Thursday, December 29, 2011

NLRA Rights Poster Delayed Again

The requirement for most private-sector employers to post a new notice issued by the NLRB entitled, “Employee Rights Under the National Labor Relations Act,” was originally scheduled for November 2011 and then postponed until January 31, 2012.  Now the NLRB has delayed implementation until April 30, 2012, apparently due to litigation.  We will continue to keep you posted

For more information or assistance on labor or employment issues contact Jennifer Phillips at

Monday, December 19, 2011

New Employer Obligations for 2012 - Wage Theft Protection Act

As of January 1, 2012, employers must at the time of hiring notify all new non-exempt, non-collective bargaining employees in writing of the following information:

1.   The employee’s rate or rates of pay and the rate basis, whether by hour, shift, day, week, salary, commission or otherwise, including any rates of overtime, if applicable;
2.   Any allowances claimed as part of the minimum wage, including meals or lodging; 
3.   The regular paydays designated by the employer; 
4.   The name of the employer, including “any DBAs” used by the employer; 
5.   The physical address of the employer’s principal place of business, as well as the mailing address if it is different;
6.   The telephone number of the employer;
7.   The name, address and telephone number of the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier; and
8.   And any other information that the Labor Commissioner deems “material and necessary.”

Employers must also notify employees in writing within seven days of any changes to any of the above required information, unless all the changes are reflected on a timely wage statement provided to employees. 
The California Labor Commissioner is required to identify what additional “material and necessary” information must be provided on these new notice forms but has yet to do so.  The Labor Commissioner is also supposed to provide a template for employer’s use in notifying employees of wages.  These will be posted along with a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) on the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) website soon. 

For an update on the information or how to implement the law please contact Jennifer Phillips at 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Family Estate Planning - Favorably High Tax Exemptions to Expire in 2012

At the beginning of 2011, important changes were made to the way gifts made during life and at death were taxed.  Under current law, the amount each person can give cumulatively during their lifetime and upon their death without being subject to tax was $5,000,000.  In 2012, that exemption amount will increase to $5,120,000.  (It should be noted that this tax exemption is in addition to the annual exclusion from gift tax which is $13,000, that gifts to spouses are generally not taxed and that a surviving spouse may be able to use the unused exemption amount of a deceased spouse.)  The estate and gift tax rate for transfers above the exemption amount also changed to 35%.  The high exemption amounts expire on December 31, 2012 with the basic exemption amount falling to $1,000,000, the rate rising to 55% and no sharing of a spouse’s exemption.   Will we see new legislation enacted before the $1,000,000 exemption comes back?  2012 is an election year and tax reform is already a hot topic with many proposals floating about.  Anyone considering making large lifetime gifts should do so sooner rather than later to take advantage of what may turn out to be historic and temporary high exemption levels and low rates. 

For more information regarding these laws, or for assistance with estate and tax planning, please contact Julia Walk at

Friday, December 2, 2011

New Laws Impacting the Wine Industry for 2012

Members of Dickenson, Peatman & Fogarty's alcohol beverage, land use and labor and employment departments recently teamed up for an article in the North Bay Business Journal titled "Important Legal Changes for Wine, Alcohol in 2012."  You can find a link to the article by clicking here.

The article summarizes new laws and regulations coming into effect in the new year which will impact members of the wine and alcohol beverage industries.

The contributors to the article where Tom Carey ( from the land use department  Jennifer Phillips ( from the labor and employment department and Bahaneh Hobel ( and Mike Mann ( from the alcohol beverage department.

 Dickenson Peatman & Fogarty attorneys (clockwise from top left) Tom Carey, Jennifer Phillips, Bahaneh Hobel and Michael Mann