Attorneys at Law in Bowling Green and Elizabethtown KY

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Kerrick Bachert Supports Newspapers in Education

On Wednesday, Attorneys Ashley Gerughty and Ena Demir visited Ms. Lori Martin’s 5th/6th  grade class at Warren Elementary.  Ena and Ashley spent time visiting students and speaking to the class about their careers and their personal journeys through school to meet their career goals.

Newspapers in Education, through its sponsors, provides newspapers to classrooms for researching, grammar and reading activities as well as helping the class keep up to date with current events in the world.

Kerrick Bachert would like to wish Ms. Martin’s 5th/6th grade class good luck with all their goals and ambitions.

Identifying and Protecting Your Company’s Intellectual Assets

Presented by Laura M. Hagan

When:  Thursday, April 13, 2017 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM

Where:  WKU Small Business Accelerator

Register Here:  Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce

Intellectual property can be a valuable asset for your company, and can include patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets, which serve to protect the company’s ideas, products, technology and marketing materials.  There are many factors to consider when making the decision about whether to seek intellectual property protection and how to secure the rights to any intellectual property.  In order to make these decisions, it is important that the company understand the various types of intellectual property and the methods of protection available.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Trademarks – What is a trademark and what types of protection are available.
  2. Copyrights  – What items are covered by copyright protection and what steps should be taken to ensure your rights can be enforced against potential infringers.
  3. Patent –Identifying the types of patent protection available and the associated costs.
  4. Trade Secret – When can a company asset be protected by a trade secret.

Kerrick Bachert Members Participate in 2017 Family Enrichment Center Run & Walk for Children

On Saturday, March 25th, seven KB members participated in the Family Enrichment Center Run & Walk for Children at Ephram White Park in Bowling Green.  Those who participated were Ena Demir (FEC Board Member), Laura Hagan, Erica Smith, Bonnie Spencer, Laura Cardwell, Maryellen Self, Kyle Bumgarner and Tom Hulsey. Laura, Kyle and Erica participated in the 5K Run while the others participated in the 5K Walk.

Laura Hagan placed first in the Grand Master age group and Erica Smith placed first in the 10-14 age group.  Congratulations Laura and Erica!

The weather on Saturday was great for outdoor fun and a good time was had by all the KB gang!

The Family Enrichment Center is a non-profit organization in Bowling Green that provides services to “empower families and prevent child abuse by providing education, social support, crisis intervention, and a safe environment for children and their families,” in the Barren River Region.

Scott Bachert Turns 60!

Happy Birthday Scott!

USCIS Revises Form I-9, Used for All New Hires in U.S.

Changes are designed to reduce errors and enhance form completion using a computer

WASHINGTON — U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on November 16, 2016 published a revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.

By Jan. 22, 2017, employers must use only the new version, dated 11/14/2016. Until then, they can continue to use the version dated 03/08/2013 or the new version.

Among the changes in the new version, Section 1 asks for “other last names used” rather than “other names used,” and streamlines certification for certain foreign nationals.

Other changes include:

  • The addition of prompts to ensure information is entered correctly.
  • The ability to enter multiple preparers and translators.
  • A dedicated area for including additional information rather than having to add it in the margins.
  • A supplemental page for the preparer/translator.

The instructions have been separated from the form, in line with other USCIS forms, and include specific instructions for completing each field.

The revised Form I-9 is also easier to complete on a computer. Enhancements include drop-down lists and calendars for filling in dates, on-screen instructions for each field, easy access to the full instructions, and an option to clear the form and start over. When the employer prints the completed form, a quick response (QR) code is automatically generated, which can be read by most QR readers.

Form I-9 requirements were established in November 1986 when Congress passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA). IRCA prohibits employers from hiring people, including U.S. citizens, for employment in the United States without verifying their identity and employment authorization on Form I-9.

For more information about USCIS and its programs, please visit uscis.gov.

KENTUCKY LEGISLATURE’S FIRST WEEK OF THE 2017 SESSION RESULTS IN PASSAGE OF SEVERAL SIGNIFICANT NEW LAWS

The Kentucky Legislature has completed its first week in session, and in that short time has passed a number of bills covering hot-topic issues that were tabbed as Republican priorities.   These bills, which will soon be the law in the Commonwealth, mark a significant change in collective bargaining rights for unions, as well as the wages owed to workers on public projects.   They, too, have taken aim a woman’s right to choice, indicating a shift in the Commonwealth towards protecting the unborn fetus.

