inSIGHTS

  • Labor & Employment Law Update – Paid Sick Leave – Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act of 2014

    On August 29, 2014, the California Legislature passed a statewide paid sick leave law and the Governor signed it into law on September 9, 2014. The Healthy Workplace, Healthy Family Act of 2014 (AB1522) takes effect in California July 1, 2015, requiring nearly all California employers to provide up to 3 paid sick days per year for California employees who work at least 30 days in a year. It is prudent for employers to begin early to understand the new sick leave law and be ready do put it into practice. Under the new law, employees will accrue sick days...
  • Want 3-5% More Annual Revenue?

    Experts estimate that employee fraud can happen in any company and can reduce annual revenues by 3 to 5%? Employee fraud includes fraudulent financial reporting, fictitious or ghost vendors and employees, bribes, kickbacks, credit card and check fraud, and theft. It usually occurs over a long period of time and is exposed by a whistleblower or by accident. The most expensive fraud is committed by upper level executives and when two or more employees collude to commit fraud. The more access to information and assets, the more expensive the internal fraud. What can you do to add some or all...
  • Having Trouble Finding, Promoting and Developing Great People?

    Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? You hired a new manager only to learn they like to work on budgets and reports and you needed a manager who would go out into the field to lead and train. You hired a sales person who is great with prospecting and client meetings but does not like to do paperwork and now you must either replace this talented sales person or hire someone to prepare their estimates, proposals, contracts and other paperwork? These are very real, serious, and common issues. Wouldn’t it be great to better understand people and their behavior,...
  • Punctuation Matters? Punctuation Matters!

    Do you believe that the placement of one period can save a person’s life?  Consider a king who condemned a prisoner to death and sent this note to the jailer “PARDON IMPOSSIBLE. TO BE EXECUTED.”  A sympathetic courier changed the punctuation as follows:  “PARDON.  IMPOSSIBLE TO BE EXECUTED.” Consider also the following sentences that use punctuation to have a powerful impact: “My very photogenic mother died in a freak accident (picnic, lightning) when I was three …”  Nabokov’s Lolita. “One morning, some weeks after her arrival at Lowick, Dorothea – but why always Dorothea?”  George Eliot’s Middlemarch. “Marley was dead:...
  • The Overwhelmed Employee

    If we magically transport back in time and walked into a company, we would see employees working at desks located near their managers who trained them and then saw everything they did. A typical company worked with a predictable economic equation achieving optimal output using raw materials, capital equipment and labor. The main focus was acquiring the required raw materials since labor was easily substituted one for another. Our current economy looks much different doesn’t it? Companies have shifted their main focus from raw materials to acquiring and retaining highly skilled, talented people capable of making independent decisions. In fact,...
  • Is it a Good Idea to Use Social Media to Screen Applicants?

    In the employment context, there are several instances when social media becomes important. During the hiring process, companies may review applicants’ social media profiles as a screening tool. During the employment relationship, companies may electronically monitor their employees and may continue to do so for a period of time after terminating an employee. We all know there are unintended consequences of sharing information online and particularly that those photos demonstrating unprofessional conduct have a very long digital tail and can negatively impact employment prospects. A study suggests that social media profiles can contribute to even more fundamental discrimination. On November...
  • Have You Heard of the 29ers?

    Have you heard of the "Obamacare 29ers" yet? Under Obamacare's employer mandate, companies with 50 or more "full-time" employees are required to offer health care insurance to their workers or pay a penalty if at least one of their employees purchases a plan through the healthcare marketplace with a federal subsidy. A "full time" employee is defined as those working 30 hours or more. Does this current provision encourage companies to cut work hours? The Congressional Budget Office’s noted in a recent report that there is no compelling evidence to suggest that part-time employment has increased directly because of Obamacare....
  • A Pain in the Assets?

    The first question a business will ask when approached by a buyer is whether the transaction will be structured as a merger, stock sale or asset sale. In a merger, the surviving entity assumes all the liabilities of the former entity. In a stock sale the seller sells stock or an interest in the entity and retains the liabilities. When the buyer purchases assets, the general rule is that the buyer is not liable for the seller's obligations - subject to four well-established exceptions that leave a buyer vulnerable to successor liability. The buyer can agree, either expressly or impliedly,...
  • Getting Smarter About Trade Secrets?

    Almost every person has at least one smart phone, tablet or similar device and soon Google Glass will become common. We have all come to expect real time communications and we have so much confidence in technology that we enter into important contracts with our digital signatures using our smart phone touch screens. Whether we realize it or not, these devices present challenges to the protection of our trade secrets. For example, regardless of motive, an employee may photograph and share highly sensitive information or a vendor who overhears a confidential conversation may tweet the details. Every company can benefit...
  • Break Down Silos?

    What is a silo anyway? It is a wall or boundary put up by an organization, business unit or group of persons for some reason. Silos may be formed for legitimate business purposes including mandatory, projects, competition as well as distracting or irregular activities. They can be formed because they are regulatory such as underwriters who are not able to speak with investors or because of financial reporting. Interest based silos may be formed for reasons like specific goals, exclusivity or privacy. Project based silos may form to focus solely on completing a specific project and can be intended to...

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