Who’s an Independent Contractor in the New Economy?

ThinkstockPhotos-86492263Deciding 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

Should You Check a Job Applicant’s Social Media Posts?

178161035Employers are wondering whether browsing public social media sites to learn more about a job applicant is worth the potential risks. A CareerBuilder survey found that 39% of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates, but do the other 61% have good reasons to stay away?  Continue reading

Checklist to Keep Employee Discipline on a Legal Track

533402213Employers walk a fine line when it comes to employee discipline: they must enforce their rules while also protecting employee rights. Target seems to have missed the mark recently—a lawsuit alleges an employee committed suicide after his public shaming that was part of discipline following an accusation against him of theft. To help employers stay on track, apply this discipline checklist in every situation. Continue reading

10 Steps to Hiring Without Violating Disability Discrimination Laws

stk205067rkeRegardless of whether a job applicant has an apparent disability, employers should always follow these 10 steps to reduce the risk of liability for running afoul of the anti-discrimination provisions of the ADA or the FEHA. Continue reading

New Year, New Laws for Employment Lawyers

464956543The 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.

The California legislature has enacted several new laws that will affect every employer and employment lawyer in 2015. Here’s an overview of some of the key statutory changes you need to know about. Continue reading

Pharmacy Liable for Employee’s Illegal Peek at Customer Prescription Records

flirty business man appearing on laptopIn what’s being touted as a national precedent, the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a $1.4 million trial court verdict for a Walgreens customer whose prescription information was leaked by a pharmacist to a third party. This may be one of the first times a health care provider was found liable under state negligence law for an employee’s failure to follow the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)—and serves as a cautionary tale for employers in every state. Continue reading

Who Pays for Employee Cell Phone Use?

187625854For many employees, their cell phones are always close at hand, whether at work or in their personal life. But what if the employer requires employees to use their personal cell phones for work-related activities? Then we have a work/personal hybrid situation, and determining what part the employer should reimburse as a work expense becomes tricky. A California court of appeal recently waded into this issue, but not far enough. Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: