Grab Bag

THE BOX: Corrective Action, not Employee Discipline

By Blog, Community, Employment, Grab Bag

Post by: Michael Melder


So the conversation started like this:

Business Owner: “I have two employees who don’t seem to be doing their jobs like I want them to.”  He provides me with specific examples.

I am sure you can think of at least one employee in your organization that isn’t living up to expectation.

After listening to him, I provided my philosophy about corrective action.  I call it “The Box.”

Employers hire employees to do a certain job; the employer’s defined position and duties are The Box.

An employee takes a job and a position and he has his own expectations of what the job requires and the duties necessary to perform the position.

This is the start of an expectation disconnect; the employee begins to move outside The Box.   As the employer and employee settle into the relationship, the employee will begin to define the job and position he thought the employer wanted him to do.  More importantly, the employee will begin to define the roll he wants to do.  Of course not all employees do this and sometimes the changes are welcome and positive.

However, clearly the business owner I was having the conversation with wasn’t happy with the performance of his employees.

He had allowed his employees to move outside of The Box.  He expected his employees to do “X” and they were doing “Y”.

I suggested he nudge the employees back in to The Box.  Meaning, communicate with the employee in a positive and constructive manner what the employer’s expectations are for the position and the expected duties.

Notice I said “in a positive and constructive manner.”  Correct the behavior.  Define your expectations.  This is corrective action or what most employers call “Progressive Discipline” in their handbooks.

I’ll admit that at some point correcting an employee who fails to fall in line will require traditional discipline.  However, if expectations are communicated effectively, such discipline isn’t a surprise to the employee.

Surprise is what you want to avoid.  An employee who feels ambushed by an employer will look to third parties for help.  I get those calls all the time from jilted ex-employees trying to figure out the “Why.”

Sometimes it is a good thing to think inside The Box. Nudge an employee back – don’t push.

Operation Double Vision Underway to Seize Counterfeit Decorative Contact Lenses

By Grab Bag, Import

With Halloween rapidly approaching, federal officials are warning the public about the dangers associated with counterfeit decorative contact lenses. Decorative and colored lenses are becoming increasingly popular, especially around this time of year.

Currently, the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Office of Criminal Investigations (OCI), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are working to seize counterfeit contact lenses, illegally imported decorative lenses, and lenses unapproved by the FDA. This ongoing effort, which is being coordinated with the ICE-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) in Washington, is being called “Operation Double Vision.”

“Even though Halloween approaches, consumers shouldn’t let a good deal or great costume blind them to the dangers of counterfeit decorative contact lenses,” said HSI Executive Associate Director James Dinkins. “What’s truly scary is the damage these counterfeit lenses can do to your eyes for a lifetime.”

Officials are warning consumers not to buy contact lenses from such places as Halloween or novelty shops, salons, beauty supply stores, or online if the site doesn’t require a prescription. Although many places illegally sell decorative contact lenses to consumers without valid prescriptions for as little as $20, these vendors are not authorized distributors of contact lenses, which by law require a prescription.

Because of the inherent medical risks, it is illegal to purchase or sell contact lenses of any kind without a prescription from an ophthalmologist, optometrist or a specially licensed optician under the supervision of an eye doctor. Decorative contact lenses can typically be ordered from the office that conducts the eye exam and contact lens fitting. The Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act gives the consumers the right to obtain a copy of their contact lens prescription, allowing them to fill that prescription at the business of their choice, including online discount sites. Various legitimate stores and websites sell decorative lenses but consumers should avoid buying these lenses from anywhere that does not require a valid prescription.

“Our concern is that consumers who buy and use decorative contact lenses without a valid prescription can run significant risks of eye injuries, including blindness,” said John Roth, director of FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations. “It is always better to involve a qualified eye care professional and protect your vision.”

“Contact lenses are a medical device and it is smart to purchase them from a medical professional who will fit them to your eye and provide you with instruction on the use and care of the lenses,” said Dr. Glenda Brown, president and a member of the Georgia Optometric Association. “Consumers who buy lenses that were manufactured and sold illegally can experience infections, corneal ulcers and even blindness. A lifetime of good vision is so much more important than a cheap Halloween accessory.”

Medical experts advise consumers interested in buying decorative lenses to get an eye exam from a licensed eye doctor, even if you think your vision is perfect; to get a valid prescription that includes the brand name, lens measurements and an expiration date; to buy the lenses from a seller that requires you to provide a prescription, regardless of whether you shop online or in person; and to follow directions for cleaning, disinfecting, and wearing the lenses. Also, consumers should not expect their eye doctor to prescribe anime, or circle lenses, which give the wearer a wide-eyed, doll-like look, as these have not been approved by the FDA. Finally, an eye doctor should be seen right away if there are signs of eye infection, including redness, lasting eye pain or decrease in vision.


