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California Law

  • January 2021 Employers big and small benefit from having detailed, updated handbooks.  Handbooks are a great way to communicate internal and mandatory policies. They can help employees find answers to many employment related questions. Handbooks can also help employers protect or defend against liability.  Mandatory Policies California mandates that employers develop and distribute certain policies to their employees. For example, employers must have written policies concerning discrimination, harassment, and retaliation prevention.  A handbook is an efficient way to distribute these policies and helps protect the employer if discrimination, harassment, or retaliation claims arise.  At-Will Employment A handbook is an effective […]

  •   December 2020 Out of state businesses with out of state employees may now be subject to California labor requirements under the recently published case Gulf Offshore Logistics, LLC v. The Superior Court of Ventura County. In Gulf Offshore, the Court held that employees were entitled to protections under California law because they performed all or most of their work in California, despite living outside of California and working for a Louisiana based company. The defendant company in Gulf Offshore was headquartered in Louisiana. The plaintiffs Gulf Offshore were “crew members on a vessel that provided maintenance services to offshore […]

  • December 2020 Changes to Home Improvement Contract Requirements in Effect January 1, 2021: New “5-Day Right to Cancel” Requirement for Contracts with Senior Citizens, New Construction Categories Added to “Home Improvement” Type Work and New License Classification for Residential Remodeling Contractors. As most contractors are aware, contracts for home improvement work must comply with unique requirements set forth in the Business and Professions Code (“BPC”).[1] BPC section 7159 identifies the requirements for home improvement contracts exceeding $500. Right to Cancel Home Improvement Contracts Extended for Individuals 65 Years of Age or Older from Three to Five Business Days. The changes […]

  • December 2020 LICENSED TO CONTRACT: A Reminder About Licensing Pitfalls for Contractors and How to Avoid Them James Bond, a.k.a. 007, was famously licensed to kill.  Without this license, Mr. Bond would have been in serious trouble with the authorities.  The same is true for a contractor. By performing construction work without a valid contractor’s license, a contractor is playing a very dangerous game and could lose it all.   It is well known that all contractors in California must be licensed by the Contractors’ State License Board (CSLB).  If a contractor is unlicensed at any point while performing construction […]

  • December 2020 One-Year Statute of Limitations Held to Apply to Disgorgement Under California Business & Professions Code § 7031 A recent decision by the Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District should draw the attention of contractors (as well as project owners and developers) statewide.  In Eisenberg Village etc. v. Suffolk Construction Co., Inc. (2020) 53 Cal. App. 5th 1201, the Court of Appeal ruled that the disgorgement remedy provided in Business & Professions Code § 7031(b) is a penalty and therefore subject to a one-year statute of limitations pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure § 340(a).  The Court […]

  •   November 2020 Despite being a single sentence, Business and Professions Code § 16600 establishes substantial rights for employees to freely work in the profession of their choosing.  Section 16600 says in its entirety: “Except as provided in this chapter, every contract by which anyone is restrained from engaging in a lawful profession, trade, or business of any kind is to that extent void.”  Section 16600 makes most non-compete agreement unenforceable in California. Understandably, section 16600 frustrates employers who have spent time and expense training employees only to see those employees freely leave to work for the competition. While employers […]

  • November 2020 For many businesses, a commission-based workforce seems like a win-win arrangement.  Employees do not have a cap on how much they can earn while employers get the benefit of a motivated workforce and no guaranteed salaries for underperforming employees. Semprini v. Wedbush Securities, Inc. No. G057740 2020 Cal.App. LEXIS 1061, is a cautionary tale that commission only employees are not exempt from overtime. In Semprini, two financial advisors brought a class action claim against Wedbush Securities, Inc. (“Wedbush”) for unpaid overtime. At trial, the trial court determined that the financial advisors were properly classified as exempt employees and, […]

  •   November 2020 Several new employment laws are going into effect in California on January 1, 2021. These new laws expand coverage of the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”) and establish employer obligations in response to COVID-19 outbreaks.  SB 1383 Expands Coverage of the CFRA SB 1383 is an expansion of the CFRA. The most sweeping change to the CFRA in SB 1383 is the expansion to small businesses. The CFRA currently guarantees unpaid leave to employees if the employer has 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius. SB 1383 will guarantee leave to employees if the employer has […]

  •   November 2020 Attorneys know all too well the propensity of apathetic or discontented defendants for evasive litigation strategies, but a recent case serves as an important reminder that a willful failure to participate in a lawsuit, even at times of significant personal hardship, may have dire consequences. In Kramer v. Traditional Escrow, Inc., No. G058522, 2020 Cal. App. LEXIS 972 (Cal. Ct. App. Oct. 20, 2020), Michelle Kramer (“Kramer”) filed a lawsuit against her employer, Traditional Escrow, Inc. and Annette Scherrer-Cosner (“Cosner”), seeking a $20,030.90 commission payment. Kramer’s allegations were never heard in court, however, after Cosner made the […]

  • 2021 is just around the corner and with it comes significant changes to the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”) from Senate Bill (“SB”) 1383. The CFRA is the state companion statute to the federal Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”).  It generally provides qualifying employees up to 12 weeks of paid or unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a child, to care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition, or because of an inability to work because of a serious health condition.  Employees qualify if they have worked for an employer for at least 12 […]