Los Angeles Business Law Blog

Protecting yourself against construction defect claims

Nothing about building a new property is simple, and the bigger the project, the more there is usually to think about. The architect, engineers, general contractor, subcontractors, project manager, site supervisors and more, all working with the property owner or developer, who generally work with the lender. Potential buyers, tenants, suppliers and others are in play as well.

A major issue all of these individuals and entities face is the prospect of substandard design or construction that lead to defects, which can be exponentially more expensive to remediate than the original construction.

Wage and hour violations in the construction industry

A California construction firm called RDV Construction was recently found to have committed the biggest wage theft violation by a private company in the state’s history according to regulators. The firm will be fined almost $12 million for underpaying and withholding wages from employees. The company used workers for apartment, hotel and other building projects throughout Southern California.

Unfortunately, wage and hour violations are common in the construction industry for smaller projects. The massive citations that this company is now facing illustrate why it is important for businesses to put correct payment practices in place before issues occur.

Do discrimination laws cover hairstyles?

No employer should allow or encourage discrimination in the workplace. Discrimination violates a person's rights under state and federal laws, and it can lead to costly legal battles.

Sometimes it's hard to determine what is and is not discrimination. This can be the case when it comes to physical traits, like hairstyles. Currently, state and federal laws do not specifically include hairstyles on the list of traits that employers are prohibited to use to make employment decisions. Accordingly, an employer can theoretically terminate or not hire someone based on their hairstyle.

What does it mean to prove "use" of a trademark?

Protecting intellectual property with a trademark is an important step in securing ownership and exclusive use of unique creations like brand names and logos. However, simply getting the trademark does not mean that the goods or services in question have indefinite protection. In fact, other parties can lawfully use the protected name or creation if the trademark holder does not meet use requirements.

Proposed bill urges businesses to 'skip the slip'

California is typically on the forefront of legislative changes that affect (arguably adversely) small- and medium-sized businesses. In numerous industries, California companies set trends and priorities for the rest of the country, which is why people often pay close attention to the changes happening here.

As a recent example, for instance, California passed a law prohibiting many restaurants from using plastic straws unless a patron specifically requests one. Now, lawmakers are proposing a similar measure: offering only electronic receipts.

Employers: Don't make these age discrimination mistakes

People over the age of 40 face challenges when it comes to finding jobs and working their way up in a company. One especially troubling challenge is age discrimination.

Age discrimination is subjecting someone to adverse treatment because of his or her age. It is illegal in this and every state, so it is crucial for California employers to take steps to avoid age discrimination. This includes avoiding the following discriminatory acts and behaviors:

Overlooking contracts can be a costly mistake

A Colorado hospital faces a hefty settlement after failing to have an essential contract required under HIPAA rules. Pagosa Springs Medical Center neglected to cut-off availability to a remote access system for a former employee. The former employee filed a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights stating that they still had a working username and password to an electronic health information system. This system gave them the ability to see an online patient scheduling calendar, which included protected health information of 557 patients.

The Office for Civil Rights launched an investigation into the former employee’s complaint, unveiling that the hospital failed to have a business associate agreement with the online scheduling vendor. Any business working with an entity that requires access to protected patient information is required to have a business associate agreement under HIPAA. These contracts are intricate and important to keep the public’s information as secure as possible.

An overview of California's retaliation laws for employers

Employees have the right to report labor violations in good faith. And if they file a complaint or a report, they also have state and federal protections against retaliation from their employers.

Most employers understand that retaliation is illegal. However, there is much more to know than that. Here is a quick summary of California's anti-retaliation laws for business owners.

Four Holiday-related Issues to Tackle with your Employees

Holidays - particularly the year-end Holidays, are supposed to be a time for relaxing and disconnecting. However, in the business world, that doesn't always happen. Between the end-of-year demands and the stress of trying to accommodate employee holiday needs and wishes, it can be a lot for employers to manage.

However, there are some basic steps every employer can take to minimize the disruption and conflict that can arise during this time of year.

More Employers are Eliminating Alcohol from Office Parties

Employees deserve to celebrate occasionally, whether it’s for hitting sales goals, making it to retirement or for an annual holiday party. Unfortunately, office parties can get out of hand when alcohol is provided. Employers may be held liable when problems occur at work parties, even when they are hosted offsite. An employer could face litigation if an employee experiences sexual harassment or assault at a company-funded event.

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