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Archive for the ‘Valiant’ Category

Dept. of Labor finds in Favor of Former Chickie’s & Pete’s Employees to the tune of $6.8 Million

A major investigation tipped of employees by the Department of Labor has Philadelphia sports bar and restaurant chain, Chickie’s & Pete’s, looking at a whopping $6.8 million in back wages and damages.

Chickie’s & Pete’s was found to have improperly taken tips from servers and to have violated federal overtime, minimum wage, and record-keeping requirements. Investigators from the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division determined that Chickie’s & Pete’s required servers to contribute between 2 and 4 percent of their daily table sales to an illegal “tip pool.” Sixty percent of that money went directly into the pockets of Chickie’s & Pete’s sole owner, Peter Ciarrocchi, Jr. The illegally pooled tips – known to Chickie’s & Pete’s employees as “Pete’s Tax” – were paid directly to management in cash at the end of each shift.

In addition to confiscating tips, Chickie’s & Pete’s paid servers and bartenders a shift rate that often did not cover hourly minimum cash wage requirements for tipped employees. Other violations included: insufficient overtime pay for employees working more than 40 hours a week, unpaid mandatory meetings and training, and requiring employees to pay for uniforms.

“Restaurant servers are among the lowest paid workers in this country,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “Tipped workers deserve better and this action shows that the Department of Labor is ready to stand up for them.”

The $6.8 million dollar consent judgment will be divided between 1,159 employees at nine Chickie’s & Pete’s locations. Additional penalties and requirements include: a $50,000 civil money penalty, enhanced external and internal compliance monitoring, education for employees regarding their rights under the FLSA, and mandatory statements disclosing the details of all company tip pools.


Who Gets The Tip, And What’s All The Fuss About?

By Michael Busch
Founder, Valiant Restaurant Division

When someone provides a service, you may choose to leave them a tip as compensation or reward. Generally speaking, the better the service the larger the tip. But did you know that some restaurants, including Starbucks, require their employees to pool (or share) their tips with co-workers? And did you know that once tip-pooling becomes official store policy, it is the courts and not the customer that have final say regarding which workers are eligible to participate?

Who Gets The Tip, And What’s All The Fuss About?
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IRS guidelines outlined in a recent Bonnie Lee article on Fox Business

The IRS is bearing down to re-define classifications for workers in hopes of boosting revenue this tax season. Specifically, they’ll be taking a look at how independent contractors are treated under tax law.


Employees under probationary period, government assistance, and other discrepant forms of income acquisition will further be looked at as well. Get all of the facts in this Bonnie Lee piece for Fox Business.

Click here to view the full article.


GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS ALERT: MAY 2013

Two More Examples of the Benefit of “Corrective Action” in Bid Protests

Our January 2013 Alert discussed the “hidden benefit” of filing a bid protest: an agency’s decision to take “corrective action” instead of facing an adverse GAO decision. Two recent decisions by agencies to take corrective action in the face of bid protests filed by The Weinstein Law Group confirm the effectiveness of this remedy.

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2014 Obama budget, good news & bad news on FUTA

The fiscal 2014 budget presented by President Obama on April 10th includes proposed changes to FUTA taxes that could affect employers bottom line, both in a good and a bad way.

First there is a proposed suspension of the FUTA tax credit reduction for 2013 and 2014. During 2012 nineteen states were deemed to be credit reduction states because they could not pay back their loans to the federal government and that cost employers in those states anywhere from .003 to .009 of the first $7,000 in wages for each employee ($21 – $63) in the credit reduction state.

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10 Ways Military Veterans are Ideal for Physical Security Sector

By: Jerold Ramos

Military veterans transition seamlessly into virtually all types of careers and sectors, but as a U.S. Navy veteran and talent acquisition professional for America’s leading physical security services company, I believe that the physical security industry can be a match made in heaven for transitioning veterans.

Despite a recessionary climate, which makes getting started in many industries challenging, the need for security officer services is rising dramatically. “Demand for security officer and patrol services is forecast to rise at an annual rate of 4.6 percent through 2014 to $25 billion,” states the Freedonia Group Private Security Servicesreport. “The number of officers employed by private security firms is expected to increase 2.6 percent per year to 740,000 in 2014.”


