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WE HAVE MOVED
WE HAVE MOVED TO 1812 PEBRICAN AVE. CHEYENNE, WY 82001. WE WILL BE UPDATING OUR WEBSITE WITH THE NEW ADDRESS SHORTLY.  
 
BEGINNING IN OCTOBER WE BEGAN REFURBISHING ONE OF CHEYENNE`S ORIGINAL HOMES TO SERVE AS OUR NEW OFFICE SPACE.  WE ARE STILL UNDER CONSTRUCTION, BUT HAVE MOVED IN.  WE WILL PLAN TO HOST AN OPEN HOUSE WHEN CONSTRUCTION IS COMPLETE, BUT FEEL FREE TO COME IN SOONER FOR A SHORT TOUR IF WE CAN HELP WITH YOUR LEGAL NEEDS.  
 
THANK YOU
ALG Law
 
FEDERAL OVERTIME RULE ENJOINED

Introduction. The Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Texas on November 22, 2016 enjoined the Department of Labor`s (DOL) new Overtime Rule. The Judge held that the twenty-one state plaintiffs (not including Wyoming) had established a prima facie case that the DOL salary level test under its final Rule and the automatic updating mechanism were without statutory authority and invalid.

Background. Congress enacted the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in 1938. The FLSA requires that employees engaged in Commerce receive no less than the federal minimum wage (currently $7.25 per hour) for all hours worked. Employees are also entitled to overtime pay at one and one half (1 1/2) times the employee`s regular rate of pay for all hours worked above 40 in a week. When enacted, the FLSA contained a number of exemptions to the overtime requirements. Section 213(a) of the FLSA exempted from both the minimum wage and overtime requirements “any employee employed in a bona fide Executive, Administrative, or Professional capacity.” The Exemption is commonly referred to as the “white collar” or “EAP” Exemption. In issuing its Act, Congress delegated to the Secretary of Labor the power to define and limit these terms through regulations. The DOL or Department`s initial regulations defined Executive, Administrative and Professional employees. While the initial regulations were amended over time, in 2004 the Department changed the exemption definitions and replaced them with a standard duties test which required: (1) that the employee must be paid on a salary basis; (2) an employee must be paid a minimum salary (the current minimum salary level to qualify for the exemption is $455 per week or $23,060 per year); and (3) employees must perform Executive, Administrative or Professional duties.

The Rule. On March 23rd, 2014, President Obama requested that the Department update the existing regulations as the existing the EAP Exemptions had not kept pace with our modern economy. After receiving almost 300,000 comments on the proposed rule, the new rule was issued on May 23rd, 2016 to be effective December 1, 2016. The final rule increased the minimum salary level for exempt employees from $455 per week to $921 per week ($47,892 per annum).

The Court’s Ruling. The Judge, after reading the plain meaning of the FLSA, found it clear that Congress intended the EAP exemption to apply to employees doing actual Executive, Administrative, or Professional duties. In other words, Congress defined the EAP exemption with regard to “duties’, not a minimum salary level. The Judge found that the statute’s use of “bona fide” confirmed its intent and that the salaries test was beyond the authority of the Department. The Department`s authority as delegated from Congress is limited by the plain meaning of the statute. Furthermore, not only is the Department limited in the salaries test, but it cannot implement the automatic updating mechanism. The DOL Overtime Rule was enjoined on a nationwide basis and will not be implemented on December 1, 2016.

Implications. While many employees may have already updated their compensation schedules, the Federal Court has given employers additional time to review their schedules and classifications in to ensure that they comply with the FLSA and its exemptions. While the preliminary injunction isn`t permanent, as it simply preserves the existing overtime rule—until the court has a chance to review the merits of the case, employers must remain cautious and ensure that their classification schemes are consistent with the FLSA. Employers shouldn`t assume that the Overtime Rule will be permanently barred; they should still review existing classifications and have a plan to move forward-if necessary, in the future.

Bruce S. Asay
Associated Legal Group, LLC
basay@associatedlegal.com
(307) 632-2888

Planning For Your Future (Part 2)
We know we need estate planning when we have children who are minors, children who are gifted or expected to have their own wealth, spouses or children who cannot or do not want to handle money, securities or a business. 
 
We know we need estate planning if we have closely held business interests, property in more than one state, or if we have charitable objectives.
 
We know we need estate planning for special property such as fine art, or a collection, pets that are particularly important and for asset protection.
 
Our next discussion is the ten most common estate planning mistakes.  Part 3 will start with how to avoid them.
 
Top ten common estate planning mistakes are: 
 
1. Improper use of jointly held property
2. Improperly Arranged Life Insurance
3. Lack of Liquidity
4. Choice of Wrong Executor
5. Will Errors
6. Leaving Everything to your Spouse
7. Improper Disposition of Assets
8. Failure to Stabilize and Maximize Value
9. Lack of Adequate Records
10. Lack of a "Master Strategy" Game Plan
 
 If you have questions regarding your estate plan, please contact Gayla Austin, at ALG Law. 
 
