Avoid Copyright Infringement

How to Properly Use Music and Images During Worship Service

Churches today use a variety of intellectual property during worship services, such as music, photographs, quotes, and video clips.  These materials can be important to a worship service by increasing engagement, illustrating a point, or adding extra meaning to the service.  However, most materials are protected by copyright laws.

Using intellectual property without the permission of the copyright owner or other legal authority is copyright infringement and can result in significant monetary damages.  Churches need to know the legal issues that apply to using intellectual property so they can take steps to get permission when needed and avoid copyright infringement.    Continue reading “Avoid Copyright Infringement”

Supreme Court Opens the Door for States to Collect Online Sales Tax

South Dakota v. Wayfair and Its Profound Effects

The U.S. Supreme Court made sweeping changes to how sales tax laws can be enforced by overturning a 26-year-old precedent.  In South Dakota v. Wayfair, the Court held that physical presence is no longer necessary for a state to enforce sales tax laws against out-of-state sellers.  Countless online retailers have relied upon the “physical presence” requirement over the last three decades to avoid paying sales tax where they had no offices, employees, inventory, or other physical contacts.  The Court held that the “physical presence” rule was no longer sound and that states can tax any activity that has a “substantial nexus,” in this case through “extensive virtual presence” within the taxing state. Continue reading “Supreme Court Opens the Door for States to Collect Online Sales Tax”

Supreme Court to Hear Case That Could Change Multi-State Sales Tax Law

South Dakota v. Wayfair Inc. Challenges Quill Corp. v. North Dakota Decision

A very important case will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court that could dramatically change the sales tax landscape.  This spring the Court will hear South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., which challenges a prior Supreme Court decision in Quill Corp. v. North DakotaContinue reading “Supreme Court to Hear Case That Could Change Multi-State Sales Tax Law”

“Mark of the Beast”: Fourth Circuit Upholds Judgment That Employer Failed to Accommodate Employee’s Religious Beliefs

A recent Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling highlights an employer’s mistakes when refusing an employee’s request for a religious accommodation. The case, EEOC v. Consol Energy, Inc., upheld the lower court’s judgment against Consol that it failed to accommodate an employee’s religious objection to participate in the employer’s mandated biometric hand scanner system. The Fourth Circuit also upheld the district court’s damages award to the employee of almost $600,000.

Continue reading ““Mark of the Beast”: Fourth Circuit Upholds Judgment That Employer Failed to Accommodate Employee’s Religious Beliefs”

Update: U.S. Department of Labor Withdraws Guidance on Independent Contractors and Joint Employment

On June 7, 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced that it was withdrawing the Obama-era DOL 2015 and 2016 informal guidance memorandums on independent contractors and joint employment also referred to as joint employer. These memorandums were “Administrator’s Interpretations” meant to provide guidance as to how the law and related regulations with respect to independent contractors and joint employment should be interpreted and applied to employers.
Continue reading “Update: U.S. Department of Labor Withdraws Guidance on Independent Contractors and Joint Employment”

Federal Emergency Motion Blocks Enforcement of FLSA’s New Overtime Rules

On November 22, 2016, the Federal Eastern District Court of Texas granted an emergency motion for a preliminary injunction to prevent the Department of Labor (DOL) from enforcing the new Federal Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) overtime rules set to take effect on December 1, 2016. Since the district court ruling enjoined the implementation of the overtime rules nationwide, employers do not have to comply with the proposed overtime rules that would have doubled the minimum salary requirements for the so-called “white collar” exemption to required overtime pay.

Employers should be aware, however, that the ruling was a preliminary injunction. It will only remain in effect until the merits of the case are resolved by the federal District Court, Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, or the U.S. Supreme Court.   Continue reading “Federal Emergency Motion Blocks Enforcement of FLSA’s New Overtime Rules”

Keeping Tabs on Independent Contractors

Is your organization classifying its independent contractors correctly?

The misclassification of independent contractors as employees continues to remain at the forefront of the enforcement agendas for both the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Labor (DOL). In addition, as of this writing, 37 states have entered into formal memoranda of understanding with the DOL to jointly pursue worker misclassification. Many employers, both small and large, continue to struggle with how to properly classify their workers. The potential costs to an employer who misclassifies an employee as an independent contractor can be significant. For example, if an employer issues Form-1099 to a worker considered to be an independent contractor who is later determined to be an employee by the DOL, the employer may be required to pay back-wages, liquidated damages and attorney’s fees. He may also be liable to the IRS and Social Security Administration for unpaid taxes and other penalties.        Continue reading “Keeping Tabs on Independent Contractors”

Illinois Employment Law Short Takes

Two important Illinois employment laws take effect on January 1, 2017: the Illinois Sick Leave Act and the Illinois Freedom to Work Act.

The Illinois Sick Leave Act
The Illinois Sick Leave Act, which does not require employers to provide personal sick leave, applies only to employers who provide personal sick leave benefits to their employees. The Act does not compel any employer to adopt personal sick leave benefits, even if that employer does not already have personal sick leave benefits in place. Continue reading “Illinois Employment Law Short Takes”

Steering Clear of “Disparate Impact” for Age Discrimination

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits employers from discriminating in employment matters against older workers. Overt discrimination is easy to spot and relatively easy to prove in court. Most employers understand this and will (wisely) refrain from saying such things as, “Let’s get rid of the dinosaurs.” Continue reading “Steering Clear of “Disparate Impact” for Age Discrimination”