Business legal services in Silicon Valley

Steps to Defend a Claim When an Employee Sues

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Owning and operating a successful business is challenging in the current economic environment. No business owner wants to face a lawsuit—especially a legal claim from one of their own employees. If your company is facing a complaint from an employee, it is imperative that you know what to do to protect the best interests of the business. Here, our Fremont employment law attorney for employers highlights five key steps to take to protect yourself and your business against an employee claim.

1.     Understand the Nature and Scope of the Claim

First and foremost, it is crucial that you take the time to understand the nature and scope of the claim. Did the employee actually file a lawsuit or did they initiate a claim with state or federal regulators? In employment law cases, many claims go through a regulatory agency before any lawsuit is filed. You may be facing a claim with the:

  • California Labor Commissioner’s office
  • California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH)
  • United States Department of Labor (DOL)
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

2.     Do Not Take It Personally, Do Not Punish the Employee

As challenging as it can be, it is important to remember that employment law claims are not personal. These complaints should be handled in a professional manner. If the employee still works for your company, do not take any adverse action against them—even if you believe that they filed a false claim in bad faith. You do not want to expose your company to liability for retaliation. The EEOC notes that retaliation is the most common basis for employment claims nationwide.

3.     Identify and Preserve Relevant Documents and Record

Employers can effectively protect their interests by identifying, gathering, and organizing all documents and records that may be relevant to the claim. Not only do employers have a general obligation to save information once a claim has been filed, but these records can form evidence to help protect your business against liability.

4.     Notify Your Insurance Carrier (If Applicable)

Does your company have employment practices liability insurance or another type of related insurance coverage? If so, it is crucial that you notify your insurer once a claim has been filed. In general, insurance policies require that businesses/organizations provide timely notice of a legal claim. Failure to tell your insurance carrier that a claim has been filed could undermine your coverage.

5.     Consult With an Employment Attorney for Employers

Employment law is complicated. There are many specialized rules and regulations in place under both federal and state law. Employers facing a lawsuit (or formal claim) from a current or former employee can benefit from consulting with an experienced employment law attorney. A lawyer will be able to review the specific circumstances of the case and help you determine the best course of action—whether that is building a strong defense or working towards a solution in mediation.

Schedule a Confidential Consultation with a California Employment Lawyer

Lynette Ariathurai is an experienced employment law attorney for employers. If you have questions about defending an employee claim, attorney Ariathurai can help. Contact us now for a confidential consultation. We represent employers in Fremont, Newark, Hayward, East Bay, Milpitas, Union City, San Leandro, Gilroy, San Jose, and Santa Clara.

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Business legal services in Silicon Valley

Should Attorneys Speak for Employers During Employee Disputes?

To be successful, businesses and organizations need strong relationships with their employees. A legal dispute with an employee can cause serious headaches for a business owner or manager. Even worse, it could put the company or organization at a liability risk. A lawyer with experience representing employers can help your business navigate a conflict. 

This raises an important question: Should an attorney speak on behalf of an employer during a dispute? The answer depends on the circumstances — though it is always important to consult with a lawyer as early in a dispute as possible. Here, our California employment law attorney for employers explains what you can expect from your lawyer during a dispute with an employee. 

Preventing Claims through Proactive Guidance

It is important to emphasize that a dispute with an employee is not the same thing as an employment law claim. An attorney can help your business take proactive measures to prevent employee claims. This starts with putting the right practices and structure into place. By doing so, your business can go a long way towards reducing the risk of a dispute. Even if a dispute has already arisen, it may be possible to resolve the matter before a formal claim is filed. 

If your Bay Area business is already locked in a dispute with an employee, a lawyer can help you take the appropriate action to resolve it. What exactly this entails depends on the specific situation, including the ultimate objectives of your business. In some cases, the best path forward is to take time to understand the employee’s concerns and look for a mutually workable, low-conflict solution that avoids a claim with the Labor Commissioner, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). 

