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The Massachusetts Legislature recently enacted a bill that will go into effect in July of 2018 titled “An Act to Establish Pay Equity”, a sweeping new law aimed at ensuring equal pay for comparable work for all Massachusetts employees. The Act has several important ramifications for employers.
First, the new law bans pay discrimination for comparable work based on gender. The Federal Equal Pay Act, part of the Civil Rights Act, already prohibits gender-based discrimination for the “same job”. The new Massachusetts law uses the broader term “comparable work”, which is aimed at going beyond mere job titles and descriptions to ensure that the duties actually being performed by employees are used to determine comparability. It is important to note that under the new law, employers are allowed to consider qualifications like experience, training, education and geographic location when determining salaries.
Second, in order to help combat such discrimination, the bill explicitly prohibits “pay secrecy” policies and instead states that employers must allow employees to freely discuss their salaries with coworkers in order to facilitate transparency and reduce the risk of gender-based pay discrepancies. The bill does not, however, require that an employer disclose an employee’s wage to another employee or a third party.
Third, the law prohibits employers from asking prospective employees about their past salary history. The theory behind this component of the law is that women have been locked in a cycle of lower pay structures and that providing salary history perpetuates such a cycle. By not allowing previous salary history to be a factor in an employer’s offer terms, it is thought that a more level playing field based on experience and qualifications will emerge. However, it is important to note that job applicants are still free to volunteer their previous pay as part of salary negotiations if they so wish.
Employers found in violation of the new law will face costly non-compliance penalties, including claims for unpaid wages, liquid damages for 100% of the amount of unpaid wages, plus the employee’s attorneys’ fees and costs.
Finally, the law provides an important defense tool for employers. Employers may conduct good faith “self-evaluations” of their pay practices. If the Employer conducts such an evaluation and can show that they have made “reasonable progress” towards eliminating gender-based wage discrepancies, the employer will be entitled to an affirmative defense for a period of three years after the completion of the self-evaluation.
In anticipation of the Act going into effect on July 1, 2018, in the coming year, the Attorney General’s Office will likely issue regulations that will interpret the new law and provide direction for employers and employees.
Employers are encouraged to review their hiring practices and employment law policies in light of the new law. The employment law attorneys at Baker, Braverman & Barbadoro, P.C. are available to assist you in creating compliant employee policies. Call and ask to speak with one of our employment lawyers today to review your policies. – Theresa Koppanati.
As parents we are used to taking care of our children’s medical and financial needs, this does not usually end when our children go off to college or ventures off into the world on their own. However what most parents do not realize, once their child turns eighteen, they are not legally entitled to make any medical or financial decisions on their child’s behalf. Turning 18 is a milestone birthday for many people; it is the year a child becomes a legal adult. Upon turning 18, the law assumes that the child has accumulated enough knowledge to make legal decisions on their own behalf. These include, but may not be limited to, entering into contracts and making healthcare decisions. The reality is that many eighteen year olds are unprepared for the responsibility that these type of decisions bring. This presents a challenge as a parent; legally the parent can no longer make decisions for their children, yet children often turn to their parents for assistance and guidance in making decisions. This is where a health care proxy and power of attorney can become invaluable tools.
A health care proxy is a document that gives someone else the power to make health care decisions on your behalf. Often a trusted family member or friend is chosen as that person. This person is known as the health care agent. A health care agent only has the power to make health care decisions when someone is incapacitated and cannot make decisions for themselves. This document can also include a HIPAA authorization that allows the release of medical records to the health care agent. If you were to receive a call from your child’s friend that your son or daughter had been in an accident and taken to the hospital, the heath care proxy will allow you to jump into action to make decisions regarding your child’s treatment. Without it, expect to be rebuffed by your child’s medical providers who are legally unable to provide you with information regarding your child’s condition or treatment.
A power of attorney gives someone else the power to make financial decisions on your behalf. Much like a health care proxy, the power of attorney gives the designated agent the power to make financial decisions, but unlike the health care proxy, a power of attorney can be valid when signed; it is not contingent on incapacity. A power of attorney will allow you to assist your child with their banking or to speak on their behalf to their car insurance company or their landlord.
