In The News

Bone McAllester Norton Welcomes Two Attorneys to Nashville Office

Bone McAllester Norton PLLC has welcomed attorneys Mandy Strickland Floyd and Jack Spencer to the firm’s Nashville office.  

“We are thrilled that Mandy has decided to return to Bone McAllester. She and Jack are great additions to our practice,” said Charles Robert Bone, president and CEO of Bone McAllester Norton. “The expertise and passion they bring to their roles will help us continue to provide our clients with strategic solutions and optimal service.” 

Mandy Strickland Floyd Attorney at Bone McAllester Norton Professional indexFloyd returns to Bone McAllester Norton following two years of service with the American Civil Liberties Union of Nashville (ACLU-TN), where she worked as a staff attorney focused on constitutional and civil rights issues. Prior to her position at ACLU-TN, she worked at Bone McAllester Norton and as a law clerk to the Hon. Richard H. Dinkins of the Tennessee Court of Appeals. In her career, Floyd has represented clients in appeals before the Tennessee Court of Appeals, Tennessee Supreme Court, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. She will concentrate her Bone McAllester Norton practice in litigation and dispute resolution, education law, labor and employment law, and appellate practice. In addition to her litigation work, Floyd is actively involved in the industry through memberships with the Nashville Bar Association, Lawyers’ Association for Women, Tennessee Bar Association, Harry Phillips American Inn of Court and Napier Looby Bar Association. She also has been recognized as a recipient of the Tennessee Supreme Court Pro Bono Attorney for Justice Award and nominee for the ATHENA Nashville Young Professional Leadership Award. She earned her law degree from the University of Memphis in 2012.

John M Jack Spencer Attorney at Bone McAllester Norton Professional index

Spencer joins Bone McAllester Norton after clerking for the Hon. William R. Sawyer at the Federal Bankruptcy Court Middle District in Alabama. In his new role, Spencer will be concentrating his practice in the areas of commercial litigation, creditors’ rights, litigation and dispute resolution. A recent graduate of The University of Alabama School of Law, Spencer previously served as an intern in the civil rights and claims division of the Tennessee State Attorney General’s Office. He is a member of the Tennessee Bar Association, Nashville Bar Association, Alabama Bar Association and American Bankruptcy Institute.

Bone Attorney James Crumlin Offers Insight on Workplace Age Discrimination

James A Crumlin Jr Attorney at Bone McAllester Norton Professional indexBone McAllester Norton attorney James Crumlin wrote a column for the Nashville Business Journal called “Age discrimination: Advice from a Nashville attorney on keeping a level playing field.” In the feature, Crumlin offers his insight and advice about how to navigate and prevent age discrimination in the workplace.

Crumlin addresses a steady rise of age discrimination lawsuits and provides the steps companies should take to make sure they are not a part of a larger, cultural problem. At Bone McAllester Norton, he practices labor and employment law, helping his clients navigate the corporate legal landscape and avoid damaging mistakes.

To read his column, visit the Nashville Business Journal’s website.

Bone Attorney James Crumlin, Jr. Offers Legal Advice for Office Gambling in Nashville Business Journal

Bone McAllester Norton attorneyJames Crumlin, Jr.is a featured guest columnist in this week’s Nashville Business Journal. In his article titled “Is your March Madness office pool illegal? A Nashville attorney tries to keep you out of trouble,” Crumlin highlights basic steps employers can take before gambling in the workplace throughout March’s NCAA basketball tournament to stay on the safe side.James A Crumlin Jr Attorney at Bone McAllester Norton Professional indexJames A Crumlin Jr Attorney at Bone McAllester Norton

Crumlin concentrates his practice in the area of labor and employment law, where he counsels management on issues arising from the employment relationship. He helps clients including Tennessee-based businesses, entrepreneurs and start-up ventures to navigate the corporate legal landscape and avoid costly mistakes. His experience includes business formation and strategy, funding and investor relations, contracts, employment compliance issues, risk management, litigation and dispute resolution. He also serves as outside general counsel for several small and midsize businesses. 

To read the column, visit the Nashville Business Journal’s website.

Bone McAllester Norton Attorney James Crumlin, Jr. Offers Workplace Romance Advice in Nashville Business Journal

James A Crumlin Jr.James A Crumlin Jr.Bone McAllester Norton attorney James Crumlin, Jr. is a featured guest columnist on the Nashville Business Journal’s website. His article “Before asking 'Be Mine,' beware: Office romance advice from a Nashville lawyer” highlights several key items employers and employees should keep in mind as Valentine’s Day approaches, including reviewing company policies about employee relationships, creating consensual romance contracts and other tips for avoiding inappropriate conduct.

