Basics of a Photography Contract

Any provider of services, especially those that aren’t provided immediately at the time of hire should have a binding photography contract outlining the terms of both your and your client’s expectations. Outlining the terms of the relationship not only protects both parties but it ensures that you get paid and can collect if there is a problem. Most importantly for the growth of your business, taking out the element of surprise results in a satisfying experience. Happy clients are happy to refer your services. What is a contract? A contract is an agreement with specific terms between 2 or more persons or entities (parties) where there is a promise to do something (performance) in exchange for something of value (consideration).   What should be in a photography contract? The 5 Ws and 1 H, or 6 Ws, we learned in high school English. (I went to an international school abroad but I’m sure we learned the same things.) Who, what, when, where, why, how. If you are a wedding photographer, the “why” would likely be obvious so we’ll focus on … Continue reading

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New California Law on Equal Pay

The new California law on equal pay between the sexes (SB 358) goes into effect January 1, 2016, and is considered the most aggressive equal pay law in the nation. The new law will create a much stricter standard for gender pay equity. California employers will want to begin preparing immediately for its impact. The Law Requires Equal Pay for Equal Work The new law will amend California’s Equal Pay Act to prohibit an employer from paying employees of one sex lower than employees of the opposite sex for “substantially similar work, when viewed as a composite of skill, effort, and responsibility, and performed under similar working conditions.” Limited Exceptions Available to Employers  If a wage differential exists, employers will escape liability only if they can show that the wage differential is based on: a seniority system; a merit system; a system that measures earnings by quality or quantity of production; or some other bona fide factor other than sex such as education, training, or experience. Should an employer attempt to justify a pay differential under this law as a bona fide … Continue reading

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10 Business Events that Should Trigger a Call to Your Lawyer

As an owner of a small business, I understand the external demands faced by small and medium-sized business owners.  Sometimes we think we can do it all . . . until we realize that we can’t.  At some point, a business owner wonders “when should I contact a lawyer?”  Unfortunately, many businesses wait until a problem that would have cost a few hundred dollars to fix turns into a $10,000 problem before finding a lawyer. Here is a list of when to call a lawyer for a quick consultation. As Desiderius Erasmus said, “prevention is better than cure.”  This is not an exhaustive list and the prevention is not absolute ,but at the very least, it will minimize your potential risks.  1.  Before hiring your first employee The Prevention: Violations of federal and California anti-discrimination laws; Misclassification of exempt and non-exempt employees; Violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and California laws on backgrounds checks and consumer reports; and Violations of federal and California employment laws on overtime pay, meal and rest breaks, and pay stub violations. 2.  Before firing an employee … Continue reading

In: California Civil Litigation, California Leave Law, Employment Law, Hiring a Lawyer | Leave a comment

Filing a Civil Lawsuit in California – Anatomy of a Lawsuit Part IV

This series applies to California lawsuits only. For rules related to lawsuits in any other state, visit the website for your state’s courts. This is a very broad overview. Multiple considerations must take place and detailed analysis goes into each step. Please consult a lawyer for help with your particular case. Below is an infographic chart with an overview on filing a civil lawsuit in California.  This article discusses step one, the actual filing of a civil lawsuit. Before Filing a Civil Lawsuit There are some considerations before filing a civil lawsuit in California, such as figuring out 1) What is the Deadline to File a Lawsuit; and 2) Where to File a Lawsuit. I almost always recommend communicating with the other side and working together to find a win-win solution to a problem before going the civil lawsuit route. Sometimes you can do that yourself but other times you may need a California business lawyer or a civil litigation attorney to step in help you negotiate a solution. If that doesn’t work and you hit an impasse, you may have no … Continue reading

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California Lawsuits – Anatomy of a Lawsuit Part III

This series applies to California lawsuits only. For rules regarding your state’s civil litigation procedure, visit the website for your state’s judicial branch. It’s been while since I wrote a post for the Anatomy of a Lawsuit series but I’m back. So far, we’ve discussed Statutes of Limitations and Where to File a Lawsuit. Today I will give you a broad overview of the trajectory a lawsuit. In the following weeks, I will discuss each part in greater detail. Filing a Lawsuit If you are considering filing a lawsuit or have been served with a summons and complaint and wondering “What to do after being served,” I would be happy to help you navigate through the complicated legal process.  Feel free to contact me here to call (949) 529-0007.   Next up, learn about Filing a Lawsuit in California.  Sign Up for Monthly Updates For Email Newsletters you can trust. Please read our disclaimer.

