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Community Association Newsletter Special Alert: Community Association Powers In Response to COVID-19

By: Christopher J. Shields, Esq. & Vanessa Fernandez, Esq. Many of our Association clients are reaching out to our office on a daily basis to determine what to do next in light of the recent outbreak of COVID-19 in the State of Florida. As the…

2020 Brings New Minimum Salary Requirements and More ….©

The United States Department of Labor was on a mission in 2019 to publish two important—need to know—final rules under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”): 1) minimum salary for salary exempt employees; and 2) a clearer definition of Regular Rate of Pay (hourly pay…

HB 7103 Goes into Effect Providing for Prevailing Party Attorneys Fees in Comp Plan Challenges to Local Development Orders

On June 28, 2019, Governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 7103 which went into effect immediately. The bill contains a number of amendments relating to land use and comprehensive plan requirements, including requirements that local governments must review applications for permits within specified time frames,…

Knick v. Township, No. 17-647 (U.S. June 21, 2019).

“It’s Alive!” In Rose Mary Knick’s family graveyard the U.S. Supreme Court breathes new life into the once popular 42 USC §1983 claim for regulatory takings violations by local governments. “[N]or shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” The Fifth Amendment’s…

Must A Residential Construction Contractor Pay Its Project Supervisor Overtime Pay?

Maybe.  It all depends on the project supervisor’s duties.  As a matter of background, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued an opinion letter in 2009 on this very topic under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), but withdrew it shortly thereafter stating the DOL…

Delegation of Federal Dredge and Fill Permitting Authority to State of Florida

Chapter 2018-88, Laws of Florida, authorized the Department of Environmental Protection to assume responsibility for the dredge and fill permitting program established under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. The Department has begun rulemaking and is currently holding public workshops to present the draft…

Attorney Chene’ Thompson comments on Florida’s Judicial Hellhole Rankings Report

Business Observer – March 9, 2018 Read the full article: “Hell Bound”    

Coming Soon: The U.S. Department of Labor’s PAID Pilot Program

What does PAID Stand for? Payroll Audit Independent Determination. What is the PAID Program’s purpose? This pilot program is intended to test the efficiency of a self-reporting program to correct wage hour violations discovered by an employer and to create a mechanism whereby the employer…

Junior Achievement of SWFL, Board Chair, Christina Harris Schwinn discusses Volunteer-Based Programs

Gulfshore Business – March 2018 Read the full article:  “Mentoring our Future Leaders”

U.S. Department of Labor Backs Away From its Onerous Internship Standard and Adopts Primary Beneficiary Test

In January of this year, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) updated its standard for determining when an intern qualifies as an intern or is actually an employee. This new standard provides for a new flexible standard that is consistent with numerous court rulings over…

Sexual Harassment Could Be 2018’s Hottest Topic

The only reason there is so much focus on this issue is because as each day goes by, more and more women are coming forward about their own experiences with sexual harassment and making allegations against powerful and prominent men.  These women are getting plenty…

Will the Repeal of DACA Impact Your Business? Maybe.

If your business employs workers who were granted work authorizations under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”), read on.  On September 5, 2017, President Trump issued an executive order that sunsets the DACA program in six months unless Congress acts to pass a…

New Florida Law May Preempt Local Architectural and Signage Regulations

House Bill 1021 prohibits local governments from adopting or enforcing regulations that conflict with corporate trademarks, logos, color patterns, or branding of business activities related to gas stations or other franchises. That means that some commercial franchises or gas stations may be able to show…

The Benefit of a Wage Hour Audit

Why Conduct a Wage Hour Audit? Simply put, to identify whether your business has improperly classified any employee as being exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938’s (“FLSA”) provisions regarding the payment of overtime.  In 2016 alone, the U.S. Department of Labor collected…

Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017 Would Authorize Comp Time in the Private Sector

The United states House of Representatives recently passed the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017 (“Proposed Act”). For the first time in the history of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (“FLSA”) if the Proposed Act becomes law, a private sector employer… Click here…

Deadlock Amongst Shareholders…..Now What?

