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Baton Rouge Business and Commercial Law Blog

What are qualifying exigency categories under FMLA?

Louisiana employers must be cognizant of the Family and Medical Leave Act when it comes to all the various situations in which it arises. One issue that must be understood by employers and employees is qualifying exigency leave under FMLA. With FMLA, workers who are eligible can get 12 workweeks off within a 12-month period. But there must be a "qualifying exigency" based on a loved one being deployed. The loved one must be a close relative or a next-of-kin meaning that it will be a spouse, a son, a daughter or a parent.

When the loved one is a member of the Armed Forces, National Guard or Reserves and is on active duty or is set to be called for active duty or covered active duty, the employee can use FMLA. There are certain categories for qualifying exigency. The employee can use FMLA for a military member being on short-term deployment - within seven days' notice or less - for seven days from the time the notice of deployment is received. If there is a military event, is allowable to use FMLA. With childcare and activities related to it, the worker can take time off with FMLA - the child does not have to be related to the employee.

Business law and fraudulent misrepresentation

Louisiana businesses must be aware of the various pitfalls that they can face as they run their operations. Trusting others to behave within the law and follow through on agreements as they are laid out is a mistake that can be costly in the short and long-term. One issue that businesses must be cognizant of is fraudulent misrepresentation. When there is an agreement between parties, it should be done with a contract. Both parties are expected to act in good faith. However, if one says something that is false or misleading to get the other to agree to the contract and does harm, there could be the basis for a legal filing due to fraudulent misrepresentation.

All parties must agree to the terms of the contract for it to be considered valid. If there are terms that are inaccurate, then any agreement within the contract will be based on a false premise and therefore invalid. If there are false statements made in any way, it will be considered false representation. There can also be negligent misrepresentation if a party did not ensure the accuracy of that which was represented. Innocent representation is not negligent nor fraudulent.

Employers can request 2nd and 3rd opinions under FMLA

Louisiana employers whose workers are covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act are required to adhere to the law when giving these employees time off. That, however, does not extend infinitely. If, for example, the employee has a medical issue that requires certification, the employee must provide that. An employee who does not provide that information might have the request for FMLA denied. The employer can request certification if the request is based on the employee's health issue, a health issue for a family member, or if the request is based on military family leave. Certification is not necessary if it is for bonding time with a newborn child.

A health care provider must provide the certification. That can be a doctor, a dentist, a nurse practitioner, or a health care provider who is on the employer's group plan, if any. The employer must inform the employee when there will be a certification request. The employee is required to provide the certification within 15 calendar days after the request is made. This can be flexible depending on the circumstances. If it is for planned or unforeseeable treatment of the employee or a family member, the certification must say the need for the treatment and an estimate of the dates and duration with recovery time.

Business litigation centers are chef and his namesake restaurant

In business in Louisiana and across the United States, there can be something of a domino effect. One thing will lead to another and result in business disputes, business litigation, arguments over naming rights and more. Frequently this will emanate from a totally separate issue, but that does not make it any less important. For those who are in the middle of a business dispute, it is imperative to be protected with legal advice from an attorney who is well-versed in all aspects of business law.

A prominent restaurant group that is facing allegations of sexual harassment against its founder is also having an issue with one of the owners of a restaurant under its corporate umbrella. The restaurant is named after the chef-owner. The limited liability company has filed a lawsuit against the chef-owner and is seeking to retain the name and trademark. The chef-owner had filed a federal trademark request to keep the name. A cease-and-desist letter was also sent to the restaurant demanding that the stop using the name.

Employers need to protect from lawsuits with an experienced firm

Doing business in today's world is difficult enough for Louisiana businesses without having to think about strategies to protect from lawsuits. It is, however, the fundamental reality as to its necessity. Of course, employees must be protected by the adherence on the part of employers to employment regulations and grant them their civil rights. But that does not mean that employers should be accused of violations they did not commit, nor should they be subjected to allegations of sexual harassment and other behaviors without the chance to defend themselves. Having a legal firm experienced in defending businesses is important.

