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As some businesses look for ways around ObamaCare, others attack the law directly

 

A second Obama term would guarantee the president’s health care law will be fully implemented, and businesses are warning that may affect their employees.

Darden Restaurants, which owns Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse and more, is the latest in its industry to look for a way to avoid ObamaCare. Darden owns and operates more than 2,000 restaurants, and employs 180,000 people. So the restaurant group is conducting a “test” at a select number of its restaurants in four markets.

Darden spokesman Rich Jeffers says the idea is figuring out what the costs are of the new health care law and how best to deal with them. Jeffers says with growing health care costs Darden is looking at the impact on their businesses of a larger part-time workforce versus full-time employment.

White Castle, McDonald’s and Denny’s are other affordable brands in the industry that have said they were looking for a way to avoid the new employer mandate due to take effect in 2014.

Washington, D.C., employment law attorney Robert B. Fitzpatrick offered this prediction if Obama wins re-election: “I would think aggressive enforcement people within the administration would pursue cases like that. And say listen, you're just playing with the numbers, playing with the hours to try to avoid compliance with providing health care to employees,” Fitzpatrick told Fox News. “And there are going to be consequences.”

Then there’s the case of Westgate Resorts CEO David Siegel, who warned if Obama wins, there will likely be layoffs.

Siegel sent a lengthy e-mail “to all my valued employees” and signed it “your boss,” and wrote, “If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, as our current President plans, I will have no choice but to reduce the size of this company. Rather than grow this company I will be forced to cut back.  This means fewer jobs, less benefits and certainly less opportunity for everyone.”

Siegel says his business was doing a billion dollars in sales four years ago and had some 14,000 employees, but it already has had to trim his workforce to 7,000 currently. The CEO freely admits he is trying to influence his employees’ vote.

“I want them to be informed as to what the outlook is if there is another four years of this current administration,” Siegel told Fox News. “The increased burden of ObamaCare, the increased taxes on my company and any other burdens that he (Obama) might throw at us. I don't like this class warfare we're going through."

Mike Emanuel currently serves as chief congressional correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC). He joined FNC in 1997 as a Los Angeles-based correspondent.

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