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The Empowerment Zone

Tax season is in full swing and it is time to make sure you are not leaving any money on the table. At TaxBreak, we are committed to finding our clients all the credits and incentives that they qualify for. We make it our mission to reduce income taxes that your business owes, which means more money to go back into your bottom-line. One very important incentive, The Empowerment Zone Employment Credit, is curtail to take advantage of this season. If not handled correctly, you could lose an entire year of credits that you rightfully deserve.

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Important Notice!!

On Friday, March 8th, 2013, the IRS released Notice 2013-14 which extended WOTC submission deadlines through April 29, 2013, for all 2012 and first quarter 2013 hires. This is great news for YOU! Now, if you had late submissions during 2012, or pre-qualified new hires for which forms were not submitted at all, you can still receive tax credit certifications if all WOTC forms are signed and submitted to us by April 29, 2013. This applies only to those potentially qualified for the non-veteran target groups. Veteran-only target groups can be submitted through the extended deadline if hired during the first quarter of 2013 only (1/1/13 – 3/31/13).


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Rising From The Ashes: Unions At a Crossroads

Unions are continuing to feel negative vibes from all sides. From poor membership numbers – now only 10% of workers are enlisted in traditional unions – to flat out jarring litigation like Right To Work Laws that were recently passed in states like Michigan, there isn’t a PR firm in the world that could be paid enough to paint unions in a positive light. In the private sector, union numbers have dipped to 6.6 percent. This is alarming, as unions were once heralded as the primary cause of the rise of the working class, the primary advocate for worker’s benefits and education, and helped to set general standards for work days, minimum wage, and health protection.

Times have decidedly changed, which is the nature of the post-millenium working world. No longer are workers looking for 9-to-5, traditional clock-in/clock-out jobs. Workers have given way to entrepreneurs, self-employed business owners, contract workers, and job-hoppers. The simple and rigid rules of unions, though well intentioned, simply do not apply to these types of employees. It makes sense: when these unions were in their early days, they could never have had the foresight that would have allowed them to adapt to such a drastic lifestyle change. Someone who works from home, or telecommutes, or wishes to choose their hours operates under a markedly different set of criteria than those who work in the traditional nine-to-fiver unions.

It’s evident that there will always be representation for workers. What isn’t evident is how worker’s representation will work to adjust to the new nature of the American worker.

Here are some possible alternatives on the horizon:

Freelancers Union

With the advent of blogs, social media, and the 24 hour news cycle, and contract work we’ve seen a massive influx of freelance writers, artists, bloggers, construction workers and the like. The Freelancers Union, which now comes close to a quarter of a million enlisted, provides all of the standard advocacy one would expect from an organized union.

An Increase In Employer Respect

Any business owner or corporation will tell you how they despise the idea of a union, which is their prerogative and makes sense. However, it is important for these employers that use non-Union workers to keep their employees forever pleased. B corporations – as they’re called – take extra care to involve their employees in important decision making, provide outstanding benefits, and generally take care of their employees in a way that make them not even want to think about joining a union. This is a utopian, glorious view of how things should be… and if they were, Unions never would have been an idea in the first place.

An Entreprenurial Shark Tank

This model may be the very embodiment of capitalism. Startups have never had the spotlight shone on them any brighter. The employees of these new companies are as at risk as the people who put the company in motion. It is certainly dog-eat-dog – if you aren’t wholly qualified, you don’t have a shot to be a “venture laborer”

A Union Networked

The reality is that we’ll be seeing a little bit of this and that from each of the above ideas. New union structures have so many new things to account for. Depending on your wealth, job, experience, and work sector, a specific set of rules will apply to you. This is where unions are failing at the moment – they were crafted with a very specific kind of laborer in mind, jobs that many of us wouldn’t dream of taking in the new millennium. That said, the most unskilled, uneducated and untalented workers will still find refuge (or a shot at justice) within our legal system.

Unions aren’t dead – they can’t be, and they shouldn’t be. However, they do need to adapt and change and understand that those they are representing have drastically different needs today than they did in the early 1900’s. While collective bargaining is important, it seems that the antiquated core of union leadership around the country is too rooted in a structure that their constituents are simply disinterested in maintaining.

For more information on this topic please email Jeff DiDomenico at Valiant or Click Here for a free assessment.


DOL to Finally Release Rule Curtailing “Advice” Exemption to “Persuader” Activities Reporting

In June 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) proposed a new Rule that would significantly narrow the DOL’s interpretation of the “advice” exemption of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA). In a December 2012 Report filed by DOL to the federal Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, DOL stated that it planned to take issue with the Final Rule in April 2013.

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