Crumlin concentrates his practice in the area of labor and employment law, where he counsels management on issues arising from the employment relationship. With experience in both union and non-union arbitration and all forms of employment discrimination litigation, his legal counsel is regularly sought out by companies who need assistance in navigating the corporate legal landscape. In addition to serving as outside general counsel for several small and midsize businesses, Crumlin also conducts in-house training sessions on compliance with the numerous federal and state laws affecting employers — from the Americans with Disabilities Act to the Fair Labor Standards Act to the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

To read the column, visit the Nashville Business Journal’s website.

Anne C. Martin Named Among Top Labor and Employment Lawyers in 2017 Chambers USA

Congratulations to BoneLaw’s Anne C. Martin for being ranked in the 2017 edition of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, published by Chambers & Partners.

Anne Martin Attorney, Bone LawAnne Martin Attorney, Bone LawAnne was recognized for her work in the area of labor and employment law. Noted by Chambers as a “highly respected employment lawyer in Tennessee," Anne has been widely published in the areas of employment law as it relates to matters including discharge, disability leave, discrimination, harassment and non-compete agreements.

Each year, Chambers USA ranks law firms and individual lawyers based on different qualities most valued by clients, including technical legal ability, professional conduct, client service, commercial astuteness, diligence, and commitment. Chambers' research team conducts thousands of interviews with lawyers and clients throughout the year to create a basis for their ranks. More information is available on the Chambers website.

BoneLaw’s Anne C. Martin to Address Employment Issues in the Hospitality Industry

Anne C. Martin Attorney At LawAnne C. Martin Attorney At Law

Bonelaw attorney, Anne C. Martin, will speak at a seminar hosted and sponsored by Nashville Hospitality Providers on February 27, 2017 at Cabana Nashville. Nashville Hospitality Service Providers is an organization of professional vendors who provide products, services and resources to best serve the Nashville restaurant community.

A frequent speaker on employment law, during this discussion Anne will speak on important issues facing those in the restaurant industry today.

What: "Investing in your Employees" by Deb Wendorf (On Demand HR) and Anne Martin (Bone McAllester Norton PLLC)

When: Monday, February 27th from 2 - 4 p.m.

Where: Cabana Nashville (1910 Belcourt Ave, Nashville, TN 37212)

For more information and to register, click here.

Please be sure to visit these links:

Bone McAllester Norton Adds Experienced Litigator to Its Labor and Employment and Litigation Practices

Susan Neal Williams Brings Background in eDiscovery and Litigation Management


Nashville, Tenn.—(August 10, 2015) Nashville-based law firm Bone McAllester Norton PLLC has added a skilled litigator to its Labor and Employment Law and Litigation and Dispute Resolution practices. The firm announced today the addition of Susan Neal Williams, who brings knowledge in electronic discovery and litigation management.

“Susan Neal is a fourth-generation attorney with experience in detailed, complex litigation matters,” said Charles W. Bone, founder and chairman of Bone McAllester Norton. “She comes to us with a background of working with some of the best plaintiff’s lawyers in Nashville, and the firm looks forward to having her expertise as an added benefit to our clients.”

Williams honed her litigation skills in product liability, insurance coverage, automobile wrecks, medical malpractice, gas explosions, roadway design and engineering cases. She graduated from Wake Forest University School of Law and is a member of the Harry Phillips American Inn of Court and the Lawyers Association for Women. She was previously with Leader, Bulso, & Nolan, PLC in Nashville.

The addition of Williams brings Bonelaw’s Labor and Employment practice to five attorneys and the Litigation and Dispute Resolution practice to 19 attorneys.

For more information on Bone McAllester Norton and its attorneys, visit www.bonelaw.com.

 
ABOUT BONE MCALLESTER NORTON PLLC

Bone McAllester Norton PLLC is a full-service law firm with 39 attorneys and offices in Nashville, Sumner and Williamson counties, Tennessee. Our attorneys focus on 18 distinct practice areas, providing the wide range of legal services ordinarily required by established and growing businesses and entrepreneurs. Among our practices, we represent clients in business and capital formation, mergers and acquisitions, securities matters, commercial lending and creditors’ rights, commercial real estate and development, governmental regulatory matters, commercial litigation and dispute resolution, intellectual property strategy and enforcement, entertainment and environmental matters. Our client base reflects the firm’s deep understanding and coverage of today’s leading industry and business segments. For more information, visit www.bonelaw.com.

