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Best For Colorado

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This year, Modus Law was honored as one of the top 16 companies out of the 300 nominees in Colorado to receive the Best for Colorado award. Organizations like B Lab and Best of Colorado are making it easier for all of us to tell the difference between companies that just have good marketing and talk the talk, versus those that are making a true difference and know how to walk the walk.

Check out the photos from the Awards Gala at E-Town Hall below and look for us in the Sept/Oct Issue of Colorado Biz Magazine!

The 2018 Best for Colorado Gala provided an amazing opportunity to connect with other businesses striving to make a difference in the community and marked the one year anniversary of the of the official designation by Mayor Hancock of June 7 as “Best for Colorado Day.” The evening served as a collective appreciation for one another and the initiative that the Best for Colorado businesses have taken to improve the world around us.

For the last year and a half, Modus Law has been analyzing our impact and revising our policies in order to meet the rigorous standards B Lab has set for the B Corp Certification – the next level of designation beyond Best for Colorado. We are now just 10 points away, and excited to submit our impact assessment for final review later this year.

About B Corp:

If you don’t know already, B Corps are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit, B Lab, to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Today, there is a growing community of more than 2,100 Certified B Corps from 50 countries and over 130 industries working together toward one unifying goal: to redefine success in business.

B Lab serves a global movement of people using business as a

force for good. Its vision is that one day all companies compete not only to be the best in the

world but the best for the world and society will enjoy prosperity for all for the long term.

Join us in the B Corp movement!

If you are thinking about becoming a B Corp but need some help, Modus Law’s social enterprise attorney, Beth Prendergast, can help. Contact Beth at bp@moduslaw.com for a free initial consultation.

 

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GDPR Legal Compliance – 7 Things You Need to Know

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GDPR Compliance: What You Need to Know

Are you processing any personal data as part of the activities of your business? Does any of this data come from the European Union or the United Kingdom? If you answered YES to either of these questions you will need to update your data collection and management processes, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policies to address changes to the law in the European Union and the United Kingdom that go into effect on May 25, 2018.

In 2016, the European Union (at the moment this includes the United Kingdom), passed the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”, (EU) 2016/679), which sets stricter  requirements for data privacy and protection for companies in the EU and those that do business in with EU residents. The GDPR set a new standard for data protection, as well as access to information for customers.

 

As you may have heard, May 25, 2018 is one of the important deadlines for businesses that have, collect, or transfer any personal data (from customers, employees, or other parties) from or within the European Union to comply with the terms of the GDPR. It is important to note that failure to comply with these changes can include the possibility of being issued a warning, reprimand, receiving a ban on processing data, or fines of up to €20 million or 4% of the business’s total annual worldwide turnover.

 

Personal data is defined broadly under the GDPR to include “any information relating to a data subject.” Additionally, a data subject is defined as the identified or identifiable person to whom the personal data relates. This broad definition means that names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, medical, employment, financial, location, and many other forms of data are considered to be personal data under the GDPR.

Be Aware of the Recent Changes

As we mentioned, there are many other changes regarding how you are allowed to collect and process personal data and what you are required to communicate with customers. There are are also steps you can take if you receive data from the EU to certify your compliance with key aspects of the GDPR. If you have customers in the European Union, we encourage you to contact us directly to discuss your data collection practices, documents, and operations, in more detail, but here are a few examples of changes you will need to make to your data collection and management practices:

 

  • Data must be processed in a, lawful and transparent manner.
  • You must have a specific purpose for processing the data and you must indicate those purposes to individuals when collecting their personal data (you cannot simply collect personal data for undefined purposes).
  • You must collect and process only the personal data that is necessary to fulfill the purpose stated in #2.
  • You must ensure the personal data is accurate and up-to-date.
  • You cannot use the data for any purpose that is non compatible with the original purpose of collection.
  • You must ensure that personal data is stored no longer than necessary for the purposes for which it was collected.
  • You must install appropriate technical and organizational safeguards.

 

As you can tell, this is an important shift in data collection and processing practices in the European Union that reaches beyond the borders of the EU. If you have any data or customers in the European Union, we can help. Modus Law can analyze your data processes and ensure that you comply with these changes internally and in your publicly available website policies.

For more information on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), or to get a confidential consultation – call (303) 800-1580 or contact us.

Modus Client Spotlight: The Intrepid Sojourner Beer Project

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intrepid-sojourner

Here at Modus Law – we care about our clients. So much so, that we’ll drive down to the Art District in Denver in rush hour traffic to drink awesome beer at The Intrepid Sojourner Beer Project on a Tuesday.

Founder, Ben, finished his JD/MBA at the University of Indiana and moved out here to help his friend from back home in Indy, Andrew, start the brewery.