Defending Employment Law Claims

Not all employee claims are preventable. Even if your company does everything right, there is still a risk that you could face legal action from a current or former employee. Our experienced California employment law attorney for employers can defend your business or organization in an employee claim. 

Once a formal claim is filed with the Labor Commissioner, EEOC, DFEH, or any other agency, it is best to let your employment law attorney speak on behalf of your business. It is still possible that the matter could still be resolved outside of court. Nonetheless, it is best practice to work with an employment lawyer for employers who can ensure that the rights and interests of your business are protected. 

Get Help from an Employment Lawyer for Employers in California

Attorney Lynette Ariathurai is an experienced, results-driven employment lawyer for employers. If you have any questions about defending your business or organization against an employment dispute, we are more than ready to help. 

Contact us now for a strictly confidential initial consultation. We represent employers throughout the Greater Bay Area, including in Fremont, near Newark, Hayward, East Bay, Milpitas, Union City, San Leandro, Gilroy, San Jose, and Santa Clara. 

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Business legal services in Silicon Valley

Best Practices for Navigating Changing COVID Laws for Businesses

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The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect communities around the world. According to data from the California Department of Public Health, there have been more than 4.1 million cases of the virus confirmed in the state as of mid-August of 2021—and with the Delta variant, case rates are rising once again. For businesses, navigating the ever-changing regulatory environment during the pandemic is challenging. Here, our Fremont, CA business lawyer highlights some of the best practices for companies looking to navigate COVID-19 regulations in the Bay Area.

Do Your Research (Local Law Matters)

You need to stay up-to-date on all applicable laws. Indeed, the only truly effective way for businesses to navigate the changing COVID-19 legal landscape is to work with an experienced business lawyer or do frequent independent research into the relevant rules and regulations. Notably, it is imperative that business owners refer not just to federal and state guidelines, but also to local rules and ordinances.

In California, the regulations sometimes vary from city to city or county to county. Here is an example: On August 2nd, 2021, Cal/OSHA released new guidance on masks. Under the statewide public health regulations, facial coverings are required in certain places, such as healthcare settings. For vaccinated people, masks are only “recommended” in most indoor workplace settings. However, some local governments have different requirements. For example, on August 3rd, 2021, the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency reinstated a full indoor mask mandate—regardless of vaccination status. Make sure you know the rules in your area.

Implement a Process for COVID-19 Planning/Rapid Decision-Making

As the COVID-19 outbreak is still a developing public health crisis, it is crucial that businesses in the Bay Area build and implement a process for pandemic planning and rapid decision making. Keep in mind that things can change quickly. Several factors are subject to change, including masking rules, vaccine regulations, social distancing guidelines, and capacity restrictions. A well-developed plan can make navigating the pandemic far easier. Among other things, your business should have:

  • A plan designed to meet your unique needs/industry
  • A proactive mindset, always ready to address changing rules
  • A clear chain of command to ensure swift and decisive decisions when necessary

Be Ready to Seek Professional Guidance on COVID Regulations

Owning and operating a business is difficult enough during normal times. With the COVID-19 pandemic posing a wide range of challenges on businesses in the Bay Area, it has become even more complicated. You should not hesitate to consult with an experienced California business lawyer who can help you and your partners manage the pandemic.

Schedule a Confidential Consultation with a Bay Area Business Lawyer

Attorney Lynnette Ariathurai is a skilled, solutions-focused advocate for business owners. If you have any questions about the best practices for navigating changing COVID-19 laws, our law firm can help. Contact us today for a strictly confidential consultation. From our Fremont law office, we represent businesses throughout the Bay Area, including in Hayward, Union City, Castro Valley, Milpitas, and Newark.

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Business legal services in Silicon Valley

Preparing Your Business for Bringing Employees Back to the Office in California

LLC Formation Attorney

According to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), more than 20 million state residents were fully vaccinated as of July 1st, 2021. With vaccinations rising and COVID-19 cases dropping, more and more employers are getting ready to bring their remote staff back into the office. It is a complicated thing to do—sorting everything out requires careful planning. Here, our Fremont, CA employment law attorney for employers highlights some of the key things to know about preparing your California business to bring employees back to the office.