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Media Contact:
Ann Dee McClane, (615) 742-6889

Dear Employer: Is Your Social Media Policy Legal?

by William J. (Paz) Haynes, III

Social media is a fact of modern life. Billions of people across the globe use a variety of platforms such a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat to connect with family, friends and the world at large. Businesses have moved rapidly to capitalize on opportunities for growth in social media, but have also recognized the realities of social media in the everyday lives of their employees.

Recent studies indicate that most employers in the United States now have some form of social media policy and that employers are relaxing policies restricting social media use during business hours.

Even though attitudes are changing on social media in the workplace, employers still face burning questions in developing best practices related to social media.

1. What privacy rights do employees have in their social media use and content?

Access to social media is now linked to the traditional rights of privacy recognized in the Constitution, and state and federal laws are being created (an interpreted) to protect employees' privacy interests in the social media content.

Several states, including Tennessee, have passed laws making it illegal for employers to demand access to employees' social media passwords and "private" social media pages.

2. What interests, if any, does the employer have in monitoring or "policing" employee use?


Despite the increased privacy protections for social media, employers still have legitimate interests in monitoring social media content. Social media laws still recognize an employer's right to monitor social media activity created with employer property (phones, laptops, servers, etc.) and social media content that is tied to their "brand."

Employers also have a legitimate right to review social media content that perpetuates unlawful harassment or discrimination in the workplace.

3. How far can the employer go to regulate employees' social media conduct?


A series of recent decisions from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) hold that, under certain circumstances, social media content may qualify as "protected activity" under the National Labor Relations Act.

Those NLRB decisions have shed more light on the limits on employers when creating social media policies and how employers respond to social media activity by their workers.

4. What are the best social media practices in a changing digital and legal landscape?

The law of social media changes as rapidly as the nature of social media itself. In 2015, employers are best advised to create policies that properly balance their workers' rights to privacy and protected workplace activity against the employers' interests in protecting their brands, ensuring productivity, and addressing unlawful conduct in the workplace.

Are_Your_Social_Media_Policies_Legal_sqEmployers should seek out qualified legal counsel when reviewing and creating social media policies and practices.

I will be addressing these questions in greater detail in the Sterling Education Seminars' Fundamentals of Employment Law on August 11, 2015.

Employment Lawyer Paz Haynes will Speak at Fundamentals of Employment Law Seminar

William J. (Paz) Haynes III , an employment lawyer at Bone McAllester Norton, will deliver a presentation on “Privacy and Social Media in the Workplace” at the upcoming Fundamentals of Employment Law Seminar, presented by Sterling Education Services, Inc. The seminar is intended to provide the framework around the basic fundamentals in employment law that companies of all sizes need to know in order to be successful, and attendees will learn how to advise clients, write policies and administer procedures effectively.

Paz Haynes Nashville TN attorney

Specific topics that will be covered include Hiring and Terminating Employees in the Current Economy, Immigration Law, FLSA/Wage and Hour Critical Issues, ADA and FMLA Updates and Interplay and Privacy and Social Media in the Workplace, among others.

Paz practices in the firm’s Labor & Employment Law group. He has spoken at seminars on employment law and professional ethics for the Tennessee Bar Association, trial practices, youth groups and other civic and professional organizations.

Fundamentals of Employment Law Seminar will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 11. Click here for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

Bone McAllester Norton PLLC is a full-service law firm with 38 attorneys and offices in Nashville, Sumner and Williamson counties, Tennessee. Our attorneys focus on 18 distinct practice areas, providing the wide range of legal services ordinarily required by established and growing businesses and entrepreneurs. Among our practices, we represent clients in business and capital formation, mergers and acquisitions, securities matters, commercial lending and creditors’ rights, commercial real estate and development, governmental regulatory matters, commercial litigation and dispute resolution, intellectual property strategy and enforcement, entertainment and environmental matters. Our client base reflects the firm’s deep understanding and coverage of today’s leading industry and business segments. For more information, visit www.bonelaw.com.

Fundamentals of Employment Law with Bryan Pieper

Bone McAllester Norton attorney Bryan E. Pieper will serve as a panelist for an upcoming employment law seminar with Sterling Education Services, Inc. “Fundamentals of Employment Law” will cover the basics of employment law, as well as address new developments emerging out of long-established standards.

