Summer Interns – A Benefit or a Liability

Summer interns may be a good opportunity for both your business and the intern, but if the interns are not paid you may be exposing your business to significant liability. The U.S. Department of Labor applies a six factor test to determine whether a for profit business may have an unpaid intern. A copy this test and the Department of…read more →

Interns – A Benefit or a Liability – Update

Last week, on April 28th a Federal appellate court issued a decision on whether students working in a school affiliated nursing home should be considered employees.  The court’s ruling disregarded the Department of Labor’s six factor test about whether an student serving an internship should be classified as an employee.  Last June, I wrote an article about the six factor…read more →

Government Targets Business Owners for Employee Work Eligibility

Business owners, particularly in the food service industry may want to review their employee work eligibility status.  A recent article in the Wall Street Journal titled Immigration Crackdown Widens With Criminal Probe and Arrests at Restaurant Chains highlights recent government investigations and in one case criminal prosecution relating to hiring illegal immigrants.As the article notes the government’s focus previously had…read more →

Buy/Sell Agreements – Planning Ahead

For small businesses with two or more owners, a buy/sell agreement can help prevent challenging situations from becoming unbearable.When one of the business owners dies, becomes disabled, divorces or just says “I have had enough – I am out of here” that can be challenge for the remaining owner or owners just to keep the business operating.  That challenge can…read more →

Employer Liability – Common Mistakes That Can Be Costly

With the economy improving, businesses are hiring again and bringing in independent contractors.  Because mistakes relating to compensation can be costly, now might be good time to review several common mistakes that can be expensive.The most common mistakes involve: Misclassifying an employee as exempt from overtime; Misclassifying a person as an independent contractor when they should be an employee; Assigning…read more →

When Separate Corporations Are Not Separate for City of Chicago Head Tax

Business owners who have operations at separate locations often set up separate corporations for each location.  There are many good reasons to do this including limiting liability at one location from effecting the other locations.  The separate corporations should have their own bank accounts, bookkeeping, business licenses, corporate records, employees, tax identification numbers.  But apparently, this is not enough for…read more →

Small Business and the Health Care Law

The new health care law certainly has been controversial, but its effect on small business is less certain.  A recent article in QSR magazine discusses possible effects and provides a timeline illustrating when various provisions and obligations will take effect.  The article is titled The Real Way Health Care Reform Affects You. For small businesses with 50 or more employees,…read more →

Potential Exposure for Employers Under New Illinois Law

Changes to Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act provide substantially more exposure to Illinois employers.On January 1, 2011 changes to Illinois wage claim statute became effective.  The changes give employees substantially more leverage in claims for unpaid compensation.  The term compensation includes not just salary payments, but also benefits such as vacation pay, bonuses, commissions, incentives, etc.  So even an…read more →

Employee Non-Compete Agreements

A nightmare for business owners is an employee, who you spent a lot of time and money training, leaves to work for a competitor. One way to reduce the risk of that nightmare becoming reality is to have employees sign non-compete agreements.Sounds great in theory, but are they practical in Illinois. A recent Illinois Appellate Court decision discussed two tests…read more →

Payroll Taxes – A Personal Liability Trap

Recently, I was speaking with a very successful small business owner who almost stepped into a payroll tax trap. The business owner wanted to give a bonus to a key employee. The business owner, who uses a payroll processing company, thought that it would be okay to write the bonus check out of the business checking account. However, the business…read more →