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Baton Rouge Business and Commercial Law Blog

Am I required to disclose my disability to my employer?

Whether or not an employee should report a disability that they have to their employer is entirely up to the individual. The law only requires an employer must provide reasonable accommodations to either employees or job applicants that suffer from a disability if they disclose their disability to the employer.

There is no requirement per se that an employee must disclose any disability from which they may be suffering. However, if the employee will require their employer to furnish them with reasonable accommodations in order for them to perform their job duties satisfactorily then they will have to inform their employer about their disabilities and how best to work around them.

Two Louisiana healthcare systems partnering rather than merging

Companies joining together are commonplace in today's business world, and in some cases may make business sense. Typically, this is done through the merger and acquisition process, which can entail many legal complexities and regulatory issues. However, our readers may find it interesting to learn that Lafayette General Health has decided to join the Ochsner Health Network, and what is unique about this particular instance of two health organizations working together is that there is no official merger or acquisition taking place. Instead of a hostile acquisition of one company by another, the two companies have come to a mutual agreement to join forces in a long-term corporate strategy involving partnership.

The driving force behind the newly-formed partnership is a desire by both firms to bring down operating costs. Joining forces will allow the business partners to pool together their buying power and allow them to reduce the cost of purchasing specialty items such as implants and prosthetics. Health systems have been experiencing a paradigm shift ever since the Affordable Care Act was passed. Today's healthcare system is evolving into one that rewards health providers for maintaining their patients' health rather than dispensing a certain number or amount of treatments.

What does the FTC consider anticompetitive or unfair competition?

One of the responsibilities that the Federal Trade Commission is tasked with is to be on the lookout for unfair business practices that serve to reduce competition in a free market economy. Specifically, some of the activities that the FTC monitors are anticompetitive business practices that can include, among other things, such actions as price fixing and group boycotts, as well as exclusionary exclusive dealing contracts.

The reason that artificially reducing competition can negatively affect a free market economy is that it may inevitably lead to artificially higher prices while simultaneously reducing the quality of services. Unfair competition is also likely to hamper innovation and research as well as development initiatives. Simply put, if there is only one service in town, there's little reason to strive to offer a better, higher quality or cheaper product or service.

How are mergers and acquisitions reviewed?

Mergers and acquisitions are normal yet complex business transactions that often take place in a healthy and thriving economy. However, certain mergers may create a monopoly with the potential to stem business competition in a free market. In order to prevent this from happening, Congress passed the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act which gave the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice the right to review and oversee most business transactions that surpass a certain size.

The act also gives the FTC and DOJ the authority to block any deal which, in the agencies' estimation, would prove to be detrimental to allowing a healthy business environment where other companies can fairly and equitably compete. While there are exceptions, in general business law requires all companies, including those in Louisiana, to report any business transactions or deals that are valued over $76.3 million for review by either agency.

Merger between Heinz and Kraft Foods is in the works

Louisiana residents may find it interesting to learn that a merger has been announced between H.J. Heinz Co. and Kraft Foods Group Inc. If the merger is approved by the Federal Trade Commission the resulting business entity, the new Kraft Heinz Company, will be instantly catapulted to a position as the third-largest food manufacturer in the U.S.

Analysts expect the value of the newly merged company to be well over $80 billion. The Brazilian private investment group 3G Capital, which owns H.J. Heinz Co., coordinated the merger of the two food giants in collaboration with Berkshire Hathaway of Warren Buffett fame. Berkshire Hathaway and 3G have worked together in the past; in 2013, the two groups led a hostile takeover of Heinz to the tune of $28 billion.

Employer responsibilities to blind employees under ADA

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees who have a disability. An individual is considered to have a disability if they suffer from an impairment that greatly limits a major life activity or have a history of suffering from at least a single impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.

With regard to employees or prospective employees that have low vision or are blind, just as with any other disability, an employer must provide accommodations as long as doing so is considered reasonable and does not impose an undue hardship. An employer cannot be compelled to eliminate a core function of a position as a form of reasonable accommodation, nor does the employer have to accept subpar performance that falls below the required standard.

Starting a business? Drafting a contract? We can help

Contracts are an integral part of any business. A carefully crafted and drawn contract can make all the difference. The legal team at Dunlap Fiore, LLC, with their extensive experience, has the business law acumen that any business may need to assist them in pursuing their business goals. Regardless of what one's business objective is, they can rest assured that they will receive the best of our highly experienced legal team's over 45 years of combined business law experience.

Located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and serving our city and state with pride, a business which seeks our services can rest assured that we are well-versed in contract and business law. We also serve business needs nationwide. We will be able to meet your business needs whether you're a local business or whether you have business needs that reach beyond the state of Louisiana and you wish to expand nationwide.

Comcast-Time Warner merger delayed due to regulatory review

Louisiana residents should be interested to know that one of the largest mergers to ever be executed has once again been pushed back. Initially the company had indicated that it was shooting for a completed merger by early 2015, but now expects the merger to go through by mid-2015.

The reason for the delay, according to Comcast's executive vice president, is that certain regulatory delays have forced the company to alter its timetable for completing the acquisition. One of those regulatory delays, though not the sole reason for the altered timetable, was a result of the Federal Communications Commission deciding to temporarily halt its review and thus the subsequent approval of the merger. Without the FCC officially signing off on the acquisition, the merger cannot be completed.

What is arbitration?

Every now and then, disputes between business partners, contractors and sub-contractors in a construction setting can arise. For instance, when a dispute arises in the construction industry, the parties have the option to litigate the matter or they also have the option to partake in an alternate dispute resolution options such as arbitration.

In essence, arbitration is an alternative to litigation. Arbitration, in most cases, allows for a quicker resolution of the dispute in a much more cost-effective manner than the often expensive and time-consuming option of battling it out through the court system. Essentially, when both parties agree to resolve their dispute through arbitration, they agree to allow an impartial third party, who can be a single individual or a group of people, look over the facts of the dispute and render a decision, which may include an award of compensation to be paid by one or more parties. The decision that the arbitrator makes is in writing and is considered final, as well as binding on all parties involved.

What should Louisianans know about reasonable accommodations?

The Americans with Disabilities Act was enacted by Congress to protect employees in Louisiana and across the nation from being discriminated against because of any disabilities that they may have that do not hinder them from performing a job just as capably as someone without the same disability.

In the hiring process, the ADA does not limit an employer from hiring the most capable person of performing a job, but it does impose limits on what an employer may ask an applicant during the hiring process with respect to a given vacant position. It also legally requires the employer to accommodate any needs that they might have so long as the accommodation is reasonable.

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