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Huntington Beach Law Blog

Companies updating drug-testing policies

California is currently one of nine states (plus the District of Columbia) that legalized recreation use of marijuana. Yet there are dozens more that have decriminalized it or allow the use of medical marijuana.

Not surprisingly, businesses are reevaluating their drug testing policies with help of attorneys to accommodate the changes in law as well as the evolving thinking on marijuana use. According to a recent article in the Associated Press, some companies are quietly removing marijuana from list of drugs tested for before hiring new employees whether they say so or not. Some businesses with employees in California and other states where the drug is now legal will even go so far as to state that the drug is not being tested for. 

Should you rethink partnering with a friend or spouse?

Throughout your life, you likely have referred to someone as your partner. Whether a romantic partner or an affectionately called partner in crime, you likely used the word because it conveys a sense of importance concerning the relationship you have. The same importance applies to business partners you choose to help run your company.

Because partnerships are so important, you will likely want to think long and hard before coming to a decision about who could best suit this role. You may think that adding the "business partner" label to your spouse or best friend seems like a logical step as you likely trust each of these individuals, but you may also want to remember that forming a business partnership differs greatly from a personal partnership.

Disputing an insurance claim? This is the process

The unthinkable has happened, and you have suffered a terrible accident. Fortunately, you purchased insurance, and you are relieved that your damages will be covered by insurance. But after you file your claim, you are stunned when your insurance company offers you a much lower amount than you need.

This scenario is all too real for many policyholders. Many consumers purchase costly insurance policies only to receive a settlement that is far too low. Sometimes, insurance companies will reject claims entirely. If this happens, it may be necessary to dispute your claim offer.

City council members must be careful when texting, emailing

City council members and other public officials know that there can be a fine line between public and private. It is necessary for public figures to balance their private communications with the need for public transparency. Sometimes, a seemingly innocuous activity like exchanging private emails or text messages can land you in hot water.

This is what happened to several members of the Cincinnati City Council recently. Five members were found to have privately exchanged texts, emails and phone calls regarding Cincinnati’s mayor and its city manager. A watchdog group is now suing them for violating local transparency laws.

How can a breach of contract be resolved?

Contracts are crucial in the world of business. They establish both parties’ role in a business transaction, stipulate each side’s obligations and set a timeline for the business matter at hand. A well written, legally binding contract can provide peace of mind for all parties involved.

However, this does not mean that breaches of contract will never occur. Sometimes, it seems that no matter how strong the contract, how good the relationship with the other party or how simple the business arrangement, someone will violate the contract. When a breach of contract does occur, there are a few ways to remedy it.

Has your company been accused of age discrimination?

Making sure your California-based company is abiding by all government rules and regulations at all times can be a daunting task. Even though you are doing your best, disgruntled current, former and hopeful employees may still find ways to blame your business for their losses. Age discrimination is a great example right now. Numerous companies have been in the news over the last few years with employees claiming that their age caused them to lose their jobs, not get a job or promotion, or that it forced them to put up with harassment in the workplace. 

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, it is not legal for any employer to discriminate based on a person's age or to allow staff members to continually harass fellow staff members because they are considered too old to work there.

Employers must heed California’s whistleblower laws

Whistleblowers and employers often have a contentious relationship. Although whistleblowers raise important concerns about workplace issues, it is sometimes to the detriment of the employer. But employers should not necessarily feel antipathy toward whistleblowers. Employees who alert regulatory agencies, law enforcement or the public to legal violations in the workplace are performing a much-needed service.

Sometimes, whistleblowers face retaliation at their jobs after reporting a workplace issue. This may be to punish them for their actions, to send a message to other employees or to discourage future whistleblowing. California has several laws in place to protect whistleblowers, and it is crucial for employers to understand them.

City sued over massive sewage leak

No entity, public or private, enjoys being sued. Litigation can be long, tedious and expensive. Even if the city is not fully at fault, it sometimes has no choice but to go to court or settle. This is what happened to our northern neighbors in Portland, Ore., who were sued after a historic building was flooded with human sewage.

Just two days before Christmas of 2015, the Oregon building's basement was overrun by rancid sewage. The leak was so massive that 95 percent of the first floor was affected; even the second floor of the building was contaminated by waste. The cost of cleaning the building and restoring the property damage would be enormously expensive.

How expensive are lawsuits for cities?

Cities face a bevy of thorny legal issues: Premise liability, insurance, personal injury claims and employment disputes, to name just a few. Sometimes, it seems that no matter how carefully a public entity and its attorneys navigate these issues, a disgruntled party is bound to bring a lawsuit. Lawsuits are nightmare for cities. However, in our ever-litigious society, they seem more common than ever.

One of the biggest issues that cities have to deal with regarding litigation is cost. Defending oneself in a lawsuit can be stunningly expensive. Payouts, legal fees and insurance can run sky-high. A recent report from the website GOVERNING, which covers governing-related issues, reveals just how expensive litigation can be for cities.

What you should know about boating insurance

Boating is a favorite pastime for many Californians. Our state’s warm weather and beautiful beaches makes it a popular outdoor hobby. Some boaters are lulled into a false sense of security on the state’s peaceful waters. But many boaters, even skilled veterans, will experience an accident at some point or another.

When that happens, you need your boat insurance to come through and provide the coverage that you need. Purchasing adequate insurance is the first step to avoiding a high payout or a debate with your insurer. These are a few of the must-know facts about boating insurance.

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