Follow State and Federal Public Health Guidelines

As a starting point, business owners and managers should keep up with changing federal, state, and local public health & safety guidelines. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided a considerable amount of guidance for employers and employees. As an employer preparing to bring workers back into the office, you need to be ready to answer some key questions, such as:

  • Will you ask employees to show proof of vaccination status?
  • Will there be any masking or social distancing policies in place?
  • Do employees have the option to remain on a full or partial flex schedule?
  • What steps will you take if an employee tests positive for COVID-19?

Know the Unique Needs of Your Workplace

Every workplace is different. It is crucial that business owners consider the unique needs of their company. Among other things, this means taking proactive steps to adapt the physical workspace for the return of employees. In California, companies are using a wide range of strategies to prepare for the return of remote workers. Some companies are putting an emphasis on ventilation and sanitization. Other businesses are opting to reopen at partial capacity—allowing some employees to continue work remotely either full-time or part-time.

Getting Legal Advice on COVID-19 Laws

Before you bring your employees back to the office, you should seek legal advice concerning the current COVID-19 federal, state, county and city laws that apply to your business. Some questions you may have are:

  • What protocols must I follow at the workplace for my industry?
  • Can I require employees to be vaccinated before returning?
  • Can I terminate an employee who refuses to come back to the office?
  • Am I required to reasonably accommodate an employee and allow some employees to work from home and require others to work at the office?

The answer to each of those questions may depend on what industry you are in and what city, county, and state that your business resides in. The laws are complicated and continually changing, but you can rely on us for timely, accurate counsel.

Effective, Open Communication with Employees is Key

As employers in California bring their staff back to the workplace, it is important to develop clear, well-articulated policies. Open communication between businesses and employees can go a long way towards reducing conflicts. Employers may also benefit from adopting a more flexible approach that allows for a gradual return to the workplace for many workers. Of course, consistency and clarity are important. At the same time, that does not mean that every employee is dealing with the same issues. There may be some circumstances in which companies are required to make accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or other state/federal labor regulations.

Get Help from a Business Law Attorney in Fremont, California

Attorney Lynette Ariathurai is an experienced employment law attorney for employers. If you have any questions or concerns about preparing your California company for bringing workers back to the office, our law firm can help.

Contact us now to arrange a confidential appointment with an attorney. From our Fremont law office, our law firm represents employers throughout the region, including in the San Francisco Bay area and Silicon Valley.

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Business legal services in Silicon Valley

Business Legal Items Needed to Open a New Medical Practice in California

legal issues for medical offices

Are you preparing to open a brand new medical practice in California? If so, there are important business and legal considerations that you should be aware of. State law impacts the structure and ownership requirements of your business. Here, our Fremont business formation attorney provides a brief overview of the business and legal items needed to open a medical practice in California.

Entity Selection and Business Formation

Business startup is complicated—especially in the health care industry. California has specific rules and regulations regarding the formation of a medical practice. In fact, state law generally prohibits doctors and medical professionals from operating their business as a limited liability company (LLC) or traditional corporation.

Instead, medical practices are usually formed as a specialized type of business called a professional medical corporation. Under California’s Moscone-Knox Professional Corporation Act, there are restrictions on who can serve as an officer/director of a medical corporation and restrictions on who can own shares in these corporations.

Commercial Lease

A new medical practice must operate from somewhere. Most likely, this means that your new business will need to enter into a commercial lease agreement. In entering a lease agreement, there are a wide range of different issues that should be considered, including:

  • The location and convenience for current and future patients
  • The monthly cost and duration of the lease
  • Specialized medical issues, including waste removal, potentially hazardous materials on the premises, and storage of sensitive patient information
  • Common area maintenance (CAM) charges (also known as a triple net lease (NNN))

An experienced California business law attorney can help you negotiate and draft a commercial lease agreement that works effectively for your new medical practice.