Highlights of the program include: E-Verify, I-9 audits, avoiding penalties in wage and hour issues, social media rights and risks and health care reform. Attorneys, human resources professionals, payroll specialists and business owners should attend.

The all-day seminar takes place Tuesday, June 9, in Bowling Green, Ky. Continuing education credits are available.

Bryan is a member of the firm’s Labor & Employment Law practice. He has considerable trial and appeals court experience in state and federal courts, as well as hearings and investigations conducted by administrative agencies including the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, the Tennessee Human Rights Commission and the United State Department of Labor.

For more information on this seminar, including how to register, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

Bone McAllester Norton PLLC is a full-service law firm with 38 attorneys and offices in Nashville, Sumner and Williamson counties, Tennessee. Our attorneys focus on 18 distinct practice areas, providing the wide range of legal services ordinarily required by established and growing businesses and entrepreneurs. Among our practices, we represent clients in business and capital formation, mergers and acquisitions, securities matters, commercial lending and creditors’ rights, commercial real estate and development, governmental regulatory matters, commercial litigation and dispute resolution, intellectual property strategy and enforcement, entertainment and environmental matters. Our client base reflects the firm’s deep understanding and coverage of today’s leading industry and business segments. For more information, visit www.bonelaw.com.

Jury Awards Nearly $500K for Sex Harassment and Retaliation

By Bryan E. Pieper

November 3, 2014

Last week, a federal jury awarded three former employees $499,000 against healthcare company EmCare, Inc. for sex harassment and retaliation. The plaintiffs alleged that the division CEO and other managers subjected Executive Assistant Gloria Stokes to “constant lewd sexual comments” that included comments about female body parts, derogatory references to women and sexual jokes. Ms. Stokes alleged that she complained about the harassment, but HR failed to take appropriate action.  The other two plaintiffs, Luke Trahan and Bonnie Shaw, complained to HR about the sexual comments and were fired six weeks later.  Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits sex harassment and prohibits retaliation against employees who oppose sex harassment.

The jury awarded Ms. Stokes $250,000 in the sex harassment claim. While EmCare claimed Mr. Trahan and Ms. Shaw were fired for performance issues, the jury found that they were fired in retaliation for complaining about the sex harassment and awarded them $167,000 and $82,000, respectively, bringing the total award up to $499,000.

This jury verdict highlights several important rules for employers:

  1.  Employers must take employee complaints of harassment seriously by investigating thoroughly and taking appropriate action to prevent and correct any sexually harassing behavior.

  2.  Anti-harassment rules must apply to everyone and must be enforced against even the highest ranking company officers or owners.

  3. While an employer cannot stop managing an employee simply because the employee has complained about harassment, the employer must acknowledge the additional risk associated with terminating or disciplining such an employee. Recognizing that the timing may appear suspicious to a jury and the decision closely scrutinized, the employer should take additional care to make sure that the performance or other legitimate reasons for termination or discipline are well-supported by the evidence and consistently applied.


For more information about the EmCare jury verdict, read the EEOC's press release here.

Doing Business with Foreign Suppliers or Manufacturers? Beware Their Illegal Practices

By Bryan E. Pieper

Yesterday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals held that Nestle, Archer Daniels Midland and other companies that sell chocolate from Africa can be sued for importing cocoa harvested by child slave laborers in the Ivory Coast. Three former child slave laborers sued the defendant food manufacturers for allegedly using and selling the product of their slave labor, under a 1789 law allowing suits in U.S. courts for violations of international human rights.

The trial court dismissed the lawsuit, holding that the law did not apply to the defendant U.S. corporations’ alleged involvement in the illegal activities that occurred abroad. The Court of Appeals disagreed, holding that they could be sued in U.S. courts if their actions in the U.S. substantially contributed to human rights violations overseas.

The defendant companies argued that they were simply searching for the cheapest sources of cocoa. Writing for the dissent, Judge Johnnie Rawlinson agreed, arguing that the U.S. companies should not be held liable to the former child slave laborers for the abuse done to them by companies in Africa because the lawsuit did not show that the U.S. companies “acted with the purpose of aiding and abetting child slave labor.” Rather, their motive was merely to increase profits by obtaining cocoa from the cheapest source available.

The majority rejected this argument and reinstated the case, arguing that the defendant companies knew the suppliers were using child slave labor but did nothing to end it or even to stop using those sources. Writing for the majority, Judge Dorothy Nelson argued that the plaintiffs’ allegations were sufficient to establish that the defendant companies willingly accepted the benefits of slave labor, writing “Driven by the goal to reduce costs in any way possible, the defendants allegedly supported the use of child slavery, the cheapest form of labor available,” and that they “placed increased revenues before basic human welfare.”

