Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A.

Last week, the Defense of Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”) was signed into law. The DTSA creates a federal legal scheme for the protection of trade secrets. Previously, protection of this form of intellectual property was solely a matter of state law, unlike patent, trademark and copyright, which have always been matters of federal law. The DTSA has a number of unique provisions, one of which immediately impacts employers who use confidentiality agreements with their employees. We offer the following summary of this new law.

Whistleblower Protection

Due to concerns over the impact that confidentiality agreements might have on employees who might otherwise report their employer’s wrongdoing to the government, an amendment was tacked on to the DTSA to provide civil and criminal immunity to whistleblowers under state and federal law for disclosing confidential or trade secret information to the government as part of whistleblowing activity.


Continue Reading Why Employers Need to Review Employment and Confidentiality Agreements in Light of the Newly-Enacted Defense of Trade Secrets Act

The moment we have all been waiting for (dreading?) has arrived — the Department of Labor issued its “Overtime” Final Rule.  The details are available on the DOL’s website, with the “official” Final Rule to be published in the Federal Regulations tomorrow.

As anyone who follows HR or employment law knows, this Final Rule

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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

We are 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, we are not excited because our favorite group of HR professionals plans to throw food at Paul (if you’re reading this, Paul, we promise we

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 our 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 Yikes…Uber Drivers are Employees, Not Independent Contractors?

heatlhcare via audio-luci-store.itThe Affordable Care Act of 2010 (the “ACA”) is one of the most complex pieces of legislation ever enacted by Congress. Nonetheless, within the morass of that very complicated legislation, there is a relatively straightforward rule applicable to “Grandfathered” Health Insurance Plans. Basically, under the ACA, a group health insurance plan in existence as of March 23, 2010, is exempt from many (but not all) of the ACA’s requirements. If, however, the employer enters into a “new” health insurance plan after March 23, 2010, then all the ACA’s requirements apply to the employers’ health insurance plan. Seems pretty straightforward, right? Well, even the relatively simple legal principles become complicated in the right (or wrong) circumstances. This blog post evaluates a specific situation where what should be a straightforward application of the ACA’s grandfathering rules becomes….not so straightforward; and also illustrates the relationship between legal requirements, and the interplay of legal options and practical considerations imposed by group health insurance carriers.

The Employer – Dental Associates of Florida, D.M.D., P.A.

The case study that is the subject of this blog post is a Florida dental practice called “Dental Associates of Southwest Florida, D.M.D., P.A.” (This is NOT its real name, of course). Dental Associates of Southwest Florida, D.M.D., P.A. (“Dental Associates”) has just been established by a young, relatively recent doctor of dental medicine whom we shall call “Dr. Julie” (also not her real name). Dr. Julie has an undergraduate degree in chemistry, and has always been interested in dental polymers. So, in addition to practicing as a general dentist, Dr. Julie also establishes a small laboratory in which she develops and creates dental crowns for her patients that require such implements.
Continue Reading Grandfathering Rules under the Affordable Care Act: A Case Study

7K0A0129This blog is a sequel to our previous post summarizing the rules and regulations governing an employee’s use of intermittent FMLA leave, which you can find here.

Managing employees’ requests for intermittent FMLA leave can be complicated and frustrating. Intermittent leave is difficult to track. It is often abused (or is it merely coincidental that leave is most often requested for a Friday, Monday, or the day before a holiday?!). Intermittent leave causes workplace disruption—especially when it is unforeseeable. Employee morale is often affected when co-workers are forced to pick up the slack for an absent co-worker. Although employees on intermittent leave may be temporarily reassigned to a different position, they must still be restored to their original position at the end of the approved leave period. No wonder that FMLA leave is a chronic HR headache!

Here are a few tips for treating this chronic headache:
Continue Reading Intermittent FMLA Leave: A Chronic HR Headache (Part II)

LLCIn 2013, the Florida Revised Limited Liability Company Act (the “Act”) was signed into law. The Act was codified in an entirely new chapter in the Florida Statutes, Chapter 605. However, the then-current Limited Liability Company Act, found in Chapter 608, did not immediately vanish with the introduction of Chapter 605. Instead, to provide for time for businesses and the legal community to adjust to the new Act, special transition rules were implemented. All LLCs formed in or registered to do business in the state prior to January 1, 2014 were still subject to the provisions of Chapter 608 unless they elected otherwise; those formed after that date were subject to Chapter 605. This transition period, where both Chapters were operative, was short-lived. As of January 1, 2015 all LLCs organized under Florida law or registered to do business in the state are governed by the rules found in Chapter 605.

What Changed Besides Chapter Numbers?


Continue Reading Does Your Operating Agreement Still Mean What You Think it Means?