HR White Papers

White Papers from leading HR experts provide great insight and research on timely relevant HR topics.

5 Exercises For Overcoming Shyness in New Situations

April 13, 2017

Does the idea of starting a conversation with a stranger terrify you? You can overcome that fear with a little practice. If you get a lump in your throat every time you enter a room full of strangers, don't worry. You are not alone. New situations where you don't know a soul is scary, and introducing yourself to a complete stranger feels a lot like public speaking. Public speaking is the number one fear of most people - above even death! But you can overcome your shyness (without facing death) by using these five exercises. Melanie Hope is the owner of Hope Speaking LLC, a Partner of SPiTshine Presentation Training, and a professional copywriter and editor. She has travelled 43 states and 4 continents conducting seminars and workshops to both private and public enterprises. Ms. Hope has written five books about networking/marketing, leadership/communications, and writing/publishing; and is the author of multiple e-books on writing and goalsetting.

New IRS Tax Rules - 2017

April 6, 2017

Will you or your clients be affected by the new 2017 tax laws? Change is coming for standard and itemized deductions, personal exemptions, alternative minimum tax exemptions, and foreign earned income exclusions. Estates are also facing more complex tax planning as tax rates continue to increase. Review your tax planning strategy for income tax and asset protection benefits. Gary S. Wolfe has more than 34 years of experience, specializing in IRS tax audits and international tax matters including: international tax planning/tax compliance, and international asset protection.

Panama Papers Update - February 2017

April 6, 2017

New twist in Panama Papers case as founders of Panamanian law firm arrested and jailed in bribery case. On February 10, 2017 Juergen Mossack & Ramon Fonseca, founders of Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca were arrested and jailed following Panama probe into creating companies linked to Brazil corruption in the bribery case of Brazilian company Odebrecht. The Panama Papers consist of millions of Mossack Fonseca documents that show how the rich used offshore companies to avoid taxes. Gary S. Wolfe has more than 34 years of experience, specializing in IRS tax audits and international tax matters including: international tax planning/tax compliance, and international asset protection.

California Sets Standards for Tribal Subsidiaries’ Sovereign Immunity

March 16, 2017

California is home to 100+ tribes. Tribal corporations will find difficulty in asserting sovereign immunity as a result of the recent court decision. The California Supreme Court issued a major sovereign immunity decision in December 2016 that directly impacts California tribes. The Court identified five factors that should be considered to determine whether an entity is an arm of the tribe entitled to share the tribe’s immunity. It also clarified the burden of proof that applies when a tribal corporation asserts sovereign immunity. This decision will likely influence other courts as well.Brian Pierson is a shareholder with Godfrey & Kahn, S.C. As leader of the firm's Indian Nations team, his primary objective is to draw on the knowledge and experience of Godfrey & Kahn's attorneys to assist tribes in formulating and implementing strategies that strengthen tribal sovereignty, with a particular focus on business development, environmental protection, renewable energy and housing development. Mr. Pierson frequently advises tribes on tribal constitutional, ordinance and governance matters. He has extensive experience representing developers, lenders and others who partner with tribes to pursue Indian country business opportunities.

The Top 10 Labor and Employment Issues Retailers Will Face in 2017

March 14, 2017

It is a new year and a new administration. 2017 will bring change for retail employers but just how much and in what areas is yet to be seen. Employment issues are not new to retail employers. Each new year holds the potential for new rules and regulations to navigate. This year retailers are faced with many unknowns that could range from rolling back previous executive orders and rules to the uncertainty of the ever increasing state and municipal laws. No one knows what the future will hold but this author has compiled a list of 10 issues in labor and employment that all retailers will want to keep an eye on. Diane Saunders is a Shareholder in the Boston office of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. Ms. Saunders is the co-chair of the firm’s Retail Practice Group, and a member of the firm’s Steering Committees for the Class Action Practice Group and Professional Development. She has been helping employers with their labor and employment issues and business disputes for over 20 years.

Report Underscores Importance of Whistleblower Rewards and Protections for Internal Auditors

March 10, 2017

Many auditors feel pressure to suppress or make changes to their audit findings. In North America the pressure is greater than the global average. Auditors find themselves in the ultimate role to find and disclose fraud. Auditors find themselves protected against retaliation for blowing the whistle on possibly illegal and unethical activities. However, many auditors also find themselves faced with pressure to not report their audit findings. In a recent study 25% of auditors surveyed in North America are feeling that pressure. Considering that laws in the U.S. offer auditors strong protection and robust incentives, that statistic is alarming. Rewards for whistleblowers and protection for auditors is more vital than ever. Jason Zuckerman litigates whistleblower retaliation and rewards, wrongful discharge, and other employment-related claims, and authors the Whistleblower Protection Law Blog. His broad experience includes serving as Senior Legal Advisor to the Special Counsel at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, the federal agency charged with protecting whistleblowers in the federal government. In 2012, the Secretary of Labor appointed Zuckerman to serve on the Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee, which makes recommendations to the Secretary of Labor to improve OSHA’s administration of federal whistleblower protections. Matthew Stock is an associate at Zuckerman Law, where his practice focuses on representing whistleblowers in whistleblower rewards and whistleblower retaliation cases. Mr. Stock has audited a broad range of industries, both domestically and internationally, including large public companies and financial institutions. He uses his auditing experience to help IRS, CFTC and SEC whistleblowers investigate and disclose complex financial frauds to the government.

