Willcox, Buyck & Williams, PA Blog

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Challenges Arise Over Use of Non-compete Agreements

What is the future of non-compete agreements?

The debate over the use of non-compete provisions in employment contracts continues to stir as state and federal regulators push back against the inappropriate use of these provisions for low-wage workers. In New York, for example, the state Attorney General has been actively challenging the use of these restrictive covenants and recently announced settlements with three companies that will effectively end their use of non-competes. These settlements come on the heels of a report issued by the White House in May 2016 that criticized the use of non-compete agreements.

The report, based on a Labor Department study conducted in March, questions the extent to which many employees actually have access to proprietary information and the effectiveness of non-competes in preventing the misappropriation of trade secrets. In sum, the federal government has taken the position that workers are unfairly hampered from negotiating for better compensation and benefits and are often prevented from advancing in their fields by overly restrictive non-compete provisions.

Read more . . .

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Overtime Overhaul: Understanding the New DOL Rule

Will my business be affected by the new overtime rule?

On December 1, 2016, a new overtime rule will go into effect, impacting an anticipated four million employees and their employers.  The changes, enacted by the United States Department of Labor (DOL), will significantly increase the annual salary requirement needed for employees to be considered exempt from overtime pay.  With less than five months before all employers must comply with this new federal regulation, many are scrambling to understand what it may mean for their business.

The Final DOL Overtime Rule

The Final Rule, announced on May 18, 2016 by President Obama and Secretary Perez, can be summarized as follows:

  • The salary threshold for exempt white collar workers will increase from $23,660 a year (or $455 per week) to $47,476 a year (or $913 per week).
  • For highly compensated employees, the salary threshold will increase from $100,000 a year to $134,000 per year.

Read more . . .

Thursday, July 21, 2016

CFPB Proposes Limits to Mandatory Arbitration Clauses

How will the new arbitration rule affect lenders and other financial firms?

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) intends to limit mandatory arbitration clauses that banks and financial firms have long relied on to prevent class action lawsuits. This move comes after the CFPB conducted a study that was authorized by the Dodd-Frank law. The proposed rule applies to a variety of consumer financial products and services such as lending, storing and exchanging money.

While arbitration clauses will no longer encompass class actions, the new rule will keep mandatory arbitration in place for individual consumer actions. It remains to be seen whether this is the first step in completely eliminating arbitration clauses, however.

Read more . . .

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Essential Steps For Starting And Maintaining Your Business

If you own a business or would like to create one, it is essential for you to seek the expert advice of an attorney.  Counsel will be able to answer your questions regarding what type of business you may form as well as the dealings you may engage in.  He or she will also delineate any limitations in managing your company and will advise you as to the chronological steps that need to be taken to ensure your success.   

For instance, you may require certain licenses to carry out business as usual.

Read more . . .

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Jobs Created in South Carolina Despite the Sluggish Economy

What types of new jobs have become available in South Carolina?

It is not secret that the economy has been unstable for some time now. This probably makes most think twice about setting up a new business or expanding a current business into a new area. South Carolina is home to working class people and business owners alike and has no doubt been affected by the economic downturn. But, luckily for South Carolina one man has been able to convince a number of Chinese companies that the State is a great place to set up shop.

Read more . . .

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Breach of Employment Contracts

Finding out that several of your most trusted employees have been jointly planning to steal your clients and usurp your business opportunities, all while using corporate assets, is every employer's worst nightmare.  This story hits close to home for one law firm where four partners devised an arrangement over the span of eighteen months to leave and begin a new firm with their current employer's clients.  

While these employees continued to collect their robust paychecks, they demonstrated no shame in utilizing the firm's resources and confidential information to benefit themselves financially.  A forensic exam exposed a trail of emails which confirmed the appropriation of client lists and other confidential information by.

Read more . . .

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Local Businesswoman Honored During Small Business Week

Small Business Week is always a big deal at our firm for two reasons. First, even though we have been in business for over 100 years, our firm is technically a small business. Second, many of our customers are small business owners. So, we were delighted when we saw that during this year’s Small Business Week a local businesswoman had been named the 2016 South Carolina Female Business Person of the Year by the U.S.

Read more . . .

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Lawmakers Pass the Defend Trade Secrets Act

How can my business protect its trade secrets?

Certain forms of intellectual property such as patents, trademarks and copyrights have long enjoyed protection under Federal law. Until recently, this has not been the case for trade secrets. Now that Congressional lawmakers have passed the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA), however, owners of trade secrets will have a Federal private cause of action for the misappropriation of this highly sensitive information.

What are Trade Secrets?

Information such as formulas, designs, practices, processes or patterns that are not widely known outside of a business are considered to be trade secrets. These can include things like the formula for Coca-Cola or any of Google's search algorithms.

Read more . . .

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Florence attorney and history buff with Willcox, Buyck & Williams tells us what’s good in the neighborhood

Local Counsel with Mark W. Buyck Jr.  Published in 2016 South Carolina Super Lawyers — May 2016

BEST PLACE TO TAKE A NEW CLIENT  -  Victors restaurant in Hotel Florence, which is just a block away from my office. 

FAVORITE HISTORICAL SITE  -  The Confederate Stockade. When the Yankees were approaching and Andersonville was evacuated, they put the prisoners on trains, brought them to Florence and quickly put up a stockade in September 1864.
Read more . . .

Thursday, May 5, 2016

You’re more likely to get audited as IRS adds 700 employees to chase tax cheats

The Internal Revenue Service is hiring up to 700 new employees to do audits and go after delinquent taxpayers in an effort to turn around years of what the agency has acknowledged is lax enforcement.

“When you look at the IRS overall, every dollar invested in us returns at least $4 to the Treasury,” Commissioner John Koskinen told his employees in a memo Tuesday. “The numbers are even higher when it involves enforcement.”

See full article here: https://www.washingtonpost.

Read more . . .

Friday, April 22, 2016

Wage & Hour Lawsuits Plague Businesses

Over the past few years, one of the areas in which we have seen business clients out of both our Florence and Myrtle Beach offices run into trouble is with wage and hour lawsuits. A quick scan of the headlines suggests our clients are not alone in facing a growing number of these suits. In fact, the Washington Post reports that wage and hour lawsuits are the fastest growing category of lawsuits filed in federal courts.

What are wage and hour lawsuits?

Wage and hour lawsuits are claims brought by current and/or former employees against employers under state labor laws or under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

All of the following are claims that fall under the wage and hour suit umbrella:

  • Misclassification -- exempt/hourly, employee/independent contractor
  • Unpaid overtime
  • Off-the-clock work
  • Failure to pay minimum wage
  • Improper calculation of the regular rate
  • Meal and/or rest break disputes

Just how many of these lawsuits are being filed?

A recent investigation by the Washington Post found, “The number of wage and hour cases filed in federal court rose to 8,871 for the year ending Sept.
Read more . . .

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