When a Start-Up Needs an Employee Handbook

Once a company grows to 20 employees or more, it may be time to create an employee handbook. Here are some common objections to this formality and how to overcome them. Continue reading

10 Tips for Workplace Investigation Interviews

Businesspeople at meeting

Given the employer’s duty to “take all reasonable steps” to prevent discrimination, harassment, and other unlawful practices (Govt C §12940(h)(5), (k); 29 CFR §1604.11(d)), employment lawyers can expect to  conduct—or assist a client in conducting—a workplace investigation. Although most will be well-acquainted with the fact-finding process, the role of a litigator and the role of an investigator are quite different and implicate different goals, interests, and naturally, a whole host of different problems. Continue reading

Are You Ready for the New Mandatory Sick Leave Law?

The following is a guest blog post by Tyler M. Paetkau, a partner with Hartnett, Smith & Paetkau in Redwood City. Tyler represents employers in all aspects of labor and employment law. He’s a frequent author and speaker on labor and employment law issues, and the former Chair of the Executive Committee of the Labor and Employment Law Section of the State Bar of California.

California employers and employment lawyers have been (hopefully) planning for the new mandatory sick leave law for many months and now it’s finally here! Here’s a look at the law. Continue reading

Employee Leave Law F.A.Q.s

It can be very confusing to calculate entitlements under employee leave laws—particularly the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA)—and even more complicated trying to figure out how the laws interact with each other. Continue reading

Play Fair: Guidelines for New Employees Hired from a Competitor

505283113It’s common for customers or clients to want to stick with the person who has been handling their account even when that person moves to a different company. But this situation can create serious issues around trade secrets and unfair competition. So, whenever you hire someone from a competitor, give that new employee guidelines to follow—it will save everyone legal headaches. Continue reading

Employers: 9 Provisions You Need in a Whistleblower Policy

ThinkstockPhotos-497691905A potential whistleblower need only run a quick Internet search to find many attorneys ready to take his or her case. Knowing this, employers need to be proactive: Any employer handbook or policy and procedures manual should include provisions aimed at educating all workers about the rights and obligations of whistleblowers. Continue reading

Who’s an Independent Contractor in the New Economy?

ThinkstockPhotos-86492263Updated June 17, 2015: The California Labor Commission has found that a driver for Uber in San Francisco is an employee of the company.

Deciding whether to treat workers as employees or independent contractors is tricky in general and even more so in the context of the new so-called sharing economy. In recent decisions, courts have refused to resolve whether the drivers for Lyft and Uber should be treated as employees or independent contractors, leaving it for juries to tackle the question. And the answer could majorly impact the companies’ highly successful business model. Continue reading

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