California law requires all employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance, which provides benefits to an employee who sustains a work-related injury and/or illness and covers payments for medical expenses and replacement income during the time when the employee is off work. As long as the business has at least one (1) employee, even a temporary…Details
In a perfect world, when two parties come to a meeting of the minds, the complete and final agreement is memorialized in the written document. Legally speaking, contracts do not have to be written (although for many reasons, written agreements are preferred), but when they are, the written contract should fully represent the parties’ agreement. After all, a written contract is legally enforceable. If one party fails to fulfill the terms of the contract, the other party may sue for compliance, or performance. This type of lawsuit is called a breach of contract.
When considering a breach of contract case, a court will first look to the written contract. Absent certain exceptions, the written contract is the only evidence the court has to determine whether or not the parties complied with the terms of the agreement. Occasionally, however, one party decides down the road that all the terms of the agreement were not included in the written document and wishes to introduce evidence of prior oral or written agreements to alter the terms of the existing contract. Here is where the “parol evidence” rule comes into effect.
Parol Evidence RuleDetails
An ongoing issue for many California employers relates to minimum wage laws. Often, businesses violate wage and hour laws without knowing it. Unfortunately, ignorance is not a defense should a disgruntled employee decide to take legal action against you. California minimum wage Although there are some exceptions, almost all employees in California must be paid…Details
With summer just around the corner, many businesses are looking forward to the inexpensive and/or free labor provided by unpaid interns. What many businesses may not know is that courts are cracking down on what businesses are able to ‘get away’ with in terms of unpaid internships, as more and more unpaid interns file related complaints and class actions against their employers. Unpaid internships are generally a hot topic in employment law, and indeed, a slew of recent class action lawsuits filed on the matter show things are not changing any time soon. How can a California business be prepared?
What is an intern?
An intern is a student or trainee who works, sometimes without pay, at a trade or occupation in order to gain work experience. Meeting federal and state standards for an internship is often not an easy task for a California employer, as certain conditions must be met.Details
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is not a stranger to litigation. The tech guru, who made billions on a business model designed to connect friends, family and colleagues, is currently being sued for breaching his alleged promise to introduce select individuals to a seller of a real property in exchange for a reduced purchase price. A recent civil complaint filed in the Santa Clara County Superior Court explains.
In 2012, real estate developer Mircea Voskerician entered into a contract for the right to purchase property behind Zuckerberg’s palatial digs in Palo Alto, California. He sent a letter to Zuckerberg telling him that he planned to build a large house on the lot, which would overlook Zuckerberg’s master bedroom. Voskerician offered to sell him a portion of the lot so that Zuckerberg could maintain his privacy. Along the way, there was a meeting with the parties and their real estate agents, where Voskerician claims that that he and Zuckerberg orally agreed that Voskerician would assign his interest to purchase the land to Zuckerberg in exchange for $1.7 million, and that Zuckerberg would provide future referrals and introductions to Voskerician to build his real estate business.Details
Think you can fire an employee for posting obscenities aimed at a supervisor? Think again. According to a recently published NLRB decision, an employer violated Section 8(a)(1) and (3) of the National Labor Relations Act by firing an employee for an obscenity-laced spiteful Facebook post directed towards a supervisor on the grounds that the employee’s post was — just wait — protected concerted activity. Generally, for a concerted activity to be protected, two or more employees must be acting together to improve wages or working conditions. However, as in the case below, the action of a single employee may be considered concerted if he or she involves co-workers before acting, or acts on behalf of others.
The facts of the case are this: Two days before a scheduled union election (which was triggered by employees’ concerns relating to the way they were treated by management), a company supervisor allegedly made disrespectful remarks to three employees. According to reports, the supervisor told the employees, who were serving guests at a catered event, to turn their heads “toward the arriving guests and stop chitchatting” and later to “spread out, move, move” when he wanted them to clear the plates from the appetizer course.Details
Your employee claims to be injured while on the job. Although you may have doubts, as an employer in a state where workers’ rights and workers’ compensation are strictly regulated and enforced, what can you do? To deny the employee’s claim or challenge the validity of their injury could place you and your company at risk for a drawn-out legal battle. What’s more, an employer must provide workers’ compensation claim forms to the employee within one working day of receiving notice of the injury to the employee, so delaying is generally not an advisable course of (in)action.
Workers Comp BasicsDetails
California retailers have until April 8, 2015 to formally comment on new safety regulations proposed by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) which, if adopted, is expected to increase litigation risks and costs for retailers operating within California.
The ostensible purpose of these new regulations is to clearly specify warning requirements of Proposition 65, also known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986.
Prop 65: Rife With Ambiguities
Voters approved Proposition 65 (also known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act) nearly three decades ago to protect the public from chemicals that cause cancer or reproductive harm. The law requires retailers and businesses to post warnings alerting consumers to the presence of any one of over 900 listed chemicals “known to cause to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.”Details
Bad things happen to good businesses and to good people. Most businesses and individuals carry insurance for this reason. But what happens when the insurance carrier denies payment on the claim without a reasonable basis for doing so? Or, what if the insurer fails to properly investigate the claim in a timely manner? Where can you turn for help?
Although most states have enacted statutes to prohibit bad faith claims practices and also elect insurance commissioners to regulate and control insurance claim practices probably the most effective means for policyholders to enforce their rights is to file a civil lawsuit with the help of an experienced bad faith insurance lawyer alleging “bad faith” against their insurance company for denial of the claim or failure to reasonably investigate the claim in “good faith”.
In California, the insurer’s duty to act in good faith means the investigation of the insured’s claim must be reasonable and requires that the insurance company give at least equal consideration to the insureds’ financial interest as it gives to own interest. This also means the carrier must do a thorough, complete, fair and unbiased investigation before it can deny a claim.Details
The issue of expense reimbursement in the workplace is not a new one. Most employers are aware that they must reimburse an employee for certain expenses. In accordance with California Labor Code §2802, an employee is entitled to be reimbursed by an employer for all expenses or losses incurred in the direct consequence of the discharge of the employee’s work duties. These can include training, business travel, and uniforms. The rationale? Employers are not to pass operating expenses on to employees.