In: Anatomy of a Lawsuit, California Civil Litigation, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Post-Labor Day: Employment Law Blog Carnival

For many of us, Labor Day marks the end of summer – the last hurrah as the kids go back to school – the last day you could wear white (who came up with that rule anyway?). But since this is an Employment Law Blog Carnival, I thought we’d learn a little about the history of Labor Day as we get our monthly employment law update. What is Labor Day? Labor Day, the first Monday in September, was created by the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. Speaking of the labor movement, Janette Levey Frisch at The EmpLAWyerologist Firm did a great job of breaking down the NLRB’s recent ruling in the post “What Did the NLRB Say in its Ruling on Joint Employment–and Why?”  Donna Ballman at Screw You Guys, I’m Going Home outlines the steps to starting a union in the post “Is It Time to Start a Union at Your Workplace?” The growth of labor organizations brought about increased protections for workers. Jana Grimm’s post at Employment Essentials on “Workplace … Continue reading

In: Employment Law, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Cultural Awareness In Business Is Vital to Your Success

Last year, I helped another attorney with a case and attended a client meeting with him. We waited for the client in the conference room with 3 other people. When the client arrived, he apologized from being late in a thick Russian accent and proceeded to shake everyone’s hand . . . except mine. I wasn’t imagining it. He shook hands with the lawyer to my right, skipped me, shook hands with the man to my left, the man next to him, and the man next to him. So I stuck my hand out and introduced myself. You bet that my head was half in the meeting and half mulling over whether this meant that he would dismiss everything I said in that meeting. He was paying me for my advice so ignoring me only hurts him. After the 2 hour-long meeting, I went straight to Google and typed: “women handshake in Russian culture” and found an article in The Moscow Times that said: “In Russia, I have learned not to shake hands with women unless she offers her hand first. … Continue reading

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California Paid Sick Leave Law Clarified

The new California paid sick leave law went into effect on July 1, 2015. The law was so confusing that it was clarified with a new bill soon after. Is your policy in compliance? Here are the basics: Who gets leave: Employees who work for an employer for more than 30 days within a year is entitled to paid sick days. Accrual: At least 1 hour for every 30 hours worked. Accrual may be at a different rate if it is accrued regularly and the employee accrues 24 hours or 3 days of leave by the 120th day of work. Employers may cap accrual at 48 hours or 6 days per year. Carry-over: Accrued but unused sick days must carry over into the next year, unless you give the employees 3 days of paid sick leave at the beginning of each year. Use: Employee may start using accrued paid sick days beginning on the 90th day of employment. Employers may limit use to 24 hours or 3 days in each year of employment, calendar year, or 12 month period. Written notice: Employers … Continue reading

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New Law – Request for Disability and Religious Accommodation a Protected Activity

Yesterday (July 16, 2015) Governor Brown signed AB 987 into law, making it an unlawful employment practice for an employer or other covered entity to retaliate or otherwise discriminate against a person for “requesting” an accommodation for physical or mental disability or religious belief or observance, regardless of whether the request was granted. Doing so would constitute disability discrimination and/or religious discrimination. This bill was introduced in response to the Court of Appeal’s decision in Rope v. Auto-Clor System of Washington, Inc. (2013) 220 Cal.App.4th 635, where the court found no authority that a request for accommodation, without more, supports a FEHA retaliation claim).  The new law now provides that legal authority. New Law Makes REQUESTING Disability and Religious Accommodations a Protected Activity   Existing law requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodation of, among other things, a person’s disability and religious beliefs and prohibits discrimination against any person because the person has opposed any practices forbidden under the act or because the person has filed a complaint. This new law takes it a step further and prohibits an employer from retaliating or … Continue reading

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Are Your Employees Using Cell Phones for Business?

Personal Cell Phone Use is a Reimbursable Business Expense in California? Yes. Even if an employee has a unlimited plan? Yup. A California appellate court held in Cochran v. Schwan’s Home Service, Inc. that employers must always reimburse employees when they are using cell phones for business when that use is mandatory. This is true even if the employee has an unlimited cell phone plan and does not incur any additional expenses because of the business usage. Colin Cochran worked as a customer service manager for a food delivery provider. As part of his job, he used his personal cell phone to make business calls but the company did not reimburse him for the use of his phone. Cochran filed a putative class action lawsuit against his employer on behalf of 1,500 customer service managers.   The court of appeal agreed that failure to reimburse the cell phone use, even if the employee did not incur additional expenses, violated Labor Code Section 2802(a). The court did not specify how much an employer must pay an employee for his or her cell phone … Continue reading

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