Food Waste Law Tax Incentive for Restaurant Owners

Food waste is a problem that restaurants and other businesses in the food industry have grappled with for years.

An article entitled “It’s Time to Rethink Restaurant Food Waste” points out that 84 percent of the food waste restaurants generate ends up in land fills. A corporation with a billion dollar revenue loses money on more than 3 million pounds of food that it pays for but does not use. A 15.7 percent food loss exists across the food industry.

Donating food to charities is a way to offset the loss and help the needy at the same time.

Congress Passed a Law that Increases Tax Incentives against Food Waste

In December of 2015, Congress passed the PATH ACT, which improved the tax incentives for food donation.

Food diet for pets

Here is how the law improved tax incentives:

  • Now not only C corporations but other corporations can also carry forward the deductions for five years, the same way C corporations do.
  • Farmers can claim 25 percent of the donated food’s fair market value as the food production cost and so can other “cash method” accounting taxpayers.
  • The allowable charitable contributions cap was raised from 10 percent to 15 percent.

This change for C corps is permanent and it also included 2015 donations made by corporations that were not C corps. The law creates an advantage for small and mid-sized restaurant owners, enabling them to donate food to charities and write off a percentage of the donation for up to 15 percent of their adjusted gross income.

Lucky Stores Inc, v. Commission of Internal Revenue is also case that affected charity donations and tax write offs. It was fundamental in establishing the fair market value (FMV) of unused food.

Stephen Hans & Associates is an employment litigation firm that assists restaurant owners and defends small and medium sized businesses in discrimination, labor law and other employment related matters.





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Advancing Diversity in Law Enforcement

In recent months, media focus on the Black Lives Matter Movement and growing concerns about law enforcement practices have been on many people’s minds. Finding workable solutions to this problem is a pressing issue. Advancing diversity is one approach that seeks to bring greater justice and more effective policing to law enforcement agencies.

EEOC & Justice Department Report

Recently, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in conjunction with the Department of Justice (DOJ) released a report that evaluated not just the barriers but also the promising practices for advancing diversity in law enforcement. The report highlighted strategies that would help small and mid-size agencies in particular to diversify their work forces.

Prior to releasing the report, the EEOC and DOJ acquired information from law enforcement leaders, officers and officials along with experts, researchers and civil rights advocates. The aim was to make policing more safe, just and effective.

Group of young people holding teamwork sign smiling

Group of young people holding teamwork sign smiling

The report took a twofold approach that:

  • Identified the barriers to effective policing
  • Reinforced actions based on real-world examples of effective implementation of smart policies in this area

Best practices that arose from the study included:

  • Ensuring community policing, procedural justice and cultural inclusivity that would guide the law enforcement agency’s organization culture
  • Engaging stakeholders from within and outside the law enforcement agency to help create a workforce that would reflect community diversity
  • Being willing to re-evaluate employment criteria and standards to ensure they would be tailored to the skills required for job functions and consistently attract, select and retain the most qualified and desirable sworn officers

Diversity in Businesses

Creating greater diversity in any business can help to overcome prejudices and incorporate anti-discrimination practices.

Stephen Hans & Associates can help you put business policies in place that protect your rights as employers and help you avoid litigation regarding discrimination and other legal issues.



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Google Faces Allegations of Age Discrimination

We tend to think that the largest companies in the world would have bulletproof discrimination policies and training in place, but that is not always the case. Fortunately, other businesses can learn from their challenges, even when they appear not to be learning from the challenges themselves.

Age Discrimination Allegations

According to an article in USA Today, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is investigating age discrimination claims filed against Google.

Cheryl Fillekes filed a discrimination lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in San Jose and refers to the EEOC investigation done on Google. She was a systems engineer who interviewed for a position at Google. She alleges the company did not hire her when she was 47 because of her age.

In July 2016, for the third time, Google released the breakdown of its workforce based on gender and race. However, it has never revealed its workforce breakdown based on age.