You can find the entire court opinion here.

 

Bone McAllester Norton PLLC is a full-service law firm with 38 attorneys and offices in Nashville and Sumner County, Tennessee. Our attorneys focus on 17 distinct practice areas, providing the wide range of legal services ordinarily required by established and growing businesses and entrepreneurs. Among our practices, we represent clients in business and capital formation, mergers and acquisitions, securities matters, commercial lending and creditors’ rights, commercial real estate and development, governmental regulatory matters, commercial litigation and dispute resolution, intellectual property strategy and enforcement, entertainment and environmental matters. Our client base reflects the firm’s deep understanding and coverage of today’s leading industry and business segments. For more information, visit www.bonelaw.com.

White House Tightens Standards on Contractors Who Can Do Business with the U.S. Government

By Bryan E. Pieper

Last Thursday, President Obama signed the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, designed to ensure that the U.S. government spends taxpayer money on contractors who comply with the law, pay their employees fairly and protect the safety and health of their employees. Congressional studies show that many companies that are guilty of large or repetitive wage and hour or safety and health violations continue to win billions of dollars in government contracts year after year. Allowing the worst or repeat offenders to compete for federal contracts without complying with pay and safety laws puts those contractors who play by the rules at a competitive disadvantage, according to the White House, which stated that the new standards for awarding federal contracts will help level the playing field and encourage violators to get into compliance.

To achieve this, the Executive Order provides that, before being awarded a large federal contract, a contractor must provide certain information regarding its compliance with labor and employment laws and take certain steps designed to protect its employees’ ability to enforce their rights under those laws.
  • Before an agency will award a contractor a federal contract worth more than $500,000, the contractor must report all labor and employment law violations for the past three years. Contracting agencies will screen for the worst actors with the most egregious violations or repeat violations to ensure that they do not get taxpayer funded contracts.  The goal, however, is not merely to prevent violators from getting federal contracts but to help more contractors come into compliance with workplace laws. Contractors with labor law violations will be offered the opportunity to receive early guidance on the violations and to remedy them. Contracting officers will take these steps into account before awarding a contract.
  • Contractors will be required to give employees specific information on their paystubs regarding hours worked, overtime hours, pay and any additions to or deductions from their pay so that employees can verify they are being paid what they are owed and that the pay is in compliance with wage and hour laws.
  • Before an agency will award a contractor a federal contract worth more than $1 million, the contractor must agree not to require its employees to sign arbitration agreements that prevent them from going to court for discrimination, sexual assault or harassment claims.  This would not apply to valid agreements already in place.
The White House contends that these new criteria will also improve federal contracting efficiency and result in greater returns on taxpayer dollars, as companies with workplace violations are more likely to encounter performance problems or to have projects delayed by litigation. These requirements likely will not become effective until the issuance of final regulations, after a period for public comment, which the White House estimates could be as late as 2016.

Some observers contend that requiring contractors not to make employees sign pre-employment arbitration agreements is in tension with the strong congressional policy in favor of arbitration that is expressed in the Federal Arbitration Act.  Others respond that the Executive Order is consistent with the congressional policy expressed more recently in the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2010, which conditions the award of any federal defense contract more than $1 million on the contractor agreeing not to require arbitration of certain employment claims.  For this reason, it is likely that the Executive Order may be challenged in court.

Click here for the Fact Sheet published by the White House.

 
 
Bone McAllester Norton PLLC is a full-service law firm with 38 attorneys and offices in Nashville and Sumner County, Tennessee. Our attorneys focus on 17 distinct practice areas, providing the wide range of legal services ordinarily required by established and growing businesses and entrepreneurs. Among our practices, we represent clients in business and capital formation, mergers and acquisitions, securities matters, commercial lending and creditors’ rights, commercial real estate and development, governmental regulatory matters, commercial litigation and dispute resolution, intellectual property strategy and enforcement, entertainment and environmental matters. Our client base reflects the firm’s deep understanding and coverage of today’s leading industry and business segments. For more information, visit www.bonelaw.com.
 

