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Huntington Beach Law Blog

Insurance companies put to the test with fires

The California insurance industry will be reeling for some time after the Camp and Woolsey wildfires. However, these companies enter into a contract with their customers, so how they handle that contract will have a large impact on how they move forward. Will they retain old customers? Will they gain new ones? What types of properties they are trusted to underwrite in the future?

Industry gets high marks for hurricanes

Non-competes that stand in California

California has a 150-year history of barring the non-compete clause. So many businesses coming in from other states or just beginning to hire staff could be in for a rude awakening when they start to hire or employees leave. Just for the sake of comparison: about 20 percent of workers across the United States are bound by non-compete agreements, including 14 percent whose earnings are less than $40,000 per year.

Some companies in California continue to have employees sign non-competes when employees are hired or as part of the exit package, but the courts have routinely dismissed any enforcement involving non-compete, non-solicitation or restrictive covenants. As always, however, there are exceptions.

Protect your restaurant from potential insurance claims

As a restaurant owner and operator, you want to do your best to provide an enjoyable dining experience for your patrons while also creating a positive work environment for your employees. Running a business of any kind can have its difficulties, and you certainly do not want to put yourself or your business at risk of facing negative repercussions for preventable incidents.

In particular, you may want to make sure that you do not have any hazards on your premises that could result in a worker or customer slipping and falling. Slip-and-fall accidents can lead to serious injuries, and you could end up facing a lawsuit or workers' compensation claim if such an incident results.

Dog bites are a top homeowner policy claim

We love our pets, but our pets do not always love other people. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III) and State Farm insurance, one third of all homeowner liability claims involve dog bites and dog-related injuries. Industry experts believe that this ends up costing insurers about $700 million annually.

The numbers are going up

Safeguarding against excessive absenteeism

The state of California laws and federal laws ensure a wide range of employee entitlements. This includes the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as well as some of the most worker-friendly state laws in the country.

It makes it hard for even the most conscientious employers and HR professionals to know what they can and cannot do in regards to an employee who has too many unexcused absences from work. However, there are strategies for addressing the issue while remaining compliant with all applicable laws.

The importance of clear workplace policies on religion

Federal law bans religious discrimination in the workplace. It also generally requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to workers regarding religious beliefs and practices.

Religion can be a tricky issue for employers. Managers at companies can come across a range of workplace situations that could lead to discrimination claims by workers if the wrong steps are taken.

NBA Commissioner calls for better treatment of women

The Dallas Mavericks recently were the subject of a thorough investigation into sexual harassment in the workplace after an explosive expose in Sports Illustrated. While the report includes mandates for the Mavericks, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wants the other 29 teams to look at the report and use it to institute new policies. Dallas was found to have a culture where workplace misconduct and sexual harassment were rampant with management figures allowing the behavior to go unchecked.

Silver highlighted the need for all teams to hire more women, especially in leadership roles. He also would like to see more “community conversations” inside organizations about procedures, policies and general conduct of employees.

If you have employees, you need an employee handbook

Since you started your business, you probably discovered that you do a lot more paperwork than you ever intended to do. Even so, you understand its utility and power through it as needed.

If you have employees, you already know they require a significant amount of paperwork as well. One document that you may have overlooked, or are unsure how to prepare, is an employee handbook. If you employ people, you would definitely benefit from having one.

Can I offer an alternative workweek to my employees?

In recent years, there has been discussion about whether the five-day, 40-hour workweek is still relevant to modern life. Some companies have taken it upon themselves to adjust working hours to better balance the business and personal aspects of their employees’ weeks. 

It is a trendy enough topic for some think pieces to declare we are closer to a four-day workweek than we think. However, even those articles will concede that not all occupations can adapt this way, and some of the companies profiled are not U.S.-based businesses.

Big Blue faces age discrimination class action suit

IBM was a leading technology company in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Not only did it create innovative products, it was at the leading edge of promoting women, providing desirable benefits and generally treated the employees well. It became a major employer in the U.S. with 250,000 employees at one point.

Now the company faces age discrimination lawsuit after dismissing thousands of employees since 2012. Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the suit alleges that IBM fired three people because of their age. The complaint also claims that the number of employees dismissed inordinately focused on employees over the age of 40, violating federal laws as well as state laws here in California. Laid off in June of 2017, the three plaintiffs are between 55 and 67 years old.

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