Welcome to the Law Offices of Peter J. Lamont & Associates's Legal & Business Blog. The firm is a top-rated and nationally recognized business and litigation law firm with offices in New Jersey, New York, Colorado, & Puerto Rico. The firm also has affiliated offices throughout the U.S. & Canada.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Do You Have to Pay an Employee For a Snow Day?


With a major snow storm barrelling down on the North East a snow day (or two) are defiantly in the forecast.  So, does an employer need to pay employees when the office is closed due to snow or inclement weather? In this video business attorney Peter J. Lamont explains an employer's obligations to exempt and non-exempt employees when your office or business closes for snow. For more information please check out: http://www.topbusinesslaw.com/2015/01/snow-shovel-ice-melt-paying-employees.html  and http://www.topbusinesslaw.com/2015/01/who-is-exempt-employee-according-to.html

If you would like more information about this topic or have general legal questions, please feel free to contact me at (973)949-3770 or via email at plamont@peterlamontesq.com Offices in: New Jersey New York, Colorado & Puerto Rico and affiliated offices throughout the country.

© 2010-2015, Law Offices of Peter J. Lamont & Associates. This Update is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice nor does it create an attorney/client relationship between the firm and any readers or recipients. Readers should consult counsel of their own choosing to discuss how these matters relate to their individual circumstances. This Update may be considered attorney advertising in some states. Furthermore, prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Who is an Exempt Employee According to the Department of Labor?

The U.S. Department of Labor specifically designates certain classes of workers as exempt, including executives, administrative personnel, outside salespeople, highly skilled computer-related employees and licensed professionals, such as doctors, lawyers, architects, engineers and certified public accountants, among others. In addition, managers who hire and fire employees and who spend less than half their time performing the same duties as their employees are typically also exempt employees. In general, the more responsibility and independence or discretion an employee has, the more likely the employee is to be considered exempt.

If you would like more information about this topic or have general legal questions, please feel free to contact me at (973)949-3770 or via email at plamont@peterlamontesq.com Offices in: New Jersey New York, Colorado & Puerto Rico and affiliated offices throughout the country.

© 2010-2015, Law Offices of Peter J. Lamont & Associates. This Update is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice nor does it create an attorney/client relationship between the firm and any readers or recipients. Readers should consult counsel of their own choosing to discuss how these matters relate to their individual circumstances. This Update may be considered attorney advertising in some states. Furthermore, prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Snow!!! Shovel, Ice Melt & Paying Employees when the Office is Closed? Business Attorney Peter Lamont Explains When you Have to Pay an Employee for a Snow Day.

With a major snow storm barrelling down on the North East a snow day (or two) are defiantly in the forecast.  So, does an employer need to pay employees when the office is closed due to snow or inclement weather? Read on to find out. 

In order to answer that question we must first distinguish between exempt and non-exempt employees.  Many employers incorrectly believe that all salaried employees are exempt or that by paying an employee a salary, they automatically become exempt. This in not accurate. In fact, exempt and nonexempt status has little to do with job titles and whether an employee is salaried or receives an hourly wage (although in practice, hourly workers are never "exempt"). The legal definition of "exempt" and "nonexempt" has much more to do with an employee's level of responsibility or his or her status as a professional. In general, administrators, managers, directors, and supervisors are considered exempt employees. For a comprehensive explanation of exempt vs. non-exempt employees please click here.

Exempt Employees

According to the DOL, if an exempt employee performs any work during the work week, he or she must be paid their full, normal salary. So therefore, if an employer closes because of inclement weather such as rain, snow, or other emergencies, and the employee has worked that week, he or she must be paid his normal salary.  Additionally, if the employer decides to close part way through the day due to worsening and/or a state of emergency he must pay exempt employees their full salary.

If the exempt employee chooses to take the time off during a rain day, snow day, or other emergency, and the employer is open for business, the employer may require the use of vacation time, paid time off or other accrued paid leave. If the exempt employee is not yet eligible to use accrued paid leave, the employer may take a deduction from his or her salary for a whole day of work missed.

Nonexempt Employees 

The rules are different for nonexempt, or hourly paid, employees. Generally, if a nonexempt employee does not come to work for whatever reason, the employer does not need to pay him or her. If the employer closes the business for a day due to a rain day, snow day or other emergencies, the employer does not have to pay the nonexempt employees.

However, if an employer closes the company part way through a day, he does have to pay for hours worked. In some states, an employer must pay employees a minimum number of hours if they have reported for work.

If you would like more information about this topic or have general legal questions, please feel free to contact me at (973)949-3770 or via email at plamont@peterlamontesq.com Offices in: New Jersey New York, Colorado & Puerto Rico and affiliated offices throughout the country.

