Repurposing Real Estate Use?

by Courtney Beller

2020 saw a slew of retail bankruptcies. Many of these companies will emerge from bankruptcy with a much smaller physical footprint, shedding both debts and brick and mortar locations. What does that mean for all of those soon to be empty locations? As you can probably guess, there is not an abundance of retail tenants to take their place. One answer has been for landlords to … [More]

Business Noncompetes

by Nancy R. Giles

The year 2020 has changed the way we do business forever. From working at home to layoffs to total closures, 2020 has shaped the way businesses will operate moving forward. As a result, laid-off workers and struggling entrepreneurs have found creative ways to maintain their income and forge new paths. In 2014, freelancers made up 17% of the workforce. As of 2020, that number … [More]

Companies’ Compliance Concerns Regarding Independent Contractors 

by Shahar Erez

The gig economy has exploded and, now more than ever, contract workers are in high demand. One report showed that month-over-month revenues in the gig economy increased 18% in June 2020 alone, according to an article in Forbes. What’s more, many organizations are leaning on these contractors to keep their businesses afloat in the wake of this monumental recession. However, … [More]

Tips for Businesses in the Wake of Proposition 207

by Gary Michael Smith, Esq.

Proposition 207 officially became Arizona law last month when election results were certified. Some effects were immediate, such as lawful adult possession and use of cannabis without a medical card. Others will be felt in about six months, when recreational facility licenses issue. These licensed “marijuana establishments” will not replace existing dispensaries or the existing … [More]

Arizona Minimum Wage Increase: Facts and Misconceptions

by Ivy N. Voss

On January 1, 2021, the minimum wage for Arizona employees will increase to $12.15 per hour, up from $12.00 per hour in 2020. This increase is based on the passage in 2016 of the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Initiative, which provided for a gradual increase in the minimum wage each January, from $10.50 per hour on January 1, 2018, to $11.00 per hour on January 1, 2019, then … [More]

Are Overtime Rules Enforceable?

by Robert S. Reder

Seven months into 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic has changed nearly every aspect of life. Even mundane matters like working out has changed (you now need a gym reservation). Working at home, remote learning, social distancing and mask mandates are only the surface of what challenges face our personal and professional lives this year and beyond. This article offers some basic, … [More]

The State of Psychedelics Today 

by Gary Michael Smith, Esq.

While widely used in various forms for thousands for years, psychedelic substances that have been admonished in recent decades are receiving renewed interest for their medicinal properties. For instance, phase 3 studies are underway for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD, setting the stage for a probable return to prescription status. Following close behind, psilocybin … [More]

The Rise of and Rising Concerns about Business Chat

by Lorrie Ray, Esq.

Many employers have a significant number of employees working from home, performing tasks and connecting with others in ways that were little used prior to March of this year. One popular tool is chat software. Chat software is gaining in popularity each day. Platforms are everywhere. There are two types of platforms discussed in this article. The first is within organizations, … [More]

Blowing the Whistle

by Alejandro Pérez

In today’s environment, whistleblower claims are highly likely. Employers should not fear, though. As with most things, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This article offers a primer on various whistleblower laws and provides tips on minimizing risk and potentially mitigating litigation costs.  In today’s world, a “whistleblower” is someone who reports to … [More]

LGBTQ Covered under Title VII, Says Supreme Court

by JoLynn Markison

Today, the Supreme Court handed down its opinion in Bostock v. Clayton County, ruling once and for all that Title VII’s protections based on “sex” apply to LGBTQ workers. This is a case I have been following closely, and the decision has been a long time coming. In the wake of President Trump’s roll-back of health insurance protections for transgender Americans, the LGBTQ … [More]

Is Opening for Business Also Opening to Liability?

by RaeAnne Marsh

Processes and procedures of bringing their employees back to the workplace are only one area of concern for businesses planning their reopening after a COVID-19 closure. COVID-19 may have one more disruption to bequeath to business: civil suits of personal injury claims. Individuals have already widely exhibited a concern for their personal safety in their interactions. … [More]

Tread Carefully when Terminating Employees during a Pandemic

by Joshua C. Black, Esq.

With the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, there are a few additional considerations Arizona employers must keep in mind when terminating the employment of a current employee. Generally, Arizona employers enjoy wide latitude when hiring and firing due to the State’s doctrine of “at will” employment. Under at-will employment, an employer is not required to establish “just … [More]

Disaster Relief Related to Employee Benefit Plans

by Paul Yenerall

The Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service jointly have provided in a final rule that all group health plans, disability and other employee welfare benefit plans MUST disregard the period from March 1, 2020 until 60 days after the end of the declared National Emergency related to the COVID-19 outbreak or such other date as provided by the agencies in future … [More]

Immigration Suspension – Business Feels Impact on Talent

by Diane Hernandez

Wednesday, the White House officially issued a proclamation "temporarily suspending immigration into the United States," calling it a response to the economic crisis caused by COVID-19. It appears this latest limit on legal immigration will greatly impact those seeking permanent residency through employment or exceptional ability. These individuals have, in most cases, … [More]

Force Majeure May Be Answer to Contract Performance

by Marc Lamber and Louis Lopez

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has and will be devastating to many Greater Phoenix businesses. Leases, product purchases, vendor contracts for service and employment agreements are just some of the potential casualties of a company’s inability to perform under a contract due to the pandemic. This new reality may cause businesses and individuals to have considerable … [More]

COVID-19 and Increased Cyber Risk

by Meghan O’Connor and Simone Colgan Dunlap

As part of attempts to control the spread of COVID-19, businesses are increasingly relying on a remote workforce. Businesses should operate in a heightened state of cybersecurity posture during this time. Bad actors are taking advantage of COVID-19 fears, rapidly evolving environments, a distracted workforce, individuals’ good will, and unprecedented changes in business … [More]

Protecting IP Assets

by Gregory Sitrick

With so many people working from home, many of the safeguards and systems that companies rely on to protect their information become less effective, partially compromised or even completely obsolete.  The fact is that a company's sensitive information is at greater risk of being pirated when it's being handled outside the office.  For example, many of us have smart devices such … [More]

COVID-19 Impacts International Travel

by Rebecca Bernhard

Crossing U.S. borders has never been easy, but today’s business travelers face an unprecedented range of issues amidst a constantly-shifting legal and regulatory landscape. Within the past month alone, the U.S. government has rolled out three new sets of travel restrictions: an expansion of the “Trump Travel Ban,” a so-called “birth tourism” ban, and a travel ban designed to … [More]

The SECURE Act

by Ryan Curtis, David Heap, Kristi Hill and Haley Carr

The SECURE Act (Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act) was signed into law in late 2019 and is the most significant legislation affecting employer-sponsored retirement plans in many years. The SECURE Act is designed to increase employee access to tax-advantaged retirement accounts, help participants access retirement funds in times of need prior to … [More]

Don’t Get Ill Over Earned Paid Sick Time

by Alejandro Pérez

Earned Paid Sick Time is a surprisingly complex law that requires exacting compliance. Failure to adhere to its requirements can expose a business to serious liability. But, it’s nothing to get sick over. Careful planning and thoughtful policies will help avoid potential litigation. I review employee handbooks on a routine basis. One thing I find most employers get wrong is … [More]

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