Trade Secrets in California

Companies sometimes dismiss trade secrets as a significant form of intellectual property because unlike patents, copyrights or trademarks, trade secrets are not publicly recognized or registered with the government. Indeed, every aspect of the trade secret depends on just that, secrecy. Once a trade secret becomes known, the value is lost (and a business generally suffers). Fortunately, California has laws in place to protect trade secrets.

Meal and Rest Breaks in California

Under California law, which is more generous to employees than federal law, employees are entitled to specific meal and rest breaks. Indeed, California is one of the few states that require employers to give their workers both meal and rest breaks. In one of our recent landmark cases, heard by the Supreme Court of California, it was affirmed that “on-duty” rest breaks are in violation of California wage and hour laws (more on this precedent-setting decision here).

Meal Breaks in California

Workplace Discrimination in California

Sometimes it’s good to get back to the basics. And since we’ve been fielding questions from eager entrepreneurs about the ins and outs of California employment law lately, let’s touch on a few of the basic employment laws in California.

There are certain things you need to know if you’re considering starting a business in California. California is a very employee-friendly state, and the myriad of state employment laws supports this. And if you intend to hire five or more employees, things can get even trickier. Remember to speak with experienced legal counsel to ensure that your employment practices are in line with both state and federal laws.

Do I Have a Wrongful Termination Claim?

In California, most employment is at-will. This means that employees may be fired or quit their job for almost any reason. Yet, there are times when a worker may be let go in California and be eligible to file a wrongful termination claim. Here are a few of the most common reasons for a wrongful termination claim under California law.

Contractual Employment

If a worker is employed with a company through an employment contract, it’s likely that the contract includes a clause about how the employer can only fire the worker for “good cause” or for specific reasons (such as use of illegal drugs or stealing from the company). If a worker is fired in violation of the terms of the contract, they may have a wrongful termination claim.

California Employment Law Basics

Running a business in California can be, for lack of a better term, tricky business. With a seemingly infinite number of employment-related laws, many of which oftentimes appear to contradict each other, many small, medium, and large sized business owners are often left with more questions than answers. Here, we break down some of the basic employment laws in California. For an in-depth discussion, reach out to experienced legal counsel.

Employees vs Independent Contractors

Perhaps one of the biggest employment issues in the state, the issue of whether a worker is an employee or is not, continues to plague employers – to the point of litigation.

Smartphones and Class Actions

As we have discussed in previous posts, smartphones are making life a bit more challenging for business owners, especially in terms of overtime pay. It’s a modern reality that today’s workplace is anywhere within range of a wireless signal.  With many employees habitually checking their smartphones at all hours for emails, text messages, voicemails, tweets, and other electronic transmissions, more and more employers are finding themselves with a potential wage and hour class action on their hands.

Updates to “Joint Employer” Legislation?

Generally speaking, joint employment, or co-employment, is the sharing of control and supervision of an employee’s activity among two or more business entities. A benefit of the increasingly popular employment practice is the ease with which joint employers are often able to hire experts in niche industries, individuals with specialist skills, and/or even replace their regular workforce. Currently, however, no single legal definition of joint employment exists and Congress is out to change that.