Employment Matters

If your medical practice is planning on hiring employees, you need to take the time to put the proper structure in place. Make sure you and your business partners understand the legal requirements of your business. As an example, all employers in California with five or more total employees are subject to the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). An employment lawyer with experience representing business owners in the healthcare industry can help you create and implement strategies to limit conflict with employees and reduce your liability risk.

Business Contracts

In the modern business world, contracts are at the basis of most commercial agreements. Whether your medical practice is working with partner companies, such as a medical service organization (MSO), or entering into agreements with outside suppliers/vendors, it is essential that you rely on well-drafted business contracts.

Call Our Fremont, CA Medical Practice Formation Attorney for Help

Attorney Lynette Ariathurai is committed to providing forward-looking guidance and cost effective legal representation. If you have any questions about what business and legal items you need to start a medical practice in California, we can help.

Contact us today for a confidential initial consultation with a business lawyer. From our office in Fremont, we serve businesses and startups throughout the region, including in Hayward, Union City, Castro Valley, Milpitas, and Newark.

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Business legal services in Silicon Valley

How Commercial Tenants Should Protect Themselves When Leasing a Property

Lease Agreement

The National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (Nareit) reports that the total value of the commercial real estate market in the United States is approximately $16 trillion. With so much competition, it is easy for businesses to get overwhelmed when looking for commercial property. Whether you are renting space for retail, an office, manufacturing, or distribution, it is imperative that you sign a fair lease agreement. In this blog post, our Fremont business law attorney explains how commercial tenants can protect themselves when leasing a property in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Review the Lease Agreement Carefully

When commercial tenants search for a new property, they often focus on the location and the rental rate. This is not surprising — price and location are extremely important in business. In too many cases, business owners overlook the importance of carefully reviewing their lease agreement. The specific details of your commercial lease agreement matter. The lease will control your rights if a problem or dispute arises. Your commercial lease agreement should be reviewed by an experienced business lawyer before you sign on the dotted line.

Be Aware of the Liability Risks

In evaluating a commercial lease agreement, one of the key things to investigate is your liability risk. Often, commercial landlords try to shift a large share of the liability risk onto their tenant. If you fail to carefully review the specific terms of your lease agreement, you could be accepting a far greater liability risk than you are comfortable with.

An important thing to watch for is ‘common area maintenance’ (CAM) charges. Also referred to as triple net lease (NNN), CAM charges are fees paid by the tenant to the landlord that are designed to cover the expenses related to certain day-to-day operations. If you share common space with other commercial tenants, your CAM fees will generally be proportional to your total rental obligations. CAM charges may include things like common area trash removal, landscaping, and elevator upkeep.

Another critical contract provision to watch for relates to repairs and improvement to the commercial property—but in your unit and in the common areas. Make sure you know whether the landlord has the right to pass on repair and improvement costs onto your business. If repair and improvement costs are passed on, you should clarify how those expenses are charged. It may be lump sum payments, or the costs may be amortized over multiple years.

Know Your Right to Negotiate a Commercial Lease

When a commercial landlord presents you with a lease agreement, you have the right to take some time to review the specific terms of the contract. Some commercial leases can be negotiated, others are “take it or leave it.” Regardless, it is imperative that you consult with a California attorney who can help you review the lease and advise you on the meaning and implications of the terms.

You may be able to propose amendments to reduce your total level risk. Alternatively, you might want to purchase a supplemental insurance policy for additional liability protection. Your lawyer can help you come to a final lease agreement that offers a fair rental rate, while also ensuring that you and your company are protected from unreasonable liability risks.