Homeland Security Launches Smart Phone App to Locate Suspect Child Predators

By Grab Bag, Innovation

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is launching a new smartphone app – the first of its kind in U.S. federal law enforcement – designed to seek the public’s help with fugitive and unknown suspect child predators. All tips can be reported anonymously through the app, by phone or online, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The most urgent case involves an unidentified man wanted for producing child pornography involving the sexual abuse of a 10 to 12-year-old girl. This “John Doe” is an unknown suspect and is believed to be living somewhere in the United States or Canada, but he could be anywhere in the world. The first video file was discovered by Interpol and submitted to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in 2006. The full series was last seen by HSI special agents in Los Angeles in 2013 during execution of a search warrant. The four videos show the prepubescent girl being sexually abused by an adult male with short brown hair and blue eyes.  In the videos, the offender has a full beard and wears glasses. Both he and the child are seen in a room with wood paneled walls with framed photos, a black computer, desk with sewing machine and brown patterned curtains.

In addition to profiling John Doe cases like this, the new smartphone app contains photos and information about known fugitives in HSI criminal cases involving sexually abused and exploited children.

“When children are being sexually abused and exploited, it’s a race against the clock to rescue the child and bring the predator to justice,” said ICE Acting Director John Sandweg. “These investigations are one of our highest priorities, and in today’s world, we need to be technologically savvy and innovative in our approach.”

ICE’s Office of Public Affairs developed the app with special agents from HSI’s Cyber Crimes Center (C3)and field offices across the country in order to seek the public’s help with information about child predators wanted for criminal prosecution.

“The creation and launch of this application provides ICE another useful tool to reach the public,” said ICE Director of Public Affairs Brian Hale. “We recognize that people receive a great deal of information on their mobile devices and we are hopeful that this app will encourage them to submit tips about suspects and to learn more about our work investigating child exploitation crimes.”

The Operation Predator App enables those who download it to receive alerts about wanted predators, to share the information with friends via email and social media tools, and to provide information to HSI by calling or submitting an online tip. Additionally, the app enables users to view news about arrests and prosecutions of child predators and additional resources about ICE and its global partners in the fight against child exploitation.

Currently, the app can be downloaded from Apple’s App Store or iTunes. ICE is also planning to expand compatibility to other smartphones in the near future.

HSI is requesting that anyone with information about John Doe or the other fugitives profiled to contact the agency in one of two ways: Call the ICE Tip Line, which is staffed 24-hours a day: (866) 347-2423 from the U.S. & Canada or (802) 872-6199 from anywhere in the world, or complete an online tip form

Individuals should not attempt to apprehend the suspect personally.

HSI’s Victim Identification Program seeks to rescue child victims of sexual abuse and exploitation and bring the perpetrators to justice.

These investigations are part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-843-5678.

HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.


Chester Named to “Texas Super Lawyers” List

By Blog, Community, Grab Bag, News, Portfolio, Testimonial

J. F. (Jim) Chester, founding principal in the Dallas-based business & innovation law firm of CHESTER pllc, was recently selected for inclusion on the 2013 Texas Super Lawyers® list. Chester will be listed in the intellectual property practice section, although his practice also covers a broad range of business, technology and international transactional matters.

Texas Super Lawyers®, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding Texas lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual Texas Super Lawyers® selections are based on a rigorous, multiphase process, including peer nominations and review, and independent research. No more than 5% of the lawyers in Texas are selected to be a part of this list.

This is the first time Chester has been named to the Texas Super Lawyers® list, although he has been listed several times in “Rising Stars Under 40,” by the same issuing group.  Chester has also earned an “AV® Preeminent” Peer Review Rating by Martindale Hubbell®, a separate yet equally-prestigious honor.

Chester stated, “There are a number of lists and awards out there, but this is one of the big ones because it is based on recommendations from colleagues in the legal community, including those who were previously named Super Lawyers.  To be recognized by such an esteemed group of legal professionals is truly an honor.”


About CHESTER pllc
CHESTER pllc is a Dallas, Texas law firm providing comprehensive legal services to innovation-based companies doing business in the US, around the world, and on the web.  Its mission (and passion) is helping entrepreneurs and emerging companies solve problems and protect their interests. CHESTER pllc delivers value by providing business-savvy, cost-effective solutions to legal challenges.  The firm offers a wide array of core legal solutions to entrepreneurial enterprises, such as business entity formation (LLCs, corporations, etc.), trademarks and other intellectual property, technology transactions, domestic and international contracts, and ecommerce matters.  Additional information about the firm and its attorneys may be found at

Dulles CBP Global Entry Surpasses 250,000 User Sessions

By Blog, Grab Bag

Global Entry, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) initiative to speed pre-approved trusted travelers through international arrivals processing, surpassed 250,000 user sessions at Washington Dulles International Airport Sunday.

