Author: Pat Rippon

Importance of Having an Attorney Advise During the Formation of an LLC

importance of llc formation attorney

Making the decision to start up a new business is exciting. You can build something of real value to support yourself, your family, and your community. A limited liability company (LLC) is a flexible, cost effective legal structure for many different types of businesses. As forming any type of new business can be complicated, it is best to seek guidance from an experienced attorney who can help you put the right foundation in place. Here, our Fremont business formation lawyer highlights five considerations that should be addressed during the formation of a limited liability company (LLC).

1.   Whether an LLC is the proper form (eligibility, needs, etc.)

A limited liability company is a popular way to set up a business. As explained by the California Secretary of State, an LLC “offers liability protection similar to that of a corporation, but is taxed differently.” It combines some of the core advantages of a corporation and a partnership. That being said, an LLC is not the right form for every type of business. Some companies are better served by a different legal structure. Further, certain types of businesses in California—such as a medical, dental, or nursing practice—cannot be set up as an LLC. An attorney will help you determine whether an LLC is the right form.

2.   Selection of State for your limited liability company

When forming an LLC, you also need to decide where you are going to set it up. You may or may not want to make California the home state of your LLC. In some circumstances, setting up an LLC in a different jurisdiction—such as Delaware or Nevada—offers real advantages. In other cases, setting up an LLC outside of California adds complexity with no tangible benefit. A business formation lawyer can help you choose the right state.

3.   The applicability of liability protection

One of the central advantages of an LLC is that it offers liability protection. Simply described, an LLC helps to ensure that the members will not be held personally liable for the debts incurred by the business. Of course, the liability protection associated with an LLC is situation-dependent. It may not, by itself, offer adequate liability protection. Additional precautions may be required.

4.   Drafting and negotiating an operating agreement

Every LLC should have a written operating agreement. While LLCs doing business in California are regulated by California law, the reality is that many of your personal rights and responsibilities related to the business will be derived from your operating agreement. An operating agreement for an LLC should always be negotiated, drafted, and reviewed by an experienced business formation attorney.

5.   Compliance with ongoing requirements for LLCs

Finally, it is important to remember that LLCs must comply with certain ongoing legal requirements in California. In setting up an LLC, an experienced California business attorney can help you understand the ongoing and future requirements so that you are in the best position to comply. 

Get Help from Our California Business Formation Attorney Today

Lynnette Ariathurai is an experienced business formation attorney. If you have any specific questions about setting up a limited liability company (LLC), we are here to help. Contact us today to arrange a confidential consultation. We provide business law services throughout the Bay Area.

business formation, business formation attorney, business structure, limited liability company, LLC formation

Negotiating Managed Care Contracts

Negotiating Managed Care Contracts

The health care industry is one of the largest and most complex in the United States. According to data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), total public and private U.S. health spending exceeds $4.1 trillion. Insurance providers play a huge role in health financing. Here, our Fremont business contract attorney highlights some of the key things to consider when negotiating managed care agreements.

What is a Managed Care Contract?

As a starting point, it is important to understand what a managed care contract is and how it works. A managed care contract is effectively an agreement between a medical provider (doctor, specialist, etc.) and a third-party entity. Through a managed care plan, health plan providers will enter agreements with medical facilities to provide care for members at reduced costs. There are a number of different specific types of managed care arrangements, including:

  • Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs);
  • Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs); and
  • Point of Service providers.

A Managed Care Agreement is Not Cast in Stone: You Can Negotiate Key Terms

For doctors and other medical providers, there can be advantages to entering a management care agreement. However, similar to any other type of important commercial contract, the specific terms and conditions always matter. A proposed managed care contract is not set in stone. The terms are subject to negotiation. Negotiating an effective agreement requires understanding your needs and your risks. Some key provisions that are subject to negotiate include:  

  • Rates: Rates matter. As noted previously, managed care agreements generally provided lower cost services to members. When doctors and other medical practices enter these agreements, they need to be sure that the reimbursement rate is in their best interest.
  • Claims Process: The language surrounding all aspects of the claim process should be carefully reviewed. Some key issues to look for include day-of cutoff, downcoding, no take backs, and withholding,
  • Dispute Resolution (Arbitration Provisions): Disputes can happen within the context of a managed care agreement. A well-drafted agreement will generally have some sort of dispute resolution clause. For example, it may call for arbitration.
  • Exit Options (Termination, Expiration): In a managed care agreement, it is also important to look at the exit options of each party. Does either party have the right to terminate the agreement? When will the contract expire? What happens after the date of expiration?
  • Other Unfavorable Provisions: Finally, medical providers should also carefully look for other provisions that may be unfavorable. As an example, some managed care agreements contain language that gives the payor broad (or even unilateral) authority to amend the terms of the contract. This type of language generally needs to be removed.

If you are preparing to negotiate a managed care agreement, there are major advantages to consulting with an experienced attorney. A business lawyer who works closely with medical practices and health care facilities can negotiate, draft, and review your managed care contract to ensure that it is in your best legal and financial interests.

Contact Our California Business Lawyer for Medical Practices Today

A business law attorney with extensive experience, Lynnette Ariathurai works with companies and medical practices in the health care industry. If you have questions about negotiating a managed care contract, please contact our Fremont law office for a strictly confidential initial consultation.

agreements, Contracts, healthcare, managed care

Who Owns a Patients’ Medical Records When a Physician Leaves a Practice?

business lawyer for medical personnel

Physicians have an ethical and professional duty to manage medical records properly. To start, the HIPAA Privacy Rule requires doctors, health care providers, and other parties to protect the confidentiality of sensitive patient medical records. When a doctor moves on from a practice group, it is crucial that all patient medical records are handled in an appropriate manner.

This raises an important question: How should patient medical records be handled when a physician leaves a group medical practice?  The Medical Board of California and the American Medical Association (AMA) provide some important guidance. In this article, our Fremont business lawyer explains the key things to know about who owns a patient’s medical records in California.

Background Ownership of Medical Records in California

Medical record ownership varies by state. In California, medical records belong to a hospital or a doctor. With this ownership comes certain ethical and professional obligations to patients. Patients have the right to access their medical records in certain circumstances. Under California Health & Safety Code 123100, patients have a general right to access their medical records and/or summaries. Further, the AMA Code of Ethics 1.1.3(f) states that patients should have the right “to obtain copies or summaries of their medical records.” To comply with statutory and regulatory obligations, group practices must handle medical records properly.

A Note on Professional Courtesy: California law does not require group practice to transfer records between providers. However, the Medical Board of California considers this a “professional courtesy.” The possible cost of copy and/or clerical fees depend on the specific situation.

Medical Board of California: Patient Records When a Doctor Leaves a Practice

The California Medical Board advises practitioners that patients should be notified regarding certain fundamental changes to the structure of a group medical practice. When a doctor leaves a medical practice in California, their patients should be notified and given a chance to make provisions for their medical records.

The AMA has also issued ethical guidance on this matter. Under AMA Code of Ethics Opinion 7.03, patients should be notified when their doctor is leaving a practice group. Further, they should be given the chance to have their medical records retained or forwarded to the doctor’s new practice group based on their preferences.

Medical Practice Agreements Should Address Patient Medical Records

Medical records should be addressed in agreements between doctors. You are always better off discussing and handling this matter at the beginning of a commercial relationship rather than the end of a commercial relationship. Any contracts that your medical practice relies on should have provisions for who owns patient medical records when a doctor leaves the practice. Agreements should include clear instructions for patient notification, including who is responsible for:

  • Sending out notices to patients
  • Bearing the cost of sending out notices to patients

Schedule a Confidential Consultation with a California Business Lawyer

Lynnette Ariathurai is a business lawyer with extensive experience working with doctors and other medical professionals. Contact us today to set up a confidential initial consultation. From our Fremont law office, we work with medical practices throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

health care providers, medical practice law, medical record ownership, Medical records law

The Importance of Having an Attorney Draft a Contract (IT Industry)

Professionally Drafted IT Contracts

Information technology (IT) remains one of the fastest-growing large industries. According to data from Statista, the total value of global IT companies now exceeds $5.2 trillion. Similar to other industries, contracts are at the basis of most commercial relationships in information technology. It is crucial that all businesses operating within the space have well-drafted contracts. Here, our Fremont business contract attorney explains why it is so important to have your contract drafted by a lawyer—especially if you are in the IT space.

Many Companies Need Professionally Drafted IT Contracts

Information technology is an incredibly complex field. Not only regarding the work that is being done, but also in terms of the structure and layering of the business. Along with other types of California companies, your business needs well-drafted IT contracts if:

  • You are an employer who provides on-site IT services for end-user companies
  • You are an employer that provides remote IT services for end-user companies
  • You operate a company that locates and recruits qualified IT professionals

It is especially important to have well-crafted contracts in place if you own and operate a recruiting company that finds IT professionals for end-users for a fee. Likewise, end-user companies that work with IT recruiting firms must ensure that their best interests are properly protected by the terms of the contract.

Companies that provide direct IT services to end-users can benefit from customized contracts. These IT firms may be located within the United States, outside of the United States, or a combination of both. There may be situations in which one company has access to the job opening and another company has access to the IT talent. Contracts govern these commercial relationships.

When Disputes Arise, the Terms of the Contract Matter

There are several reasons why well-drafted contracts are especially important for IT industry companies. When a contract dispute arises, the specific terms of the contract will, in large part, determine your company’s liability risk. A poorly drafted contract could dramatically increase your company’s liability in a dispute. Among other things, IT-related disputes arise over:

  • Serious professional errors by IT professionals
  • Alleged non-payment of fees to one or more companies involved in the chain of workflow
  • Employee is hired directly by the end user or one of the other companies in the many layers

One of the challenges faced by IT industry employers—whether contracting with an end-user for on-site or remote services—is that it can be difficult to stay on the same page. For example, problems could arise if an IT employee puts in overtime hours without the proper authorization. Also, if the employee is hired by the end user or another company to provide services to the end user, you are essentially cut out of the deal. Without a well-drafted contract, an IT employer could end up on the hook for additional costs or loss of income.

IT Companies Without Strong Contracts Risk Higher Costs, Decreased Revenue

Ultimately, it is the contract that will, in large part, determine each company’s liability risk. Imagine that an IT employer is not promptly advised of changes regarding a particular employee’s schedule. Payment for their services could prove to be complicated. The ability to invoice another company for work provided depends on the terms and conditions of the contract.

Another similar situation could arise when an end-user believes that an IT professional was working on the wrong tasks and/or the end-user is dissatisfied with an IT professional’s skills. Each party’s financial responsibility for any work performed will depend on the contract. The right contract puts your company in the best position to get paid (or avoid paying) for certain work.

Disputes over total payment for work provided is one risk that employer companies face in the IT industry. An even greater risk is if another company or the end user steals your employee. It is expensive and time-consuming to locate and retain skilled IT professionals. Employer companies could be stuck with major losses of revenue if they do not have well-drafted contracts in place. 

A Contract Should Be Structured to Meet Your IT Company’s Unique Needs

When a business law attorney drafts a contract, they do so with the rights and interests of their client in mind. As every situation is different, it is crucial that IT companies retain a lawyer who can draft a contract that is well-tailored for their specific circumstances. Information technology companies that don’t understand the importance of having an attorney draft a contract sometimes use formulaic contracts from the internet, taking on significant risk. They may be unknowingly shifting a large amount of liability risk back to their firm or not protecting themselves from other losses. An experienced California business attorney can draft a contract that effectively minimizes liability risks and ensures that your IT business is in the best possible position.

Contact Our Fremont, CA Business Contract Attorney for Help

Lynnette Ariathurai is a business law attorney with extensive experience drafting, negotiating, and reviewing contracts. Call us now or send us a message for a confidential consultation. From our Fremont law office, we help clients with business contracts throughout the Bay Area.

business contract, contract law, information technology, IT, liability

LLPs vs Professional Corporations

business formation attorney

All businesses need the proper legal structure to thrive. For certain professionals that operate a business with more than one owner—attorneys, accountants, and architects—there are two options available: A limited liability partnership (LLP) or a professional corporation (PC). There are advantages and disadvantages to each of these entities. In this article, our Fremont business formation lawyer explains the key things to know about LLPs and PCs in California. 

An Overview of LLPs and Professional Corporations

As a starting point, it is useful to have a basic understanding of the two types of professional business structures. Here is a brief overview of these business entities:

  • Professional corporation (PC): Governed by California’s Moscone-Knox Professional Corporation Act, a PC is a specialized type of business entity that is registered for certain businesses that offer professional services.
  • Limited liability partnership (LLP): As explained by the California Franchise Tax Board, an LLP is a type of partnership business that allows certain eligible professionals to access many of the benefits—liability protection, pass through taxation, etc.—offered by an LLC. 

A Limited Number of Professionals Can Choose Between the Two Options

Not all licensed professionals in California have the option to choose between an LLP and a PC. In fact, you are only allowed to set up your business as an LLP if you are one of the following professions:

  • Licensed attorneys
  • Accountants
  • Architects

California law holds that other professionals are not eligible to operate their business as an LLP. In other words, medical doctors, physicians’ assistants, chiropractors, clinical social workers, dentists, nurses, optometrists, veterinarians, physical therapists, pharmacists, marriage, family and child counselors, and court reporters must operate as a PC.

LLPs Offer Additional Flexibility in Certain Circumstances

As LLPs share many common characteristics with LLCs, they offer several potential benefits to eligible professionals. Most notably, they offer business owners additional flexibility to customize their operations. As a partner in an LLP, you have access to enhanced protection from liability for professional malpractice claims filed against one of your partners, but the license holder for the LLP remains personally liable for all malpractice of the business. This differs from a general partnership where all partners are liable for the malpractice of one partner. Therefore, adequate malpractice insurance coverage is still recommended, as is errors and omissions insurance.

Setting up a well-structured LLP is complex. It is crucial that you have a properly crafted partnership agreement that clearly lays out ownership/operational rights and responsibilities. If you are a lawyer, accountant, or architect preparing to form an LLP in the Bay Area, an experienced California partnership agreement attorney can help. 

Know the Tax Differences: LLP vs. PC

In California, a PC is generally taxed as a C-corporation unless an S-corporation election has been made. LLPs in California are usually taxed as pass-through entities. A 2021 reform passed by state lawmakers (California Assembly Bill 150) created a new pass-through entity elective tax option. If you have any questions about what type of entity offers a more advantageous tax structure for your business, it is best to consult with a licensed certified public accountant (CPA).

Get Help from a Business Formation Attorney in the Bay Area

Lynnette Ariathurai is a California attorney with experience helping entrepreneurs start business. If you have any questions about LLPs vs professional corporations, we can help. Contact us today for a confidential initial consultation. With an office in Fremont, we serve communities throughout the Bay Area.

business attorney, business entities, business structures, limited liability partnership, LLP, PC, professional corporation

Are LLCs the Right Entity for You?

The current economic environment is highly competitive. It is more important than ever that businesses have the right legal structure in place. An LLC might be the right entity for your California business. Indeed, there are many reasons to select an LLC as a business entity. However, an LLC is not the right business entity for every situation. In California, certain types of businesses cannot lawfully operate as an LLC. Here, our Fremont business formation lawyer highlights the key things to know if you are trying to determine if an LLC is the right entity for your company.

Know the Benefits of Forming a Limited Liability Company (LLC)

As explained by the California Franchise Tax Board, a limited liability company is a type of business entity that “blends partnership and corporate structures.” There are a number of different potential advantages to operating as an LLC, including:

  • Ease of set up: It is relatively easy and cost-effective to set up an LLC in California. You will have to select a name for your LLC, complete form LLC-1 and submit it to the Secretary of State and pay California’s annual LLC tax. There are minimal other requirements, including annual compliance costs.
  • Liability protection: Perhaps the primary benefit of an LLC is that it offers strong liability protection. As a member of an LLC in California, your personal assets can be protected from the debts and liabilities of the business. There are limited exceptions, similar to a corporation.
  • Flexibility: A California LLC is a fundamentally flexible business structure. You can effectively structure your company in the way you feel works best—profits, financial obligations, and voting rights can be split however you and the other members desire. 

It is highly recommended that you have a professionally drafted operating agreement for your LLC. A well-crafted agreement will ensure that your rights and interests are properly protected.

California Law: Not All Businesses Can Operate as LLCs

It is important to emphasize that not every type of business can operate as an LLC in California. In fact, most licensed-businesses cannot be structured as an LLC. While there are limited exceptions, you should always consult with an experienced Bay Area business lawyer before moving forward. California law is evolving and certain CSLB, service businesses and home health care businesses can now be structured as LLCs.