Call Our California Commercial Landlord-Tenant Attorney for Immediate Help

Attorney Lynette Ariathurai has the skills and legal experience to negotiate, draft, and review commercial lease agreements. If you are renting property and have questions about commercial leases, we are here to help. Contact us today to learn more about our business law services. With an office in Fremont, we provide representation to businesses and organizations throughout the region, including in Union City, Hayward, Castro, Valley, Newark, and Milpitas.

landlord, leases, tenant

Business legal services in Silicon Valley

Business Attorney for Doctors, Nurses and Medical Personnel

business lawyer for medical personnel

Building, growing, and managing a successful business is complicated — particularly for doctors, medical specialists, and other health care providers who must navigate some unique regulatory and logistical challenges. Attorney Lynette Ariathurai is a skilled business law advocate with extensive experience representing physicians and other health professionals. For a confidential consultation with a California business lawyer for medical professionals, please call our Fremont office at 510-794-9290 or send us a message online.

We Provide Business Services for Doctors and Medical Professionals in the Bay Area

Business Formation

We help health industry professionals and entrepreneurs form businesses under California law. The state’s Moscone-Knox Professional Corporation Act imposes significant restrictions on the ownership and control of many companies in the medical industry. Our firm will help you and your partners form a professional corporation that provides strong liability protection. We also advise health practitioners and entrepreneurs with buying and selling businesses and organizations. 

Regulatory Compliance

Professional corporations in the health care industry must navigate complex regulatory compliance issues, including things like the Stark Law, federal anti-kickback statutes, and California state rules. Our founding business attorney Lynette Ariathurai has the knowledge and legal skill to help you understand your obligations.

Professional Licensure Issues

Business attorney Lynette Ariathurai helps physicians and other health professionals navigate the full spectrum of professional licensing issues. If you are a doctor, a nurse, a dentist, an optometrist, or any other health industry business owner with questions about a professional license, we are here to provide guidance.

Contract Review and Negotiation

Contracts are at the foundation of most commercial relationships. Our business lawyer for medical practitioners provides representation on business contracts. If you have any questions or concerns about the drafting, review, or negotiation of business contracts, we are more than happy to help.

Employment Law

Many professional medical corporations in California have employees. Lynette Ariathurai provides a full range of employment law services for employers. Our focus is on helping you and your business partners put the proper structure in place to prevent claims, including employee handbooks, employment law agreements, and advising employers on wage & hour laws, worker discipline and termination.

Dispute Resolution

Disputes happen. If you are involved in a dispute with a patient, an employee, a vendor/supplier, a competing firm, or any other party, it is crucial that you take immediate action. With experience in mediation, arbitration, and litigation, our Fremont, CA business law firm will protect your rights and help your professional practice find the best path forward.

Get Help from Our California Business Lawyer for Medical Professionals

Attorney Lynette Ariathurai is committed to protecting the rights and interests of clients. We provide reliable, solutions-driven business representation to physicians and other medical personnel. Contact our law firm now to schedule a confidential appointment with a skilled attorney. From our Fremont office, we provide business services to doctors, nurses, and medical professionals throughout the region, including those in Newark, Hayward, East Bay, Milpitas, Union City, San Leandro, Gilroy, San Jose, and Santa Clara.

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Business legal services in Silicon Valley

Medical Leave Rules for California Businesses

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Recent changes to medical leave rules in California mean that business owners need to learn about their new responsibilities under the law in order to avoid claims and ensure their compliance with state law. Employers in California should specifically know about new medical leave rules that provide California workers with more rights than they currently have under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which took effect on January 1, 2021, as well as requirements for COVID-19 sick pay that took effect on March 29, 2021.

Expansion of California’s Family and Medical Leave Law

Since January 1, 2021, California employers who have five or more employees must comply with an expanded version of California’s family and medical leave law by allowing employees to take protected leave to care for themselves and for sick family members. The changes to the law arose out of the COVID-19 pandemic, as legislators realized that many parents were unable to be home to provide care for sick children, or for children who needed to learn remotely due to the pandemic’s closure of schools and day care centers. While some people can work remotely, not all jobs come with the possibility of remote work or a work-from-home situation. Accordingly, due to the pandemic, legislators considered how parents who cannot do their jobs from home would need additional protections to take leave from their jobs—both to provide care for their children, and to care for themselves if they become ill with COVID-19.