The ALG Law blog on estate planning is posted at the beginning of each month.  
 
 
Planning For Your Future

One of the most, if not the most, important skill of an estate planner and the person who will be creating your estate documents is the ability to understand you, the client, and what needs to be done to move you closer to the realization of your goals. 

Knowledge of your hopes, fears, dreams and objects of your bounty and the relation of each to the other is essential. 

For our first conversation, let`s talk about documents you will need for purposes of estate planning. They include:

1.  Present Wills

2.  Personal income tax returns:  Last 3 years

3.  Business tax returns:  Last 3 years

4.  Life, Health and Disability Insurance Policies

5.  Employment Benefit Plan Descriptions (Profit sharing, 401k)

6.  Business Buy-Sell Agreements

7.  Pre or Post Nuptual Agreements and Divorce Decrees

8.  Trust Documents

9.  Gift Tax Returns (if any)

10.  Homeowner`s Policy

11.  Deeds to Real Estate

In our next conversation, we`ll talk about each one of thesewhy we need it and how it works into your plan.

If you have any questions, please contact me.

Thanks!

Gayla K. Austin

 
The Department of Labor`s New Overtime Regulation

The Department of Labor’s New Overtime Regulation

            The Department of Labor issued its long anticipated new rule on overtime that updates the regulations determining which white-collar, salaried employees are entitled to the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) minimum wage and overtime pay protections. The rule increases the salary threshold below which most white-collar, salaried workers are entitled to overtime from the current $455 per week (or $23,660 for a full-year worker) to $913 per week (or $47,476 for a full-year worker).

            The new rule has the potential to impact millions of workers who may either gain new overtime protections or get a raise to the new salary threshold. Under existing regulations, exempt workers are those who are paid on a salary basis, earn at least $455 per week, and are employed in certain common exemptions including an executive, administrative or professional capacity. This means that if you have an employee working as a manager in a fast-food outlet making $30,000 per year, the new regulation just granted the manager an increase to $47,476. This is not sustainable for many small businesses and there is presently Congressional Review that may address the agency’s action. Nevertheless, employers need to review their present employment and job classification practices to address the new overtime regulations. Some possible considerations include: 

1.      Review and identify employees that may need to be reclassified.

2.      Review your present job descriptions and overtime payment policies.

3.      Prepare new methods of compensation plans for salaried employees affected by the Rule.

4.      Educate your staff on the new overtime regulations and possible reclassifications.

5.      Consider alternative payment and bonus alternatives.

6.      Communicate; talk with your employees about changes that may be necessary.

Asay invited to teach course at law school on Utilities Law
The University of Wyoming School of Law recently requested that Mr. Asay teach a course on Utilities Law.  Mr. Asay accepted the invitation and is currently teaching the course for the winter semester.
Ditto invited to address Western Governors` Association
The Western Governors` Association recently created a task force to address the many challenges of constructing new electric transmission lines in the western states.  In conjunction with their assignment and at their most recent meeting on January 15, 2013 in Phoenix, Arizona they requested that Mr. Ditto address issues of eminent domain, the traditional measure of compensation to acquire rights of ways, and alternative methods of compensation requested by landowners and others. 
Bruce Asay to Speak at Landlord Tenant Law Seminar
Bruce Asay will be the featured speaker at a full day seminar in Cheyenne on Friday, February 24, 2012.  The seminar is sponsored by Sterling Education Services and will be at the Plains Hotel.  The seminar will cover all aspects of landlord / tenant law.  Clients and friends of the Firm are entitled to a discount by using Code FLD50 when registering.  For more information about the seminar you may contact Sterling Education Services at http://store.sterlingeducation.com/seminars.php or you may contact the firm directly at (307) 632-2888.
ALG Obtains 1.2 Million Jury Verdict
 
On Friday, December 2, Bruce Asay completed a week long jury trial in a federal employment discrimination case under the Americans With Disabilities Act in which the jury awarded the client $1.2 million dollars.  The jury found that the employee was not disabled, but the employer nevertheless discriminated against the employee based upon a perception that the employee was unable to perform the work.
 
 
ALG Completes New Edition of Book
 
ALG recently updated the Wyoming Handbook on Easements,  Eminent Domain and Split Estates.  Mr. Ditto initially authored the 175 page book and completed the latest edition in November, 2011. The 2011 edition includes sections on procedure in eminent domain cases and additions to the section on valuation in eminent domain.  The firm provides copies of the book to clients that deal with these issues.  The Table of Contents to the book can be viewed on the webpage that describes the firm`s easement and eminent domain practice.

1807 Capitol Ave., Suite 203 Cheyenne, WY 82001         Tel: (307) 632.2888         Fax: (307) 632.2828         EmailAssociated Legal Group LLC
Associated Legal Group LLC