Would Your Independent Contractors Withstand an IRS Audit?

Many employers classify their workers as independent contractors without giving much consideration to the legal significance of that designation.  Contractor status is appealing because it simplifies payroll and exempts employers from the obligations to provide workers compensation insurance, lunch breaks, and much more. However, if the IRS or Labor Board performs an audit and determines these individuals to actually be employees, the consequences are usually disastrous. Generally speaking, a worker will be properly classified as an employee if the person… Read More >

The Pitfalls of Paid Vacation Days

Paid vacation is a great job perk for attracting and retaining high quality employees.  However, many employers offer such time off without understanding the legal implications of so doing, consequently running into a variety of easy-to-avoid but potentially quite costly problems.  Here are three simple tips to ensure that your vacation policy does not land your business in hot water: Implement a cap on the number of vacation days your employees may accrue. California law regards accrued vacation days as… Read More >

Employer Access to Social Media Now Regulated By Statute

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California has become the third state to enact legislation that protects employees from coerced disclosure of passwords, usernames, postings and other information relating to their social media accounts.  The new law, which is codified at Labor Code 980, went into effect on January 1, 2013 and prohibits employers from “requiring or requesting” employees to do the following: – Disclosing a username or password for the purpose of accessing personal social media. – Accessing personal social media in the presence of… Read More >

Important Changes To The Law Governing Personnel File Requests

Prior to this year, Labor Code 1185 permitted employees to examine their personnel files upon request.  However, new legislation for 2013 significantly enhances this right and imposes harsh penalties against employers for non-compliance.  Here’s a non-inclusive run down of what has been changed: – Employees now have a right not just to inspect, but to obtain an actual copy of their personnel files. – Former employees are now afforded the same rights with regard to inspection and copying, although former… Read More >

Important Changes In California’s Mandatory Meal Period Law

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The Labor Code severely penalizes employers who fail to provide lunch breaks to their employees.  However, until the California Supreme Court’s recent decision in Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court, the precise nature of this obligation was largely unclear. Labor Code 512 states that an employer “may not employ an employee for more than five hours per day without “providing the employee with a meal period of not less than 30 minutes…”  Ambiguity arises from the word “provide.”  What if… Read More >

On the Road and on the Clock: An Employer’s Guide to Vehicle Liability

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  If your small business employs individuals who drive on-the-job, it is important to understand your potential liability associated with vehicle use and how you can reduce it.  Liability arising from on-the-job car or truck accidents breaks down into three distinct categories–respondeat superior, negligent hiring, and negligent vehicle maintenance.  This guide briefly summarizes these legal theories and provides some basic suggestions for minimizing liability pursuant to each. RESPONDEAT SUPERIOR Respondeat superior is the most commonly applied theory of employer liability… Read More >