Category Archives: Announcements

Nolo is proud to be considered the premier site for go-to consumer legal information. Find out the newest announcements from Nolo here – from site-wide updates to must know product information – THIS is the place to learn everything you need to know about what’s new with Nolo.

DON’T CALL – GO TO IRS WEBSITE FOR ANSWERS

The continuing IRS budgetary problem is making the days of calling them (by telephone) almost obsolete – indeed, at the very least, frustrating and often fruitless.

Taxpayers are therefore shifting their patterns of inquiry to the IRS website for answers.  Indeed, according to recent IRS stats, visits to www.irs.gov have increased by 11 percent compared to the same time last year.  In the week ended March 20 alone, there have been 15 million new visits!

Check the site for, among other things:

  • Procedure for obtaining your account transcript
  • To request an electronic filing PIN
  • Finding answers to your tax questions
  • To check the status of your amended return

 

New FMLA Regulations Expand Definition of “Spouse” to Include Same-Sex Spouses in All States

LGBT flagLate last month, the Department of Labor issued a final rule that expands the definition of “spouse” for purposes of taking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The FMLA is a federal law that requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to eligible employees for certain medical and caretaking reasons. Among those reasons, employees may take leave to care for a spouse with a serious health condition, care for a spouse seriously injured in the military, or attend to certain needs that arise from a spouse’s call to active military duty.

When the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was still intact, “spouse” was defined as a husband or wife of the opposite sex. However, after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the the portion of DOMA that defined marriage as between one man and one woman, the DOL revised its regulations. In 2013, the DOL revised the definition of “spouse” to include same-sex couples, but only if they lived in states that recognized same-sex marriages (called a “place of residence” rule). Nolo

But, this rule meant that same-sex couples were treated differently under the FMLA depending on what state they lived in. To correct this unequal treatment, the DOL issued a new rule last month to move to a “place of celebration” rule. Under the new rule, a spouse includes a same-sex spouse, as long as the marriage was valid in the place where it was entered into. In other words, as long as the marriage took place in a state that recognizes same-sex marriages, an employee can take leave to care for a same-sex spouse, regardless of what state the employee currently lives in.

A similar rule applies to spouses who were married in foreign county: The marriage must have been valid in the country where it was entered into. But, there’s an additional requirement: The marriage must also be capable of being entered into in at least one state. In other words, if the marriage would have been illegal in all 50 states, the couple will not be considered spouses under the FMLA.

The DOL regulations are scheduled to take effect on March 27, 2015. This means that employers in states that don’t recognize same-sex marriage will need to adjust their company policies. As long as an employee is legally married in any state, the employer will have to provide FMLA leave for the employee to:

  • care for a same-sex spouse with a serious health condition
  • care for a same-sex spouse who suffered a serious injury or illness while on active military duty, and
  • attend to certain needs arising from a same-sex spouse’s call to active military duty.

For more information on the FMLA, check out The Essential Guide to Family and Medical Leave, by Lisa Guerin and Deborah England (Nolo).

We’ve moved!

Nolo’s Disability Blog has moved and now resides on our partner site, disabilitysecrets.com. I will still be answering readers’ disability questions, occasionally joined by guest blogging disability attorneys from around the country. Please visit us on the “Ask Your Disability Question” page on disability secrets.com, where you can find our entire archive of past questions and answers.

Am I Infringing My Client’s Newsletter?

Dear Rich: 1) I am an Independent Contractor and web/graphic designer, and my client thinks that I have appropriately shared proprietary information. Do electronic newsletters constitute proprietary information? 2) I forwarded several emails newsletters at the request of a former employee and friend with whom I had collaborated on the newsletter design. Did I unlawfully share a proprietary work? Does…
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Stadium Security Lax in LA.; Dodgers Liable for Fan Beating

A Los Angeles jury has returned an $18 million verdict in a civil case against the Los Angeles Dodgers and two men over the beating of a San Francisco Giants fan in the Dodger Stadium parking lot back in 2011.

Bryan Stow, a 45 year-old former paramedic from Santa Cruz, attended a Dodgers-Giants game on the night of March 31, 2011…
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