Ben showed us around the place and told us how his now business partner, Andrew, after traveling the world, had come to Colorado for a career in archeology, but instead, stopped shaving his beard, starting brewing beer, and a brewer was born. This is what Colorado does to you…

We enjoyed the “Intrepid Bear,” a Chardonnay-Barrel-Aged Imperial Saison, the Chamomile Hefe-Wit, and the Nitro Dry Irish Stout; several times over. For a full list of offerings, check out their worldly-inspired beer menu.

We even tried our hand at Trivia Night. Ben told us it was customary to pick a dirty name for our team. We followed his advice, though no one else seemed to follow that rule. Awkward. Thanks, Ben.

Trivia Time: Thanks to Geeks Who Drink, we are testing your trivia knowledge with the following doozy:

“Way before she hooked up with Ron Burgandy, what actress totally didn’t tell her mom the babysitter was dead?”

Scroll to the end to see if you’re right. Either way, stop by any Tuesday for trivia and unique brews. As your lawyers, it would be unethical for us to advise you in this matter, but as your friends, we’re telling you, you gotta give it a try.

If you need any beer recommendations or legal advice, feel free to contact us by all the usual means: phone, email, or carrier pigeon.

Thanks for tuning in. If you liked this, check out more of the Modus Law blog and event postings.

Best from,

The Modus Law Team

Trivia Answer: Christina Applegate

Little Ditty About (hiring interns) Jack and Diane

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By: Kait Trizna

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Sit back and collect your thoughts for a moment before you hire those summer interns. If you keep reading, you’ll learn more about the basics of employing interns under the new federal rule and tips for maintaining a compliant internship program. If you don’t keep reading, you’ll probably do it wrong, end up fighting the law, and let’s face it: authority always wins. That was (one of) the last Mellencamp puns, I swear.

Who, What, When

On January 5th, the U.S. Dept. of Labor (“DOL”) announced it will no longer use the Obama-era six factor test to determine whether interns and students working at for-profit employers are employees and thus entitled to minimum wages and overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).[1] Instead, the DOL adopted a primary beneficiary test for determining whether interns are employees who must be paid in accordance with the FLSA.

Out with the Old and in with the New

The previous DOL test required that six prongs be met for an internship to be unpaid. However, the new test relies on a totality of the circumstances approach which gives private employers greater flexibility to hire unpaid interns.

According to the DOL, courts should consider and weigh the following seven factors to determine whether an intern is an employee under the FLSA:

  1. The extent to which the intern and the employer clearly understand that there is no expectation of compensation. Any promise of compensation, express or implied, suggests that the intern is an employee.
  2. The extent to which the internship provides training that would be similar to that which would be given in an educational environment, including the clinical and other hands-on training provided by educational institutions.
  3. The extent to which the internship is tied to the intern’s formal education program by integrated coursework or the receipt of academic credit.
  4. The extent to which the internship accommodates the intern’s academic commitments by corresponding to the academic calendar.
  5. The extent to which the internship’s duration is limited to the period in which the internship provides the intern with beneficial learning.
  6. The extent to which the intern’s work complements, rather than displaces, the work of paid employees while providing significant educational benefits to the intern.
  7. The extent to which the intern and the employer understand that the internship is conducted without entitlement to a paid job at the conclusion of the internship.

In sum, the current test is intended to be flexible and, according to the DOL, not every factor needs to be present. Additionally, none of these factors are yes/no questions. Rather, the test asks the extent to which each factor is met, not whether a factor is met. Super clear, right? Put differently, the ultimate answer depends on the unique circumstances of each case. Also, keep in mind that this development only affects the analysis under federal law. States, cities, and local jurisdictions may impose stricter requirements. How nice.

How to R.O.C.K. your Internship Program in the U.S.A.

If you employ interns:

You should review and revise all program-related documentation (advertising, recruiting materials, policies, intern agreements) to ensure the language is consistent with the DOL’s new primary-beneficiary test.

You should not hire interns on an unpaid basis in order to save costs on jobs that would otherwise go to entry-level employees. Though common practice historically, if you do this, you’re violating federal labor laws and inviting a lawsuit.

Ain’t that America

If you’re still unsure whether your organization’s internship program is compliant, let’s chat. I’m confident a brief discussion will be less expensive than defending (or settling) a lawsuit. It pays to be cautious…unless you’d rather pay up like these guys: Fox Searchlight, Hearst, Condé Nast, Warner Music, NBC Universal, and the list goes on.

Give me a shout at ket@moduslaw.com or 303-309-6001 to ensure your intern program complies with applicable laws, or to debate John Mellencamp’s rock legend status in American music.

[1] The FLSA exempts certain people who volunteer to perform services for a state or local government agency or who volunteer for humanitarian purposes for non-profit food banks. The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) also recognizes an exception for individuals who volunteer their time, freely and without anticipation of compensation, for religious, charitable, civic, or humanitarian purposes to non-profit organizations. Unpaid internships for public sector and non-profit charitable organizations, where the intern volunteers without expectation of compensation, are generally permissible.