Supreme Court Issues Key Ruling Affecting Employers

It is time to carefully review arbitration agreements and class action waivers.

A few days ago the California Supreme Court delivered its highly anticipated ruling in the Sandquist v. Lebo Automotive case on the issue of whether it is the court or the arbitrator who decides whether an employment law case can proceed as a class action, or whether the plaintiff can only proceed on an individual basis.

Sandquist was filed as a discrimination claim by an employee who pled both individual and class claims against his employer. The plaintiff employee had signed an arbitration agreement. The defendant employer filed a motion to compel arbitration, and dismiss the class action.

How Start Ups Can Protect Their Intellectual Property

Tech incubators abound these days, especially in and around Silicon Beach. These ‘technology campuses’ allow start ups to collaborate and share ideas, strategies, resources, and knowledge. And sometimes, proprietary information. When discussing their ideas with others, entrepreneurs need to be extremely mindful of the risks to their intellectual property.

For many start ups, trade secrets and/or other intellectual property hold the keys to the business’s future. As such, entrepreneurs – and those who work for them – need to be aware of the various junctures where a start up’s IP could potentially be disclosed. These include raising capital, recruiting employees, beta testing or testing a prototype, and in seemingly innocent conversations between fellow entrepreneurs.

Workers Comp Insurance – Can An Employee See His Own Doctor?

If your California employee was injured, or claims to have been injured on the job, they may want to visit with their own doctor or medical professional. While they are welcome to do so, they generally must also visit with an in-network doctor. Indeed, many workers comp insurance carriers include a Medical Provider Network (MPN) in their provision of services to their insureds and the insured employees.  Unless an employee has specifically elected to be treated by their personal physician in writing, and only if the designated physician has agreed to provide medical care for worker’s compensation injuries and illnesses in writing and the designation was made prior to the injury or illness, an injured employee must treat within the medical provider network.

Not surprisingly, many workers’ compensation disputes arise because the injured employee disagrees with the treatment recommended or provided by the doctor in the medical provider network.  Often, the insured claimant will see another medical provider who may recommend a different treatment or disagree with the diagnosis altogether, causing a legal and medical dispute with the injured employee. The quality and accessibility of the medical provider network is a factor an employer should consider when selecting an insurance provider.