 

Paz Haynes & Bryan Pieper will Discuss Employment Law for Education Seminar

Bone McAllester Norton attorneys William J. (Paz) Haynes III  and Bryan E. Pieper will serve as presenters in an employment law program on August 12. Sterling Education Services' 10th annual “Employment Law: Beyond the Basics” continuing education seminar will provide information on emerging critical developments and updates, including FMLA and ADA issues, harassment and discrimination, FLSA/wage and hour crackdown, Obamacare and more.

Paz will present “Privacy and Social Media in the Workplace," addressing topics like the balance between employer’s right to know vs. employee’s privacy, wireless devices, use of social networking sites and the NLRB and social media. He concentrates his Nashville law practice in the areas of general business, labor and employment, administrative and commercial and civil litigation.

Bryan's session, "Termination Best Practices," will feature a discussion on legal considerations like the WARN Act and OWBPA; structuring severance and separation practices; RIF, layoffs and early retirement; and strategies for avoiding claims during terminations. He concentrates his practice in labor and employment law and litigation in Nashville.

HR professionals, business owners, managers, payroll professionals and labor and employment attorneys are encouraged to attend. Continuing education credits are available.

Get more information, including registration, here.

 

 

Bone McAllester Norton PLLC is a full-service law firm with 39 attorneys and offices in Nashville and Sumner County, Tennessee. Our attorneys focus on 17 distinct practice areas, providing the wide range of legal services ordinarily required by established and growing businesses and entrepreneurs. Among our practices, we represent clients in business and capital formation, mergers and acquisitions, securities matters, commercial lending and creditors’ rights, commercial real estate and development, governmental regulatory matters, commercial litigation and dispute resolution, intellectual property strategy and enforcement, entertainment and environmental matters. Our client base reflects the firm’s deep understanding and coverage of today’s leading industry and business segments. For more information, visit www.bonelaw.com.

Attorney Mandy Strickland Floyd Joins Nashville’s Bone McAllester Norton

News Release

NASHVILLE – The law firm of Bone McAllester Norton PLLC announced today the addition of attorney Mandy Strickland Floyd.

“Mandy is a great addition to our team,” said Charles W. Bone, founder and chairman of Bone McAllester Norton. “She brings a valuable perspective from her experience working with the Honorable Richard Dinkins and her advocacy work against racism, poverty and domestic violence.”

Mrs. Floyd served as the Senior Judicial Clerk for the Honorable Richard H. Dinkins on the Tennessee Court of Appeals.  She focuses her practice in Litigation and Dispute Resolution, Intellectual Property and Labor and Employment Law.  She is the firm’s 39th attorney.

She is a member of the Lawyers’ Association for Women and currently serves as the Diversity Committee Co-Chair.

Prior to pursuing a legal career, Mrs. Floyd became a certified chocolatier and started her own business. She opened an artisan chocolate company in Franklin, Tennessee, which became one of Nashville’s top chocolate shops.

She received her Juris Doctor degree from The University of Memphis, Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law and her Bachelor of Arts degree from Vanderbilt University.

 

Rob Pinson, Anne Martin will Speak at Restaurant CLE

Bone McAllester Norton attorneys Robert D. Pinson and Anne C. Martin are scheduled speakers at a CLE focusing on the business and law of restaurants that the Tennessee Bar Association is holding next month. “Restaurant CLE: Serving Up Success at the Corner of Law and Food” will take place Friday, June 27 at the Tennessee Bar Center in Nashville. This CLE is designed for business lawyers and will cover everything from business formation and taxes to licensing and employment law in the restaurant industry.

Rob, one of Bonelaw’s Alcoholic Beverage Law attorneys, will present “The Business of Restaurants” from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. and then will join Ginna Winfree, the assistant director at the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission, for “Liquor License” from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Anne, a prominent Labor & Employment Law attorney, will present on HR-related issues from noon to 1 p.m.

More information, including how to register, can be found here.

 

Bone McAllester Norton PLLC is a full-service law firm with 38 attorneys and offices in Nashville and Sumner County, Tennessee. Our attorneys focus on 17 distinct practice areas, providing the wide range of legal services ordinarily required by established and growing businesses and entrepreneurs. Among our practices, we represent clients in business and capital formation, mergers and acquisitions, securities matters, commercial lending and creditors’ rights, commercial real estate and development, governmental regulatory matters, commercial litigation and dispute resolution, intellectual property strategy and enforcement, entertainment and environmental matters. Our client base reflects the firm’s deep understanding and coverage of today’s leading industry and business segments. For more information, visit www.bonelaw.com.

