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The Affordable Care Act (ACA) imposes reporting requirements under Internal Revenue Code Section 6056 for “Applicable Large Employers” (an “ALE”). An ALE is an employer or aggregate group with fifty or more full time and full time equivalent employees. Under the reporting rules, these ALE employers must provide information to the IRS about the health plan coverage they offer (or do not offer) to their employees.

This week the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released final versions of forms for reporting under Section 6056. Instructions for the forms (1094-C and 1095-C), and an advisory publication (5196) were also released by the IRS.

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NLRB Adopts Final Rule Amending Representation Case Procedures

The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) recently adopted a final rule amending its representation case procedures. Upon the filing of a representation petition, the NLRB determines whether an election should be conducted to decide if the employees will be represented for collective bargaining purposes with their employer. Effective April 14, 2015, the final rule will implement amendments that purportedly streamline the procedures, increase transparency and uniformity, and implement modernized communication....

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NLRB – Employees Have a Statutory Right to Use Employer Email for Section 7 Purposes

My daughter has a book called “Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse,” that stars a young mouse who gets a brand new purse, filled with coins, as a gift. She brings it to school and cannot stop talking about it, disrupting the classroom in the process. Her mean teacher, Mr. Slinger, takes the purse to prevent Lilly from talking about it during the school day. Fast forward 15 years – if Lilly were working for ABC Company and used her company email to both gush about her new designer purse and lament about how she hasn’t had a raise in 5 years (“maybe we should form a union”), until December 11, 2014, her employer could prevent her from using her work email to initiate such discussions, whether she chose to do so during work time or her break time. Now, however, the rules have changed.

On December 11, 2014, the NLRB issued its order in Purple Communications, Inc., 361 NLRB 26, reversing Register Guard, 351 NLRB 1110 (2007), the NLRB’s earlier position on an employer’s ability to ban employees from using work email for Section 7 activity.

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Bradley & Riley is proud to announce that attorney Donald G. Thompson received the 2014 Larry Eckholt Award by the Iowa Cultural Corridor Alliance. The award is presented to a south Corridor-area community member and is given in tribute of Larry Eckholt’s lifelong dedication to arts and culture...

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Wellness Programs Catch E.E.O.C.’s Attention

Employers who offer wellness programs to their employees should be aware that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission may challenge a program if it penalizes an employee for non-participation or requires an employee to provide confidential medical information.

The E.E.O.C. has filed two lawsuits since August 2014 related to wellness programs. In one, the E.E.O.C. claims that an employer instituted a wellness program that required medical examinations and made disability-related inquiries in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act. When the employee objected, the E.E.O.C. alleges that her employer shifted the entire responsibility for paying health care premiums to the employee, then fired her...

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Bradley & Riley PC Receives U.S. News – Best Lawyers® Tier One Ranking

Bradley & Riley PC is proud to announce that it has received “Tier One” rankings in nine practice areas for the Cedar Rapids metropolitan area and seven “Tier Two” rankings as recently released in the 2015 edition of the “Best Law Firm” by U.S. News – Best Lawyers®.

U.S. News Media Group and Best Lawyers® showcase more than 10,000 law firms nationally or by metropolitan regions. Law firms included in the 2015 “Best Law Firms” list are recognized for professional excellence determined through ratings from clients and peers. Rankings are further determined through client feedback, exhaustive surveys, and peer-review in related specialties. To be eligible, a firm must have an attorney listed in The Best Lawyers in America, which recognizes the top 4 percent of practicing attorneys in the U.S. Firms. Sixteen Bradley & Riley attorneys were listed in The Best Lawyers in America.

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Independent Contractors Not Protected by ADA, ADEA, and FMLA

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit recently ruled that independent contractors are not protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), and the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). Instead, these statutes protect only employees.

In January 1991, the Plaintiff, Dr. Larry Alexander (“Dr. Alexander”), entered into a Contract for Professional Services regarding his pathological services. The contract expressly stated that Dr. Alexander was an independent contractor, not an employee; that Dr. Alexander controlled the manner in which he provided his services; and that he would pay all applicable federal and state taxes. Dr. Alexander entered into several, subsequent contracts with Avera with nearly identical terms.

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Small Estate Affidavit Allows Institutions to Transfer Property to Survivors With Ease

Financial institutions regularly confront questions on how to distribute property following the death of an account holder. A handy Iowa law creates a simplified procedure for property distribution where the decedent has a small estate. In short, the successor in interest to the decedent’s property may present a Small Estate Affidavit to the financial institution in exchange for receipt of the property. The Small Estate Affidavit should be attractive to many clients of financial institutions because it saves time and expense compared to formal estate administration.

For an estate to be eligible, the decedent must have personal property with a gross value of no more than $25,000, and may not own any real property (unless held as joint tenants with full rights of survivorship). The Affidavit can be used regardless of whether the decedent dies with a will in place. If a will exists, it should be attached to the Affidavit...

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Bradley & Riley is proud to announce that attorney Timothy J. Hill has earned an AV Preeminent® peer-review rating from Martindale-Hubbelll®, an accomplishment held by less than five percent of all attorneys in the United States. Martindale-Hubbell ratings are based on exhaustive, confidential peer review ratings, providing objective indications of an attorney’s legal abilities and ethics. Mr. Hill’s recognition is a direct reflection of the professional reliability and excellence as seen by his peers and judges alike...

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Facebook Posts Pose Challenges for Employers:

Employers continue to face challenges from employees’ use of online forums to voice criticisms – even using vulgar language – as seen by a recent National Labor Relations Board decision.

The owners of Triple Play Sports Bar terminated two employees for participating in a Facebook discussion with a former employee. The discussion involved claims that the employees unexpectedly owed state income taxes. This tax issue had come up at work and was the subject of ongoing discussions between Triple Play employees and management.

The former employee posted the following status update on her Facebook page:

"Maybe someone should do the owners of Triple Play a favor and buy it from them. They can’t even do the tax paperwork correctly!!! Now I OWE money…Wtf!!"

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