With children away from home at college, these can be powerful time saving tools and can help avoid unnecessary legal mishaps that young adults may unwittingly get themselves into.
The estate planning attorneys at Baker, Braverman & Barbadoro, P.C. can speak with your family and draft the estate plan that fits your needs and goals, including health care proxies and powers of attorney for young adults. – Elizabeth A. Caruso.
PREMIUM LEGAL SERVICES WITHOUT THE BOSTON PREMIUM
We’re back, and we hope that you are, too. We took a year off to redefine and improve our quarterly newsletter to better serve your need to know what is going on in the world from a legal perspective.
The improvements that we have made center on readability: sometimes we forget that outside our doors and the courthouses in which we spend so much time, the rest of the world does not always speak legalese!
Among the improvements that we hope you will appreciate, this newsletter will
Please accept our invitation to hit the REPLY button on your Email header, and let us know what you like in it, and what you would like to see improved.
Paul N. Barbadoro, Partner
Update On Regulations
FINAL RULE on OVERTIME EXEMPTIONS
MAY IMPACT YOUR BUSINESS
On May 18 the Department of Labor announced that it will publish a Final Rule updating the exemption of executive, administrative and professional employees from the minimum wage and overtime pay protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
“Simply put, this means that due to the expansion of the salary and compensation levels under the new rule, more workers are entitled to overtime compensation without some sort of intervening action by an employer,” said Attorney Susan Molinari.
The Final Rule updates the salary level required for exemptions to apply, while ensuring that the intended overtime protections in the Fair Labor Standards Act are fully implemented.
“The Final Rule also makes the exemption for executives, administrative and professional employees easier to understand and apply,” said Susan.
The Final Rule updates for the salary and compensation levels needed for executive, administrative and professional employees to be exempt. Specifically, in part, the Final Rule does the following:
The Final Rule goes into effect on December 1, 2016. If you are a business trying to determine how the Final Rule may impact how you operate your business, contact one of the Employment Lawyers at Baker, Braverman & Barbadoro, P.C. to ensure that you prepare your business to comply with the Final Rule.
By Susan Molinari, Esq.
BBB in the Community
PAINT NIGHT a HIT
On June 9 Baker, Braverman & Barbadoro, P.C. hosted more than 20 women from varying professions including banking, public relations, elder care, financial services, business consulting and entrepreneurs,for a “Paint Night” at the firm’s Quincy office.
A “Paint Night,” for those who have not yet participated in one, combines a creative painting opportunity with a decidedly social activity. Clare Donoghue of the Traveling
Art Party supervised the painting experience. In a short time the painters produced a sufficiently well executed piece of artwork — in this case a seascape — to provide a sense of accomplishment.
“This was a great night of networking, laughs and painting,” said event organizer, Attorney Susan Molinari. Joining her in orchestrating the event, Attorneys Lisa Bond, Theresa Barbadoro Koppanati, Elizabeth Caruso and Brandi Cerasuolo acknowledged the benefits of what others might construe as unusual for a law firm. “We offer the broadest range of services in any one law firm on the South Shore,” said Theresa; “so we work long, tough, serious hours. This gave us an opportunity to meet with a number of our clients and friends in a casual setting, and to get to know each other as multi-faceted individuals.”
Wishing you Could Refinance Debt?
Welcome Back SBA 504
In late May of this year the Small Business Administration (SBA) re-established the debt refinancing program consistent with the more well-known SBA 504 loan programs. The 504 loan program was historically available only to purchasers of commercial property.
The debt refinancing program, while available several years ago, had been temporary. The program expired in 2012, but this legislation now makes it permanent.
“The benefit of SBA financing, and more specifically the debt refinancing, is that borrowers who are approved and funded have a fixed mortgage rate for 20 years,” said Attorney Gary Hogan. “In today’s commercial loan market, it is very difficult to obtain fixed rate financing, and almost never for 20 years.”
Making the program even more attractive, the interest rates (which are set at funding) have recently seen historically low rates. For June 2016, the 20-year rate hovered around 4.3 percent.
The SBA started accepting applications after June 24, and borrowers have to meet certain criteria including, but not limited to:
A host of other rules and regulations concerning these government guaranteed loans apply; therefore if you are interested in learning more about the SBA 504 Debt Refinance Program, the lawyers at Baker, Braverman & Barbadoro can answer your questions and introduce you to a Certified Development Company that can assist you with an application.
