“We believe in making businesses feel like they are our only client.”


Thursday, June 02, 2011
About

Recently, my 15 year old son Noah Enoch was featured on High 5 4 Kids.  Noah wants children with special needs to expierence one of his favorite hobbies, Archery.   Learn more about this cool project and my really cool son.

High 5 4 Kids: Noah Enoch

 

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Enoch Law Firm Represents Not-For-Profit School in Quiet Title Action

Augusta Chronicle Coverage of Quiet Title Action

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Enoch Law Firm Represents Not-For-Profit School in Quiet Title Action

WRDW Coverage of Quiet Title Action

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Department of Labor Announces New Minimum Salary Requirements

The Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to pay employees overtime at a rate of 1 ½ times their normal hourly rate. However, employers can exempt certain categories of employees from the overtime requirement if they fit into an exempt job classification.

The Department of Labor (DOL) sets minimum salary levels required to meet this exemption. DOL released its final version of new regulations concerning salaries for employees exempt from overtime pay today. The new rule goes into effect December 1, 2016.

Some, but not all, exempt job classifications require the employer to pay the employee on a “salary basis.” As a general rule, “salary basis” means the employee receives a regular, unchanging amount of pay from paycheck to paycheck, without deductions for hours missed and no additional pay for working more than 40 hours in a workweek. DOL has consistently refused to consider commissions and bonuses as part of salary for this calculation.

The current salary needed to meet the minimum “salary basis” test is $455 per week ($23,660.00 annually). DOL set this minimum salary level in 2004. Although the minimum is stated as a weekly amount, exempt employees can be paid on any regular schedule—weekly, biweekly, monthly or semi-monthly.

The rule issued by the DOL today a little more than doubles the minimum salary basis to $913 per week ($47,476 annually) beginning December 1 of this year. The new rule also implements an automatic increase in the minimum salary basis every three years to adjust to the 40th percentile of full-time salaries earned by workers in the lowest-wage Census region.

Finally, the new rule increases the amount of the highly compensated employee exemption to $134,004.00 from $100,000.00. This amount includes all non-discretionary compensation such as commissions and nondiscretionary bonuses.

Now is the time for all employers, large and small, to review all job descriptions with your attorney to determine compliance with the new rule and how it will impact your business on December 1, 2016.

 

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It’s time for the 5th Annual 2016 Georgia Legal Food Frenzy! Every year, J. Edward Enoch, PC and other law firms in our local legal community come together April 18-29th for a two week food and funds drive in order to benefit our local food bank, Golden Harvest Food Bank.

We do this because the spring and summer months are the most difficult months for the Food Bank as donations and volunteer support slow and families plan for and enjoy summer vacation.

That’s where you come in—by partnering with ­­J. Edward Enoch, PC, you can help us to ensure that the Food Bank has enough food and funds to feed local children, seniors, and families who rely on Golden Harvest Food Bank for help during the spring and summer. The truth is that 1 in 4 children in Georgia do not get enough to eat, and 1 in 5 of all Georgians struggle with hunger.

In this friendly food drive competition, the law firm or legal organization that raises the most food (based on a per-person average of attorneys and staff) will be awarded the prestigious and highly coveted “Attorney General’s Cup.” By donating either financially or through canned goods, you can help J. Edward Enoch, PC to feed those in need while helping us do well in this friendly competition. Simply either mail or drop off your donation to our firm or to Golden Harvest Food Bank and let the staff know that you are donating to help J. Edward Enoch, PC out in the Legal Food Frenzy competition.

Golden Harvest Food Bank is located at:

3310 Commerce Drive

Augusta, GA 30909

 

We would greatly appreciate your support in this important cause.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to ­­­­­J. Edward Enoch, PC more information:

Elizabeth Nobles

Edward Enoch, PC

3540 Wheeler Road, Ste 312

Augusta, GA 30909

enobles@enochlaw.com

706.738.4141

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NO WAY OUT

I frequently talk to my clients, particularly small business owners, about the need to have an estate plan.  Taking that theme one step further, business owners need to have an exit strategy.