When a small group of shareholders owning an equal percentage of a company’s stock cannot agree upon the future direction or operation of the business, a deadlock can arise amongst them. Many local and small, family-owned businesses in Florida operate as closely held corporations, or…

Have You Personally Guaranteed Your Business’ Debts?

Many business owners or officers are required to sign contracts for goods, services, or other necessary utilities for the operation of their businesses. At times, the business may face a dispute with a vendor, landlord, lender, or other creditor regarding payment under the contracts. Click…

“Embracing the value, legacy of Junior Achievement”

“It is undeniable that our youth must develop an understanding of financial and business principles in order to be successful in life,” says Attorney Christina Harris Schwinn.  Click here to read her full article.   Published in The News-Press Date:  April 11, 2017

The De Facto Partnership and Potential Consequences

Perhaps you and a trusted colleague have finally decided to act on your long awaited dreams to manufacture and sell a new revolutionary product. Excited at the possibilities of your new business, you and your colleague hurriedly pool your money together and begin buying equipment,…

Price vs. Value: Keys to Valuing Any Transaction

In every transaction involving the sale and purchase of an asset, an agreed upon price is typically the key component in reaching a deal. Often lost in the course of negotiations is the concept of “price vs value”.  Click here to read the full article.

United States Department of Labor Issues its Final Overtime Rule – What You Need To Know Now…

The DOL finally issued its final rule governing overtime pay. Among other things, the final rule increases the minimum annual salary for an exempt employee to $47,476 per year from $23,660. The final rule is effective December 1, 2016 unless enjoined or overturned by Congress. …

President Obama Signs Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 and White House Takes Aim at Noncompete Agreements

On May 11, 2016, President Obama signed into law the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (“DTSA”) creating a new cause of action that may be filed in federal court for misappropriation (theft) of trade secrets.  Two of the key federal remedies available under this…

Florida Supreme Court Decision in Castellanos Workers’ Compensation Case

Florida Supreme Court Rules Section 440.34, Florida Workers’ Compensation Statute is unconstitutional both the Florida and the United States Constitutions.  Attorney’s Fees Section 440.34 of Florida’s workers’ compensation statute is the provision that governs the payment of attorney’s fees in connection with workers’ compensation cases…

Christina Harris Schwinn Addresses Changes to Minimum Salary Test

In an article published by the Southwest Florida Business Today titled “Is your business prepared for changes to Minimum Salary Test?”  Christina Harris Schwinn discusses the steps to prepare business owners  for these changes. Click here to read the full article.

Fair Housing Bulletin Impacting Community Associations Sale and Lease Approvals

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) recently issued a memorandum titled: “Office of General Counsel Guidance on Application of Fair Housing Act Standards to the Use of Criminal Records by Providers of Housing and Real Estate-Related Transactions.” HUD bans use of criminal records…

Could It Be A Game Changer? Joint Employers and the Fair Labor Standards Act©

On January 20, 2016, the United States Department of Labor’s Administrator, David Weil, issued his first Administrative Interpretation (“AI”) of 2016. The AI addresses the liability for overtime violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) in joint employment relationships that exist in a variety…

Christina Harris Schwinn Speaks about Women’s Legacy Fund Focused on Initiatives, not Charity

We all need help from another at some point in our lives. Ask yourself how many times someone was there to help you along the way or lift your spirits on a bad day. Read the full article at: newspress.com

U.S. Trustee Spotlight Diane Jensen, Chapter 7 Trustee, Fort Myers Division – 36 Years and Still Counting

October 2015 Court Connection newsletter published by the Bankruptcy court for the Middle District of Florida Article written by:   Cynthia Burnette, Assistant US Trustee for the Tampa and Fort Myers Division of the District Read Article……..

Attorney Schwinn speaks with reporter, Dave Elias from NBC-2 re: Florida’s consideration of $15 minimum wage.

For the full story click here.