By Gary Hogan
BBB Attorneys in the News
We wish to congratulate Lisa Bond, Esq. on her recent nomination to the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly Top Women of the Law. Each year Lawyers Weekly honors women attorneys who have made tremendous professional strides and who have demonstrated great accomplishments in the legal field.
“I am deeply honored by this nomination,” said Lisa. “Through me, I want my clients to receive the very best representation available. A nomination like this communicates that to them.”
Attorney Bond joined Baker, Braverman & Barbadoro, P.C. in 2002. Promoted to Partner in January 2016, Lisa’s practice concentrates on civil litigation, family law and personal injury.
Congratulations to Theresa Barbadoro Koppanati, Esq. on her recent recognition by Boston Magazine as one of the Top Women Attorneys in Massachusetts.
Attorney Barbadoro Koppanati has served as an attorney at Baker, Braverman & Barbadoro, P.C. since 2010.
Prior to joining the firm, she served as a corporate associate at Latham & Watkins, LLP in London, and in-house counsel at Red Bull North America in Santa Monica, California.
Theresa advises clients in all areas of corporate law, including asset purchases, contract negotiation, commercial finance, secured transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and joint ventures. She also counsels clients on corporate compliance and intellectual property matters.
As part of a Massachusetts Bar Association sponsored event to mark Elder Law Month in May, Elizabeth Caruso, a probate and elder law/estate planning attorney at Baker, Braverman & Barbadoro, P.C., presented on basic estate planning and asset protection to a group of senior citizens at the Stoughton Council on Aging.
“As part of our mission to give back to the community, Attorney Caruso found this wonderful opportunity to reach out to some of our society’s most vulnerable,” said Paul Barbadoro, Partner at Baker, Braverman & Barbadoro.
Lawrence DiNardo Elected President
of John Hancock’s Historic Military Unit
Congratulations to Lieutenant Colonel, retired, Lawrence DiNardo (U.S. Army Reserve) on his recent election to President of the First Corps of Cadets, an historic military association.
Quincy born and bred, Attorney DiNardo has practiced law in the city for more than 30 years, and for the last eight years with the Law Firm of Baker, Braverman and Barbadoro, P.C. He will serve as the President of the First Corps of Cadets from 2016 to 2018.
Founded in 1741, the prestigious military organization First Corps of Cadets boasts Quincy’s John Hancock as its most famous elected commander. Hancock led this unit during the Revolutionary War, and it has since fought in all of our country’s major conflicts and wars, including the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and all of our Middle Eastern conflicts.
Currently the 211th Military Police Battalion of the Massachusetts Army National Guard constitutes the active unit of the First Corps of Cadets. This unit now focuses on providing security to the Boston Marathon and the Fourth of July on the Esplanade.
The First Corps of Cadets has maintained a military museum on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, where it displays portraits, busts, and artifacts associated with John Hancock, including a picture of Hancock’s home that was painted on an actual panel from its door.
As a full service law firm, our team of attorneys is uniquely positioned to provide a broad spectrum of premium legal services, promptly and efficiently, without the Boston premium.
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Chances are if you have a swimming pool you are aware of many of the safety precautions such as having a fence; displaying signs prohibiting diving (in shallow pools or shallow parts of the pool) and other well-known hazards. But did you know that there is a federal regulation concerning the safety of pool slides? The regulation (16 C.F.R. § 1207(a)) was enacted in 1978 and was designed to “reduce or eliminate the unreasonable risks of deaths or injury associated with swimming pool slides”.
The regulation requires that all pool slides be capable of supporting three hundred fifty pounds and that they be tested for head-first sliding. There are numerous types and models of swimming pool slides on the market and available on-line and at retail stores. Not all models comply with the federal regulations even though they may have warnings about weight requirements and caution against head-first sliding. Since using a slide that does not comply with federal law can lead to personal liability if an injury occurs, your best bet to stay out of trouble with your pool slide is to check the testing background before you buy. – Paul N. Barbadoro.