I am currently working with a couple of clients on succession planning.  Many more businesses I represent need this planning, but have not even started.  As a private business owner, there are only three options for getting out of your business: (i) transfer it to an insider, (ii) transfer it to an outsider, or (iii) go out of business.   Unfortunately, many private businesses end up in the third category by default.

Transferring to an insider means passing the business to your family or selling the business to a key employee.  These transitions cannot happen overnight.   They take planning.   If a child or an insider is going to buy the business they have to be trained to run the business.   Plus, they need the financial wherewithal to pay fair value for the business.  If they are going to receive the business as a gift, how is the owner going to fund retirement?

Transferring to an outsider means creating a market to sell the business.   Who might be interested in buying the business?   Trade magazines are full of ads by business brokers trying to sell mom and pop businesses.  For to that to work, the business has to generate a price that both satisfies the owner’s needs and pays the broker.   Competitors might be interested in buying the business, but how do you find out without the word getting on the street you are looking to sell your business?   Regional or national firms might be interested in acquiring the business.   How do you tap into those markets?

Look to your team of professional advisors, particularly your CPA and your business attorney, to guide you along this path.  And you need to start long before you are actually ready to get out of the business.

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Everybody watches It’s a Wonderful Life over the holidays, right?  George is going to throw himself off the bridge when Clarence intercedes to show George what life would have been like without him.  While I hope none of you are contemplating doing yourself in, allow me play Clarence for a moment.

What would happen in your family, business or job if suddenly you were not there?  This might not mean death, it could be a traumatic brain injury or a stroke that leaves you in a coma.   Obviously, there would be grief and emotional distress.   So my question is—have you done the things you can do to help ease that distress?   Based on my experience, here are some things I suggest:

  1. Make sure you have a will (or trust)—to ensure your assets are distributed the way you intend and that you pick the person in charge of that process;
  2. Make sure all your beneficiary designations are up to date and correct—because assets such as life insurance and retirement accounts are not controlled by your will;
  3. Make sure you have health care and financial powers of attorney—so there is someone who can legally step in and act for you without going to court;
  4. Organize all your account information in one secure place (bank, investments, bills, credit cards, etc.) and make sure the necessary people know where these are—so that whoever has to take over for you has all the information they need in one place and organized;
  5. Store online passwords in such a way that the person who steps in for you can get access to your online accounts—so much of what we do now is online, and if you do not have the user name and password, you can forget about getting access to those accounts.

While these tips are important for everyone, they are particularly important for business owners, because in the event of an emergency, it is critical the business keep running.

Do these things and maybe I will earn my wings!

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Business and corporate clients rely on lawyers to help with issues ranging from human resources to real estate. The following is an interesting article on the how the service, manufacturing and retail industries contribute to the legal industry's overall revenue.   Click the article link below to read the full article:

"Legal's Vital Role in the US Economy"

 

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Interesting article regarding joint employment relationships from Akerman LLP written by Laurie M. Weinstein. Read the full article below:

In its first application of the landmark Browning-Ferris decision, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has determined that ACECO, a contractor, was not a joint employer with Green Jobworks, its staffing agency. In Browning-Ferris, the NLRB held that two or more entities would be considered joint employers if each one possessed sufficient control over employees’ essential terms and conditions of employment. As discussed more here, this is significant because, even if the company is not the actual employer of workers, the company may be required to bargain with a Union and held liable for unfair labor practice charges if found to be a “joint employer.”

In the Green Jobworks case, the NLRB revisited the broader joint employer test of Browning-Ferris, and this time found that the Union failed to establish specific, detailed and relevant evidence demonstrating a joint employment relationship between Green Jobworks and ACECO. Green JobWorks is a staffing company that provides temporary labor to construction companies. ACECO is a demolition and remediation contractor who supplements its workforce with Green JobWorks employees.