Bryan Pieper will Speak at Fundamentals of Employment Law Seminar

Bone McAllester Norton Labor & Employment Law attorney Bryan E. Pieper is on the faculty of the Sterling Education Services, Inc. Fundamentals of Employment Law Seminar, scheduled for Tuesday, May 13. Bryan will present two sessions during the all-day event: “Hiring and Terminating Employees in the Current Economy” and “ADA and FMLA Updates and Interplay.” The seminar will cover everything from the basic fundamentals to new developments in employment law that everyone—human resources professionals, attorneys, supervisors, payroll specialists and business owners—needs to know.

The seminar will be held at the Chattanooga Marriott Downtown.

More information, including how to register, can be found here.

 

Bone McAllester Norton PLLC is a full-service law firm with 37 attorneys and offices in Nashville and Sumner County, Tennessee. Our attorneys focus on 17 distinct practice areas, providing the wide range of legal services ordinarily required by established and growing businesses and entrepreneurs. Among our practices, we represent clients in business and capital formation, mergers and acquisitions, securities matters, commercial lending and creditors’ rights, commercial real estate and development, governmental regulatory matters, commercial litigation and dispute resolution, intellectual property strategy and enforcement, entertainment and environmental matters. Our client base reflects the firm’s deep understanding and coverage of today’s leading industry and business segments. For more information, visit www.bonelaw.com.

Bryan Pieper will Give an Update on the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act at MTSHRM Meeting

Bone McAllester Norton attorney Bryan E. Pieper is slated as the speaker for the Middle Tennessee Society for Human Resource Management March meeting. Bryan, one of Bonelaw’s Labor and Employment Law attorneys, will present “GINA: Five Years Later” to the group. The Generic Information Nondiscrimination Act, signed into law in 2008 by President George W. Bush, has meant changes for employers. Bryan will discuss what has happened since the bill made it way through the courts and address questions still unanswered.

The breakfast meeting will take place Thursday, March 20 at the Hampton Inn in Mt. Juliet, Tenn.

 

 

Bone McAllester Norton PLLC is a full-service law firm with 37 attorneys and offices in Nashville and Sumner County, Tennessee. Our attorneys focus on 17 distinct practice areas, providing the wide range of legal services ordinarily required by established and growing businesses and entrepreneurs. Among our practices, we represent clients in business and capital formation, mergers and acquisitions, securities matters, commercial lending and creditors’ rights, commercial real estate and development, governmental regulatory matters, commercial litigation and dispute resolution, intellectual property strategy and enforcement, entertainment and environmental matters. Our client base reflects the firm’s deep understanding and coverage of today’s leading industry and business segments. For more information, visit www.bonelaw.com.

EEOC Attacks Common Severance Agreement Language

By Bryan E. Pieper The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (“EEOC”) has filed a lawsuit against CVS Pharmacy, Inc., claiming that a severance agreement CVS has employees sign violates the employees' rights to communicate with the EEOC and to participate in EEOC investigations. Click here for the full lawsuit. Many of the provisions targeted by the EEOC are considered fairly typical in employee severance agreements. As is common in severance agreements, the employer, CVS, agrees to give the employee severance benefits, conditioned on the employee making certain promises in exchange. The EEOC takes issues with those required promises, specifically identifying the following provisions:

    • The employee releases any and all claims he or she may have against CVS;
    • The employee agrees not to file any claims again CVS in any court or agency;
    • The employee agrees not to make any statements that disparage CVS or its business;
    • The employee agrees not to disclose to any third party any of CVS's confidential information, which is defined to include personnel information;
    • The employee agrees to cooperate with CVS by notifying CVS promptly if the employee is contacted regarding any lawsuit or administrative proceeding against CVS; and
    • If the employee breaches the severance agreement, CVS will be entitled to an immediate injunction, and the employee will reimburse CVS for any attorneys’ fees incurred enforcing the agreement.

In its Complaint, the EEOC asserts that the combination of the above provisions deprives an employee of his Title VII right to participate in and cooperate with an EEOC investigation and enables an employer to conceal a pattern of discrimination by thwarting the EEOC's ability to learn about and investigate employment discrimination. The EEOC alleges that in 2012, more than 650 individuals signed the CVS severance agreement. "Charges and communication with employees play a critical role in the EEOC's enforcement process because they inform the agency of employer practices that might violate the law," explained the EEOC’s lead attorney on the case. "For this reason, the right to communicate with the EEOC is a right that is protected by federal law. When an employer attempts to limit that communication, the employer effectively is attempting to buy employee silence about potential violations of the law. Put simply, that is a deal that employers cannot lawfully make." Click here to read the EEOC's full press release. The EEOC asked the court to do the following:

    • • Enjoin CVS from continuing to use the current version of the severance agreement;
    • • Reform the agreement to comply with Title VII, both for individuals who have already signed it and for those who sign it in the future;
    • • Require CVS to issue a corrective communication informing its workforce of its right to file an EEOC charge and to initiate and respond to communication with the EEOC;
    • • Require CVS to provide its management with additional training regarding an employee's Title VII right to file charges and participate in EEOC investigations; and
    • • Provide a window of 300 days for any former employee who has signed the severance agreement to file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC.

