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…)
In Doing Business in CA? Be Sure to Register, I discussed when a foreign entity must register to do business in California. The test is whether the entity has transacted intrastate business, i.e., has engaged in repeated and successive transactions of business within the state. This post explores the meaning of “repeated and successive transactions“.
“Repeated and Successive Transactions” Not Defined
The term “repeated and successive transactions” appears in Corporations Code Subsection 191(a). Unfortunately, that term is not defined. However, another portion of Section 191 provides a bit of help. (more…)
This post about entering into a pre-incorporation contract is based on a question I answered on Avvo. See Can I legally speak as my company in things like terms & conditions if I have not officially registered the company yet?
The term “pre-incorporation contract” properly should apply only to corporations, because that is the only type of business entity that is incorporated. Other types of business entities, such as limited liability companies (LLCs), are formed, rather than incorporated. However, as is discussed below, a pre-formation contract (in California, at least) is treated like a pre-incorporation contract. See 02 Development, LLC v. 607 South Park, LLC . (more…)
In Commercial E-mail and CAN-SPAM: What You Need to Know, I discussed how the federal CAN-SPAM Act makes commercial email more truthful, more transparent and more avoidable. This post addresses how California law concerning fraudulent email supplements CAN-SPAM.
In particular, this post discusses preemption, by which, under certain circumstances, U.S. federal laws can invalidate state laws that address a given subject matter. (more…)
This post is about whether parties may enter into a perpetual contract (one that never ends).
It is adapted from my answer to a question on Quora. See Is it possible to structure a contract with no end date?
It turns out the the answer depends, to some extent, on which state’s law applies. (more…)
This post about successor liability is prompted by a question that I answered recently on Quora. (See Can I dissolve my corporation and transfer its website to my personal ownership?)
The following is oriented somewhat toward California law, but similar considerations likely apply in other states. (more…)
This post discusses and explains the covenant of good faith and fair dealing.
For decades, courts have held that this covenant is implied in every California contract.
Purpose of Good Faith and Fair Dealing
In 1942, the California Supreme Court stated that “in every contract there exists an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.” The intent of this covenant is that “neither party shall do anything which will have the effect of destroying or injuring the right of the other party to receive the fruits of the contract“. (Universal Sales Corporation v. California Press Manufacturing – emphasis added.) (more…)
Statute Prohibits Non-disparagement Clauses
Core protections are set forth in Subsection (a) of that statute. (more…)