Top Ten Mistakes Employers Make and How to Avoid Them
Many small and mid-sized businesses in New Hampshire do not have a human resources department or regular employment counsel. As a result, these businesses frequently turn to other advisors with questions on employee compliance concerns. The goal of this presentation is to provide accountants with a practical overview of the pertinent employment laws and a roadmap for helping employers avoid making decisions that might negatively impact their growth and success. Topics that will be covered include hiring, wage and hour issues, and firing.
Employee Stock Ownership Plans – What is it and Why use it?
Given the swell of baby boomers that own businesses and need solutions to transition those businesses, employee stock ownership plans (ESOP) remain a hot topic among those involved in ownership transition planning. This session will provide some basic information on what an ESOP is and how it can be utilized by some business owners in the transition of ownership. We will also discuss how the ESOP solution is different from a typical sale of the business to a third party to help further distinguish the options for your business owner clients.
New Looks, Correction Tools and Updates for Employer-sponsored Retirement and Welfare Plans
Employers who sponsor retirement plans and offer health benefits for their employees must follow a myriad of complex guidelines and regulations. Lately, the benefit’s landscape has seen promises of changes, only to learn that the change is delayed, changed further or set aside. This session will: provide an update on the Affordable Care Act, its replacement or its absence; review the remedies that the IRS and DOL offer to correct errors in retirement plan administration and reporting; provide an update of the implementation of the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule; and offer due diligence tips regarding retirement and welfare plans for an employer anticipating a sale or purchase.
Margaret O’Brien, Esq. · Donald Smith, Esq. · Tabitha Croscut, Esq. · Ms Patricia M. McGrath, Esq.
I serve as chair of Devine Millimet’s Labor & Employment practice group. I exclusively represent management in the resolution of employment related disputes before state and federal courts and administrative agencies. While I have experience performing all aspects of employment work, my daily practice primarily focuses on either providing clients with risk management advice or aiding them with a defense in the event of an employment claim. In my counseling work, I respond to client questions regarding employee hiring, leaves of absence, accommodation concerns, discipline and discharge. I also help clients draft employment agreements, severance documents and handbook policies. When defending employment claims, I work with my clients to present their side of the story to the applicable court or agency, and strategize with them to achieve the desired result. In the past few years, my clients have prevailed in court and agencies, and have effectively and successfully mediated cases prior to incurring substantial litigation costs. I am presently chair of the New Hampshire Bar Association Labor and Employment Section. I frequently present at seminars on employment law issues and enjoy speaking with different HR and trade groups. I have practiced law for more than 20 years in New Hampshire, and have handled litigation in all ten counties in New Hampshire and federal court. I have extensive jury trial experience as well as extensive experience appearing before government agencies. I serve as the point person for two "employment law" hotline services we offer through the New Hampshire Automobile Dealers Association and NH Center for Nonprofits. I represent businesses of all sizes from start-ups and sole-proprietorships, to multi-national corporations and non-profits. Many of my clients work in heavily regulated industries, such as healthcare, auto dealerships, and banking, while others are family owned and operated manufacturing industries. My husband and I live in Bedford with our two daughters. I also stay active in my community, currently serving on the Board of Directors for the YMCA of Greater Manchester and the New Hampshire Public Defenders.close
As a trial lawyer, I work with clients to resolve disputes. I represent clients in court, before administrative agencies, and in arbitrations and mediations when the client has been sued or finds it necessary to sue another person or business. Legal disputes can be stressful, time consuming, and expensive. My goal is to work closely with the client to understand his or her needs and to develop a strategy that resolves the dispute in the most efficient and economical manner. I work primarily with employers, municipalities, law firms, and insurance companies. In the employment field, I represent those who have been sued by a current or former employee for issues ranging from alleged discrimination to disagreements about compensation. I regularly represent these employers in the state and federal courts as well as in administrative agencies such as the New Hampshire Commission for Human Rights and the New Hampshire Department of Labor. A significant number of my clients are municipal or other public employers. Those clients are subject to unique labor and employment laws and regulations.Some of the clients I help are law firms and individual lawyers in legal malpractice cases and in matters reported to the Attorney Discipline Office. I also help resolve insurance coverage disputes, and I regularly represent businesses, individuals and insurance companies when there is a disagreement about whether an insurance policy covers a particular claim. Prior to becoming a lawyer, I taught high school history and civics and coached several different sports, including football, wrestling, cross country, and track and field. My enjoyment of sports continues and I am an avid fan of most sports. My wife and I also regularly hike in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and are well on our way to completing our goal of hiking all of the 4,000-foot peaks in the state. I also enjoy community service and have been a member of the Loudon Lions Club for more than 10 years.close
I help my clients assess, consider, and navigate the utility of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) as an ownership succession and employee incentive strategy. For companies that have already implemented an ESOP, I provide counsel and guidance for ongoing compliance of the ESOP as a qualified retirement plan and with any related fiduciary or corporate governance concerns, including US Department of Labor and Internal Revenue Service audits and any voluntary correction submissions that may be applicable.My clients include business owners and companies considering an ESOP, companies that have already implemented an ESOP, individual selling shareholders, banks, and internal and external (individual and institutional) ESOP trustees. I have advised clients in ESOP transactions ranging from under a million dollars to over four hundred million dollars.I frequently speak at ESOP conferences nationwide and present regularly on how ESOPs can be an effective and tax efficient exit or transition planning solution for owners of privately held businesses.I strongly believe that employee ownership through an ESOP can be extremely motivating for employees in a structure that maintains good jobs in local communities while serving as an ownership transition and liquidity strategy for privately held business owners.When I’m not counseling clients on a myriad of ESOP related matters, my other job is as a mother of two young girls who keep me busy with their love of animals, sports, and musical activities. I also enjoy travel and meeting new people in new towns all over the United States.close
Devine, Millimet & Branch, PA