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Greensboro Legal Blog

Avoiding intellectual property problems on social media

Social media can be a very useful tool for small businesses. It can help owners with getting the word out about their company and connecting with customers.

However, as with any tool, it is important for small business owners to use social media properly and be aware of the problems missteps could cause.

Why you should consider registering a trademark

Building a business is exciting and sometimes overwhelming. On any given day, you make numerous decisions that impact your company’s success. Even a seasoned entrepreneur will occasionally make a mistake.

As your business gets bigger, you may wonder if it time to register your company’s trademark. On one hand, it seems like the smart thing to do. On the other hand, you wonder if it will provide much benefit. Here are some reasons why you may want to register your company’s trademark.

New EEOC Guidelines

On October 4, 2013 we discussed on the blog how Abercrombie & Fitch was being sued for religious discrimination when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) claimed it fired a Muslim employee for wearing her hijab in the workplace, rather than accommodating her religious beliefs.

The U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear N.C. Board of Dental Examiners Case

Supcourt.jpgThe Supreme Court has granted oral arguments in North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission. This case was initiated when North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners (the Board), began sending threatening warnings to nondentists providing teeth-whitening services and their landlords. These letters stated that only dentists could use peroxide treatments to remove teeth stains. In a unanimous ruling issued December 2011 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) determined, the Board "issuing cease and desist orders against certain purveyors of teeth whitening, had violated federal antitrust laws by engaging in unfair competition in the market for teeth-whitening services in North Carolina." The FTC's opinion stated the Board "sought to, and did, exclude nondentist providers from the market for teeth whitening services." The opinion continued by saying, "As a result of the Board's actions, many nondentists stopped providing teeth whitening services and several marketers of teeth whitening systems stopped selling their products and equipment in North Carolina." In addition, the FTC noted "several mall operators refused to lease space to, or cancelled existing leases with, nondentist teeth whitening providers." The Board subsequently filed a petition for review with the appeals court.

Family and Medical Leave Enhancement Act of 2014

In January we discussed the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (the FAMILY Act), introduced in the Senate on December 12, but just this month Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) introduced legislation that would expand the already existing Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA). Currently, FMLA only applies to those businesses that have at least 50 employees. This new legislation H.R. 3999: Family and Medical Leave Enhancement Act of 2014, proposes to expand FMLA to those businesses that have more than 25 employees working within 75 miles of one another.

Delay for Obamacare Coverage

As discussed on the Blog on December 5, 2014, yet again, the Federal Government announced another delay in a compliance date for small businesses regarding The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The Treasury received many requests to offer more time for small businesses to comply with the law and in an effort to work with the small businesses, compromises where made. "While about 96 percent of employers are not subject to the employer responsibility provision, for those employers that are, we will continue to make the compliance process simpler and easier to navigate," said Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy Mark J. Mazur toBloomberg.

Small Businesses Planning to Hire

Two recent Global small-business surveys, the Mid-Year Small Business Report Card and Year-End SMB Survey, both seem to have a clear theme for 2014 -- small business owners are going to be hiring. According to the research from the surveys, more than 77 percent of small businesses plan to staff up in 2014 by bringing on employees, paid interns or unpaid interns. It may have something to do with the fact that many entrepreneurs have made a New Year's Resolution to find better work-life balance.

The FAMILY Act

The financial impossibility of taking unpaid leave is the single most common reason workers give for not taking leave when they need it, according to the Department of Labor's Technical Report in November of 2013. The "Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act" (the FAMILY Act), introduced in the Senate on December 12, 2013, would provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave each year to qualifying workers for the birth or adoption of a new child, the serious illness of an immediate family member, or a worker's own medical condition.

Is Sniffing Sexual Harassment?

The New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has found that sniffing may be considered sexual harassment. Denise Royal claims she was fired without explanation shortly after she complained to her supervisor about being sniffed by co-workers. Royal, employed as a leasing manager for an apartment complex, claimed that two maintenance workers would enter her office, hover over her as she sat at her desk and sniff her. The complaint alleges that the harassment occurred about twelve times, for each worker, over the four days of Royal's brief employment. When she complained to her supervisor she allegedly was told to let it go. At a meeting, Royal complained of being sniffed, but one of the men claimed that it was a medical condition that she was misinterpreting. Royal was fired later that afternoon.

HealthCare.gov Delays For Small Businesses

EMRcomputer.jpgThe Obama Administration announced a year delay in HealthCare.gov's small business functions. The administration had previously delayed online enrollment from October 1, 2013 to the end of November. The announcement did not come as a surprise to many small businesses as they have already made other plans for insuring their workers in 2014, frequently achieved by renewing the existing policies.

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Connors Morgan PLLCConnors Morgan, PLLC

Connors Morgan, PLLC
1175 Revolution Mill Dr. #8
Greensboro, NC 27405

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