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Mayfield Bustarde, LLP
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You probably do not want to rush into a business location
Find out about some of the mistakes business owners can make when deciding on a location for their business. For example, you may have found an objectively perfect location with great rent and foot traffic that matches your demographic. If the commute from your home is something like an hour each way, though, can you sustain that long term? Another mistake occurs when business owners do not have a professional review their contracts. An attorney should be able to help.

Employment Law Update
As we enter 2017, California employers are faced with a wide array of changes to employment law.

Minimum Wage
The one that has been receiving a lot of attention in the news is the minimum wage increase. Effective January 1, 2017, the state-wide minimum wage increased to $10.50 per hour for employers with 26 or more employees. If you have 25 or fewer employees, than the minimum wage remains at $10.00 per hour. However, several cities and counties have different (more restrictive) minimum wage rules that must be complied with. The most notable is the City of San Diego, employees must be paid at least $11.50 per hour. Employers who are located in the City of San Diego need to comply with this higher minimum wage requirement. However, even if your business is not physically located in the City of San Diego, you may also need to comply if any of your employees go into the City of San Diego to perform work.

If an employee performs at least 2 hours of work within the City of San Diego in a single calendar week , that employee is subject to the $11.50 minimum wage for each hour worked within the geographic boundaries of the City of San Diego. This means that you may have two different rates for the same employee if he or she performs work both in the City of San Diego and elsewhere.

Stay on Minimum Salary Rule
In other news, the new minimum salary requirements that were being implemented by the Department of Labor were put on hold by a judge in Texas.

Employee Rest Breaks
A recent California Supreme Court case held that an employee's rest break cannot be interrupted by any communication from the work or their supervisor, including a call, text message or other communication. The Court specifically held that employers could not require employees to remain on-call during the rest breaks. Otherwise, the employee is denied his or her rest break and would be entitled to compensation for their missed break. The moral of the story is to leave your employee alone during their 10 minute rest breaks. They are entitled to a complete relief of duties, just as they are during their meal break.

Waiver of Employee Meal Breaks
A recent Court of Appeals case found that employees can voluntarily waive their mandatory 30-minute meal breaks under certain conditions. In that case, the employees had the option to sign an on-duty meal period agreement, which allowed employees to work through their lunch break in return for an extra hour of pay. The employee was allowed to revoke the agreement at any time and were informed of their right to take a 30-minute meal break if they did not sign the waiver. The Court found that since these employees voluntarily agreed to waive their meal break, could take the meal break if they so chose, and were properly compensated if the meal break was waived, the employer did not violate the law. This is a sensitive area, so if you are considering having your employees waive their meal periods, please consult with our office to ensure proper procedures are put in place before implementing such a policy.

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Pros and cons of pursuing business litigation in California
If you have done everything you can to resolve a dispute involving your #California #business, but it’s just not working, discuss the pros and cons of filing a lawsuit with an experienced business #lawyer. The time, expense and long-term ramifications may or may not be worth it. Don’t make this important decision without the assistance of skilled legal counsel.

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Scrapbook Photos
16 Photos - View album

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California business owners choosing a business structure: Tips!
This article discusses the basics of business formation in California and is beneficial for entrepreneurs in the state.

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The Supreme Court ruled that Abercrombie & Fitch violated a young Muslim woman's rights by failing to give her a religious accommodation after it refused to hire her for wearing  her head scarf.

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Insurance sales agent was ruled an independent contractor
Check out this article where a federal district court in California ruled that an insurance sales agent working for a company which sold insurance policies was an independent contractor, not an employee of the company, and denied his employee-related claims.

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Do you stay on call during your meals and breaks?  If so, you are not entitled to compensation for those break periods for being on=call.  This is what the 2nd District Court of Appeals held in a case published last week (Augustus v. ABM Security, Jan. 29, 2015).  

In that case, security guards were given their meal breaks and 10 minute breaks, but were required to keep their radios on and respond if needed.  The plaintiff claimed that she was essentially on-call during her breaks when she was supposed to be relieved of all duties.

However, the court held that remaining available to work is not the same as actually working.  Other than monitoring their radios (and responding, if necessary), the security guards were able to engage in personal activities during their breaks, such as reading, smoking and surfing the internet.

Thus, under the holding of this case, employees in California are not entitled to compensation for merely being available or on-call during their required breaks.  However, if they are called to work during those breaks, we would have a different situation.
+Gayle Mayfield-Venieris +Mayfield Bustarde, LLP 
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