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

Volunteers Cause Winery Woes

vinyardVolunteers and for-profit businesses shouldn’t be served together. That lesson has proved to be fatal for a small California winery. Continue reading

You Don’t Own Me—Is it Employer or Employee Social Media Content?

187962221The following is a guest blog post by Olga Savage of Hartnett, Smith & Paetkau in Redwood City. Olga primarily represents employers in labor and employment law matters.

Many employers have implemented employment contracts and policies that specifically provide that the employer owns all developments, technological or otherwise, by employees during their employment. But what happens when employees have pre-employment social media accounts that they use to develop business during their employment? And what happens when an employee uses his or her pre-existing social media account to market, advertise, and/or develop business for his or her employer? Continue reading

Lessons on Social Media in the Workplace

485226707The 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 workplace has certainly been affected by the explosion of social media. Courts and administrative agencies are grappling with complex issues involving employee personal privacy, harassment, defamation, trade secret misappropriation, and union-organizing efforts in the age of social media. Although the rules are far from clear, there is some guidance for employers out there. Continue reading

Should You Go on the Offense Against a Wrongful Termination Plaintiff?

493444849When sued by a former employee for wrongful termination, many employers feel that the best defense is a strong offense and want to attack back with a cross-complaint. But is this a good game plan? Continue reading

Conducting a Fair Workplace Investigation

475850687Every employment attorney at some point will be asked either to conduct or assist with a workplace investigation. Attorneys taking on this role will need to act as a neutral fact finder and refrain from zealous advocacy, a change a pace for many. Continue reading

Action Plan for Handling Harassment Claims

79166511Just in case employers have forgotten how critical it is to avoid and properly handle harassment claims, the recent $1.5 million settlement against JPMorgan should serve as a reminder. Advise all employers to take action and have a plan to protect employees and minimize harassment claims. Continue reading

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