Green JobWorks and ACECO entered into a Master Labor Services Agreement requiring Green JobWorks to provide workers who are responsible for tracking Green JobWorks employee hours, determining breaks, and removing Green JobWorks workers from the construction site, if necessary. Under the agreement, Green JobWorks was exclusively responsible for the following duties: (1) employee recruiting, hiring, counseling, discipline and discharge; (2) establishing and paying employee wages; (3) providing worker’s compensation insurance and fulfilling unemployment compensation obligations; and (4) maintaining personnel and payroll records for Green JobWorks employees. Project orientation and day-to-day schedules were determined by the general contractor.

The Local Union asserted that ACECO was a joint employer because: (1) the Master Labor Services Agreement gave ACECO the right to direct managers and supervisors, and to dismiss staff employees under certain circumstances; (2) ACECO had requested specific Green JobWorks employees with particular skills; and (3) ACECO effectively controlled the wages of Green JobWorks employees.

The NLRB rejected the Union’s argument, and distinguished the facts from those in Browning-Ferris. ACECO’s right to refuse or terminate a Green JobWorks employee was limited and not unqualified. ACECO could request specific employees, but the staffing agency was under no obligation to meet the request. Additionally, Green JobWorks employees could individually negotiate higher wages, and Green JobWorks was not prohibited from paying its employees more than ACECO paid its employees.

Regarding day-to-day supervision, ACECO, who was a subcontractor, did not determine the job tasks for Green JobWorks employees. Instead, they received project orientation and day-to-day schedules from the general contractor. Additionally, Green JobWorks field supervisors traveled to project sites to interact with lead employees, and lead employees were responsible for tracking Green JobWorks employee hours and determining breaks and rest period.

Accordingly, the NLRB found that ACECO was not a joint employer with Green JobWorks. The decision highlights the importance of an agreement that gives as much discretion to the staffing agency as possible. The Green Jobworks case is a reminder to franchisors, subcontractors, and business entities to pay careful attention to the “joint employer” standard.

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WHAT HAPPENS AT THE HOLIDAY PARTY . . .

Why do employers sponsor holiday parties? To show our appreciation for our employees’ work and, hopefully, celebrate a successful year in business. However, in my experience holiday parties are fraught with as much opportunity to damage morale as to improve it. So here are some thoughts from a war-scarred veteran of many year-end parties.

First, let your employees help plan the party. It is not really a party unless the people you plan to honor and entertain actually want to come. I once worked for a company who hosted their holiday party at a fancy restaurant that required men to wear a jacket. Many of us in management frequented this restaurant and considered it a big perk to invite the rank-and-file employees to a party there. However, almost none of the staff (primarily female) attended the party. After a couple of years of this trend, someone had the bright idea to ask the staff why the party was not well attended. Turns out, most of the staff’s husbands hated to wear a sports coat or jacket, so they did not attend. The moral of the story is, let your people help plan the party.

I cannot discuss holiday parties without discussing the issue of alcohol. To paraphrase, “What happens at the holiday party, does not stay at the holiday party.” Behavior at any office party comes back to work. The party is not a free pass for adolescent behavior and there is no law against discharge or discipline for actions taken at the party. Don’t punch out the boss. “Innocent flirting” with a subordinate at the party can become sexual harassment in the cold light of day.

For the employer, alcohol includes the possibility of "social host liability." In Georgia, social hosts can be held liable for the damage caused by someone to whom they serve alcohol if the person was noticeably intoxicated at the time and the host knows the person will soon be driving a motor vehicle. In South Carolina social host liability is limited to hosts who serve alcohol to minors (including providing open access, such as a keg).

My rule of thumb when advising clients is--all things in moderation. Here are some tips to help keep the party in check and still have a good time:

1. Invite spouses if the party is after business hours;
2. Do not serve unlimited free alcohol. If the party is a dinner, have an open bar for 45 minutes or an hour before dinner and then go to a cash bar. Hand out two free drink tickets to each person;
3. Serve food to help slow alcohol absorption;
4. Do not serve unattended alcohol, particularly if there are minors attending the party;
5. Hire a professional bartender.

Happy Holidays!

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    Contact Information

    J. Edward Enoch P.C.
    3540 Wheeler Rd, Ste. 312
    Augusta, GA 30909
    p. 706-738-4141
    e. info@enochlaw.com

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