Christina Harris Schwinn Addresses the Employee versus Independent Contractor Classification Issue

In an article published by the Southwest Florida Business Today titled “Employee or independent contractor? – The ‘economic realities’ test (Part 1 of 2), Christina Harris Schwinn discusses the economic realities test and an overview of the Administrator’s Interpretation No. 2015-01. Click here to read…

Law Firm Founder, Frank A. Pavese, Sr. Honored

June 2 was special day for Frank Pavese, the 91-year-old retired founder of Pavese Law Firm. Lee County Commissioners proclaimed that day “Frank A. Pavese Sr. Day,” to honor the long-time attorney for his contributions to the region. – See more at: http://www.businessobserverfl.com/section/detail/law-firm-founder-honored/#sthash.YqElfAEy.dpuf June 2…

Partner, Christina Harris Schwinn Takes Part In Panel Discussion

Christina Harris Schwinn will participate in a panel discussion on emerging issues in employee misclassification on March 22 at Northeastern University School of Law in Boston. Click here to view the full article.    

“Half-Time or Time and One-Half? “

Author:  Christina Harris Schwinn, Esq. Published in: Northeastern University Law Journal, Vol. 6 No. 2, 411-434 Recent Developments Deprive Employees of Their Rightful Overtime Compensation under the FSLA.  Read More…

Using arrest and conviction records to disqualify applicants from consideration for employment − beware

by CHRISTINA HARRIS SCHWINNGuest columnist On April 26, 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued its updated Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §…

National Labor Relations Board Approves New Rule Affecting Most Private Sector Employers

Update as of October 4, 2011, The NLRA’s new rule was supposed to take effect on November 14, 2011, but has been postponed until January 31, 2012, and it applies to a wide variety of private sector employees, but not all. August 25, 2011, the…

Amendment 4 Will Cripple and Delay Any Economic Recovery in Florida

Amendment 4 was originally proposed in 2003, during the height of Florida’s development boom and strongest economy in decades.  It was designed to slow growth or stop it completely by requiring that every amendment to local comprehensive plans would be put to a vote of…

Florida’s New Definition of Misconduct for Unemployment Insurance Compensation Purposes – A Change for the Better

Effective July 1, 2011, the Florida Legislature enacted amendments to Chapter 443 of the Florida Statutes governing unemployment compensation benefits and taxes.  Prior to the July 1, 2011 amendment, many employers complained about an employee being able to receive unemployment benefits even though the employee…

Will the New Revised Florida LLC Law Impact How You or Your Company Operate as an LLC? Read More…

Will the New Revised Florida LLC Law Impact How You or Your Company Operate as an LLC? To view the full article click here.

Partner, Christina Harris Schwinn’s article on Overtime Compensation Published in Northeastern University Law Journal

An article on overtime compensation authored by Partner, Christina Harris Schwinn has been published in the Northeastern University Law Journal. The article was adopted from Schwinn’s thesis for the Employment Law LL. M. Program at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. The article titled, “Half-Time or…

The National Labor Relations Board Proposes New Rule. Will Your Business Be Affected?

The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) oversees the enforcement of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) and is authorized to promulgate rules enforcing the NLRA.  As a matter of background, the NLRA is the federal law that protects an employee’s right, among other rights, to…

The United States Department of Labor Shifts Its Focus

Date Published: 2010-04-01 Author: Christina Harris Schwinn On April 1, 2010, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued a press release in which it announced a new DOL website. The website – www.dol.gov/wecanhelp/ — is part and parcel of the DOL’s public outreach and education…

New OSHA Requirements For A Safe Workplace

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (“Act”) requires employers to provide employees with a workplace that is safe from recognized hazards.  The type of industry determines what an employer must do to comply with the Act.  Construction industry employers should be very familiar with the…

E-MAIL: A Blessing or a Curse

Date Published: 2007-05-01 Author: Christina Harris Schwinn Over the last 30 plus years, many of us have witnessed major technological advances that many of the younger generation take for granted (of course, those of us who remember the advent of the fax machine remember our…

Social Media: Do’s and Don’ts in the Workplace ©

Date Published: 2012-03-01 Author: Christina Harris Schwinn Depending on your perspective, social media can either be a drain on productivity or a great promotional opportunity for businesses.  Either way, social media has made its way into the workplace.  While being valuable new tools of the…

News from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safey and Health Administration