Washington Dulles International Airport, where Global Entry launched on June 6, 2008, ranks seventh nationally in user sessions.

The program, popular with the international travel community, continues to grow in membership. More than 414,000 members have enrolled in Global Entry. Another 750,000 travelers enjoy the expedited processing benefits of Global Entry through other trusted traveler programs such as NEXUS (Northern border) and SENTRI (Southern border). Interested travelers can learn more about Global Entry membership. ( Global Entry )

“Global Entry works. It has proven to be a winner for frequent, low-risk international travelers, such as business professionals, travel industry representatives, U.S. diplomats and airline employees,” said Christopher Hess, CBP Port Director for the Port of Washington (DC). “Global Entry at Washington Dulles International Airport continues to set significant milestones in user sessions and continues as one of our nation’s pace setters for trusted traveler processing,” said Hess.

Global Entry members also automatically qualify for participation in the TSA Pre✓™ expedited passenger screening program for domestic travel.

Washington Dulles, with its 250,918 Global Entry user sessions, ranks behind New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Newark (N.J.) Liberty International Airport, Miami International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

Trusted travelers with Global Entry benefits have processed their international arrivals a combined 2,959,578 times at self-help kiosks located in 37 airports in the United States and at pre-clearance stations overseas.

The most significant benefit to Global Entry is time saved waiting in primary inspection lines. Average processing time for Global Entry members is about one minute. Wait times for passengers without trusted traveler memberships can be lengthy during peak arrival times. View your local airport wait times on ( Airport Wait Times )

Participation in Global Entry is voluntary. Participants must possess a machine-readable U.S. passport or permanent resident card, pay a non-refundable $100 application fee, submit an online application, pass a law enforcement check, and complete an interview at a CBP enrollment center. ( Global Entry )

Washington Dulles was one of three original airports to deploy Global Entry in June 2008; JFK and Houston Intercontinental were the others. More than 3.2 million international travelers arrived to Washington Dulles during 2011.



Jim Chester Speaks at Dallas Association of Young Lawyers Luncheon

By Grab Bag, News

J. F. (Jim) Chester, founding partner in the Dallas-based global business & technology law firm of CHESTER pllc, recently presented on the legal implications of representing multiple clients to an audience of young attorneys at an event sponsored by the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers (DAYL).

The title of the presentation, which was held at the Belo Mansion, the Dallas Bar Association’s headquarters in Dallas, Texas, was: “Who’s Your Client (for Transactional Attorneys)?” Chester co-presented on a panel with Dan Baucum and John Andrews.  Chester and the other panelists discussed how to avoid ethical dilemmas while representing multiple clients.  The discussion covered scenarios and solutions to common representation issues that arise in corporate, estate planning, and family practices.

DAYL regularly holds informational luncheons, such as the recent event presented by Chester, as part of its Lunch and Learn program, which was created about three years ago as a way to help DAYL members get practical and substantive information that they may not be getting in the workplace.

Chester reports, “I was honored to participate in this DAYL program.  Avoiding ethical issues is important for all lawyers, including young attorneys. It’s great that the DAYL provides programs such as this one to allow young attorneys to learn from a range of more experienced practitioners.”

CHESTER pllc is a Dallas, Texas law firm providing comprehensive legal services to innovation-based companies doing business in the US, around the world, and on the web.  Its mission (and passion) is helping entrepreneurs and emerging companies solve problems and protect their interests. CHESTER pllc delivers value by providing business-savvy, cost-effective solutions to legal challenges.  The firm offers a wide array of business legal solutions, such as business entity formation (LLCs, corporations, etc.), trademarks and other intellectual property, technology transactions, domestic and international contracts, and e-commerce matters.  Additional information about the firm and its attorneys may be found at

PRACTICAL TIP: Top ROI for Your Legal Dollars

By Blog, Customs IP Enforcement, Export, FCPA, Foreign Trade Zones (FTZ), Grab Bag, Import, Intellectual Property, International Business, International IP, Internet / eCommerce, ITAR, News

Based on our experience, some of the best uses of resources on legal advice and assistance for businesses and entrepreneurs (from a “bang for your buck” perspective) are:

  • Succession Planning. This includes buy-sell and similar provisions in company documents to deal with death, divorces, and other departures of co-owners, and also includes an updated estate plan such as a will and advance directives to ensure your legacy.

The benefits one can obtain from these legal mechanisms and protections, which generally cost less than $2,000, can pay for themselves many times over.