Los Angeles Business Law Blog

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.

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.

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