Along with other new legislation, all described below, the 2017 Kentucky Legislature has demonstrated in short order that it intends to make significant changes to the law of the Commonwealth.   Among those, the attorneys at Kerrick Bachert PSC expect tort reform, including medical review panels and caps on certain categories of damages, to be at the top of the legislative agenda.

With all of these changes, questions remain about whether the new legislation can pass constitutional muster, and, more practically, what these changes mean to your business and to you personally.   The attorneys at Kerrick Bachert PSC will continue to track new bills, and are available to discuss with you the rapidly changing legal landscape across the Bluegrass.

House Bill 1, right to work, prohibits the requirement that a worker be required to join a union, or pay dues, as a condition of employment, even if collectively bargained.

HB 3 repeals the prevailing wage law on public projects.   This means that state officials will no longer set the wages for construction workers on publically financed projects based on a survey of the community.

Senate Bill 6 prohibits employers from deducting union dues from paychecks without an employee’s written permission.

HB 2 requires a woman to have an ultrasound prior to having an abortion. The medical professionals will be required to show the woman the ultrasound image and let the woman hear the fetal heartbeat, although the woman may decline.

SB 5 prohibits an abortion after 20 weeks except if necessary to save the woman’s life or prevent substantial harm to any major bodily function. No exceptions were made for cases of rape or incest.

SB 12, which was introduced as a dog ownership law which, in committee through amendment, created a new Board of Trustees for the University of Louisville appointed by the governor and subject to confirmation by the Senate.

SB 3 makes pension paid to state legislator subject to the Open Records Act.

Each of these bills will probably already be signed into law by the Governor by the time this is posted.

The Legislature has now gone into recess until February 7, at which time it will reconvene to consider the remaining pending bills. There are a number of proposed bills which will have an impact upon, or be of interest to our clients. Summaries of those bills will be posted in the coming days.

Scott Bachert has received an AV Peer Review Ratings™ from Martindale Hubbell® and has been recognized for his work in creditors-debtors rights by Super Lawyers.

Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Grants DOL’s Expedited Briefing Schedule

lawyer-w-greg-harvey-photo-1198140On December 8, 2016, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals entered an Order granting the DOL’s request for expedited briefing of its appeal of the preliminary injunction issued by a Texas district court judge that enjoined the DOL from implementing the new regulations raising the salary level for the white collar exemptions.  The Court set an expedited briefing schedule as follows:

DOL’s opening brief is due by December 16, 2016.

Amicus briefs in support of the DOL are due on or before December 23, 2016.

Appellees’ response brief us due by January 17, 2017.

Amicus briefs in support of Appellees are due on or before January 24, 2017.

The DOL’s reply brief is due on or before January 31, 2017.

The Order also contemplates oral argument will be held during the first available sitting after the close of briefing on January 31, 2017.  Note that pursuant to those timeframes,  the DOL’s Reply Brief is not due until after President-Elect Trump’s inauguration.  This makes it entirely possible that before the reply deadline comes the DOL could withdraw its appeal.

Also note that this timetable makes it certain that  the Trump Administration and/or the newly elected Congress will have an opportunity to determine the fate of the salary basis increases prior to a decision by the Fifth Circuit.

W. Greg Harvey is a partner and employment law attorney with Kerrick Bachert PSC.

Employers Facing the New Overtime Regulations—Be sure you understand what is Compensable Time

lawyer-w-greg-harvey-photo-1198140December 1, 2016 the U.S. Department of Labor’s new “white collar” exemptions from the FLSA’s overtime requirements take effect.  This increases the salary threshold for exempt employees to $47,467 ($913/week).  This nearly doubles the prior salary level required to maintain exempt status for employees who satisfy the long standing duties test.

Practically speaking, employers need to be aware of how this could impact their overtime obligations.  Many employers are switching employees that were previously deemed exempt to non-exempt status due to the increase.  This means that those employees are now eligible to receive overtime pay in each week they exceed the typical forty (40) hour workweek.

When it comes to the present day era of accessibility due to the use of technology in business, employers should examine their workforce’s use of smartphones, tablets, laptop computers, etc. for work activity occurring outside the typical workday.  Where non-exempt employees are performing work activities after the typical workday, those activities may constitute compensable time that the employer must track and pay for pursuant to the wage and hour laws.  That could be as innocuous as reading and responding to email or reviewing a document sent to them via email.  If that time results in a non-exempt employee crossing the threshold for overtime pay, employers may be required to pay overtime to those employees.

It is suggested that employers examine the amount of “off the clock” work performed by non-exempt employees to determine if this issue is one that needs to be addressed. One method to control that exposure is to institute a policy on “off the clock” work.  Another is simply to limit the after hours demand of those employees from supervisory or other exempt employees.  If employers call upon those individuals to perform tasks for them, it may well be compensable time.

