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On March 1, 2024, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama issued a 53-page opinion declaring the Corporate Transparency Act (“CTA”) unconstitutional and permanently enjoined the government from enforcing the CTA against the plaintiffs in the case. At first glance, the decision could be read as banning the federal government from enforcing the significant and burdensome reporting requirements included in the CTA for millions of businesses. However, the Court’s ruling only applies to approximately .1%-.2% of all businesses in the United States.

On January 9, 2024, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced a final rule, Employee or Independent Contractor Classification Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, that provides guidance on whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The final rule is set to take effect on March 11, 2024, and revises the DOL’s prior guidance on independent contractor classifications under the FLSA. The final rule rescinds and replaces the DOL’s previous 2021 rule, which the DOL viewed as a departure from longstanding judicial precedent and the text of the FLSA.

On October 26, 2023, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) published its highly anticipated final rule, “Standard for Determining Joint Employer Status,” set to take effect December 26, 2023. The new rule rescinds and replaces the NLRB’s previous 2020 rule, establishing a new standard to determine whether two employers are considered “joint employers” within the meaning of the National Labor Relations Act (the “Act”).

Generally, the new rule provides that an entity may be considered a joint employer of another entity's employees if the two employers share or codetermine the employees' essential terms and conditions of employment. At face value, this would not seem to alter the previous standard in a significant or meaningful way; however, the new rule goes on to drastically expand the underlying standard for determining joint employer status.

Cline Williams is pleased to announce the firm has been recognized by Best Lawyers® "Best Law Firms" 2024. We received 20 rankings overall for the Lincoln, Omaha, and Colorado Metropolitan areas. 18 of the practice areas achieved first-tier metropolitan rankings, 6 received second-tier rankings, and 1 earned third-tier ranking. Our Construction Law and Business Organizations sections made a first appearance in the publication.

Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process. A firm must have at least one lawyer recognized in the latest edition of The Best Lawyers in America® to be eligible for "Best Law Firms".

Trenten P. Bausch has become a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, one of the premier legal associations in North America.

The induction ceremony at which Trenten P. Bausch became a Fellow took place recently before an audience of approximately 550 during the recent Annual Meeting of the College in San Diego, California.

On August 30, 2023, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a proposed increase to the Fair Labor Standards Act's salary-level threshold for the “white-collar” exemptions to overtime requirements. The highly anticipated proposed rule is expected to expand overtime pay protections to over 3.4 million workers by changing the FLSA’s exemptions to overtime eligibility.

Cline Williams is proud to reveal that 30 of the firm's lawyers are listed in the Best Lawyers in America® in 2024. Best Lawyers in America® are chosen through an extensive peer driven evaluation. Lawyers are recognized for their professional excellence in their area of practice. Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch, listed 6 of our attorneys. The listed lawyers, who are early in their careers, are recognized for their outstanding professional excellence in private practice.

Cline Williams is also proud to announce that one firm attorney was selected for inclusion in the Best Lawyers in America® 2024 as “Lawyer of the Year” in their respective practice. They received this distinction based entirely upon peer ratings. Only a single lawyer in each practice area and designated metropolitan area is honored as a “Lawyer of the Year."

Cline Williams is pleased to announce its rankings in the Chambers USA 2023 Guide, with 3 practice groups and 9 attorneys recognized. Chambers annually ranks attorneys and law firms based on in-depth research and interviews with their clients and peers.

Shared with permission from the author and the Nebraska State Bar Association, The Nebraska Lawyer (May/June2023).

Employers and workers continue to navigate their obligations, preferences, and business needs in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Workers' demands for flexibility and alternative work arrangements remain strong. In some contexts, independent contractor status may work well for both workers and employers. When using workers properly classified as independent contractors, companies generally are not required to comply with minimum wage or overtime pay requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act; to pay unemployment tax, state or federal income tax, Social Security, or Medicare taxes for independent contractors; or to include independent contractors in retirement and benefits plans.

On January 1, 2023, employers in the State of Colorado must begin collecting and remitting insurance premiums for the voter-approved state-run Family and Medical Leave Insurance (“FAMLI”) Program. Premiums will fund paid leave benefits for qualifying Colorado employees, who can begin making claims and receiving benefits on January 1, 2024. The FAMLI Program imposes obligations on most employers, with few exceptions, although employers with ten or more employees will have additional obligations.

U.S. News-Best Lawyers® "Best Law Firms" 2023

Cline Williams is pleased to announce the U.S. News & World - Best Lawyers® "Best Law Firms" 2023 has awarded the firm with 17 overall rankings for the Lincoln, Omaha, and Colorado Metropolitan areas. The firm received 11 Tier 1 rankings in Lincoln and Omaha and 6 Tier 2 rankings in Lincoln, Omaha, and Colorado.

The U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process. A firm must have at least one lawyer recognized in the latest edition of The Best Lawyers in America® to be eligible for "Best Law Firms".

On October 19, 2022, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination, released an updated “Know Your Rights” poster that replaces the previous “EEO is the Law” poster. Federal law requires covered employers to prominently display the poster at their work sites and authorizes fines for noncompliance.