Running a business is not easy. This is especially true if it is a large corporation, but it is also true for smaller businesses. Employing many people will inevitably lead to disagreements and conflict. It can also result in having to fire people - sometimes a lot of people. That can cause discontent and spark those who believe they have been wronged to consider a legal filing. While they have the right to do so, that does not automatically mean that it is valid. Defending a company against allegations of wrongdoing and having it be successful can mean the difference between the business continuing operations or coming apart.

What is light duty under the ADA and are employers protected?

Louisiana employers and employees might be aware of the various laws that are in place to protect those who are disabled and are able to work. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a necessary piece of legislation that will regulate how employers will treat workers who are disabled. However, some employers could find themselves being confronted with allegations that they have violated employment law when they believe they have complied and are acting within their own best interests by refusing to do certain things based on reasonable accommodation.

Employers have the right to protect from lawsuits if they are justified in their actions. One question that frequently arises is whether the employer is obligated to provide light duty for a disabled employee. There can be numerous definitions of "light duty." In general, it means temporary or permanent work that is less demanding than the regular job duties. This can be mental or physical. It depends on what the employer deems to be light duty as some view it as excusing a worker from certain parts of the job and others deem it to be giving the employee other duties entirely.

Understanding specific performance after breach of contract

Breach of contract is a serious issue in Louisiana business and companies that are dealing with it should be aware of the various remedies they have at their disposal to settle the matter. In some instances, a financial payout is enough to end it and have the parties move on. However, that is not always the case making a lawsuit untenable, costly and time-consuming for an unsatisfactory resolution. This is where specific performance comes in.

Specific performance is a remedy that courts will use when there are no other viable options to provide adequate compensation. The goal is to put the damaged party in a positon so it is as if the breach never occurred. In other words, they receive a sufficient restitution that the breach does not damage them in any way. Courts will use specific performance in situations that are unique. This is when money is not enough to fix the issue.

Defending against allegations of construction defects

In Louisiana and throughout the nation, one business that is generally immune to extended lulls is the construction industry. Where there is land, there will be people who want to build on it. With that, construction is a potentially lucrative endeavor in both commercial and private settings. However, it is not without its risks. People who are unhappy with a project might try to find ways to get out of paying companies for the work they did. There could be complaints that are not legitimate. Understanding typical construction defects is integral to defending a lawsuit and companies should be aware of them.

A construction defect encompasses the construction project. It can involve its design, the plans, how it was supervised, issues with inspection and legality, and failures to meet goals by the designated time frames. The following are ways in which there can be allegations of construction defects: mechanical problems, lack of structural integrity, water intrusion, failure to have moisture protection and thermal protection, problems with doors, glass or windows, and electrical flaws. There are many others.

A confidentiality agreement is important in business law

Louisiana businesses that have products or ideas that they would like to protect but must share with others to move forward in their business goals should be aware of the need for a confidentiality agreement. Also referred to as a nondisclosure agreement (NDA), this is when a party agrees to keep details of a product or item secret while they are in business together. With this agreement, the individual will not have the ability to share this information later. When there is a confidentiality agreement dispute, it is imperative to have legal help to settle it as the future of the product and business often hinges on it.

An NDA can protect trade secrets. This is different from a patent in that a patent is a public disclosure. As the name implies, trade secrets are secret. They are protected only when the owner takes the necessary steps to keep the secret, thereby providing an advantage when it is offered to the public or used to achieve certain ends. NDAs foster confidential relationships. The holder of the secret and whomever receives the information will keep it in confidence.

What are employer's rights with a worker returning from FMLA?

Louisiana workers who are eligible to take advantage of the benefits offered through the Family and Medical Leave Act are perfectly within their rights to do so provided the various criteria for eligibility are met. However, the employer's perspective is often lost in the shuffle. While employees certain have rights, so too do employers. If there is an issue with FMLA, many people are quick to cite employment law and try to file a legal case. But employers have the right to protect from lawsuits if they are working within the laws of the FMLA. Understanding when a case is frivolous and unfair is imperative for a business that is facing allegations of wrongdoing.

The worker who returns is required to have the same job that he or she left or one that is nearly identical. If that is not possible, then the new job must: involve the same or similar duties as the previous job with the same status and responsibilities; the same amount of effort, skill, authority and responsibility must be necessary; the pay must be identical as are the benefits; and the same work schedule must be provided at the same or a location that is nearby.

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