Articles Posted in Employment

Fotolia_206780729_Subscription_Monthly_M-300x129Hiring a new employee is an important business decision that can impact your business’s success. You must take the necessary steps to protect both your business and keep your employee happy, especially today when the unemployment rate is at a historic low . If your San Jose business is considering hiring a new employee, there are some things you might consider.

Confidentiality Agreement

Your business likely has certain information it must keep confidential. This might be company trade secrets, business methods, and sensitive employee or customer data and information. Liability concerns and legal compliance with laws (e.g., HIPPA) require a business to have safeguards in place. One of these safeguards might include a confidentiality agreement.  A confidentiality agreement is a specially crafted legal agreement that an employee signs upon acceptance of his or her employment, or inherently agrees to through the employee handbook. The agreement should include remedies if an employee breaches the confidentiality agreement. A skilled San Jose business attorney can assist your business in drafting the necessary agreement tailored to your business’s needs.

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Uber is almost an institution in many of our daily lives, much like Google, Amazon, or Apple. But even though many of us may simply think of Uber as the name that fulfills many of our transportation needs, it is still a company – it has offices, hires people, fights for its rights, and makes corporate policies and decisions. To this end, over the last several years Uber has been making headlines, and one reason for this is that the way in which Uber classifies its drivers has come under heavy scrutiny. In the past, Uber has been involved in heavy litigation in order to classify its drivers as “independent contractors” as opposed to employees (discussed further below), and a recently settled case involving this very issue will have a lasting effect on this classification.

Independent Contractors vs. Employees

The IRS treats independent contractors and employees very differently for tax purposes. According to the IRS, an independent contractor is a person who has a high degree of control over their work . Independent contractors are also typically not offered benefits.

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A lawsuit can be an overwhelming experience for any business owner – particularly if you have not previously had any dealings with the court system. But it’s not cause for panic. The skilled employment law attorneys at Structure Law Group can help San Jose employers resolve such disputes through litigation, arbitration, the Labor Commissioner, mediation, or simple settlement negotiations. The experience of a knowledgeable attorney can allow for fast and effective resolution of employment claims with the least expense possible.

The Many Strategies for Dispute Resolution

Sometimes, a motion to the court can be used to end the litigation before it begins. This is what Yahoo’s legal team did to effectively end a gender discrimination lawsuit that had been filed against the company. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the tech giant had been sued by a former manager who alleged that the company’s performance evaluation system could be manipulated to produce a gender bias. In an interesting twist, the bias was alleged to favor women, and the lawsuit was filed by a male manager who claimed to have been treated unfairly by it. Yahoo maintained that the manager had been fired as a result of his poor performance. A federal judge dismissed the case before Yahoo incurred the expense of discovery, mediation, arbitration, or settlement negotiations.

Non-Compete-1-300x200In the innovative and competitive culture of the California job market, intellectual property rights are valuable and fiercely guarded. Many employers favor agreements which prohibit their employees from disclosing trade secrets or working for their competitors. Unfortunately, many of these agreements are wholly unenforceable by a California court of law. With the legal advice of an experienced California intellectual property attorney, business owners can access the appropriate tools to protect their legal interests.

The Trouble With Non-Compete Agreements

As a general rule, California law does not allow for enforcement of non compete agreements (NCAs) against an employee after he or she leaves the company. This position espouses a larger public policy which favors an employee’s right to choose to change employers. Many employers believe they can get around the rule prohibiting NCAs with careful wording or crafty legal argument. California courts have almost always seen through these creative tactics, and uniformly refused to enforce them against employees. The Huffington Post reports on just some of the many arguments which have not persuaded California courts:

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For many Silicon Valley companies, incentive stock options are an important investment strategy for maintaining long-term relationships with employees. It is important to find the investment strategy which is right for your business. The experienced Silicon Valley corporate attorneys at Structure Law Group will help your business identify its employment and investment needs, and access the tools which most efficiently meet these needs.

What Are Your Goals?

The first step in implementing incentive stock options is to consider the specific goals you wish to meet by use of such options. Do you hope to retain employees who might be considering employment elsewhere? Are there specific sales or design goals you need to meet? By identifying the specific problem, employers can determine whether incentive stock options are the appropriate tool to meet their goals.