© 2010-2015, Law Offices of Peter J. Lamont & Associates. This Update is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice nor does it create an attorney/client relationship between the firm and any readers or recipients. Readers should consult counsel of their own choosing to discuss how these matters relate to their individual circumstances. This Update may be considered attorney advertising in some states. Furthermore, prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

In this Video Business Attorney Peter Lamont Talks About What an Employer Can Due About Company Info on an Employee's Personal Cell Phone.


WATCH THE FULL VIDEO TO LEARN THE BEST PRACTICES YOUR COMPANY SHOULD USE TO PROTECT CONFIDENTIAL INFO ON CELL PHONES.

In today's business world employees use their personal cell phones to conduct work related activities almost daily. However, when an employee leaves what can a company do about all of the confidential information like client telephone numbers, etc. stored on the employee's personal cell?

In a recent case, Rajaee v. Design Tech Homes, an employer remotely wiped clean the personal cell phone of a former employee because it contained a good deal of company information and data. In addition to the data, the cell phone was able to access company computers and e-mail system. 

The employee sued, alleging violations of the Electronics Communication Privacy Act (ECPA) and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. He argued the phone was his personal property and company’s action erased his photos, contacts and other personal valuable information.

The court dismissed his lawsuit, saying the information stored on a smartphone isn’t covered by the ECPA. The law is designed to punish hackers who break into computer servers. It doesn’t prohibit deleting cellphone information, even if the phone wasn’t company property. 

If you would like more information about this topic or have general legal questions, please feel free to contact me at (973)949-3770 or via email at plamont@peterlamontesq.com Offices in: New Jersey New York, Colorado & Puerto Rico and affiliated offices throughout the country.

© 2010-2015, Law Offices of Peter J. Lamont & Associates. This Update is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice nor does it create an attorney/client relationship between the firm and any readers or recipients. Readers should consult counsel of their own choosing to discuss how these matters relate to their individual circumstances. This Update may be considered attorney advertising in some states. Furthermore, prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Friday, January 23, 2015

You’re in a Lawsuit – How Do You Decide Whether to Settle?

By: Peter J. Lamont, Esq.
It’s rarely pleasant, but litigation is a fact of life: as the saying goes, suits happen. You could be bringing or defending a lawsuit over a business deal gone bad, a property or contract dispute, an allegation of negligence or workplace misconduct – but someone has seen the need to resort to a court.
Though the overwhelming majority of civil lawsuits end with settlements, when one side in the lawsuit makes a settlement offer, it can be difficult for the other litigant to decide whether to accept it. Your lawyer can and should advise you on this, but ultimately the decision is up to you. Here’s a brief rundown of factors to consider in deciding whether to reject or accept a settlement offer.
Adequacy: The central question is whether the offer would provide adequate compensation for the actual damages suffered (whether business or personal). The settlement needs to be proportionate to the loss; a too one-sided offer is more likely to produce an impasse than a settlement. Your lawyer naturally has more experience on damage awards in similar cases, and can probably back it up with statistical studies.
Certainty: Whether a suggested settlement is submitted on a take-it-or-leave-it basis or serves as an invitation to begin negotiations, once you accept a firm settlement, it’s pretty much a done deal. It’s extremely rare for a judge to reject a settlement offer both sides have agreed on (in fact, if you opt to go to trial, you should expect the judge to at least ask, and perhaps press, both sides about the possibility of settling the case). In sharp contrast, trying to predict how a judge or jury will ultimately decide on the merits of a case is a very risky task.
Speed: How long it will take for a case to be tried on its merits is another major uncertainty; even if you win, the defendants may stretch the end date even longer through appeals. The more protracted the case, the more expensive it becomes to both sides, but the waiting game may be less of a problem for a well-heeled opponent than it would be for you.
Lower Stress: Some people may visualize their day in court as a chance to shine in the spotlight, but most people are less eager to deal with the stress of a trial. This comes not just from witness cross-examination, but also from what’s often the long, tedious and sometimes confrontational process of discovery (document requests and related arguments) and depositions (pre-trial questioning on the record in a lawyer’s office). Settlements, on the other hand, can be reached out of the public eye, and often include confidentiality provisions.

Proper consideration of these factors can help you decide whether your best interests lie in making or accepting a settlement offer. Here’s the other side of the coin: among the factors that should never guide you in evaluating a settlement offer are a desire for “make a point” (unless  the lawsuit’s real purpose is to set a new legal precedent, rather than to get fair compensation for a real injury), bitterness or revenge, or financial expectations not grounded in reality.

If you would like more information about this topic or have general legal questions, please feel free to contact me at (973)949-3770 or via email at plamont@peterlamontesq.com Offices in: New Jersey New York, Colorado & Puerto Rico and affiliated offices throughout the country.

