Can You Be Sued For a Bad Online Review?

Review sites like Yelp, Google Places, and Angie’s List have become a popular platform for consumers to post reviews about local businesses.  Fast, efficient, and seemingly anonymous, an online review can be a great tool to get the word out about a product or service. But as more and more people base purchasing decisions on what they they read on the web, the incentive for businesses to clamp down on negative reviews is growing.  This has resulted in a disturbing… Read More >

Driver Monitoring Programs: The Wave of the Car Insurance Future?

Earlier this year, actor Paul Walker died when the Porsche GT5 in which he was driving tragically crashed around a turn and caught fire.  The super car was fitted with three black boxes, much like those on airplanes, and the information extracted from them (which survived heat in excess of one thousand degrees) has since been used to confirm that the cause of Walker’s accident was excessive speed and not a manufacturing defect or poor maintenance. Although we’re unlikely to… Read More >

Cell Phones & Your Privacy Rights

If you are arrested, police have the right to seize your cell phone and search it.  Currently, this law enforcement right is absolute and unqualified, but the Supreme Court is hearing arguments in a unique criminal case to determine whether search warrants should be required to access phone numbers, text messages, photographs, and everything else which can be accessed from your smart phone data base. In the case now before the Court (Riley v. California), the challenge to police cell… Read More >

Alcohol & Drug Testing In The Workplace

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Employees under the influence of alcohol or drugs while at work pose a danger to themselves and those around them.  Maintaining a comprehensive drug and alcohol policy that provides for limited substance testing can help to manage this risk, but there are important legal requirements with which employers must comply. Every individual in the State of California has a constitutionally protected right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.  Courts have consistently held that this right applies to private… Read More >

The Dangers of Slow Driving

We all know it’s illegal to speed, but did you know that California also makes it illegal to drive too slow?  The restriction is codified into the California Vehicle Code at CVC § 22351, which states: “No person shall drive so slowly or stop on the roadway so as to impede traffic or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.” Slow driving doesn’t get as bad a rap as speeding, but it can be just as dangerous.  Slow drivers… Read More >

An Employer’s Guide to Unemployment Benefits

When a worker makes a claim for unemployment benefits, it affects their former employer’s UI contribution rate (their “experience rating”) and, by extension, the amount that former employer will pay in future UI premiums.  Despite the financial stakes, many employers do not understand what triggers a valid claim for benefits or how best to minimize claims.  This is a critical mistake that can cost a small business thousands of dollars a year. So what are the basic requirements for a… Read More >

Important Changes To CA Employment Law For 2014

California labor laws are constantly in a state of flux, and a failure to keep track of the changes may land your business in legal trouble.  The following is a brief run down of some of the most significant developments for 2014. Minimum Wage Assembly Bill 10 raises the State’s minimum wage to $9 per hour starting July 1, 2014.  Note that this increase in the minimum wage impacts the minimum salary an employee must be paid in order to… Read More >

Terminating Employees With Disabling Medical Conditions

Terminating an employee with a disabling medical condition can be a lightening rod for litigation.  However, that does not mean that all such terminations–or even the majority–are unlawful.  To the contrary, private-sector employment in the state of California is by default “at will,” meaning terminable at any time for any reason not expressly prohibited by law, and employers enjoy vast discretion with regard to staffing decisions. Two primary legislative acts protect employees with disabling medical conditions, notwithstanding the doctrine of… Read More >

How CA’s Minimum Wage Increase Will Impact Your Business

On September 25th 2013, the State Legislature passed a bill into law that will raise minimum wage for all non-exempt California employees.  The new law, codified at Labor Code 1182.12, mandates two separate one dollar increases to the minimum wage, the first occurring on July 1st, 2014 and the second on January 1st, 2016. So, how will this change in law impact your business? Well, in addition to the obvious effect it will have on employees currently receiving the minimum… Read More >

Social Media And Your Personal Injury Claim

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Social networking has become common-place in our personal lives, but what is far less certain is how the law treats what we post online—particularly in claims for personal injury. In November of last year, the New York Court of Appeals in McCann v. Harleysville Insurance Co. denied a defendant’s motion to access the private Facebook page of a plaintiff who was claiming damages in a personal injury action.  The judge reasoned that the defendant “failed to establish a factual predicate… Read More >