Employer Responsibilities under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act


What are an employer’s responsibilities under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act?

Lydecker Diaz partners Richard Lydecker, Stephanie Pidermann, and Margaret Mevers explain below.

What is the Families First Coronavirus Response Act?

department of labor image

On March 25, 2020, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued guidance to the public to apprise employers of their responsibilities relating to paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”).

During these critical times, the FFCRA seeks to provide employees peace of mind via additional paid sick leave and further security through expanded family and medical leave for reasons specifically related to COVID-19. The below provisions take effect on April 1, 2020, and remain in force through December 31, 2020.

Does the FFCRA apply to my company?

Does the FFCRA apply to my company?

The FFCRA imposes responsibilities upon private sector employers of companies with 500 employees or less and certain public sector employers. Eligible employees must have been employed for at least thirty (30) days before the date of any request for leave relating to COVID-19 under the FFCRA. Employees who are unable to work, including being unable to work from home, may seek paid leave under the FFCRA due to the following reasons:

  1. The employee is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.
  2. The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19.
  3. The employee is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis to confirm whether they have contracted COVID-19.
  4. The employee is caring for an individual subject to an order described in paragraph (1) above or an individual that is in self-quarantine as described in paragraph (2) above.
  5. The employee is caring for their child whose school or place of care is closed or unavailable due to reasons related to COVID-19.
  6. The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

What paid-leave entitlements are employers responsible for?

What paid-leave entitlements are employers responsible for?

Employers who receive a request from an eligible employee for a qualifying reason listed above are required to provide up to two (2) weeks of paid sick leave. The amount of pay employers are obligated to provide is dependent on which of the above reasons are cited for the leave. Full-time employees are entitled to up to eighty (80) hours of paid leave, while part-time employees are entitled to two weeks of leave based on the average amount of hours they work in a given week (e.g., if the employee works twenty (20) hours each week, they are entitled to up to forty (40) hours of paid leave over a two-week period). The amount of paid leave that employers are required to expend is based on the higher of either the employee’s regular rate of pay or the applicable State or Federal minimum wage. Employees are entitled to paid leave at the following rates:

  • 100% of their pay for qualifying reasons one (1) through (3) above; limited to $511.00 daily and $5,110.00 overall.
  • 66.6 % of their pay for qualifying reasons four (4) and six (6) above; limited to $200.00 daily and $2,000.00 overall.
  • Employees who cite qualifying reason five (5) above are entitled to up to twelve (12) weeks of paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave paid at 66.6% of their pay; limited to limited to $200.00 daily and $2,000.00 overall.

**It should be noted, small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption from the requirement to provide leave due to school closings or child care unavailability if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern**

What penalties is my company subject to for non-compliance with the FFCRA?

What penalties is my company subject to for non-compliance with the FFCRA?

Although no specific penalties have been outlined to date, the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) has prohibited employers from discharging, disciplining, or otherwise discriminating against any employee who lawfully takes paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave under the FFCRA. The WHD will impose penalties against employers for violations of the FFCRA. Additionally, employers who discriminate against their employees for the above-referenced reasons, or retaliate against their employees for choosing to avail themselves to their rights under the FFCRA, would potentially expose themselves to litigation and similar damages that would otherwise be available pursuant to the Family Medical Leave Act.

What steps should my company take next?

What steps should my company take next?

Given the swift nature of COVID-19 and the rapid response that the United States government is effectuating daily, it is important to equip your company with experienced counsel to assist you in navigating through these tumultuous times.

Lydecker Diaz’s labor and employment group has decades of combined legal experience in litigation and transactional matters. Time and time again, Lydecker Diaz has prevailed in employment litigation matters through trial and has counseled employers in labor matters to provide economic and efficient solutions to prevent litigation from ensuing and ensure compliance with State and Federal regulations.

For more information, contact our professionals below:

Richard Lydecker, Senior Partner
rl@lydeckerdiaz.com
305-416-3180

Stephanie Pidermann, Partner 
sp@lydeckderdiaz.com
305-416-3180

Margaret Mevers, Partner
mhm@lydeckerdiaz.com
305-416-3180

accounting malpractice

Accounting Malpractice 101: What You Should Know

Like any other professional, accountants are held certain standards and are required to abide by the law and follow these standards at all time when providing their services. In the instance that a client suffers direct losses due to the fact that an accountant did not fulfill their role as professional, that client is entitled to file an accountant malpractice lawsuit.