Date Published: 2010-09-01 Author: Christina Harris Schwinn The Occupational Safety and Health Act (“Act”) requires employers to provide employees with a workplace that is safe from recognized hazards.  The type of industry determines what an employer must do to comply with the Act.  Construction industry…

The National Labor Relations Board What You Should Know

Written by: Christina Harris Schwinn Private sector employers often believe that because their workforces are not unionized that they do not have to be concerned about the National Labor Relations Board’s (“NLRB”) activities or compliance with the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”).  Wrong.  Generally speaking,…

Partner, Christina Harris Schwinn speaks with reporter Nanci Theoret

TWO OF THE MORE THAN 2,000 BILLS expected to be considered by the 2014 Florida Legislature could impact the way businesses hire employees. Designed to give potential employees with not-so-stellar criminal and credit backgrounds a better chance of scoring a first interview or getting the…

Individual HOA Board Members: Your Authority is Limited

At a recent California community association forum, a friendly professional disagreement arose over a manager’s contention that individual board members can’t act on anything because individually they have no standing to act. He insists individual board members can act only when they comprise a board,…

Update: Has Florida Law Changed for When Nobody Runs for Office?

In a September 2012 HOAleader.com article, we discussed state laws and offered tips for proceeding when nobody runs for the board. One of our Florida experts noted that under Florida laws governing HOAs, the problem solves itself because board members serve until their replacement is selected. Florida laws…

Business notes: Employment law changes

Small business owners are awash in employment law changes for 2014 and some local professionals are offering their expertise to help people find their way. Christina Harris Schwinn, partner in the Pavese Law Firm, and David C. Raimey, managing member of Leading Edge Benefit Advisors,…

Partner, Christina Harris Schwinn discusses Bills in Pipeline Could Impact Workplace

Now is not the time for business complacency. The 2014 Legislative Session is approaching, and there’s a slew of state and federal bills that could impact Southwest Florida employers. With debates ranging from workplace bullying to social media privacy and minimum wage, experts said it’s…

Florida Supreme Court rules that Implied Warranty of Habitability applies to “essential services” improvements in common areas in residential subdivisions.

Maronda Homes, Inc. v. Lakeview Reserve Home Owners Assn. 2013 WL 3466814 (Fla. July 11, 2013) The Lakeview Reserve HOA sued Maronda Homes, Inc., developer of the Lakeview Reserve residential subdivision in Orange County, due to drainage systems that failed to operate properly causing flooding, erosion,…

Confidentiality, Noncompete and Nonsolicitation Agreements: One Size Does Not Fit All

Written by: Christina Harris Schwinn Many businesses in Florida use confidentiality, noncompete and nonsolicitation agreements to protect their confidential information and customer relationships.  Of the three types of restrictive agreements, a confidentiality agreement is the least restrictive, the noncompete agreement is the most restrictive, and…

National Labor Relations Board’s Right to Know Law Goes Into Effect as of April 30, 2012

On March 13, 2012, a federal judge rejected a request by the litigants suing the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) to block implementation of the NLRB’s Right to Know Rule and Poster.  Unless the NLRB voluntarily postpones the implementation date, most private sector employers need…

OSHA Launches Workplace Violence Website

Written by: Christina Harris Schwinn The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration (“OSHA”) [the agency charged with enforcement of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (“OSH Act”)[1]] recently launched a new website targeted towards providing information to employers about…

Employee vs. Independent Contractor Classification Issue Seminar

Wednesday, June 13, 2012 – 4:00pm – 6:00pm The distinction between whether an individual is classified as an employee or an independent contractor can affect business owners in a variety of ways, including how employers withhold a variety of taxes. Misclassification of an individual may result in a…

School’s Out For the Summer…

School is out for the summer and high school students (many of whom are under the age of 18) are “pounding the pavement” and looking for the perfect summer job. For the purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“Act”), the federal law that governs…

Florida’s New Definition of Misconduct for Unemployment Insurance Compensation Purposes – A Change for the Better

Effective July 1, 2011, the Florida Legislature enacted amendments to Chapter 443 of the Florida Statutes governing unemployment compensation benefits and taxes.  Prior to the July 1, 2011 amendment, many employers complained about an employee being able to receive unemployment benefits even though the employee…

