In a blow to the rights of franchise employees, the California Supreme Court issued a ruling last week in Patterson v. Domino’s Pizza, LLC that significantly limits franchisor liability in employment and tort matters.  Specifically, the Court ruled 4-3 that a franchisor is not vicariously liable for sexual harassment perpetrated by an employee of a…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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,…

Unpaid internships have become an increasingly common way for young professionals to gain experience and connections in their field of interest. However, the rise in such labor has led state and federal agencies to crack down on employers using internships in violation of minimum wage law. Usually, abuse is unintentional and due primarily to a…

Terminating employees is never easy.  Simplify the process with a clean break that does not create legal exposure for your small business.  Here are some quick tips for the next time you are tasked with the unfortunate responsibility of letting someone go. – Abide by internal disciplinary and termination procedure Generally speaking, internal policies with…

Every employer dreads the thought of receiving a complaint alleging sexual harassment in their workplace.  The unfortunate reality is that it happens more often than you would think, and regardless of whether you believe the allegations, all complaints of sexual harassment trigger important legal obligations with which you as an employer must comply. First, let’s…

Is your business maintaining payroll records in accordance with state and federal law?  Non-compliance will not only impair your ability to defend against wage claims, it may also result in the imposition of civil penalties.  Here are the basics that every employer should know: FEDERAL LAW Must be retained for three years: Payroll records, including…

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