© 2010-2015, Law Offices of Peter J. Lamont & Associates. This Update is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice nor does it create an attorney/client relationship between the firm and any readers or recipients. Readers should consult counsel of their own choosing to discuss how these matters relate to their individual circumstances. This Update may be considered attorney advertising in some states. Furthermore, prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Did You Know that Comments on Accent Aren't Automatically Discrimination? Business attorney Peter Lamont Explains

By: Peter J. Lamont, Esq.

Most employers are aware that national origin is one of the protected classes under federal and state discrimination laws.  But did you know that it is not discriminatory to ask someone who has an accent to clarify what they said or to inquire about his or her accent so long as it is not disrespectful or harassing? 


In a recent case: Park v. VA, et al., No. 14-1063, 3rd Cir., 2014, the plaintiff who was of Korean national origin and possessed an accent that was difficult to understand, claimed that one supervisor criticized her inability to say “odor” and “order” differently.  Plaintiff believed that in general her supervisor made light of her pronunciation efforts. She filed suit against the company and supervisor and alleged discrimination based upon national origin. 

The court disagreed, reasoning that a heavy accent may interfere with smooth communication and commenting on the accent isn’t discriminatory unless it’s pervasive, frequent and offensive. Thus, plaintiff could not establish a prima facie case of discrimination. 

If you would like more information about this topic or have general legal questions, please feel free to contact me at (973)949-3770 or via email at plamont@peterlamontesq.com Offices in: New Jersey New York, Colorado & Puerto Rico and affiliated offices throughout the country.

© 2010-2015, Law Offices of Peter J. Lamont & Associates. This Update is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice nor does it create an attorney/client relationship between the firm and any readers or recipients. Readers should consult counsel of their own choosing to discuss how these matters relate to their individual circumstances. This Update may be considered attorney advertising in some states. Furthermore, prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

What Can an Employer Do About Company Info on an Employee's Personal Cell Phone? Business Attorney Peter Lamont Explains:

By: Peter J. Lamont, Esq.

In today's business world employees use their personal cell phones to conduct work related activities almost daily. However, when an employee leaves what can a company do about all of the confidential information like client telephone numbers, etc. stored on the employee's personal cell?

In a recent case, Rajaee v. Design Tech Homes, an employer remotely wiped clean the personal cell phone of a former employee because it contained a good deal of company information and data. In addition to the data, the cell phone was able to access company computers and e-mail system. 

The employee sued, alleging violations of the Electronics Communication Privacy Act (ECPA) and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. He argued the phone was his personal property and company’s action erased his photos, contacts and other personal valuable information.

The court dismissed his lawsuit, saying the information stored on a smartphone isn’t covered by the ECPA. The law is designed to punish hackers who break into computer servers. It doesn’t prohibit deleting cellphone information, even if the phone wasn’t company property. 

BEST PRACTICES: While the court sided with the defendant in Rajaee, a slightly different factual situation could have produced a different outcome. A better practice is to provide your employees (who need to regularly use a cell for company business) with a company cell phone. That way when an employee is terminated or resigns you are able to take the phone back and protect corporate data and information without running the risk of a lawsuit. 


For more information about Rajaee v. Design Tech Homes, or to obtain a copy of the court's decision please call me at (973) 949-3770 or e-mail me at plamont@peterlamontesq.com.

If you would like more information about this topic or have general legal questions, please feel free to contact me at (973)949-3770 or via email at plamont@peterlamontesq.com Offices in: New Jersey New York, Colorado & Puerto Rico and affiliated offices throughout the country.

© 2010-2015, Law Offices of Peter J. Lamont & Associates. This Update is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice nor does it create an attorney/client relationship between the firm and any readers or recipients. Readers should consult counsel of their own choosing to discuss how these matters relate to their individual circumstances. This Update may be considered attorney advertising in some states. Furthermore, prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Monday, January 19, 2015

How Long Should it Take for My Attorney to Return My Call? Business Attorney Peter Lamont Weighs In

Have you ever hired an attorney and had a difficult time getting him/her to call you back? Have you ever wondered how long is reasonable to wait for you attorney's response? 

In this video business attorney Peter J. Lamont gives his opinion.  




If you would like more information about this topic or have general legal questions, please feel free to contact me at (973)949-3770 or via email at plamont@peterlamontesq.com Offices in: New Jersey New York, Colorado & Puerto Rico and affiliated offices throughout the country.

© 2010-2015, Law Offices of Peter J. Lamont & Associates. This Update is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice nor does it create an attorney/client relationship between the firm and any readers or recipients. Readers should consult counsel of their own choosing to discuss how these matters relate to their individual circumstances. This Update may be considered attorney advertising in some states. Furthermore, prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

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