On June 9, 2016 more than twenty women from varying professions including banking, public relations, elder care, financial services, business consulting and entrepreneurs joined Baker, Braverman & Barbardoro, P.C. attorneys Lisa Bond, Susan Molinari, Theresa Barbadoro Koppanati, Elizabeth Caruso and Brandi Cerasuolo for a night of networking, laughs and painting. The event was hosted at the firms Quincy office and the paintings were supervised by Clare Donoghue of the Traveling Art Party. We enjoyed snacks and refreshments as well as lively conversation as we tried our hand at seascapes.
Lisa Bond, Esq. has been nominated for Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly Top Women of the Law. Each year Lawyers Weekly honors women attorneys who have made tremendous professional strides and that have demonstrated great accomplishments in the legal field. Attorney Bond has been a lawyer at Baker, Braverman & Barbadoro, P.C. a Quincy based law firm since 2002. She was promoted to partner in January 2016. Her practice includes civil litigation, family law and personal injury.
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Recently Theresa Barbadoro Koppanati, Esq was recognized as one of the Top Women Attorneys in Massachusetts by Boston Magazine. Attorney Barbadoro Koppanati has been an attorney at Baker, Braverman & Barbadoro, P.C., a Quincy based law firm, since 2010. Prior to joining the firm, she was a corporate associate at Latham & Watkins, LLP in London and an in-house counsel at Red Bull North America in Santa Monica, California. Attorney Barbadoro Koppanati advises clients in all areas of corporate law, including, asset purchases, contract negotiation, commercial finance, secured transactions, mergers and acquisitions and joint ventures. She also counsels clients on corporate compliance and intellectual property matters.
The post Boston Magazine selects Theresa Barbadoro Koppanati to Top Women Attorneys in Boston appeared first on QUINCY ATTORNEYS-Baker, Braverman & Barbadoro P.C. 300 Crown Colony Dr #500 Quincy, MA 02169 (781) 848-9610.
Recently, Elizabeth Caruso, a probate and elder law/estate planning attorney at Baker, Braverman & Barbadoro, P.C., a Quincy based law firm, presented on basic estate planning and asset protection to a group of senior citizens at the Stoughton Council on Aging as part of a Massachusetts Bar Association sponsored event for Elder Law Month.
The post Elizabeth Caruso invited to present to Stoughton Council on Aging appeared first on QUINCY ATTORNEYS-Baker, Braverman & Barbadoro P.C. 300 Crown Colony Dr #500 Quincy, MA 02169 (781) 848-9610.
In late May of this year the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) has re-established the debt refinancing program consistent with the more well- known SBA 504 loan programs. The 504 loan program was historically only available to purchasers of commercial property. The debt refinancing program, while available several years ago, was temporary. The program, which expired in 2012, is has now been made permanent.
The benefit of SBA financing, and more specifically, debt refinancing, is that borrowers who are approved and funded have a fixed mortgage rate for 20 years. In today’s commercial loan market, it is very difficult to obtain fixed rate financing, and almost never for 20 years. Also, the interest rates which are set at funding have recently seen historic low rates. For June 2016, the 20 year rate was about 4.3%.
Applications are being accepted after June 24, 2016 and borrowers have to meet certain criteria, including, but not limited to, that the debt being refinanced must be “qualified debt” as that term is defined in the act, the borrowers must be current on their existing debt payments for at least one year prior to applying, and the assets to be secured (real estate or personal property) must qualify as “eligible assets.” There are a host of other rules and regulations concerning these government guaranteed loans. Therefore if you are interested in learning more about the SBA 504 Debt Refinance Program, the lawyers at Baker, Braverman & Barbadoro can answer your questions and introduce you to a Certified Development Company that can assist you with an application.
On May 18, 2016 the Department of Labor announced that it will publish a Final Rule updating the exemption of executive, administrative and professional employees from the minimum wage and overtime pay protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The Final Rule updates the salary level required for exemptions to ensure that the Fair Labor Standards Act intended overtime protections are fully implemented and to make the exemption for executives, administrative and professional employees easier to understand and apply.
