Free Webinar: New California Employment Laws Going Into Effect in 2021 (some already have)

As a California business owner or advisor, you may have been juggling the challenges of keeping the business afloat, keeping employees safe, and keeping updated on the new regulations that seem to appear every day.

To help with that last task, this free webinar will address the new California employment laws that recently went into effect and/or will go into effect in 2021.
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Do I Need a Lawyer? What to Look for When Hiring a Lawyer

You didn’t see it coming and it knocked the wind out of you.  You were furloughed.  You were fired. Your employee sued.  You did exceptional work and your client refuses to pay. Someone took advantage of your kindness, your flexibility, your willingness to help.  You were sexually harassed.  You were fired.  You were treated poorly, taken advantage of, and it shook you to the core. Your emotions cycle between confusion, hurt, and anger. You may even feel shameful and embarrassed that you found yourself in this situation. At some point you wonder if it’s your fault and how could you have kept this from happening? But then you realize it’s not your fault and that you should do something; you need to do something.  But you don’t know what to do.  Someone you trust, perhaps your father, your spouse, sibling, or a friend, said you should talk to a lawyer. But you’ve never hired a lawyer before and you don’t see yourself as the type of person who hires a lawyer. It feels so aggressive and just the thought of … Continue reading

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CARES Act – Paycheck Protection Program

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or the “CARES Act” became law on March 27, 2020. The CARES Act was passed in an effort to help small businesses continue operations and retain workers as the country meets the challenge of curbing the devastation of COVID-19 and the resulting impact such efforts have had, and will continue to have, on the economy. The CARES Act is an extensive piece of legislation. This post will focus on providing a summary of the main provisions related to the Paycheck Protection Program available to businesses with less than 500 employees. What is the Paycheck Protection Program? The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) allows the Small Business Administration (SBA) to administer and work with lenders to provide forgivable loans to small businesses through June 30, 2020, to be used by borrowers for certain permissible purposes related to payroll costs and certain necessary business expenses. Who qualifies for the Paycheck Protection Program? To qualify for the Paycheck Protection Loan, the borrower must be: 1. A businesses with not more than 500 employees; Includes, individuals who … Continue reading

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Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) Signed Into Law

Yesterday, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) was passed into law and goes into effect on April 1, 2020, and stays in effect until December 31, 2020. If you are an employer with less than 500 employees, please read because this will apply to you. Employers, check out our COVID-19 Resource Guide. The Act: requires private insurance plans to provide free COVID-19 testing; requires employers to provide emergency paid sick leave to workers affected by COVID-19 and expands family and medical leave; and provides increased funding for state unemployment insurance programs, food stamp and nutritional programs and others. This post will focus on the emergency family and medical leave and emergency sick leave aspects of the Act, which will affect the vast majority of employers and employees across the country. There are two provisions providing paid leave to employees forced to miss work because of the COVID-19 outbreak: an emergency expansion of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and a new federal paid sick leave law. Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act FMLA Coverage is Expanded to Include Most Employers – The Act … Continue reading

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COVID-19 Resource Guide for Employers

Please keep in mind that the situation is ever-developing and information and guidelines will constantly change. That being said, as of today, there are many programs available to you both on the state and federal level. Where can I get help if my business is facing financial strain due to COVID-19? The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) provides small business owners with low-interest disaster relief loans if their business is in a state and county that has been declared an “Eligible Disaster Area” by the SBA. In California, as of March 16, the following counties have been declared as eligible: Alameda, Calaveras, Contra Costa, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Mateo, Sonoma, Tuolumne, Alpine, Amador, El Dorado, Imperial, Kern, Lake, Madera, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Merced, Mono, Napa, Orange, Placer, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Joaquin, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Stanislaus, Sutter, Ventura and Yolo. If your business is located in an Eligible Disaster Area, you may qualify for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) from the SBA. To qualify, an applicant must have an acceptable credit history, … Continue reading

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AB5 – New Independent Contractor Law

