A recent federal appeals court decision rejected a challenge to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s new rule for respirable crystalline silica (silica) exposure in the construction industry (the Silica Rule), keeping the rule largely intact. This new rule lowers the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for silica to fifty micrograms per cubic meter (50μ/m3) from the previous construction industry standard of 250 μ/m3. At the time OSHA began enforcing the Silica Rule on September 23, 2017, there still remained pending in federal court a challenge to the rule brought by multiple industry groups (Industry), mostly consisting of commercial construction trade associations representing general contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers.  Continue Reading ICYMI: Federal Appeals Court Upholds New OSHA Silica Rule

Breastfeeding is now a protected act and category under New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”). Employers are prohibited from discriminating against an employee in compensation, hiring, or firing because they breastfeed. This is a pivotal amendment to New Jersey’s civil rights law as it applies, unlike the similar federal law, to employers regardless of size (the federal counterpart is applicable only to employers with 50 or more employees).  Continue Reading Breastfeeding Discrimination Banned by Pivotal Amendment to NJLAD

Traditionally, public agencies have awarded construction contracts via the “lowest responsible bidder” procurement method, where bidders submit sealed bids and contracts are awarded to the lowest responsible bidder. However, a number of governmental entities have started to award contracts through “best value” procurement, which looks at factors other than price. Quality, experience, and expertise of the bidders also are relevant considerations when selecting contractors or vendors under a “best value” procurement format.

Following the trend, on May 16, 2017, Philadelphians approved a ballot measure that amended the City’s Home Rule Charter to allow the City to award certain contracts based on the “best value” standard, in addition to the “lowest responsible bidder” approach. Shortly thereafter, on July 27, 2017, the City issued regulations governing the award of contracts based on the “best value” method. Continue Reading “Best Value” Procurement Takes Hold in Philadelphia: What it Means for the Construction Industry

Last month a bill was introduced to the New Jersey State Assembly (A-5287) by Assemblymen John McKeon (Essex and Morris) and Jon Bramnick (Morris, Somerset, and Union) that would bar provisions in employment contracts that waive any substantive or procedural rights or remedies. The bill also seeks to prohibit agreements that conceal any details relating to discrimination claims.  Continue Reading A Response to the #MeToo Movement: NJ Bill Tightens Position on Employment Agreements

Pennsylvania Court Adds ‘Last Month’s Rent’ to Definition of ‘Security Deposit’

As most residential landlords know, the Pennsylvania Landlord and Tenant Act (the “Act”) contains comprehensive and complicated rules and procedures regarding security deposits1. One such rule governs the amount a landlord may collect and hold as a security deposit.  Continue Reading PA Residential Landlords Beware!

On January 1, 2018, the rules and procedures relating to IRS audits of partnerships, including those limited liability companies taxed as partnerships, (for purposes here, collectively, the “Partnerships”) will change. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (“BBA”)(26 U.S.C.A. §§6221-6241), which was signed by President Obama on November 2, 2015, is generally intended to make it easier for the IRS to audit Partnerships and to assess and collect underpayments of taxes. It allows the IRS to assess and collect taxes directly from the Partnerships rather than from the partners or members (for purposes here, collectively, the “Partners”) as was the case under the old rules. Continue Reading New IRS Partnership Audit Rules Take Effect Jan 1: What You Need to Know

For employers, the tide is making its long awaited turn in our nation’s capital at the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”). Last week, the NLRB reversed precedent on four significant rules that were widely viewed as favorable to unions and a proverbial thorn in the side of employers and the business community. Here is a snapshot of last week’s activity:  Continue Reading ‘Tis the Season for Employers: NLRB Reverses Course with Four Key Rulings

UPDATE: On November 22, 2017, OSHA announced that it moved the electronic reporting deadline for 2016 data and information from December 1, 2017 to December 15, 2017. The following blog post has been updated to reflect this change. No other parts of the new electronic submission regulations were changed.

December 15, 2017 is the final deadline to comply with the newly implemented Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) regulations that require electronically submitting 2016 workplace injury data and information to OSHA. To help navigate these regulations, here are few reminders about this new reporting format that affects almost all construction industry businesses.

Continue Reading One Final Reminder: OSHA Electronic Records Submission Deadline December 15, 2017

One of the general and principal benefits of incorporating a business entity is limited liability; the owners of a corporation are not liable for the corporation’s actions or debts. There are, however, exceptions. One of the exceptions is the doctrine of “piercing the corporate veil,” under which courts may cast aside the “veil” of incorporation and hold a corporation’s shareholders personally liable for the corporation’s actions.  Continue Reading First Department of New York Loosens the Standard for “Piercing the Corporate Veil”

This article was originally published in the 2017 edition of the Utility and Transportation Contractor Association’s Magazine.

If you are a union contractor, you are probably making contributions into one or more union pension funds every month. These pension funds, known as multi-employer pension plans (MEPs), rely on a number of employers paying their share toward a common fund. Notably, because of the nature of these pension plans, many (if not all) of them are underfunded and do not presently have enough assets to cover their expectant liabilities. However, despite underfunding, employees are still entitled to their full pension benefits. But who is responsible for this unfunded amount, and what happens if you exit the fund?  Continue Reading What Every Contractor Needs to Know About Withdrawal Liability