News & Resources

California Adds More Burdens on Employers: New Commission Contract Requirements

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Employers with commissioned sales personnel in California need to be aware of yet another state regulatory requirement: the new commission contract law, AB 1396.  Although this law does not go into effect until January 1, 2013, it’s time to start preparing contracts and implementing procedures in order to comply. Under AB 1396, employers who pay commissions to their California employees are required to: 1) enter into a written commission contract with each employee; 2) describe the method by which commissions are computed and paid; 3) provide a copy of the signed contract to each employee; and 4) obtain a signed receipt from each employee. The new law goes on to state that when a commission contract expires, but the employee continues to work, the terms of the...

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SOX’s Ten Year Anniversary: What Are The Takeaways

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Wow, time flies, even if you’re not having all that much fun. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) will “celebrate” its 10-year anniversary this July 30, 2012. Enacted in the aftermath of large scale corporate accounting scandals like Enron and WorldCom, SOX had the laudable goals of deterring accounting fraud and shoring up confidence in public companies’ financial integrity. But it was a controversial set of regulations that were passed back in 2002. It imposed a host of new duties and responsibilities on public companies, and at a considerable cost. Those of us in public companies at the time had a wide range of reactions, from outrage over perceived regulatory overkill to a shrug that SOX merely codified what were sound corporate governance practices. Your faithful...

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Businesses: Beware of Hiring Unpaid Interns

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Summer is almost here and many students looking to get their foot in the door of a certain industry and/or just gain some real world experience are willing to work as an unpaid intern. Employers may jump at the chance to get some enthusiastic workers at a great price: free! But employers in the for-profit arena need to be very careful: calling a worker an “intern” when they are really acting more as an employee can have serious and expensive consequences for the employer. Three recent cases have drawn attention to the issue of unpaid interns. A class of interns sued Fox Searchlight for their unpaid work on the movie Black Swan; a class action lawsuit was filed against the Hearst Corporation on behalf of more than 100 unpaid interns at various Hearst publications...

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Tips for a Productive (and Painless) Meeting With Your Lawyer

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It’s late Friday afternoon and after a long busy week you’re wrapping up business and looking forward to the weekend. But wait, here’s the calendar for next week and right there it says you have a meeting with your company’s lawyer next Monday to tackle that such-and-such issue. Hmm, did the prospect of an upcoming meeting with your lawyer just evaporate that warm Friday afternoon feeling? Was that big sigh because you’re worried that the one-hour meeting will stretch into two, you’ll walk away more confused than when you walked in and ultimately the meeting will just not be a productive use of your valuable time? As part of our Friday afternoon blog campaign to Love Your Lawyer (well, just like your lawyer), we have some tips for clients to help that meeting...

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A Matter of Minutes: Tips and Best Practices for Drafting Board Meeting Minutes

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We’ll start this blog right off by admitting that preparing corporate minutes can be a tedious chore, oft postponed and viewed as a lowly ministerial task. However, minutes are a very important record for your business and in some instances can take on a critical significance – good or bad. This is true for large publicly traded companies or smaller privately owned ones. Somewhere – whether it is auditors, shareholders or a potential acquirer of the company – someone will be taking a good close look at your minutes. Sloppy minutes cause problems. Good minutes assure the reviewer that your company is well run with appropriate practices and procedures in place. Minutes do matter, so treat them with respect! With that in mind, here are some tips for preparing...

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Rare Win for California Employers: Court Prevents Former Employee From Soliciting Customers

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In our blog post on April 10 – What To Do When a Key Employee Leaves: Seven Steps to Protect Your Business – we referenced a recent California case where the employer prevailed, winning an injunction that prevented its former employee from soliciting their customers. We promised further discussion regarding this rare win for an employer, as this case provides guidance on what may be considered trade secrets and how businesses may be able to prevent former employees from unfairly poaching their customers. First, some background. Employee mobility rules supreme in California. That means a covenant not to compete between an employer and employee – which prohibits an employee from working for a competitor, even for a limited period of time – is essentially...

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