Cline Williams is privileged to have 23 lawyers named to Best Lawyers in America® in 2023. Best Lawyers in America are chosen through an extensive peer driven evaluation. Lawyers are recognized for their professional excellence in their area of practice. The newest award initiative, Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch, listed 6 of our attorneys. Lawyers who are early in their careers are recognized for their outstanding professional excellence in private practice in the United States.
Cline Williams is also proud to announce that four firm attorneys were selected by their peers for inclusion in the Best Lawyers in America® 2023 as “Lawyer of the Year” in their respective practice. They received this distinction based upon peer ratings. Only a single lawyer in each practice area in each community annually is honored as a “Lawyer of the Year."

A new Colorado law takes effect on August 10, 2022, that significantly limits the enforceability of non-compete agreements made with employees working or living in Colorado. HB 22-1317 amends Colorado’s current statute addressing non-compete agreements. While the law is not retroactive, it significantly narrows the exceptions previously permitted under Colorado law for covenants not to compete. The new law also imposes strict notice requirements and introduces new penalties for employers who attempt to enter into, present an employee with, or attempt to enforce a void non-compete agreement.

Cline Williams is honored to announce its rankings in the Chambers and Partners 2022 USA Guide. The publication recognized 10 attorneys and 2 of the firm's practice groups. Our Litigation: General Commercial practice group is ranked in the top-tier Band 1 and our attorneys are recognized across seven practice areas.

On January 13, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an Order reinstating the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Interim Final Rule (IFR) requiring healthcare employers to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for staff.

Late Friday, January 14, 2022, CMS issued a Quality, Safety & Oversight (QSO) Memo with further guidance on how CMS plans to exercise its enforcement discretion. The QSO provides state surveyors with general guidance for how to enforce the IFR as well as provider-facility specific guidance.

Most notably, the QSO Memo clarifies the new compliance deadlines for facilities in states where implementation of the mandate had been halted, including Nebraska and Iowa.

On January 13, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court issued two Orders regarding the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) vaccine mandate and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) vaccine-or-testing emergency temporary standard (ETS). The Court reinstated the CMS vaccine mandate in those states where it had been preliminarily enjoined, and it suspended OSHA’s vaccine-or-testing ETS pending further review.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) vaccine-or-testing emergency temporary standard (ETS) is again in effect. Late Friday night, December 17, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the Fifth Circuit’s prior stay on the ETS requiring businesses with at least 100 employees to ensure workers are either vaccinated or tested weekly and wear masks.

On November 29, 2021, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri issued an Order granting a preliminary injunction to halt the implementation and enforcement of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Interim Final Rule (the Rule) requiring healthcare employers to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for staff.

This Order prevents CMS and the federal government from implementing and enforcing the Rule against any and all Medicare- and Medicaid-certified providers and suppliers within 10 states, including the States of Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming, pending a trial on the merits of the case. The Federal Government has appealed the preliminary injunction to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. However, the preliminary injunction will remain in effect, and government will be unable to enforce the rule in the previously listed 10 states, at minimum until the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit rules on the Order granting the preliminary injunction.

On November 29, 2021, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri issued an Order granting a preliminary injunction to halt the implementation and enforcement of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Interim Final Rule (the Rule) requiring healthcare employers to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for staff.

This Order prevents CMS and the federal government from implementing and enforcing the Rule against any and all Medicare- and Medicaid-certified providers and suppliers within the States of Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming, pending a trial on the merits of the case. Thus, until there is a further court ruling, CMS will be unable to enforce the Rule’s requirement that healthcare workers receive at least their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine prior to December 6, 2021.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a regulation in early November requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for staff working at healthcare providers who participate in the Medicare and/or Medicaid programs. CMS has issued FAQs to assist healthcare providers in complying with the vaccine mandate, which it has been updating periodically as new issues arise (the most recent update being November 18th).

On November 4, 2021, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued an Interim Final Rule (the Rule) requiring healthcare employers to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for staff. The Rule was issued at the same time as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for employers with 100 or more employees. Unlike the OSHA ETS, the CMS Rule does not allow for testing instead of vaccination. Under the CMS Rule, healthcare workers will need to be fully vaccinated by January 4, 2022.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published an Emergency Temporary Standard regarding COVID-19 vaccination and testing requirements. This ETS applies to employers with at least 100 employees. In counting employees, employers must include all U.S. employees (including full and part-time) employed while the ETS is in effect, regardless of the employee’s vaccination status or work location. While employees who work remotely from home, work exclusively outdoors, or report to a workplace without coworkers or customers present must be counted for purposes of determining whether the employer is covered by the ETS, the employer generally does not need to require vaccination or testing for these individuals.

Not surprisingly, several states quickly initiated legal challenges to the ETS. On November 6, 2021, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order staying OSHA’s enforcement of the ETS pending further judicial review. The U.S. Department of Labor and OSHA must respond to the order by 5 p.m. on November 8, 2021.

On September 9, 2021, the White House announced Path Out of the Pandemic: President Biden’s COVID-19 Action Plan to combat the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, in part by imposing new obligations on employers. Most notably, employers with 100 or more employees must ensure their workforces are fully vaccinated or require unvaccinated workers to produce a negative COVID-19 test on a weekly basis.

On June 10, 2021, OSHA issued an Emergency Temporary Standard. This ETS applies to workers in healthcare settings where people with COVID-19 are reasonable expected to be present, and addresses the hazards of employee exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. Additionally, OSHA provided updated guidance for employers and workers not subject to the COVID-19 Healthcare ETS.

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