OSHA Whistleblower Update: Curious Case of Expanding Agency

January 12, 2017

Did you know that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enforces and investigates claims under 22 different federal whistleblower laws, ranging from Section 11(c) of the OSH Act to the Clean Air Act, the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010, the Safe Drinking Water Act, Sarbanes-Oxley and the Surface Transportation Assistance Act? Given the number of laws that fall within OSHA's purview, it should come as no surprise that the agency has sought to expand its reach of late in ways that may leave employers scrambling to understand the risks and obligations they face when a whistleblower comes forward. In 2009, OSHA awarded $13.25 million in damages from whistleblower complaints. By 2013, that number exceeded $25 million – an 89% increase. In fiscal year 2016, the awards have been eye-popping: a Michigan janitor was awarded $193,139, an Alaskan aviation company was ordered to pay a pilot over $500,000 and a railroad conductor received over $250,000 in punitive damages alone. Download this white paper to continue reading … Elliot G. Cole is an Associate in the Chicago office of Vedder Price and a member of the firm’s Labor & Employment practice group. He focuses his practice on representing management in collective bargaining negotiations with public worker unions and ADA, FMLA and Title VII cases. He also administers client trainings on employee discipline and corrective action plans, hiring employees with disabilities and performance evaluations. Aaron R. Gelb is a Shareholder at Vedder Price and a member of the firm’s Labor and Employment practice area. He represents employers in all aspects of equal employment opportunity, wrongful discharge and labor relations litigation before federal and state courts and federal, state and local fair employment and administrative agencies such as the EEOC, Illinois Department of Human Rights, Cook County Civil Rights Commission, Department of Labor, National Labor Relations Board and OSHA.

Endorsements - ALTA Owners’ and Lenders’ Policies

December 8, 2016

Endorsements issued by the title insurer or title agent are designed to delete, add to, or modify any number of provisions of the commitment for title insurance and policies of title insurance. Endorsements are not available as stand-alone documents, but invariably refer to an underlying commitment or policy that predated or was issued simultaneous with the endorsement. Although it is usually the case that endorsements enhance or expand upon coverage, in some instances endorsements will be issued to reduce or revoke coverage. Several basic features of or considerations relating to endorsements should be mentioned: - Endorsements are of two types: Standardized and transaction specific. - Endorsements where standardized will be promulgated by the ALTA, the CLTA or other state title association or board, or designed by individual insurers. - Endorsements, where transaction-specific, will be issued to reflect or respond to requests (e.g.”Exception No. 14 is hereby deleted.”). - Endorsement availability will depend upon whether the endorsement form is, in the discretion of the title insurer, appropriate to owners, lenders or both. Download this white paper to continue reading … Duane H. Wunsch is the vice president and state counsel for Fidelity National Title Group, Inc.’s Wisconsin office. He has 30 years of experience as in-house underwriting and claims counsel. Mr. Wunsch is a frequent lecturer to both attorney and nonattorney customer groups. He regularly conducts training sessions for title and escrow staff.

Role of the Board and Fiduciary Duties - An Overview

December 7, 2016

Charities play a significant role in our society. They provide services and grants in a wide variety of areas that are of importance to the community, ranging from hospitals to educational institutions to museums to organizations dedicated to assisting those in need. The purpose – or mission – of these organizations drive the activities it carries out and the board of directors is responsible for overseeing management to ensure that this occurs. Governance, transparency and accountability are critical issues for all charities. Effective governance, transparency and accountability leads to increased public trust in the organization and a greater willingness to donate funds and services. The ultimate goals should be an active and engaged board. In this respect, the experience of boards in the for-profit world provides a useful point of comparison. Boards of for-profit organizations have worked to restore public confidence and increase investment in the wake of several highly public governance failures. Download this paper to continue reading … Anita Pelletier is of counsel in the Rochester, NY, office of Nixon Peabody LLP. She has represented organizations ranging from the very small to the very large on all matters relating to nonprofit governance and related issues; also worked with several organizations to guide them through IRS and regulatory audits; assisted numerous charities navigate the various rules regarding charitable solicitations in a market that necessitates the use of social media and electronic communications.

Why Non-Taxpaying Entities Should Care About Allocations of Taxable Income

November 23, 2016

Even before the advent of P3s (public-private-partnerships), it was not uncommon for a governmental entity or a 501(c)(3) to enter into a joint venture with a for-profit, taxpaying entity. Sometimes these joint ventures take the form of either a state law partnership or a state law limited liability company (“LLC”). Most LLCs are taxed as partnerships for federal income tax purposes, which generally means that they are pass-through entities. In other words, the partnership itself does not pay tax on its taxable income (like a corporation would). Rather the taxable income flows through to the partners who are required to pick up their respective distributive shares of the partnership’s items of income and loss on their own separate federal income tax returns. Why would a non-taxpaying entity care about allocations of taxable income? Because the manner in which “taxable income” is determined, and its allocation among the various partners in the partnership could impact the amount of cash flow available to be distributed to the partners in the partnership. Download this white paper to continue reading … Cynthia Mog focuses her practice on federal income tax matters. She has experience working on corporate, partnership and real estate transactions including acquisitions, reorganizations, restructurings and tax-free exchanges.