Category Archives: Business


Does Your Employee Handbook Properly Cover Overtime Pay?

Employers are required to pay workers a minimum wage set by law for all hours worked. If an employee is non-exempt, they must be paid suitable overtime pay right for any additional time worked. Overtime pay may seem like a simple topic, but it can get more complex when applying it in real-life situations.

Initially, you must determine whether your employees are exempt, which means they are not entitled to receive overtime pay for extra hours worked. Examples of employees exempt from receiving overtime pay include:

  • White Collar. The term “white collar” has been used to describe certain professionals that are exempt from overtime pay. To qualify for the white collar exemption, an employee’s job responsibilities must meet certain conditions and they must receive a minimum weekly salary, as dictated by law.
  • Executives. Managers who supervise the work of a minimum of two other full-time employees fall within the executive exemption. An executive employee typically has the power to hire and fire other employees.
  • Administrators. If the employee’s primary job is to perform office work, the administrative exemption applies. This type of employee’s job relates to the supervision, management or operation of the company. An administrator often has decision-making authority on behalf of the business.
  • Professionals. A professional exemption applies if the employee has obtained an advanced degree or has acquired specialized knowledge by attending extended schooling.
  • Outside sales. Employees whose main job involves making sales calls which require the employee to routinely be away from the employer’s place of business may be exempt from receiving overtime pay.

The above list is not exhaustive and there may be other exemptions that apply, so employers should consult with an experienced employment attorney to verify that the appropriate exemptions are being applied and that your business is in compliance with the laws governing overtime payment.

If you need assistance creating or updating your employee handbook to deal with overtime pay or any other employment law matter, contact Leslie S. Marell for help. We serve as general counsel to clients who do not require, or choose not to employ, a full-time lawyer in-house. Call today to schedule your initial consultation.

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Cybersecurity & the Need for Vendor Agreements

If you own or manage a business, you should be concerned regarding your entity’s cybersecurity. With all the recent news regarding hackers obtaining confidential information, you can bet that your customers and clients are worried about how you are protecting their private information.

Protecting digital data became a “hot topic” when the Target breach occurred. Hackers obtained thousands of Target’s customer’s private financial information. Since then, the topic of cybersecurity has gained momentum as numerous other digital data breaches have been revealed. In fact, according to the New York Times, numerous businesses have started asking confirmation from their attorneys and other professionals that cybersecurity protections have been implemented to safeguard their confidential and sensitive information.

Business owners should not only examine their current security measures, but also the security procedures being used by your vendors. Vendors should not be surprised at your request and should be willing to provide evidence of its cybersecurity measures. By obtaining this information, you can reduce your liability and potentially hold your vendor accountable for any breaches. This knowledge will encourage your vendor to stay current on the tools available to protect your business’s private data.

Factors you should consider addressing with your vendors include:

  • Distribution. It is important to educate yourself about how the vendor distributes private information. For instance, private files should never be emailed to unsecure devices.
  • Networks. Ask your vendor to explain if their computers are linked to shared networks. This could make private data susceptible to hackers.
  • Access. Ask your vendor to provide a list of all employees or other personnel who will be given access to your company’s (and your customer’s) confidential information.
  • Protection. Request proof of the digital security tools that will be implemented by your vendor to protect your business’s private data.

Contact Leslie S. Marell for assistance in creating vendor agreements that will help ensure the safety of your confidential information, as well as lessen your liability if a breach should occur.




Which Legal Structure is Best for Your Start-Up?

When you are starting a new business, it is normal to be eager to get the doors open and see your ideas put into action. However, don’t skip over one of the most crucial steps in ensuring the success of your entity, which is choosing the most advantageous legal structure for your business. Each type of legal entity has its advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to confer with a knowledgeable business attorney to determine which type will benefit your company the most. Below are the three most common forms of legal entities:

  • Limited Liability Company. Many new businesses select the limited liability company (LLC) structure for their new entity.The LLC offers similar protections as does a corporation, but one distinct advantage is that the LLC does not require the same formalities as does a corporation. The LLC permits the members to own and manage the company jointly, while also sharing in the profits and losses. Additionally, the members of the LLC can take advantage of pass-through tax treatment. It should be noted that every business situation is different, so you should confer with a lawyer or other tax advisor regarding the tax treatment in your individual circumstances, but the LLC typically offers several benefits. Lastly, and importantly, the LLC provides the business owners protection from personal liability. In other words, the owners’ personal assets are usually protected from debt collection efforts and judgments against the LLC, except where fraud, misrepresentation or other egregious situations occur.
  • C-Corporation. The C-corporation (C-Corp) is a complex and expensive legal structure to create, but it can provide a wide variety of benefits. A C-Corp is taxed as a separate entity and the owners are only obligated to pay taxes on the profits received from the business. Also, a C-Corp usually falls in a tax-bracket that is lower than individual tax rates. A C-Corp is often used if the company expects to be acquired and can be a beneficial structure for fundraising purposes. You can sell shares in the entity and also create different classes of stock.
  • S-Corporation. The S-corporation (S-Corp) has some important similarities to the C-Corp, but most business owners select it for the tax treatment it receives. The S-Corp is a pass-through entity, which permits the profits and losses from the entity to flow directly to the shareholders. You can only have 100 investors in a S-Corp, and they must all be individuals who are legal residents of the United States.

The above is a very brief summary of three of the business structures available for new entities. There are many other factors that should be considered as well as the other business formations available. Contact Leslie S. Marell to determine which type of entity is the most beneficial for your new business.