This article was published in the February 7, 2012 issue of the
The Georgia business community may have successfully rallied
against the September 12, 2011 Georgia Supreme Court decision
requiring any answer of garnishment filed in a Georgia court of
record to be signed by a Georgia-licensed attorney. The Georgia
House of Representatives has approved a bill that would reverse the
Georgia Supreme Court's decision and allow employers to execute
and file garnishment answers without the involvement of an
attorney. Last week, and without discussion, the Georgia Senate
unanimously passed the bill, and now the bill will be sent to
Governor Nathan Deal for his final approval. The new law would be
effective upon the Governor's signature.
If the bill is signed into law, employers will no longer be
required to hire a Georgia-licensed attorney to execute their
Georgia garnishment answers and will be allowed to use their own
human resources, payroll, or other non-attorney staff to process
their Georgia garnishments. We will keep you informed as to the
status of this bill.
Please be aware, however, that even if the Georgia Supreme
Court's decision is overturned, Georgia employers may still be
required to use a Georgia-licensed attorney for any traverse or
claim that is filed in a Georgia court of record in response to the
garnishment answer. Also note that neither the Georgia Supreme
Court's September 12 decision nor this bill impacts the ability
of companies to represent themselves in garnishment proceedings in
Georgia magistrate courts because, as courts of inquiry, an
attorney is not required in those proceedings.
Although the bill has been passed by the Georgia House and Senate,
the bill may not be signed by the Governor right away, if at all.
Until the bill becomes law, please continue working with the
Georgia-licensed attorney who has been handling your Georgia
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guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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Policy language which had been commonplace and acceptable for decades has suddenly been deemed to have a "chilling" effect on employee rights under federal labor law, and therefore, is illegal under the National Labor Relations Act.
If you are an employer, you likely know that the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") requires payment of a minimum wage, along with overtime pay for nonexempt employees who work more than 40 hours in a workweek.
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