This post is about employment law. It is directed particularly to people from other countries who are not familiar with U.S. employment practices.
It is based on my answer to a Quora question. Please see What are the most important aspects of American labor law that a foreigner trying to make a terrestrial logistics company in (any state of) the U.S. should take into consideration?
I am providing this answer based on my experience helping dozens of international clients conduct businesses in the U.S.
Moonlighting employees in California have a right to hold down their second jobs (or to work on startups in their spare time).
The right to moonlight – and to engage in other activities on one’s own time – is expressed in Labor Code Section 96(k).
Labor Code Section 96
Section 96 identifies, generally, the types of employee claims that the California Labor Commissioner is obligated to accept. These include, for example, claims pertaining to payment of wages and expenses; damages arising from misrepresented conditions of employment; claims for vacation pay; and awards for workers’ compensation benefits.
Moonlighting is addressed as follows. (more…)
Because of the DTSA, trade secret misappropriation suits with an interstate component now can be filed in federal court. For more information about civil and criminal enforcement, please see Trade Secrets Receive Federal Protection. (more…)
In California, a “work made for hire” (WMFH) provision in a contract can convert a contractor to an employee. This post describes the statutory basis for this little-known area of the law.
Before providing details, I will note that the (likely unwanted) ability to convert a contractor to an employee will arise only under narrowly-defined circumstances.
- The independent contractor must be an individual rather than a legal entity (a corporation or limited liability company).
- The relevant contract must expressly specify WMFH treatment for the contractor’s work product.
- The contractual relationship must be governed by California law. (I don’t know whether any other states have similar laws.)
This post discusses a 2014 case (Cochran v. Schwan’s Home Service, Inc.) which held that California employers must reimburse employees who use a personal cell phone for work.
Plaintiff Colin Cochran, as class representative, brought a class action lawsuit against Schwan’s Home Service (“Home Service”) on behalf of 1,500 service managers employed by Home Service. The suit sought, among other things, reimbursement of the managers’ work-related personal cell phone expenses. (more…)
Do you wonder why lawyers often have a bad reputation? If so, consider the ridiculous Yelp lawsuit alleging that Yelp’s reviewers are employees of the company.
Yelp is an online review site and local business search service. Consumers are encouraged to write reviews of, and rate their satisfaction with, various products and services.
Historically, controversies have concerned whether Yelp punishes businesses for not advertising on the site (which Yelp denies). More recently, business owners have complained about Yelp’s automated tools for removing false or inappropriate (e.g., paid) reviews based on unpublished criteria.
Labor Compliance Office is one of many companies that use fear of the law and subterfuge to extract money from naive owners of small businesses. What is interesting about LCO, however, is that it focuses on compliance with labor laws rather than corporate laws.
One of my clients brought Labor Compliance Office to my attention. (As agent for service of process for several other clients, I had already received copies of LCO’s pink-accented NOTICE.) Fortunately, even though the notice looks like it came from a governmental entity (the disclaimer is not readily apparent), my client was not taken in by the threat of fines up to $17,000.
Labor Compliance Office proposes to help the reader’s business avoid such fines by providing for $275 a poster that includes all notices required by California and federal labor laws. In addition, the business receives:
Effective January 1, 2013, every employee in California who is compensated, entirely or partially, by commission must have a written employment contract that states the method by which commissions will be computed and paid.
By January 1, 2013, whenever an employer enters into a contract of employment with an employee for services to be rendered within this state and the contemplated method of payment of the employee involves commissions, the contract shall be in writing and shall set forth the method by which the commissions shall be computed and paid.
In Doing Business in CA? Be Sure to Register, I wrote that an out-of-state corporation that “enter[s] into repeated and successive transactions of its business in [California] other than interstate or foreign commerce” must register with the Secretary of State as a foreign corporation, and that a penalty for failing to do so is being precluded from maintaining actions in California courts. A recent case in the US District Court for the Northern District of California (Jarzab v. KM Enterprises) provides an example of what does not constitute “repeated and successive transactions”.