The new law expands the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), which previously required employers to provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave for employees who had been working for the employer for at least 12 months and had accumulated at least 1,250 hours of work in that 12-month period. Those requirements have not changed. What has changed is that the law used to apply to employers with 50 or more employees within 75 miles of the worksite, like the federal FMLA. Now, the law applies to employers with 5 or more employees. To be clear, employers with 5 or more employees now must provide job-protected, unpaid leave for up to 12 weeks if they meet the other requirements. In addition, employers must continue to pay the employee’s health insurance coverage under the same terms as if the employee were not on leave.

In some cases, these employees also may be eligible for pay during a medical leave because of another recently passed law.

Expansion of Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Due to COVID-19

In addition to expanding the CFRA to smaller employers, California lawmakers also passed a new law that will require employers to provide supplemental paid sick leave to employees who have been affected by COVID-19. The new law, Senate Bill 95, took effect on March 29, 2021.

This new law expands the employers (and thus their employees) who are covered: both public and private employers in California with more than 25 employees must provide up to 80 hours of COVID-19 paid sick leave, which is in addition to paid sick leave policies that are already in effect through the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014. The law also expands the reasons for seeking this paid sick leave, including the need to provide parental care due to school or daycare closures. In addition, employers need to know that this law applies retroactively to January 1, 2021.

Seek Advice from a California Business Law Attorney

The trend in California appears to be moving toward more paid leaves and the expansion of employers who must comply with medical leave policies. For smaller companies, these kinds of expansions can be extremely difficult since they often require employers of very small businesses to hold jobs open for an employee on leave and pay both the employee on leave and the person who steps in to do their job during the leave period. Then, once the leave period ends, the business can be required to provide unemployment compensation to the employee who was terminated to reinstate the employee who was on leave. In short, recently changed California laws have not taken into consideration the financial burden they may be placing on small businesses across the state.

If you have questions about your obligations as an employer under the new leave laws, Attorney Lynnette Ariathurai can assist you. Contact us to learn more about the services we provide for employers in California.

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Business legal services in Silicon Valley

Medical Partnerships, Leases and Entity Formations

If you are planning to open your own medical practice in California, it is critical to understand how California law affects your ability to choose a business structure for your medical practice and to enter into business with other healthcare professionals. Generally speaking, California law allows physicians to operate medical practices as sole proprietorships, partnerships with other physicians, and as professional medical corporations. Other types of common business structures are not permitted under California law for healthcare businesses. Beyond entity formation, physicians and other healthcare providers who are considering the possibility of starting a new practice will also have to consider specific issues when it comes to leasing commercial space for a healthcare business.

Our experienced California business formation lawyer can help. Attorney Lynnette Ariathurai serves business owners throughout Northern California.

Forming a Medical Partnership

If you are thinking about opening a new medical practice and want to keep the structure of your business relatively simple, California law allows you to form a partnership (or to operate your healthcare practice as a sole proprietorship). However, any physician or other healthcare professional in California should learn more about the limitations of medical partnerships in relation to personal liability and taxation as well as the benefits of creating different business structures for the assets of the business versus the medical practice. Many healthcare providers and medical professionals who open new or are expanding practices find benefits in forming a professional medical corporation. 

Professional Corporations for Medical Practices

Under California law, healthcare practices cannot form traditional certain business structures such as a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation when forming a business. Instead, professional healthcare providers, including licensed physicians, surgeons, nurses, chiropractors, psychologists, optometrists, clinical social workers, and many other professionals must create a professional medical corporation. There are many benefits to forming a professional medical corporation, including limiting liability (some limitations arising out of medical malpractice), as well as tax benefits similar to those of an S-Corporation.

