Articles Posted in Employment

AdobeStock_330935716-300x169Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many non-essential businesses have been shut down, resulting in an unprecedented economic downfall for many employers.  In efforts to provide relief for employers, the government has passed the CARES Act, which will allow employers to save costs by deferring their Social Security payroll tax (6.2%) payments.  This deferral period applies to employee wages accrued between March 27, 2020 and December 31, 2020.  Once the deferral period has passed, the employer will be obligated to pay the “deferred amounts” to the U.S. Treasury in two installments.  The first half of the deferred amount of payroll taxes will be due on December 31, 2021, while the remaining half will be due on December 31, 2022.  The CARES Act also applies to all employers regardless of their sizes, including individuals who are self-employed.  The only exception is employers who have already received Small Business Act loans that are forgiven under the Cares Act.  These employers do not qualify for the payroll tax deferral.

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AdobeStock_332772649-300x200In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”) has agreed to disburse Emergency Economic Injury Grants of up to $10,000 to companies experiencing financial struggles.  Small business owners that apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan are eligible to receive the grants, which do not need to be repaid.

The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that provide crucial economic support to businesses dealing with loss of revenue due to COVID-19.

Companies that apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan will be provided immediate economic relief by the $10,000 economic injury grant.  Sole proprietors, landlords, vendors and self-employed contractors are all considered small businesses eligible to apply for the disaster loan.

AdobeStock_238081258-300x200Employee relations can create complicated legal issues for any California company. Hiring, daily operations, performance reviews, and termination all create situations in which your company or your employee may face impaired legal rights. By clearing stating each party’s rights and responsibilities in a written document that is freely available to all employees, your company can reduce the likelihood of legal disputes. The experienced employment attorneys at Structure Law Group have helped many California companies reduce their employment liability by writing employee handbooks. Call (408) 441-7500 to schedule your consultation today.

Here are three common mistakes employers make when drafting an employee handbook:

  • Not updating it to reflect changes in employment law.

AdobeStock_107108541-300x199Twenty years ago, the term “social media” meant an AOL instant message chat that likely wasn’t addressed in your employee handbook. But today, social media policies are workplace handbook essentials. Your employees may promote your company in one tweet while supporting viewpoints contrary to your corporate policies in the next. Use of social media platforms on work-based systems and networks is also a point of contention for many employers. In some rare instances, employees throughout the nation have even used social media on employer-supplied computers to conduct illegal activities.  Issues arise in Court because social media posts are not treated any differently than any other documentary evidence in a case, and all documents—unlike person-to-person conversations, live forever and can be spun and taken out of context.

Given the fast-evolving social media landscape, social media policies are no longer really optional if employers want to have a well-run businesses. You have the right to regulate your employees’ use of work-based systems.  An experienced California employment lawyer at Structure Law Group, LLP can help you draft employment agreements to protect you from potential social media disasters.

Defining Social Media in Your Employee Handbook

AdobeStock_152432443-300x200Human resources is a growing industry primarily because of the complicated federal, state, and local employment laws applicable to all businesses. From tax withholding and worker’s compensation insurance to non-discriminant hiring practices and immigration considerations, the hiring process can quickly overwhelm a business. The following specifications highlight the primary employment law considerations applicable to any growing companies. Although this list will be helpful, you should contact a qualified employment law attorney in your local jurisdiction as soon as you identify the need to hire employees, as there are even laws that apply to the advertising process.

Insurance Requirements

Companies consisting only of contractors and non-employee owners are not subject to the same health, disability, unemployment, liability, and worker’s compensation insurance requirements applicable to “employers.” While carrying liability insurance, such as renters or property insurance, is always a best practice and may be required by local law, federal and state law requires employers to carry the following insurance:

AdobeStock_125549643-300x200Employee benefits can be goods, services, or deferred compensation provided to employees in addition to wages. Federal law governs certain mandatory employee benefits, such as sick leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), while other benefits are voluntary perks of employment. In addition to the minimum requirements required by federal law, many states, including California require additional benefits.

For example, California requires employers to pay into or carry short-term disability insurance. Understanding mandatory employee benefits and the laws governing the same are crucial to starting a business in California. Business of all sizes that fail to adhere to federal and state employee benefits regulations may face costly litigation and/or tax penalties.

Types of Employee Benefits  

Employee-Stock-Ownership-Plan-300x200The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission reports that many companies are using stock options as a way to attract and retain employees in the booming California business market. Employees granted stock options can profit by purchasing shares at a set exercise price and trading them at a higher price. Stock option incentives not only make employees more involved in your company but also provide an incentive for employees to help your Palo Alto business succeed. The better your business, the better your employees’ eventual payout.

The experienced Palo Alto business plan and stock option attorneys at Structure Law Group can use their expertise to review your stock option plan. We can analyze market trends and help you choose the best exercise price for your goals while protecting your legal interests. To schedule your stock option consultation, call our Palo Alto, California business attorneys today at 408-441-7500 or contact us online.

California Stock Option Law

He may have looked the part, spoken well in the interview, and had the right experience. In fact, he seemed like a great fit for your company. It’s only after a few months that you realize why he was available in the first place. Employees who clearly engage in wrongful conduct such as sexual harassment, violation of company policies, or constant tardiness are often easier to terminate than employees who aren’t the right fit for the corporate environment. San Jose businesses may fear wrongful termination litigation after firing an employee for causing dissent among the staff or failing to embody corporate values. California, like most states, is an “at will” employment state. This means that absent a contract, you have the right to terminate an employee at any time and for any reason that doesn’t violate state or federal law.

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Avoiding Wrongful Termination Lawsuits in California – 2 exceptions to the rule

1. Although California is an “at will” employment state, there are two notable exceptions to this rule. First, an employee with an employment contract may be protected from a termination “without cause.” This means that there must be a justifiable reason for her termination as defined in the employment contract. The employee may also be entitled to certain notice and disciplinary warnings before termination. We can review any employment contracts at issue to ensure a termination complies with these provisions.

In the Silicon Valley technology sector, intellectual property is more than just a buzzword. It is an asset with the potential to generate significant income for years to come. Intellectual property includes patents, copyrights, and trademarks. Many employers protect their intellectual property with invention assignment agreements and confidentiality agreements.

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What types of Agreement can be used to protect my company’s intellectual property?

There are many different types of agreements that employers can use to protect their intellectual property. The appropriate one for your business depends on what specific protections your business wishes to enact. An invention assignment agreement is a contract that establishes the employer’s ownership over all creations (including patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and other inventions) that are created at the employer’s expense on company time.

Options When Faced with a Legal Dispute

When faced with a legal dispute, it is important to know what your options are. A San Jose business owner typically juggles multiple commercial relationships on a regular basis – vendors, clients, employees, contractors, and business partners. Given the nature of running a business, it is likely that a legal dispute will come up at some point. When this happens, it is very important to educate yourself on what your options are. Litigation can subject a business to unnecessary stress, be huge time sink, and cost you significant legal fees and expenses. Alternative dispute resolutions like mediation and arbitration are processes that may allow you and the other side to reach a solution that you both can live with without the substantial causalities that litigation typically entails.

The experienced San Jose corporate attorneys at Structure Law Group have extensive experience in litigation, mediation, and arbitration. They can discuss the pros and cons of each option with you and help you pick the best course of action for your business.

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