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Counterpoint

Feb 3, 2014

Meet GINA, the genetic-information shield

Last month, Founders Pavilion Inc. paid $370,000 to settle a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawsuit in which Founders Pavilion requested family medical history on pre-employment medical exams of applicants. Since the enactment of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act in 2008, the EEOC has received more than 700 claims of violations, and yet many employers still do not real[...]

Jan 30, 2014

Update your privacy policy or face a $2,500 fine per violation

From the NSA and Google Glass to Snapchat and Target’s massive data breach, it’s no wonder privacy was named the word of the year for 2013 and is poised to be one of the top legal issues of 2014. Leading the way in privacy-law changes is California, whose state laws apply not only to California businesses but to all businesses that collect information on just one California resident. Becaus[...]

Jan 27, 2014

Lessons in handling online complaints

Bruce Rinehart was fuming. His Oklahoma City restaurant, Rococo, suddenly had a stinging negative review on Urban Spoon, an online restaurant guide that aggregates reviews from professional critics, bloggers and diners. No restaurateur wants an unhappy customer airing grievances in a public forum, but Rinehart was especially upset because the post wasn’t from a customer; it was an angry fo[...]

Jan 23, 2014

Social media for lawyers: Think of it as a nonstop cocktail party

[caption id="attachment_105819" align="alignleft" width="75"] Michael Hammond[/caption] Want to party 24/7? Social media perplexes many lawyers and law firms. They know they need to move in that direction, but the “how” escapes them. The way to succeed with social media is to embrace the simple but effective rules of relationship-based, word-of-mouth marketing. Or, to put it anothe[...]

Jan 20, 2014

Tax changes in store for 2014

Idaho income tax law generally conforms to federal income tax law. In fact, one of the first items on the Idaho Legislature’s agenda when they convene in January is the annual conformity bill. But conformity doesn’t mean that preparing an Idaho tax return is as easy as taking the taxable income from your federal tax return and calculating the Idaho tax. There are many differences. What conform[...]

Jan 16, 2014

Contractors, set your goals for 2014

I am a list person. I don’t mean that I just casually sit down and make a “to do” list each day. No, if you’ve ever stepped foot in my office, you have seen two giant whiteboards filled with goals, dates, things to get done and people I need to go meet with. Obsessive-compulsive? Maybe. But as Zig Ziglar said, “A goal properly set is halfway reached.” So celebrating a new year an[...]

Jan 13, 2014

For Boise’s future, it’s time to be creative and in control

What is a city? Is it a collection of people with commerce as the unifying force? That certainly was the start of most cities, and Boise attributes its inception and growth to the railroad, natural resources and icons such as Albertsons, Morrison Knudsen, Boise Cascade, Simplot, Micron and Hewlett-Packard. However, cities are alive and organic, and they change due to a variety of forces, not si[...]

Jan 9, 2014

Well-designed employee wellness programs pay off

Poor employee health costs money. Absenteeism, disability and reduced work output all take a toll, personally and professionally. In fact, the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion estimates that productivity losses related to personal and family health problems cost U.S. employers $1,685 per employee per year, or $225.8 billion annually. Worryingly, the burden of [...]

Jan 6, 2014

Key financial changes for the new year

As 2014 begins, it's a good idea to look ahead to the financial changes expected. There has been a lot of recent news coverage of the politics and policies around our nation's budget, the "fiscal cliff" and more; with Congress continuing to work on large-scale financial issues, it's possible that further action will be taken. That said, there are several changes we do know will happen that may aff[...]

Jan 2, 2014

With Idaho Power and the PUC, a delicate balance

In one form or another, all businesses analyze potential investments of capital and time against current market forces, seeking to strike the perfect balance of risk and reward. As a regulated utility, Idaho Power is required to provide certain services in exchange for the opportunity to earn a "fair" return on its investments. This creates an inherent incentive for the utility to increase its [...]

Dec 23, 2013

Santa Claus and real estate contingency clauses

With all the talk of Santa Claus in my house, I could not resist writing about contingency “clauses” in real estate contracts. I know what you are thinking: What do contingency clauses have to do with Santa Claus? Well, nothing other than a contingency clause is the perfect gift for anyone purchasing real property. Whether buying commercial or residential property, you should consider inclu[...]

Dec 19, 2013

Educating 21st century engineers

I recently took advantage of an opportunity to move from the corporate world into academia. I'm now part of the team at the University of Portland's Shiley School of Engineering working to educate engineers for the 21st century. While a large part of this education remains broad, technical knowledge in math, science and engineering, there is also a focus on many other proficiencies that we beli[...]