Silicon Valley in general is known for its tech leaders who put a high value on young employees. The New Republic released an article in 2014 that quoted Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as saying, “Young people are just smarter.” ServiceNow, an I.T. services company in Santa Clara promoted on its careers page “We Want People Who Have Their Best Work Ahead of Them, Not Behind Them.”


Lawsuit Details

Robert Heath filed a lawsuit in 2015 against Google that alleged he was not hired for a software engineering position in 2011 when he was 60, even though he had IBM, Compaq and General Dynamics experience on his resume. Evidence in his lawsuit included a Google employees survey done by that showed the median employee age was 29 in 2013.

His lawsuit also referred to an earlier lawsuit in which Brian Reid, a former Google executive alleged he was called “an old fuddy duddy” and told his ideas were “too old to matter.” He settled his case out of court.

Fillekes has joined up with Heath and is seeking court approval to pursue a class action lawsuit against Google.

Get Legal Guidance for Your Business

While a multi-billion dollar corporation may express concern about lawsuits, a costly lawsuit could wipe out a small or mid-sized business.

Stephen Hans & Associates can help you put policies in place that protect your rights as

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Are You Motivated to Prevent Discrimination Lawsuits?

Because putting measures in place to prevent discrimination can be a lot of work, many employers don’t take the time to address this factor in their businesses. However, when a lawsuit is pending or a discrimination claim has been filed, you’re no longer in the preventative stages, and litigation can cost you dearly.

Reasons to Be Proactive

An article in points out the costs that are often involved with employment discrimination litigation. Their figures are based on 2010 statistics.

The EEOC acquired more than $404 million in damages for individuals in discrimination claims in 2010. When employees won the lawsuits, average costs ran the employers about $250,000 in defense fees, and jury verdicts averaged $200,000.

Employers also experienced financial losses through:

  • Lost production time due to staff involvement in rounding up and preparing documents, participating in an internal investigation and working to fight the claim
  • Lawsuit pressures lowering employee morale
  • The business’s potential loss of reputation and its effect on being able to recruit desirable employees
  • Attorney fees that surpassed settlement costs, especially if going through a trial

Laws require employees to complain to their employers before becoming eligible to file a claim, and this is to the employer’s advantage. It provides employers with the opportunity to seek legal advice and rectify the situation before it turns into a claim or lawsuit.

We live in litigious times, and taking measures to prevent lawsuits along with resolving employment discrimination complaints are simply part of doing business. Businesses who want to stay in business plan ahead. They become proactively involved with devising policies and putting business practices in place that create diversity in the workplace and prohibit discrimination.

Stephen Hans & Associates has several decades of employment law litigation experience. We can help you take proactive measures. Discuss your discrimination concerns with us and find out how we can help.

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Recent Laws & Regulations Affecting Restaurant Owners

Before ending the summer session and taking summer vacations, the NY legislature passed major bills that affect restaurant owners and other employers in the food industry.

Brunch Bill

The Brunch Bill or SO8140, which loosened restrictions for selling alcohol on Sundays passed the legislature and awaits the governor’s signature. The NY State Restaurant Association (NYRSA) lobbied diligently to pass this bill. The bill enables restaurant owners to begin serving alcohol on Sundays at 10:00 a.m. and also gives them the option to serve alcohol 12 times a year on Sundays at 8:00 a.m. for a $35 fee.

Minimum Wage Hikes

Changes were made in the proposed bill that raised minimum wages to $15/hour. The cash wage for tipped food service workers was locked in to two-thirds of the state minimum and the rate increase in upstate counties was extended more slowly.

Minimum Wage Hikes

Pregnancy Discrimination Regulations

Last May, the Mayor of NYC Bill de Blasio and the NYC Human Rights Commission released the NYC Commission on Human Rights Legal Enforcement Guidance on Discrimination on the Basis of Pregnancy. It outlined regulations and clarified pregnancy discrimination violations. It included examples for restaurant and bar owners to follow in regards to exercising their rights to refuse to serve alcohol to pregnant women.