Greg Harvey practices extensively in the area of employment law.  He has presented at several employment seminars and consulted on proposed revisions to the Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Act.  He was the researcher and draftsman for Kentucky Workers’ Compensation, Fourth Edition.  He currently holds a BV® Distinguished™ rating from Martindale-Hubbell.

SIXTH CIRCUIT UPHOLDS HARDIN COUNTY RIGHT-TO-WORK ORDINANCE

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a right-to-work ordinance adopted by the Fiscal Court of Hardin County which guaranteed that no person covered under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) shall be required as a condition of employment to become a member of a union. The Court’s ruling in UAW, et al. v. Hardin County signifies a major victory for local political subdivisions in Kentucky that want to rid the over-expansive reach of labor organizations, and return to each individual worker the right to decide whether he or she will join the union.

The plain text of the NLRA allows state governments to prohibit union security requirements that require all employees to belong to the union. The Kentucky legislature has yet to enact state-wide right-to-work legislation, although this may soon be a hot topic in the legislature with Republicans now controlling the House. Even if the state legislature chooses not to enact right-to-work legislation, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision now makes clear that the NLRA allows political subdivisions of the state — including counties and cities — to enact right-to-work ordinances.

However, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision does not give political subdivisions the authority to wade into all matters of collective bargaining. The Court struck down portions of the Hardin County ordinance that attempted to prohibit “hiring-hall agreements” — which require prospective employees to be recommended, approved, or cleared by or through a labor organization — and “dues-checkoff” provisions — which require employers to automatically deduct union dues, fees, assessments, or other charges from employees’ patches and transfer them to the union. The Court held that these types of laws impermissibly conflicted with the NLRA, which is the supreme law of the United States.

Please contact the attorneys at Kerrick Bachert PSC if you would like more information or have questions about the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeal’s decision and what it may mean for political subdivisions, labor organizations, and employees alike.

By: Greg Harvey – gharvey@kerricklaw.com
Kyle Bumgarner – kbumgarner@kerricklaw.com.

Kerrick Bachert files petition against Kentucky Retirement System on behalf of Western Kentucky University

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Western Kentucky University, represented by Bowling Green law firm Kerrick Bachert, has initiated an action seeking a Declaratory Judgment in Franklin Circuit Court today against the Kentucky Retirement System (KRS), which administers the Kentucky Employees Retirement System.

In August 2016, WKU entered into a contract with Sodexo, Inc., to privatize all facilities and grounds services in order to create further operating efficiencies and budget savings for the University. As a result, WKU outsourced 202 budgeted building services and grounds positions. These employees were given the opportunity to apply for employment with Sodexo. Those employees who applied and were subsequently hired by Sodexo were employed at an hourly wage that exceeded that which WKU could offer, and in addition they were offered a 401(K) matching retirement plan. Sodexo has held the contract for Facilities Management at WKU since 1994.

Shortly after accepting employment with Sodexo, several individuals received notice from KRS that they would not be allowed to withdraw or roll over employee contributions the individuals made to KRS during the time they were employed by WKU.  Following several weeks of formal discussion with KRS, WKU received notice on Oct. 26 that the retirement system views the Sodexo employees as “common law employees of WKU” and advised that those employees would not be allowed access to the funds that they had contributed to the retirement system individually. The KRS further stated that WKU would be expected to pay retirement contributions for these Sodexo employees, and that those employees would also have to continue to pay the applicable employee contribution to KERS, despite their employment with Sodexo.

“We reject outright this assertion that the affected individuals remain under the control of WKU,” said Tom Kerrick, attorney for WKU. “WKU does not have the ability to hire, fire or discipline employees of Sodexo, and Sodexo has complete control over its employee hiring and workplace policies.”

“We all are aware of the financial issues surrounding the Kentucky Employees Retirement System, which is probably the reason for KRS to be taking this position; however, KRS’ position is contrary to the facts of this issue and the law of Kentucky,” Kerrick said. “There is no reasonable basis for this decision by KRS or for KRS to jeopardize the retirement contributions of these hard-working individuals. On behalf of WKU, we are simply asking the court to declare that WKU has the right to privatize these services; that these former employees of WKU are actually employees of Sodexo; that WKU has no further obligation to pay into the KERS on behalf of these former employees; and that these former employees have no further obligation to pay into KERS and that they may have access to their retirement funds. KRS is putting these individuals in financial jeopardy by holding hostage the retirement contributions to which they have a right.”

Click here to read the petition.
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