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Huntington Beach Law Blog

Addressing frivolous lawsuits

Frivolous lawsuits are the last thing any small business wants to deal with. Unfortunately, any owner can be susceptible to them – and it can be a big headache for everyone involved. It just goes to show that no matter how strategic and careful an organization is, it can still be subject to petty litigation.

Luckily, most frivolous litigation cases are empty threats. The people filing suit are often dissatisfied customers acting like yard bullies who are just looking to pick a fight. However, that doesn’t mean they will not win the case.

Accommodations for your worker with autism

Temple Grandin, a renowned professor of animal science at Colorado State University, said "the world needs all kinds of minds" in her Ted Talk back in 2013. Ms. Grandin, like many others across the United States, lives with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), which is previously known as autism. The disorder is difficult to characterize because individual cases vary greatly. Some common behaviors of ASD include social awkwardness, sensitivity to external stimuli and repeated actions or body motions.

Despite what you may hear, the disorder is not always debilitating. In fact, some people on the spectrum have heightened levels of intelligence and abilities. Some of the world's most brilliant and respected individuals like Bill Gates, Tim Burton, Susan Boyle, and Albert Einstein all have ASD. Unfortunately, most people on the spectrum have a hard time finding jobs. According to Market Watch, nearly 85% of college graduates with ASD are unemployed, and it's not because they lack ability. The interview process and social nuances of the modern workplace can be a nightmare for some with ASD, which makes it harder for them to find or keep a job despite their versatile talents.

AB5 could change definitions of contractor and employee

Protesters made their way through the California Capitol building last week, pressuring lawmakers to pass AB5, a bill that would require companies like Uber and Lyft to treat their workers as employees instead of independent contractors. The legislature has to decide on AB5 before the end of their session on Sept. 13. Both rideshare companies and their workers have thrown a lot of time and money into lobbying the issue. California Governor Gavin Newsom has even said that if Uber and Lyft want a say in the decision, they will have to arrange an agreement with labor groups or face “insurmountable” opposition.

If AB5 passes, the bill could help more than just rideshare drivers. Those benefits could expand to workers in other industries as well, including janitors, salon workers and cable installers.

Insurers help design disaster-resistant homes

Some of the most beautiful properties in California are unfortunately in areas prone to fires and other human-made or natural disasters. Those who wish and can afford to build there nevertheless still want to avoid receiving money property losses – there has been $170 billion paid in property losses here in the U.S. since 2016. With climate change a reality, that number is likely to continue to rise. This has led insurers to get involved with the planning and building of properties.

Do insurers do that?

Your company's handbook can set the tone

Polices often result from disputes. Many business owners have learned that it is far better to have firm policies in place before disputes can arise. This often saves time and money since some disputes can lead to litigation.

The most convenient way to organize your company's policies is by writing an employee handbook. Everyone gets a copy, and it's easy to find and revise the policies as needed. However, it is important that your handbook be thorough and complete. Otherwise, you may have many of the same disputes that you would deal with if you didn't have a handbook.

Avoiding a company type

Diversity in the workplace is crucial to the overall health of the business. Along with race, gender, age, and life experience, the company’s manager or human resources department needs to consider a diversity of type. Some companies are known for a competitive work environment that fosters a certain kind of personality, while other companies have creative thinkers who focus on innovation.

According to employment expert, this kind of “type-casting” to find a good fit with who is already there can hurt a business. There are many paths to the right solution to a particular problem, some may take the direct route and others may get lost in the woods, but traveling the same roads involves the same assumptions and same decision-making process. This can mean less dynamic problem-solving.

Sick leave laws differ city by city in California

Most employers are aware of sick leave rules that went into effect in 2015 as part of the California Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act. However, some may not be aware that several cities have their own paid sick leave requirements. Under California law, all but a few employers must allow their workers to use 24 hours or up to three days of sick leave in 12 months.

Several cities adopt sick leave requirements

U.S. Women's Soccer get their court date

The United States Women’s Soccer Team won their second straight World Cup in dominating fashion. Not only did they win, but they also became high-profile spokespersons for many social issues but particularly in the area of equal pay for women. This issue has been simmering for some time with an initial lawsuit by five players in 2016 on the topic. It reemerged International Women’s Day on March 8 when it filed a class action against U.S. Soccer Federation for making less money than the male players despite ongoing success at the highest levels. The suit was set aside until after the World Cup so the team could concentrate on their play, then the plan was to mediate the dispute.

Mediation breaks down

Can employees still be fired for smoking pot?

The legalization of recreational marijuana has left many employers in California wondering how it will impact their workplace. Can employers deny employment or discipline workers for testing positive when using pot outside the workplace is legal?

Many employers wonder whether they need to modify their policies to address marijuana use, and beyond that, some can struggle over whether to accommodate the use of medical marijuana, both at home and in the workplace.

Steps business owners can take to avoid equal pay charges

Equal pay for women is one of the hottest issues facing businesses across the country. The question was fueled over the past few months by a lawsuit filed by members of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team, which claims the U.S. Soccer Federation pays the men’s national team more.

The team's lawsuit also claims gender-based discrimination over training facilities, travel conditions and unequal promotion of their games. A mediator will hear the case.

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