Category Archives: Legislation

Thomas Jefferson School of Law Helping Cash-Strapped Small Businesses

Struggling small businesses and aspiring nonprofits can get a helping hand from Thomas Jefferson School of Law and its Small Business Law Center.

The clinic provides organizations that can’t afford legal counsel with transactional help – from drawing up contracts and lease arrangements to forming entities and navigating the regulatory process.

“There is a huge need,” said TJSL professor Luz Herrera, the director of the Small Business Law Center (SBLC). “We really looking at individuals barely making a living and who would not otherwise be able to set up a business or set up a nonprofit.”

The clinic is staffed by TJSL students, who are guided during representation by a licensed California attorney. The practical experience attained by law students is a sizable side benefit of the program.

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There’s Basically Nothing You Can Say That Isn’t Trademarked

Can you confidently say that you have never in your life said the words, “It’s gonna be awesome?” If not, then you may be in shaky legal ground, as the phrase is trademarked. Benjamin Palmer, the stylishly disheveled chief executive of Barbarian Group, a digital marketing and creative agency in New York, says his colleagues initially registered his favorite catchphrase on a lark.

In the early days of the company, which was founded in 2001, Palmer would routinely use the phrase in project proposals. “I would write up conceptual treatments: ‘Here’s the idea—we think it’ll take six weeks and cost $200,000.’ I thought it was kind of a bummer to end a creative proposal with a price tag, so I always ended with ‘It’s gonna be awesome.’” The phrase soon became an office meme that culminated when Palmer’s colleagues dropped a stack of papers on his desk as a gift. “They had filed for an international trademark for ‘It’s gonna be awesome,’ kind of as a joke because it had gotten so ingrained in our culture.”

Bloomberg Businessweek compiled a list of everyday phrases you might not know are trademarked.

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The Top 10 Things Employers Get Sued For

Employers may unintentionally violate employment laws and never realize the risk they create for the company. Trying to provide some flexibility for an employee, saving money for the company, or just being nice are all ways that an act of kindness can become a business liability.

CalChamber’s “The Top 10 Things Employers Do to Get Sued” white paper details some of the mistakes that could lead to employee lawsuits. Topics include:

  • Exempt and nonexempt employee classification
  • Meal breaks
  • Independent contractor status
  • Harassment and discrimination
  • Hours of work
  • Termination
  • Leaves of Absence
  • Final paycheck
  • Deductions from wages
  • Vacation policy

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Don’t risk a costly sexual harassment lawsuit.

It only takes one—one inappropriate comment, one uncomfortable person, one complaint—to have an employee file a harassment lawsuit.

Download CalChamber’s free “Preventing Workplace Harassment in the Workplace” white paper to get essential information on harassment prevention, including:

How to recognize sexual and other types of harassment
Steps to help you protect your company and employees
California-specific harassment requirements
How to access prevention training mandated by California law

Act now to educate employees and avoid situations that put your company at risk for litigation.

Download the white paper

An Overview of New 2012 Laws Affecting California Employers

Several new employment laws will impact California employers’ day-to-day operations and policies in 2012. This white paper runs through a list of these new laws. Unless specified, all new legislation goes into effect on January 1, 2012.

Keep an eye on the HR Watchdog blog and HR Watchdog on Twitter for frequent updates on employment related laws, regulations and cases.

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New year will bring new laws and regulations for small businesses

In California, the new rules include limits on the ability of businesses to check the credit reports of workers and job seekers. Nationwide, tax deductions for equipment purchases will be sharply reduced.

Small-business owners will be greeted Jan. 1 with dozens of new laws and regulations.

In California, they will include new mandates concerning employees, including a partial ban on checking the credit reports of workers and job applicants.

And it’s no surprise that there are changes at the federal level too.

Here’s a guide to some of the new laws and regulations set to go into effect in 2012.

  • Federal Taxes changes
  • New federal accessibility  rules
  • New California laws

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In 2011, Entrepreneurs Snag Victories in Washington

Despite the partisan bickering that kept Congress from accomplishing much in 2011, small businesses and entrepreneurs managed to eke out a few victories in Washington, D.C., this year.

1. Repeal of the 1099 paperwork requirement

2. Repeal of 3 percent withholding for government contractors

3. Small Business Innovation Research compromise

4. Startup America launched

5. Free-trade agreements passed