Gender Discrimination: Still Present in California Workplaces

A Los Angeles jury has awarded a former UCLA oncologist $13 million in damages in a gender discrimination case. Dr. Lauren Pinter-Brown claimed that while she was working at UCLA, she was subjected to harsher treatment than her male colleagues and that when she did complain about her treatment, her employer retaliated against her.

The jury agreed, awarding $3 million in economic damages and $10 million in non-economic damages against UCLA. This recent decision highlights the need for thorough training about workplace discrimination and uniform reporting and investigation procedures for following up on discrimination complaints.

Tips for Dissolving a Business Partnership

Just as forming a business partnership under California law requires completion of certain tasks, ending a partnership is also a process. General partnerships, where there is no specific end date, must be dissolved using three basic steps. These steps apply when partners voluntarily agree to dissolve the partnership. Where partners cannot agree, legal action is typically the best way to resolve disputes over the dissolution process.

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.

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.

Non-Competes in California – A Non-Starter?

Are non-compete agreements truly a thing of the past in California? It seems that the California Supreme Court would like employers to think so. After all, in 2008 the Court brought down the hammer on these covenants not to compete (a clause under which one party (usually an employee) agrees not to enter into or start a similar profession or trade in competition against another party (usually the employer)), holding that California Business Code §16600 prohibits all restraints on trade, including non-solicitation provisions (Edwards v. Arthur Anderson, 44 Cal. 4th 937(2008)).