The GAAP – Accountant Standards Of Conduct

The particular rules that accountants are expected to follow are laid out by in the General Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) in addition to the rules listed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants in addition rules set by the State.

Certified public accountants, certified tax preparers, accounting consultants, and asset managers are all expected to follow specific guidelines and rules:

  • Do not knowingly misrepresent details or facts
  • There can be no conflict of interests
  • Only provide services that can be completed competently and with professional care
  • Meet the requirements of licensing
  • Keep client communications confidential

To establish a case of accounting malpractice, the claimant must have suffered monetary losses directly related to the alleged malpractice.

The Most Common Instances Of Accounting Malpractice

  • Maintaining substandard financial records
  • The preparation of incorrect financial reports and business statements
  • Failure to recommend an audit to clients
  • Making mistakes on tax returns
  • Giving out bad, incorrect, or illegal tax advice
  • Inventory errors
  • Fraud
  • Subpar evaluation of documents and financial statements

Breach of Contract

In accounting malpractice cases, breach of contract usually occurs intentionally or negligently. When an accountant deviates from standardized practices knowingly or carelessly, a case for accounting malpractice can be made.

For a breach of contract case to be viable in court, a few things must determined and established. First, there has to be an agreement between the accountant and the claimant to render professional services. After the establishment of an agreement, the claimant has to experience loss, damages, or financial harm that is a result of the accountant’s lack of professionalism or negligence.

Accountant Misrepresentation

When an accountant intentionally misrepresents details in order to mask their transgressions, an accounting malpractice case can be made based on those misrepresentations. To claim an accountant is guilty of intentional misrepresentation, a few things have to be established:

  1. There was an actual representation
  2. That representation was incorrect
  3. The misrepresentation is based on a current or past tangible fact
  4. The misrepresentation can actually be proved right or wrong
  5. The accountant persuaded the plaintiff based on that misrepresentation
  6. The plaintiff relied on that misrepresentation and suffered losses
  7. The misrepresentation can be directly tied to the losses.

Contact Lydecker-Diaz For A Legal Consultation

Accounting malpractice cases are intricate and often very complicated due to the specific determinations that must be made in order to establish a viable case. At Lydecker Diaz, we have years of experience in recovering damages for our clients that were victims to accountant malpractice. Our Miami accounting malpractice attorneys are ready to speak with you and are fully dedicated to your best interests. Contact us today for a legal consultation.

The 14 Most Common Kinds Of Legal Malpractice Errors

There are various errors that comprise a majority of the thousands of legal malpractice claims in the United States each year.

1. Failure to Know/Apply The Law

Failing to know or the apply the law properly is the most common type of legal malpractice claim in the United States. This legal malpractice error is defined almost exactly how it sounds.

Failure to know or apply the law can be defined in two ways:

  1. When an attorney is not fully aware of all the legal circumstances and details surrounding a case.
  2. When an attorney is aware of all legal principles but fails to implement appropriate strategies due to negligence.

2. Planning/Strategy Errors

Planning and strategizing is an absolute must before any legal proceedings. A planning or strategy error claim usually arises if an attorney does not plan adequately enough and this, in turn, hurts the client’s case.

3. Failure to File Documents Without a Deadline

Not having a deadline to file documents is not an excuse for not filing it. You would be surprised to know that this is a very common legal malpractice error. Attorneys are expected to file all necessary documents on their clients’ behalf regardless of time-sensitivity.

4. Inadequate Discovery Of Facts | Inadequate Investigation

This is a legal malpractice error that involves claims that the attorney didn’t perform a thorough investigation or did not use the appropriate methods of discovery to ensure an adequate investigation.

5. Failure to Calendar

Attorneys are required to stay on top of all deadlines, court dates, and documentation on behalf of their clients. If a lawyer is aware of a deadline but failed to take initiative and misses it, a case for failure to calendar can be made.

6. Failure to Know Deadline

When an attorney is completely unaware of a deadline or failed to know how the deadline applies in a particular case.

7. Procrastination

Procrastination claims arise when a lawyer simply doesn’t deal with a client’s matters in a timely enough fashion and this in turn leads to a loss for the client.

8. Failing to Obtain Client Consent

Failure to obtain client consent covers two instances:

  1. When the client claims that he/she would’ve made a different choice if the attorney had explained all the details, offered viable alternatives, or fully explained the risks involved.
  2. When a lawyer needs consent from a client to take action but fails to do so.