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Employment law is a constantly changing landscape of regulations promulgated on a national state, and even local level. Wages, gender discrimination, hours, working conditions, safety precautions, and many other aspects of the employee-employer relationship are regulated by federal, state and local employment laws. A San Jose employment law attorney can help protect employers’ rights while also helping to ensure compliance with employment laws and regulations.  Following are California laws which have been recently updated to provide employees with more legal protections.

Situations in Which Employees Have the Legal Right to Take Time off Work

Sections 230 and 230.1 of the California Labor Code provide specific rights to workers who have been the victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. In general, these laws protect an employee’s right to take time off work to attend to matters related to the crime they have suffered. These matters include: obtaining a restraining order or other legal protection, seeking medical attention, obtaining services from domestic violence shelters or rape crisis centers, participating in psychological counseling, and creating a safety plan to prevent the recurrence of the crime. Employers are prohibited from terminating, discriminating, or retaliating against an employee who exercises these rights.

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California is one of the most innovative and creative job markets in the world. Every year, advances in a wide variety of industries reach consumers as a direct result of work done by California employees. Fashion, entertainment, technology – these are just a few of the many industries which develop cutting-edge consumer goods in California. Employers can protect their valuable intellectual property in this creative and fast-paced market by making sure to have their employees sign a non-disclosure agreement. With strategic employment agreements, such as non-disclosure agreements, employers can create legally enforceable protections for their products, designs, developments, and other intellectual property.

What is Intellectual Property?

Intellectual property is a broad term which applies to creations of the mind. It can apply to artistic works, such a manuscripts or songs. It can apply to branding, such as logos, colors, and package designs. It can also apply to designs for inventions and consumer goods. All of these types of intellectual property have value, which is owned by an employer who hired a worker to create them. In some cases, this intellectual property can be a highly valuable asset. Employers should seek out an experienced California Employment Attorney to help ensure they have the correct strategic employment agreements to take precautions to protect their intellectual property.

Fotolia_148839470_Subscription_Monthly_M-300x200Risk management is an important strategy for any business. Silicon Valley businesses can protect themselves from liability with effective indemnification provisions – These provisions can be instrumental to easing the financial burden of a lawsuit against your company.  Rather than your company paying for the legal costs of a lawsuit due to one of your business partners, you can obligate your business partners to pay for the legal costs through an indemnification provision. Learn more about the terms and conditions of indemnification and how to protect your business from future legal liability.

How Do I Indemnify My Business?

The first step to drafting an effective legal indemnification is identifying the specific types of liability your business needs to be indemnified from. For example, some businesses, such as theme parks, are based around services which are potentially dangerous to consumers. It is important that these businesses appropriately indemnify themselves against claims by those who use their business facilities. Specifically, theme parks may want to consider obtaining an indemnification in any contract with repair or technician companies providing repair and maintenance to their theme park rides. Professionals with high rates of malpractice claims (such as obstetricians) must also consider the appropriate means for indemnifying themselves against legal claims by patients.

Silicon Valley companies have human resource (HR) departments to manage employment issues. HR departments both limit the company’s exposure to legal liability for employment-related claims and

facilitate the timely resolution of workplace disputes. For small companies, however, it can be difficult to train, staff, and maintain HR employees. A Silicon Valley employment law attorney can help you determine whether an HR department is right for your business.

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The Cost-Benefit Analysis of Human Resources 

Changing employment can be a stressful, life-changing event. Severance benefits can, however, ease the transition period. With sound advice from a skilled employment law attorney, Californiafotolia_127084189-300x300 employees and employers can both negotiate severance packages which suit their needs.

While it may seem like a severance package is simply a final lump sum figure, the reality is that it can be a complex combination of many different components. An effective negotiation begins with identifying which of those components are most important to you. For example: many employees may be concerned with continued access to health insurance, and may therefore negotiate a lower lump sum payout in exchange for continued coverage. Employers, on the other hand, may be concerned with preventing a future lawsuit against the company. These employers may negotiate a comprehensive release of liability in exchange for the employee’s agreement not to sue the company.

Some people imagine negotiations as a poker game, in which neither party reveals his or her ultimate goals. This will not result in any resolution – let alone one which satisfies both sides. Instead, it is important for each side to be clear about what is most important so that solutions can be tailored to the needs of all involved parties.