Los Angeles Business Law Blog

Take a close look at soil before building

California boasts various unique terrains. The landscape and climate are often major factors that draw many new residents here, and with more people comes more building projects - particularly during a strong economy.

Developers and contractors are typically under severe pressure to complete a project as quickly as possible due to lender required milestones and contractual requirements among the many subcontractors and suppliers. Generally, the longer a project takes, the greater the chance it will cause delay penalties and the smaller the profit. However, this should not distract from following proper building procedures.

Tips for defending against a discrimination claim

Few things can evoke concern in a business owner like an allegation of discrimination. Whether it’s an internal notice from an employee, or a letter from either the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), such a claim represents a potentially serious issue.

It happens even to the best-run businesses, however, and is no reason to panic as long as you act quickly and do the following right away to minimize or eliminate the discrimination claims.

Hacked real estate listing raises new concerns for developers

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of bringing a real estate development to the market. After you’ve arranged all the financing, licensing, design and construction, you’ve finally hit the last stretch. You’re almost ready to realize your profit. But the recent hacking of one developer’s Zillow listing shows this last stretch may come with new dangers of its own.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the developer of a $150 million luxury home sued Zillow for falsely reporting two sales that were nearly $60 million below the property’s list price. The phantom sales were “self-reported” by someone with a Chinese IP and fake phone number who claimed to be the former homeowner. And as the developer claims the forged records will cost him tens of millions of dollars, the hack reminds us that developers often take great risks in pursuit of their rewards.

Protecting your business’ trade secrets in California

With California’s unemployment rate down significantly since this time just a few years ago, many employers have started taking new measures to land skilled workers. They’ve increased wages and adjusted their benefits packages and workspaces. We have also seen an uptick in cases where businesses are poaching their competitors’ executives and employees.

Even if you go the extra mile to keep your employees happy, you might not fend off all the poachers, in which case you might find yourself forced to defend your trade secrets against former employees.

What will the law requiring women on boards mean for businesses?

A couple months ago, we wrote about SB 826 - a new California law requiring publicly traded companies to include at least one woman on their board of directors. The law is intended to address gender inequality in the workplace and is the first of its kind in the nation. According to the California Secretary of State’s office, as of the end of 2018, nearly one-quarter of the State’s 445 publicly traded companies did not have a woman on their boards.

The law went into effect on January 1, 2019. All public companies based in California must be compliant by December 31, 2019. The legislation does not stop there. By July 31, 2020, public corporations with five directors must have at least two women on their board, and those with six or more directors must have at least three women on the board.

Is the gender pay gap narrowing?

It should not come as a surprise that a wage discrepancy exists between men and women. Research shows that women earn an average of 15 cents less per dollar than men in the same job. In recent years, however, there have been enormous efforts to bring attention to and eliminate this unfair gap. Are these efforts working? The short answer is yes.

Efforts to eliminate the gap are proving to be effective, especially among certain workers in certain industries. For instance, as this Pew Research Center article notes, the wage gap is narrowest among young adults ages 25-34.

3 mistakes you must avoid when entering into a contract

As a business owner, you will likely be party to numerous contracts with employees, independent contractors, vendors, customers and landlords. Needless to say, it's important that these contracts protect your business, minimize potential disputes and maximize profits.

This is why it is crucial to work with an attorney to ensure the contracts are fair, enforceable and necessary. Failure to secure legal guidance can facilitate unwise decisions and missteps that can have costly consequences, including those we discuss below.

Ready to start a business? 4 initial steps to take

People don't often wake up and decide to start a business. Typically, aspiring entrepreneurs have had a goal or idea in one form or another for months or years before they can or will take the first crucial steps into pursuing it as an actual business.

These first steps can set the stage for the future of a business. As such, consider the following four suggestions for what you should do if you are ready to start a new business.

Rethinking arbitration clauses

Over the years, the use of arbitration clauses in employment contracts has become more common. These clauses specify that in the event of a dispute between an employee and employer, the matter will go to arbitration, not court.

However, arbitration agreements are controversial. Employers often see the benefits of using arbitration clauses, including keeping certain matters private and avoiding the cost of litigation. Employees, on the other hand, argue that these clauses unfairly benefit employers and perpetuate a cycle of workplace violations.

How big of a problem is trademark infringement?

Protecting intellectual property is an important priority for many California businesses. Securing ownership of innovative and creative ideas can be the determining factor in whether your business moves from start-up to successful entity.

As such, it is crucial for business owners to understand the scope of problems that can come with violations of intellectual property ownership. This includes trademark infringement.

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Baker & Associates
1875 Century Park East
Suite 1490
Los Angeles, CA 90067

Phone: 310-904-6724
Fax: 310-553-2254
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