9. Conflict Of Interest

If a lawyer has a matter that conflicts with the interests of his/her client, a legal malpractice claim can be made. It doesn’t matter whether or not the attorney was aware of the conflict.

10. Fraud

One of the more self-explanatory claims, fraud is simply defined as any fraudulent actions taken by the attorney.

11. Failure To Follow Instructions

Another self-explanatory claim. Attorneys are supposed to follow the instructions of their clients and a failure to follow instructions claim can be made whether or not the failure was intentional or unintentional.

12. Error In Record Search

If a title, patent, or trademark search does not disclose important items on public record a case for error in record search can be made. This also applies when no public search was conducted when it should have been

13. Clerical Errors

Clerical errors refer to typographical errors and the transposing of numbers in legal documents that would have otherwise been corrected with effective proofreading.

14. Improper Withdrawal

This covers claims that an attorney has not properly withdrawn representation by due to lack of proper communication.

Contact Lydecker Diaz For Legal Malpractice Defense

At Lydecker-Diaz, our team of Miami legal malpractice attorneys has years of experience representing other lawyers in attorney malpractice claims. Contact us today to schedule a legal consultation.

2 Things You Should Know About Real Estate Law in Florida

Real estate laws can be extremely complex and vary from state to state. In Florida, there are some things that make the state’s real estate law’s unique.

Here are the most important things that you should know about real estate law in Florida:

Florida Homestead Exemptions

When it comes to homestead exemptions, Florida is one of the more favorable states to homebuyers. Homestead laws around the country safeguard people from losing their homes by allowing homebuyers to keep a portion of their homes protected. In Florida, there is no limit to what portion of the home can be protected and therefore, the entire property can be restricted from creditors even after filing for bankruptcy in Florida.

It is important to note that the Florida homestead laws do not protect against the following:

  • General contractors and home developers.
  • Property liens established before the homestead.
  • All counties and municipalities in the State of Florida

Claiming A Property Through Adverse Possession

In Florida, adverse possession is a law that states that an individual can be granted the title of a neglected or dilapidated property if he/she:

  • Lives on the property for at least 7 years.
  • Pays the property taxes on the property for those 7 years
  • Significantly improves the property from an otherwise neglected, or dilapidated state.

There are several requirements for those looking to claim a property through adverse possession in Florida.

Whether you are looking to claim a property or defend yourself from adverse possession, contact our Miami real estate attorneys for a legal consultation.

Contact Lydecker Diaz For More Information on Florida Real Estate Laws

At Lydecker Diaz, our Miami real estate lawyers are experienced in all aspects of real estate law. Contact us today to schedule a legal consultation.

bankruptcy

Waiting to File Bankruptcy Can Be Devastating

Being fully drowned in debts and not having any resources to clear these debts can turn into a nightmare situation for any person or business. The most common solution in such a case is filing for bankruptcy. It is an official declaration that you are unable to pay off your debts due to financial inability.

As most professional bankruptcy lawyers will agree, it is advised to file for bankruptcy the moment you believe you won’t be able to repay what you owe.

Avoid The Financial Sweatbox

The “financial sweatbox” refers to the period before bankruptcy is filed.  It is highly advisable to get out of the sweatbox as quickly as possible to as debt collection lawsuits can be filed against the borrower.

There is a negative stigma attached to bankruptcy and this is why many tend to prolong the process. However, getting out of the financial sweatbox should be the main priority so you can start over as quickly as possible.

The Right Time To File For Bankruptcy

The right time to file for bankruptcy is simply when your debt becomes unmanageable.

An unfavorable debt-to-income ratio is one of the first signs that it may be time to consider bankruptcy. Your debt-to-income ratio is the sum of your monthly payments divided by your pre-taxed income. Ideally, what you owe should be less than 40% of your income.

The most obvious sign that its time to file for bankruptcy is when you are taking out new loans to pay off old debts. At this point, you’re only digging a grave that you’ll never get out of.

Speak To The Bankruptcy Attorneys At Lydecker Diaz

At Lydecker Diaz, we can help you start with a clean slate from neverending debt and put a rest to the constant harassment from creditors.

Our team of Miami bankruptcy attorneys is experienced and dedicated to helping our clients make the best financial decisions.

Contact us now to schedule a legal consultation.

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