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Learn about Richard Arnholt's diverse government contracts practice and why he chose to pursue a career in the legal field. Read more>

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In June 2017, Pinnacle Financial Partners, Inc. (NASDAQ: PNFP) closed a $1.9 billion merger with BNC Bancorp (NASDAQ: BNCN) pursuant to which BNC merged with and into Pinnacle. With the completion of the transaction, Pinnacle becomes a Top 50 U.S. Bank. The merger will create a four state footprint concentrated in 12 of the largest urban markets in the Southeast. 

Bass, Berry & Sims has served Pinnacle as primary corporate and securities counsel for more than 15 years and served as counsel on the transaction. Our attorneys were involved in all aspects related to the agreement, including tax, employee benefits and litigation. 

Read more details about the transaction here.

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Regulation A+

It seems that lately there has been a noticeable uptick in Regulation A+ activity, including several recent Reg A+ securities offerings where the stock now successfully trades on national exchanges. In light of this activity, we have published a set of FAQs about Regulation A+ securities offerings to help companies better understand this "mini-IPO" offering process, as well as pros and cons compared to a traditional underwritten IPO.

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Labor Talk Blog: Termination During FMLA Leave Not Unlawful

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August 18, 2014

Some employers believe that an employee who is out on FMLA cannot be disciplined or terminated. More savvy employers know that such a broad application is not quite accurate, as an employee's request for or taking FMLA leave does not give the employee any greater rights than if the employee were actively at work. This case, here, is a prime example.

What happened? The employee requested leave for birth of her child, and the leave was granted. While on leave, however, the employee visited the employer's premises. While there, she took home six cases of sample baby formula (yes, the employer produces baby formula), and doing so was a clear policy violation (think – stealing). A co-worker reported the misconduct, and an investigation resulted in the employee's termination. The employee then sued, claiming that she was terminated while on FMLA leave and thus the termination was unlawful.

The Court disagreed and granted the employer summary judgment, dismissing the case even before a trial. The employee claimed that other employees had likewise taken samples, but the Court noted that the employer was not aware of such misconduct on the part of others and had disciplined employees who had engaged in similar conduct of which it was aware. The employee claimed that a manager's remark ("I thought you were done having babies") when she requested leave showed a retaliatory motive. The Court disagreed, calling it no more than a slight, which is not sufficient to raise a retaliatory motive, and certainly not sufficient to overcome the employer's asserted reason for termination.

Lesson?

  • A leave under the FMLA does not insulate an employee from the consequences of misconduct if the employer would have taken the action anyway, regardless of the leave.
  • Proceeding with an investigation into the misconduct while the employee is on leave is often the better option rather than awaiting the employee's return (or announced return) and then beginning the investigation.
  • The employer had enforced the policy violation consistently, a key element.
  • Note that the violation was not one sample can, but rather six cases (36 cans). While arguably irrelevant from a technical standpoint, the amount of sample taken was likely significant from a practical standpoint.

For more Labor and Employment information, visit www.BassBerryLaborTalk.com.


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