism, or other serious crimes which may include serious bribery.  To read about the amendment, please click here for the International Regulatory Bulletin published September 27, 2011.

Read More

August 2011 Client Alerts

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Arizona’s Employment Verification Law

On May 26, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Arizona law that sanctions employers for hiring unauthorized aliens and endorsed Arizona’s requirement that employers use the federal E-Verify screening program.  A 5-3 majority of the Court found that language in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 did not pre-empt the Arizona Law.  For the answers to frequently asked questions about the Arizona law, please click here to read the Client Alert published by the Labor & Employment Client Service Group on August 4, 2011.

Employers Should Consider Expressly Prohibiting FMLA Fraud

Many employers have updated their FMLA policies to reflect recent amendments to the law and revisions to the regulations.  Another aspect of an FMLA policy that merits attention is ensuring that the policy expressly prohibits FMLA fraud and specifies the penalty for the offense.  The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued an unpublished opinion earlier this year that reinforces the need for express fraud prohibition.  To learn more about the implications of the opinion, please click here to read the Client Alert published by the Labor & Employment Client Service Group on August 19, 2011.

SEC Proxy Access Rule Vacated by Federal Court

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit recently set aside and vacated Exchange Act Rule 14a-11 concerning shareholder proxy access, adopted by the SEC on August 25, 2010.  On a petition for review, a panel held that the SEC had “failed adequately to consider the rule’s effect upon efficiency, competition and capital formation,” as the SEC was required to do under its enabling statutes.  Thus, the Court held that adoption of the Rule was “arbitrary and capricious” and vacated the Rule.  To read more about the decision, please click here to read the Alert published by the Corporate Finance and Securities Client Service Group published August 4, 2011.

Read More

June 2011 Client Alerts

The Implications for FCPA Enforcement of the SEC’s New Whistleblower Rules

The SEC’s recent adoption of rules to implement the whistleblower program mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act has particular significance for enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  For a discussion of the overall SEC enforcement context for the new whistleblower rules, a summary of the rules,  and a discussion of the key issues for FCPA enforcement, including recommendations that companies should take now, please click here to read the Alert published by the Global Anti-Corruption Team of the Securities Litigation and Enforcement  and International Trade Groups on June 22, 2011.

Supreme Court De-Certifies Largest Employment Discrimination Class Action In History

In Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, the Supreme Court reversed a lower court’s decision to certify a nationwide class pursuing employment discrimination claims against the nation’s largest employer.  A 5-4 majority of the Court concluded that the class of 1.5 million current and former female employees could not satisfy the commonality requirement.  For a discussion of the decision, please click here to read the Alert published by the Class and Derivative Actions section of the Labor & Employment Client Service Group on June 21, 2011.

Supreme Court Draws Bright Line Barring Securities Fraud Claims Against Advisers to Companies Who Do Not “Make” Statements At Issue

In June the U.S. Supreme Court issued a significant decision restricting the ability of plaintiffs to bring securities fraud actions against adviser defendants who play a role in preparing statements actually made by companies they are advising.  In Janus Group, et al. v. First Derivative Traders, the court held that an investment adviser to a mutual fund could not be sued in a private securities fraud action for false statements made in mutual fund prospectuses.  To read more, please click here for the Alert published by the Securities Litigation and Enforcement practice group on June 16, 2011.

Read More

May 2011 Client Alerts

Federal Judge in Missouri Dismisses Legal Challenge to Health Care Reform

The Judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Southeastern Division, entered an order dismissing a lawsuit filed by Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder that challenged the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  Kinder et al v. Geithner et al. was filed in July 2010 by Kinder, joined in by six other Missouri residents, as a private citizen after the state’s attorney general declined to join other states in challenging the health care law.  To read more about the order in this case, please click here to see the Alert published by the Life Sciences and Health Care Client Service Group on May 3, 2011.

FTC Cracking Down on Affiliate Advertisers

In April the FTC filed 10 lawsuits against companies and individuals that run affiliate advertising websites.  These lawsuits come within two months of an earlier round of lawsuits targeting affiliate advertising programs.  The most recent targets are fake news websites that promote weight loss products.  To learn more, please click here to read the Alert published by the Retail Team on May 5, 2011.

Arbitration Clauses May Waive Class Proceedings

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that the Federal Arbitration Act does not allow state law to invalidate class action waivers in arbitration agreements on the basis of unconscionability.  While AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion involved consumer claims, the language of the ruling will bolster enforceability of class action waivers in employment related arbitration agreements.  To read more about the ruling, click here for the Alert published by the Labor & Employment Client Service Group on May 18, 2011.

Read More

March 2011 Client Alerts

Department of Labor Extends Non-Enforcement Period for Certain Internal Claims and Appeals Requirements Applicable to Non-Grandfathered Plans Under the Affordable Care Act

On March 18, 2011, the Department of Labor issued Technical Release 2011-01 extending, with some modifications, the enforcement grace period established under DOL Technical Release 2010-02 until plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2012.  To learn more the extension of the enforcement grace period, please click here to read the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Client Service Group’s Alert published March 21, 2011.

Reporting for Participants with Deferred Vested Benefits – IRS Replaces Schedule SSA

Plan administrators are required to report certain information regarding participants who separate from service with the right to a deferred vested retirement  benefit.  In Announcement 2011-21, the IRS designated Form 8955-SSA to be used to satisfy this reporting requirement, replacing Schedule SSA.  To learn more about the filing requirements for the new form, please click here to read the Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Client Service Group’s Alert published March 28, 2011.

Supreme Court Says Two Exemptions are Unavailable to Companies Trying to Protect Their Information from Disclosure under FOIA

Companies frequently find that information they submit to the Federal government is sought by others — perhaps competitors — under the Freedom of Information Act.  The submitting company may be able to block the disclosure if the information falls within one of the exemptions in FOIA.  On March 1 the Supreme Court made two of those exemptions unavailable to companies.  To read more about the Court’s decision in FCC v. AT&T Inc. please  click here to read the Government Contracts Team Alert published March 3, 2011

FTC Takes a Bite Out of Cookie-Based Behavioral Advertising

On March 14, 2011, the Federal Trade Commission announced a settlement with a behavioral advertising company that places cookies in consumers’ internet browsers to track online activities.  This settlement marks one of the agency’s first enforcement actions against a behavioral advertising company and signals that the FTC has begun to act on its repeated warnings about scrutinizing behavioral advertising more closely.  To learn more about the settlement, please click here to read the Consumer Protection Group’s Alert published March 17, 2011.

Read More
The attorneys of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner make this site available to you only for the educational purposes of imparting general information and a general understanding of the law. This site does not offer specific legal advice. Your use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Bryan Cave LLP or any of its attorneys. Do not use this site as a substitute for specific legal advice from a licensed attorney. Much of the information on this site is based upon preliminary discussions in the absence of definitive advice or policy statements and therefore may change as soon as more definitive advice is available. Please review our full disclaimer.