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Claudia Pollak Law

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Are same sex marriages covered under FMLA?
The U.S. Department of Labor recently amended the definition of spouse under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to cover more same sex marriages. Previously, a "place of residence" rule was followed, meaning that the law of the state where the employee resides governed. If that state did not recognize same sex marriages, the employee was not eligible for FMLA leave to care for a same sex spouse.

Now, a "place of celebration" rule is followed so that the law where the couple was married determines spousal status under FMLA. An employee is eligible to take leave under FMLA to care for a same sex or common law spouse if the marriage was entered into in a state that recognizes such marriages, or if the marriage was entered into outside of the United States and is valid in the place where entered into and could have been entered into in at least one state. The new rule also expands FMLA leave to employees seeking to care for a stepchild or stepparent related to the employee through a same sex marriage.

The FMLA provides
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The Benefits of Mergers
Mergers bring two businesses together into one, and the combination should benefit both businesses. Merging companies will often be comparable in size. This differs from an acquisition, which typically involves a larger company absorbing a smaller one.

An ideal merger will increase revenue and reduce overhead. Combining two companies should help eliminate duplicate costs such as rent for office space and budgets for marketing, accounting services and other business expenses. At the same time, a merged company should be reaching more customers with expanded services. Individual companies that reached different markets benefit from joining forces and increasing their client base.

It is said that two minds are better than one, and mergers can capitalize on the strengths of each company. Leaders from one business might have more in-depth knowledge about a particular aspect, while leaders from the other business have better-developed skills in a different area. Having this knowledge and skill behind one entity often translates into innovation and greater success.

If you are considering a merger, remember
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How Restrictive Can Restrictive Covenants Be?
Restrictive covenants are contractual agreements. Usually, an employer includes restrictive covenants in an employment agreement seeking to restrict a departing employee in some way. Examples of restrictive covenants include non-compete, non-solicitation and confidentiality agreements.

Non-compete agreements typically feature
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Should I Have Arbitration Clauses in My Contracts?

Whether you want a contract drafted for your business, or another party is asking you to sign a contract, arbitration clauses deserve your attention. Arbitration clauses are designed to have legal disputes resolved outside of court, through arbitration, which is a common alternate dispute resolution method. 

A neutral person, called an arbitrator, hears arguments and evidence from each side and decides the outcome. Generally, arbitration is less formal than a trial and the rules of evidence are typically relaxed. Parties can agree to binding arbitration, where the arbitrator's decision is accepted as final with no right to appeal, or non-binding arbitration, where the parties can request a trial if they do not accept the arbitrator's decision.

While companies often view arbitration as less expensive and
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Two Local Nonprofits Announce Their Merger
How can a merger strengthen my business?

The Food Bank for Westchester and the Westchester Coalition for the Hungry and Homeless Inc., have joined forces hoping to become more efficient in their mission to combat hunger in Westchester County. Both organizations were founded in 1988 and have been feeding needy residents while also raising awareness.

Moving forward, the groups will unify their efforts and be known as The Food Bank of Westchester. The Westchester Coalition for the Hungry and Homeless will move its operations to Food Bank headquarters in Elmsford. The size of that location, including the county's largest refrigerator and freezer, allows the Food Bank to accept bulk donations and provide more food to those in need.

While it might not be obvious, poverty and hunger do exist in Westchester. Each year, the Food Bank supplies approximately

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