Restaurants cannot refuse to serve raw fish or alcohol because a woman is pregnant and they believe she should not be drinking or eating such foods. Another example for pregnancy discrimination was that a bouncer at a bar couldn’t refuse to admit a pregnant woman based on a belief that pregnant women should not go to bars or drink alcohol.

Get Legal Guidance for Your Business

Stephen Hans & Associates can help you create employee handbooks or put policies in place that protect your rights as employers and help you avoid litigation.


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New York City & Queens Employment Defense Attorneys

What Is the EEO-1 Survey and Does It Apply to Your Business?

Businesses that fall into the following categories must file an EEO-1 Survey:

  • Private businesses with 100 employees or more
  • Business that are a federal government contractor or first-tier subcontractors with 50 or more employees and a contract/subcontract of $50,000 or more

The filing deadline for EEO-1 reports is September 30.

What is the EEO-1 Survey?

The EEO-1 Survey  is a mandatory annual survey required under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title 29 Chapter XIV of the Federal Code of Regulations. The purpose is to provide data about race/ethnicity, general and job categories to researchers, private attorneys and human resources staff, who can use when developing affirmative action plans.

What are affirmative action programs?

Federal contractors and subcontractors must make outreach efforts, have training programs and take other actions to recruit and advance the following:

  • Qualified minorities
  • Women
  • Individuals with disability
  • Covered veterans


Improvements for Uploading EEO-1 Surveys

You can now upload your data files and receive immediate notifications of any errors that need to be corrected. This is an improvement over having to email data and wait for confirmation.

Regulatory compliance to protect your business interests

Part of running a successful business includes complying with federal and state regulations and putting policies in place that protect you against fines, penalties and lawsuits.

Today we live in a society with an ever-increasing number of laws and regulations. It is difficult to run a small business and keep with a changing legal landscape. For this reason, having an employment litigation attorney who can provide you with legal advice and guidance to stay compliant is vital for your business success.

Stephen Hans & Associates has several decades of employment law litigation experience and can help you take proactive measures to avoid regulatory non-compliance and other employment issues.

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New York City Employment Defense Law Firm

Americans with Disabilities Act: Employment Questions and Medical Tests

For employers, there is a long list of questions the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits you from asking, but you may start wondering what types of questions are allowable.

It is important to train your hiring managers and other personnel so they know the parameters of what to ask and what not to ask applicants and employees.

Examples of ADA Questions

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) offers clarification of the ADA and gives the following as examples of allowed questions:

“Asking generally about an employee’s well being (e.g., How are you?), asking an employee who looks tired or ill if s/he is feeling okay, asking an employee who is sneezing or coughing whether s/he has a cold or allergies, or asking how an employee is doing following the death of a loved one or the end of a marriage/relationship

  • Asking an employee about non-disability-related impairments (e.g., How did you break your leg?)
  • Asking an employee whether s/he can perform job functions
  • Asking an employee whether s/he has been drinking
  • Asking an employee about his/her current illegal use of drugs
  • Asking a pregnant employee how she is feeling or when her baby is due
  • Asking an employee to provide the name and telephone number of a person to contact in case of a medical emergency”

Medical Examinations Explained

Employers violate the ADA when they require an employee to undergo a medical examination as terms for employment as part of a pre-offer, post-offer or after employment. Examples of medical examinations include tests for all types of physical abilities, such as vision, disease, genetic markers, blood pressure, range-of-motion, pulmonary function and mental state. All scans including x-rays, CAT and MRI are medical examinations.

Procedures that do not violate the ADA and that employers can require include:

  • Tests to detect illegal drug use
  • Physical agility tests to measure performance such as running or lifting
  • Tests to determine the ability to read labels or distinguish objects necessary for job function
  • Polygraph tests

Stephen Hans & Associates can help you put policies in place that protect your rights as employers and adhere to employment laws.


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