Watch my FREE AB5 WEBINAR on-demand to learn about “AB5 and the ABC Test for independent contractors.” What You Will Learn In this AB5 webinar you will learn about: The new ABC test for independent contractors. Which professions/categories of workers are exempt from the ABC test. How to keep those excepted categories independent contractors. Consequences for misclassifying workers, including individual liability. What you can do to minimize exposure. Did You Get a Letter from the EDD? California companies received a letter from the EDD about AB5 (Assembly Bill 5) and the ABC test in Dynamex v. Superior Court. Many business owners are hearing about the expansion of the new independent contractor test for the first time just days before the law went into for the New Year on January 1, 2020. Are you trying to wrap your head around the new AB5 rules and asking the following questions? Do I have to convert independent contractors to employees? Can I keep independent contractors as contractors? How do I keep independent contractors a contractors? What are the risks of misclassifying independent contractors? Background AB 5 was the big bill to watch this year. … Continue reading

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Accommodating Employee with Anxiety

About 40 million American adults or approximately 18% of the population suffers from an anxiety disorder according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. This makes anxiety disorders the most common mental illness in the United States. Excessive anxiety can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, school work, and relationships, at a certain level, it could meet the definition of a disability under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Since almost 1 in 5 adults suffers from an anxiety disorder, it is likely that an employer with five or more employees (and therefore subject to FEHA) will have an employee who suffers from an anxiety disorder.  What is an employer’s obligation if it learns that an employee suffers from anxiety and it’s affecting the employee’s ability to work?  Assuming that an employee suffers from severe or chronic disorder that interferes with their activities of daily living (not merely the occasional anxiety that we may feel when faced with uncertainty, a micro-manager, or the like), below are some basic steps an employer should follow. Remember the objective. … Continue reading

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Race Discrimination Includes Hair Discrimination

The Governor of California approved SB 188, known as the CROWN Act, in July 2019 to amend anti-discrimination laws in the areas of education, employment, and housing. Hair As a Proxy for Race In the employment context, the bill noted that in U.S. society, hair has historically been one of many determining factors of a person’s race and that hair today remains a proxy for race. Workplace dress code and grooming policies that prohibit natural hair, including afros, braids, twists, and locks, have a disparate impact on Black individuals as these policies are more likely to deter Black applicants and burden or punish Black employees than any other group. Thus, hair discrimination targeting hairstyles associated with race is racial discrimination. California’s Anti-Discrimination Law To review, under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), it is unlawful to engage in specified discriminatory employment practices, including hiring, promotion, and termination based on certain protected characteristics, including race, unless based on a bona fide occupational qualification or applicable security regulations. FEHA also prohibits housing discrimination based on specified personal characteristics, including race. … Continue reading

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Employee Pay: On-Call Shifts and Reporting Time Pay

Putting employees on-call or requiring them to call in before shifts could raise employee pay issues.  Businesses that experience fluctuations in foot traffic, calls, or demand, face the difficulty of predicting employee schedules. Since needs change quickly, it could be difficult to anticipate how many employees the business needs on any given day or part of the day. Many businesses choose to address this difficulty by scheduling employees for on-call shifts to ensure that there are workers on stand-by who are ready to step in on short notice if the need arises.  Depending on your business’s particular rules and practices related to these on-call shifts, you may have employee pay violations if on-call employees are not paid “reporting time” pay. A California Court of Appeal in the case of Ward v. Tilly’s, Inc., addressed the question of what it means to “report to work” for purposes of determining whether the employee is owed “reporting time pay” under the wage order (Wage Order 7 that governs the mercantile industry in this case). In that case, Tilly’s scheduled its employees for a … Continue reading

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2018 Holiday Party Checklist

We’re in the last month of 2018, which may feel like mayhem for many business owners.  It’s a difficult time. There are fewer work days, yet the client and customer deadlines remain; you’re evaluating employees and business year-end goals; you’re finalizing 2019 goals and strategies to meet those goals; and then there are the parties.  There are parties you’re attending and the one you’re putting together for your employees. As you recognize (that’s why you’re throwing one) holiday parties are valuable. According to the Center for Management & Organization Effectiveness, a holiday office party could improve company culture in the following ways: It represents the preferred company culture in a light way; It unites office subcultures; It provides opportunities for recognition; It gives a morale boost; and It allows employees to interact with executives and upper management. But as a business owner, you walk a tightrope.  You’re worried about putting on an office holiday party that is enjoyable for employees and positively contributes to the company culture on the one hand and making sure that things don’t get out of … Continue reading

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