“Anti-Bullying” Bill Becomes Law; Paid Leave Law Dies in Committee

Date Published: 2008-08-01 Author: Christina Harris Schwinn The Florida Legislature meets each year generally beginning on the first Monday of March and concludes 60 days thereafter. The bills that were passed by both houses of the Legislature are then forwarded to the Governor’s office for action. The…

Making Good Hiring Decisions in Good Times and Bad Times (Part 2 of 2)

Date Published: 2011-05-01 Author: Christina Harris Schwinn Last month’s article featured Part I of II – Making Good Hiring Decisions in Good Times and Bad Times.  This month, Part II of II will discuss effective interviewing skills. Effective interviewing skills can be developed if proper attention…

Making Good Hiring Decisions in Good Times and Bad Times (Part 1 of 2)

Date Published: 2011-04-01 Author: Christina Harris Schwinn There is no question about the fact that hiring the right employee for your company can be a daunting and time consuming process.  Unfortunately, many employers fail to recognize the overall benefit of having good hiring procedures in…

At-Will Employment Has Limitations-Even in Florida

Date Published: 2007-04-01 Author: Christina Harris Schwinn This article is focused on the private sector, not government employers. Florida is an employer-friendly state.  Unlike some other states, Florida is a right-to-work state and many of the laws that are in place favor the employer, not…

Answers to the Wage and Hour Quiz Appearing in Last Month’s Column – Private Sector Employers

Date Published: 2008-12-01 Author: Christina Harris Schwinn This month’s column will provide the answers to the questions presented in last month’s column in the Wage and Hour Quiz.  The questions have been repeated for the reader’s convenience. 1)    If I pay an employee a salary,…

Independent Contractor Rules – A Significant Change May Be On The Horizon

Date Published: 2010-11-01 Author: Christina Harris Schwinn There are two major pieces of legislation pending in Congress that employers should be aware of as both bills would significantly impact the classification of independent contractors and the tests that are applied for the purposes of determining…

Important News from OSHA and the Social Security Administration

Date Published: 2011-04-26 Author: Christina Harris Schwinn OSHA’S Fall Protection Directive Affects Residential Construction Contractors To the chagrin of the National Roofing Contractors Association, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit rejected its challenge to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (“OSHA”) December…

Conflict in the Office – Oh My! (Part 2 of 2)

Date Published: 2010-04-01 Author: Christina Harris Schwinn Picking up where we left off last month, this second installment of this article on workplace conflict will focus on practical tips and things to consider when endeavoring to correct or discipline an employee’s inappropriate behavior, conduct or…

Conflict in the Office – Oh My! (Part 1 of 2)

Date Published: 2010-02-26 Author: Christina Harris Schwinn Conflict in the workplace is an inevitability that we all deal with on a fairly regular basis. Whether you view conflicts in the workplace as a challenge or an annoyance will depend on your perspective. Encountering difficult people–or…

Discrimination Charges Filed With The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Hit Record High in Fiscal Year 2010

Date Published: 2011-03-01 Author: Christina Harris Schwinn The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) recently reported that the number of charges filed under the discrimination statutes that it is charged with enforcing during its fiscal year 2010 reached the highest level in its history with 99,922…

Are You Paying People Under The Table? Think Again.

Date Published: 2010-10-01 Author: Christina Harris Schwinn During tough economic times it is tempting to pay people under the table. Why? To save money. By paying people under the table the employer avoids paying workers’ compensation insurance premiums, the employer’s portion of the social security…

Mandated Breaks for Nursing Mothers – Employer Obligations

Date Published: 2010-08-01 Author: Christina Harris Schwinn The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act amends Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA Amendment”) and requires certain employers to provide mandated breaks to mothers who are nursing during the first year after the birth…

Changes to the Americans with Disabilities Act Effective January 1, 2009

Date Published: 2009-06-30 Author: Christina Harris Schwinn When the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (effective 1992) passed, Congress intended the Act to “provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities” and “to provide broad coverage in…