Ashley S. Nunneker
Ashley S. Nunneker
Shareholder, Atlanta
Formerly: Hostess, Server, Bartender
Education
  • B.A., Political Science - Georgia State University, magna cum laude;
  • J.D., Stetson University College of Law.

An Atlanta native, I happily took my first job in a restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia where I worked as a hostess, server, and bartender throughout college. After graduating from law school, I launched my legal career at an international law firm where I represented clients ranging from individuals and small business owners to international automotive companies and manufacturers. Throughout my career, I have advocated for clients in various civil matters including commercial and real estate contract disputes, partnership disputes, business torts and trade secrets, employment litigation, and intellectual property litigation. Returning to my hospitality roots, my practice now focuses on defending and counseling primarily hospitality clients in employment matters. I have been fortunate to learn from some of the best and brightest legal minds in the country and look forward to sharing my personal experiences with the hospitality industry and the legal expertise I have developed since the beginning of my career.

I also recently co-founded a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization called Power Suit Project (PSP) whose mission is to provide opportunities for Atlanta women to build lifelong meaningful professional relationships with other women. Through my role as CEO and President of PSP, I have learned invaluable management, operational, and “people” skills that I look forward to sharing with my clients. While PSP has certainly made me a better businesswoman and lawyer, the most rewarding part of my role with PSP is having the opportunity to inspire and mentor other women.

Preservation of Evidence

November 18, 2020

Category: Legal Updates

2020 forced millions of employers to adapt their business models to allow employees to work from home and it looks as if this trend will continue indefinitely for many employers. With this in mind, employers should be aware of certain unintended consequences of having a workforce that telecommutes, namely the creation of additional repositories of electronic data that may be discoverable later in litigation. Given that this is the new normal, businesses should take this opportunity to review and update their data retention and litigation hold policies to ensure that they are meeting their obligations and setting themselves up to be successful should this data be needed in the future. Here are four simple steps you can take now to update your protocols.

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On August 5, 2020, Georgia Governor Kemp signed into law “Charlotte’s Law,” providing additional workplace protections to working mothers who need to express breast milk during working hours. Charlotte’s Law went into effect on August 5, 2020, and applies to all private employers.

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The National Labor Relations Board‘s (“NLRB”) “joint employer” test has had tremendous implications for hospitality employers due to the industry’s reliance on third-party employees to supplement their workforces. The NLRB finally released the new test on February 25, 2020, and effectively replaced the previous test outlined in its 2015 Browning-Ferris Industries decision. The new rule narrows the test the NLRB will use to determine when businesses will be liable for the work of third-party employees under federal law. The new rule takes effect on April 27, 2020.

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The U.S. Department of Labor released its highly anticipated final rule governing the new salary threshold for the “white collar” overtime exemptions. Effective January 1, 2020, the final rule raises the salary threshold for exempt white-collar workers to $35,568 per year.

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Last year the Miami Beach City Commission passed a law requiring all hotels within the City of Miami Beach to provide certain employees with panic buttons by September 15, 2019. Modeled after Chicago’s 2018 safety-button ordinance, the new law applies not only to housekeepers or room attendants but also to minibar attendants and room service servers. Will your property be ready?

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Last month New York Governor Cuomo approved amendments to the state’s election laws that provide employees with up to three hours of paid leave on election days. In order to qualify, employees must be registered to vote and must give their employers two days’ notice of their intent to take election leave.

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It’s no secret within the hospitality industry that restaurants and hotels have thin profit margins, averaging only 3-5%. With the two largest expenses being fixed rent and variable labor, it is not uncommon for venues to focus on labor costs. This undoubtedly explains the growing trend to evaluate outsourcing certain positions. Outsourcing aims to eliminate overtime and the cost of employee benefits while responding to business level fluctuations in real-time. But, if the outsource process is mismanaged, it may create more problems than it solves. These are our top 5 prevention tips to avoid problems.

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This week, HotelExecutive.com published an article by our own John Hunt and Ashley Nunneker, covering the nuanced differences between different types of compensation for hotel and restaurant servers. Check it out on their website! And if this thorough review doesn’t quite clarify everything you’re wondering about gratuities and service charges, contact Stokes Wagner with any questions you might have!

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Hospitality guests have historically used gratuity to acknowledge their service staff’s excellent work. Employees have come to expect and rely on gratuities, as they now often form the majority of their incomes. Restaurants also sometimes charge guests mandatory fees instead of, or in addition to, gratuity. Yet employers often mislabel, mishandle and commingle gratuities and service charges, which can have serious legal implications. Understanding the differences between a gratuity and a service charge is critical. Below, we demystify these payments and explain how to limit your exposure through best practices.

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Oregon’s “Fair Work Week Act” requires covered employers to provide employees with advanced notice of their work schedules. The new law applies to employers in the large retail, food service and hospitality industries with more than 500 employees worldwide and at least one or more hourly employees working in the State of Oregon.

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An amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law, effective October 31, 2017, prohibits New York City employers from considering job applicants’ salary histories. Here are the details:

The Amendment Prohibits Employers From:

  • Inquiring about an applicant’s salary history; or
  • Relying on an applicant’s salary history when making decisions about an applicant’s salary at any time during the hiring process.

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The City of New York enacted several bills affecting fast-food employers, effective November 26, 2017.

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