The focus of the Final Rule is primarily updating the salary and compensation levels needed for executive, administrative and professional employees to be exempt. Specifically, in part, the Final Rule:
The Final Rule goes into effect on December 1, 2016. If you are a business trying to determine how the Final Rule affects how you operate your business, contact one of the Employment Lawyers at Baker, Braverman & Barbadoro, P.C. to ensure that your business is prepared to be compliant with the Final Rule. – Susan M. Molinari.
The post Update On Regulations Defining And Delimiting The Overtime Exemptions For Executive, Administrative And Professional Employees appeared first on QUINCY ATTORNEYS-Baker, Braverman & Barbadoro P.C. 300 Crown Colony Dr #500 Quincy, MA 02169 (781) 848-9610.
In all divorce cases it is required that the parties each complete a Financial Statement. The Financial Statements are exchanged between the parties and filed with the Court. Financial Statements are signed under the pains and penalties of perjury, therefore itis imperative that the information contained on your financial statement be accurate and contain all the required information.. For example, if one party fails to include an asset in his/her Financial Statement, that asset is subject to division even after the Separation Agreement has been approved by the Court. It is important to distinguish who owns an asset listed on your Financial Statement; you only want to list the interest and dividends income produced by assets that you own. Where assets are jointly owned, you should include only one-half (½) of the dividend and interest income and make this indication on the Financial Statement.
Although Financial Statements are filed with the Court, they are impounded to protect your personal information; this means that access is limited to the parties, attorneys of record and the court. Your Financial Statement must include all of your income. If you are self-employed you must file a Schedule A to your Financial Statement. Much of the information needed from the Schedule A may be taken from your income tax returns; however some deductions on your income taxes are not deductions for purposes of your Financial Statement. For example, a depreciation deduction is appropriate for income tax purposes but not on your Financial Statement.
In addition to disclosing assets, parties must set forth their actual and anticipated expenses on their respective Financial Statements. It is not uncommon to have to estimate expenses particularly in cases where the other party was primarily responsible for the finances. It is important to make a footnote indicating that these expenses have in fact been estimated. Furthermore, reasonable anticipated expenses should be footnoted.
In a divorce matter, a Financial Statement is given great weight by the court in reviewing the assets and expenses of the parties, and therefore should be completed with great care and caution. Should you require assistance in the preparation of a Financial Statement you should contact the family law team at Baker, Braverman & Barbadoro, P.C. – Lisa Bond.
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It is with great sadness that our firm mourns the passing of our colleague and friend Attorney Douglas C. Purdy
February 10, 1943 – May 25, 2016
Doug practiced law in Quincy for over 30 years with Serafini, Purdy, DiNardo & Wells and for the last eight years with Baker, Braverman & Barbadoro, P.C. He will be sadly missed by all that knew him.
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If you have failed to plan for your personal incapacity by designating an agent to act as your Attorney in Fact under a Durable Power of Attorney or as an Agent under a Health Care Proxy, the person who will make these personal decisions on your behalf will be determined not by you, but by a Judge in the Probate Court. Many people recognize the benefits of having their estate avoid the Probate Court upon death, but most people forget that it is equally important to avoid the Probate Court in the event of an illness or incapacity during their lifetime.
In the event that you are incapacitated or gravely ill such that you cannot make decisions for yourself and you do not have either a Heath Care Proxy or a Durable Power of Attorney , your spouse, child, sibling or a friend will have to petition the Probate Court to be named your Guardian and Conservator. There is also the possibility that the Probate Court will appoint someone that is unfamiliar with you and your needs, something that can happen without proper planning.
The Probate Court will appoint a Guardian who will be charged with the duty of making personal decisions on your behalf. Those decisions are very personal and include health care choices, personal care choices, and decisions for your long term medical care. In addition, the Probate Court will appoint a Conservator of your estate; this person will be charged with managing your finances. Both of these court appointed agents will be required to get permission from the Probate Court to take action on many matters, including matters involving your property. As a result, the Probate Court has an unnecessarily high level of control over your well-being and assets, which is also costly as the fees and costs from the Probate Court’s review will come from your assets.
To protect yourself in the event of incapacity and to ensure that decisions regarding your health care and finances will be made in your best interest by a friend or family member of your choosing, consult with a Probate attorney at Baker, Braverman & Barbadoro, P.C. to get your Health Care Proxy and Durable Power of Attorney drafted today. – Christopher Sullivan.