The Moscone-Knox Professional Corporation Act explicitly outlines the types of professional services that are provided in a professional medical corporation, and what kinds of healthcare providers or medical professionals can be officers, directors, and own shares in these types of corporations.

Commercial Lease Considerations for Healthcare Practices

In addition to the complicated issues surrounding entity formation for healthcare practices and businesses, it is important to work with a California business lawyer on any commercial lease for a healthcare practice. There are a variety of issues that you should consider in your lease beyond those that might appear in another kind of commercial lease, such as:

  • Tenant and landlord responsibilities concerning HIPAA and patient files stored on the premises
  • Medical waste and removal
  • Use of medical devices and storage of medical materials on the premises
  • CAM or NNN expense distribution between landlord and tenant
  • Parking space for patients

Contact a California Entity Formation Lawyer

If you are a healthcare provider and are considering your options for starting a new practice, it is critical to seek advice from a California entity formation attorney about the nuances of entity formation for medical partnerships and corporations, as well as the complexities of medical commercial real estate leases.

Attorney Lynnette Ariathurai is committed to representing business owners in Northern California and can speak with you today about medical entity formation. We serve business owners in Fremont, Hayward, San Leandro, Gilroy, Milpitas, Union City, East Bay, San Jose, Santa Clara, and Newark. Contact us for more information about how we can assist you with your new medical practice.

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Business legal services in Silicon Valley

California Consumer Privacy Acts for Commercial Websites

Consumer Privacy Acts for Commercial Websites

Recent changes to California consumer privacy laws affect most e-commerce websites in the state, and it is critical for business owners who run e-commerce websites to understand consumer rights and business responsibilities. Whether you are currently running an e-commerce website or considering the possibility of launching one soon, you should seek advice from an experienced California business lawyer about the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 and Prop 24. Both laws expand consumer privacy rights, and it is important for companies to comply with these laws. Attorney Lynnette Ariathurai can assist you in drafting and updating business privacy policies to ensure that your company remains in compliance with current state law.

California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018

The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA) took effect on January 1, 2020, and it impacts most e-commerce websites viewed by California residents if the business (i.e., the website owner) collects any information from the consumer either directly or indirectly and then sells the information. The responsibilities of e-commerce sites under the new law extend relatively widely because the definition of the word “sale” is defined broadly.

What this means for your business is that, if you have a website where you conduct any kind of e-commerce and you collect information from consumers who visit the site, it is critical to seek advice from a California business law attorney about your company’s privacy policy. Most company privacy policies drafted prior to January 1, 2020—when the new law took effect—will not be in compliance. It may be necessary to completely redraft your company’s privacy policy in order to comply, or at the very least, to revise the policy accordingly.

As a business owner, you should know that this law specifically lays out format requirements and provides detailed information to California residents about their privacy rights and how to exercise their rights. As such, businesses could face claims from informed consumers if they do not take steps to ensure that their privacy policies are in compliance.

Prop 24 Further Expands Consumer Privacy Rights

Beyond the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, Prop 24 also expands consumer privacy rights in the state. This law passed in November 2020. It amends the CCPA with a “more comprehensive privacy scheme,” according to Brookings, creating the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA).

The new law requires businesses to protect personal information collected from consumers by “reasonably minimizing data collection, limiting data retention, and protecting data security.” It also requires businesses in California to “conduct privacy risk assessments and cybersecurity audits, and regularly submit them to regulators.” Consumers may also opt out of the sale or sharing of their personal data.

Contact a California Business Law Attorney for Assistance

Website owners and companies that engage in e-commerce need to work with an experienced California business lawyer to draft new policies or to update existing policies to guarantee compliance with new consumer privacy laws in California. Attorney Lynnette Ariathurai has years of experience representing business owners in Fremont, Hayward, San Leandro, Gilroy, Milpitas, Union City, East Bay, San Jose, Santa Clara, and Newark and can talk with you today about reviewing, drafting, and updating privacy policies for your website. Contact us to learn more.

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