Because employers typically enter into severance agreements and pay severance pay in order to get the peace of mind that they have made a clean break with an employee, the agreement provisions discussed above are rather common. This clean break is often essential to an employer’s willingness to provide non-mandatory severance benefits in the first place. However, the EEOC contends this lawsuit is part of its new emphasis on attacking systemic patterns of discrimination and the methods employers use to protect and hide them. This is consistent with the EEOC's practice of using investigation of an individual charge of discrimination as an opportunity to look for class or group claims, which would be difficult if all former employees are bound to silence. Employers are encouraged to have their current severance agreements reviewed by counsel and to keep an eye on this case as it progresses through the courts.

EEOC Attacks Common Severance Agreement Language

By Bryan E. Pieper The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (“EEOC”) has filed a lawsuit against CVS Pharmacy, Inc., claiming that a severance agreement CVS has employees sign violates the employees' rights to communicate with the EEOC and to participate in EEOC investigations. Click here for the full lawsuit. Many of the provisions targeted by the EEOC are considered fairly typical in employee severance agreements. As is common in severance agreements, the employer, CVS, agrees to give the employee severance benefits, conditioned on the employee making certain promises in exchange. The EEOC takes issues with those required promises, specifically identifying the following provisions:
  • The employee releases any and all claims he or she may have against CVS;
  • The employee agrees not to file any claims again CVS in any court or agency;
  • The employee agrees not to make any statements that disparage CVS or its business;
  • The employee agrees not to disclose to any third party any of CVS's confidential information, which is defined to include personnel information;
  • The employee agrees to cooperate with CVS by notifying CVS promptly if the employee is contacted regarding any lawsuit or administrative proceeding against CVS; and
  • If the employee breaches the severance agreement, CVS will be entitled to an immediate injunction, and the employee will reimburse CVS for any attorneys’ fees incurred enforcing the agreement.
In its Complaint, the EEOC asserts that the combination of the above provisions deprives an employee of his Title VII right to participate in and cooperate with an EEOC investigation and enables an employer to conceal a pattern of discrimination by thwarting the EEOC's ability to learn about and investigate employment discrimination. The EEOC alleges that in 2012, more than 650 individuals signed the CVS severance agreement. "Charges and communication with employees play a critical role in the EEOC's enforcement process because they inform the agency of employer practices that might violate the law," explained the EEOC’s lead attorney on the case. "For this reason, the right to communicate with the EEOC is a right that is protected by federal law. When an employer attempts to limit that communication, the employer effectively is attempting to buy employee silence about potential violations of the law. Put simply, that is a deal that employers cannot lawfully make." Click here to read the EEOC's full press release. The EEOC asked the court to do the following:
  • • Enjoin CVS from continuing to use the current version of the severance agreement;
  • • Reform the agreement to comply with Title VII, both for individuals who have already signed it and for those who sign it in the future;
  • • Require CVS to issue a corrective communication informing its workforce of its right to file an EEOC charge and to initiate and respond to communication with the EEOC;
  • • Require CVS to provide its management with additional training regarding an employee's Title VII right to file charges and participate in EEOC investigations; and
  • • Provide a window of 300 days for any former employee who has signed the severance agreement to file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC.
Because employers typically enter into severance agreements and pay severance pay in order to get the peace of mind that they have made a clean break with an employee, the agreement provisions discussed above are rather common. This clean break is often essential to an employer’s willingness to provide non-mandatory severance benefits in the first place. However, the EEOC contends this lawsuit is part of its new emphasis on attacking systemic patterns of discrimination and the methods employers use to protect and hide them. This is consistent with the EEOC's practice of using investigation of an individual charge of discrimination as an opportunity to look for class or group claims, which would be difficult if all former employees are bound to silence. Employers are encouraged to have their current severance agreements reviewed by counsel and to keep an eye on this case as it progresses through the courts.