For certain types of licensed professionals (lawyers, accountants, architects, etc.), an alternative type of business entity called a limited liability partnership (LLP) is an option. If you have any questions about forming an LLP, our Fremont, CA business formation lawyer can help.

LLCs are Not the Right Entity for Every Business

Even if your specific type of company can operate an LLC in California, it may still not be the best option for your needs. While LLCs offer some strong advantages—low administrative costs, liability protection, flexibility, etc.—there are also some downsides.

Most notably, an LLC operates as a pass-through entity for tax purposes. There will be a self-employment tax for LLC members. For this and other reasons, LLCs are generally not the best option for companies holding significant inventory, leasing expensive commercial space, or that have high overhead costs.

Consult With a Business Lawyer in the Bay Area

Lynnette Ariathurai is an experienced, solutions-driven business formation lawyer. If you have any questions about whether an LLC is the right entity for your business, please contact us today. We serve communities throughout the area, including Fremont, Newark, Union City, East Bay, Milpitas, San Leandro, Santa Clara, Hayward, and San Jose. 

business entity, business formation, business planning, business structure, liability protection, limited liability partnership

How to Buy or Sell a Medical Practice

legal issues for medical offices

Buying or selling a medical practice is complicated. Beyond the complexities that come with any major commercial transaction, there are also specialized legal considerations for the owners and operators of medical practices in California. In this article, our Fremont business law attorney discusses some of the most important things to know about buying or selling a medical practice in Northern California. If you have any specific questions, please do not hesitate to call our law office.

Due Diligence: Make Sure Your Counterparties are Reliable

You should never buy or sell any business without conducting thorough due diligence. Broadly defined, due diligence is an investigation, inquiry, and general exercise of care that a person should take before entering into an agreement.

Due diligence is essential when buying a medical practice. You must have a full understanding of the financial position of the business, including its assets and potential liabilities. Due diligence is no less important when selling a practice. Make sure your counterparties are reliable.

The Structure and Components of the Deal

The structure and components of a purchase agreement matter. Of course, this starts with determining the appropriate purchase or sale price for the medical practice. Parties should also pay very close attention to the structure of the transaction. You may be best off with a stock sale, whereby the entire medical practice is purchased. Alternatively, the parties may prefer an asset sale in which the buyer purchases specific assets held by the practice. It is always the best practice to have a medical practice purchase agreement reviewed by an experienced business lawyer.

Unique Concerns for Buying or Selling Medical Practices

Doctors and other medical professionals who are buying or selling a practice in California should be aware of some of the unique federal and state regulations that will impact their rights and responsibilities. Among other things, these include:

  • Restrictions on ownership: Any transfer of ownership of a medical practice in California must conform to the requirements of the state’s Moscone-Knox Professional Corporation Act. Medical practices are generally structured as PCs (professional corporations) — there are restrictions on who can own these business entities.
  • Patient notice: The Medical Board of California has regulations in place regarding patient notice when a practice is sold to another party or intends to close. Make sure that patients are notified of the transaction as soon as possible.
  • Medical records: The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) requires medical professionals (and medical practices) to protect sensitive medical records. HIPAA’s privacy requirements must be followed through all aspects of the sale.
  • Controlled substances: If the medical practice has access to any controlled substances, it is imperative that these highly-regulated drugs are handled properly in accordance with the applicable federal and state laws.

Finalizing the Sale of a Medical Practice 

Before the medical practice sale can be finalized, there are several issues that need to be addressed. Once the final structure of the business purchase agreement is in place, be sure to attend to future-focused issues, such as tail insurance and whether there will be a non-compete agreement in place. An experienced California business lawyer can help you secure, organize, and complete all the legal and commercial documents that you need to finalize the transaction.

Consult With Our Bay Area Business Law Attorney Today

Lynnette Ariathurai is a top business lawyer with the skills and experience to represent medical practitioners with buying or selling a medical practice. Contact us today for your fully confidential initial consultation. We serve communities throughout the Bay Area, including Fremont, Newark, East Bay, Union City, Hayward, Santa Clara, Milpitas, San Jose, San Leandro, and Gilroy.

commercial lease, medical practitioners, navigating medical practice lease, negotiating medical practice lease

Navigating Leases for a Medical Practice

business lawyer for medical personnel

A commercial lease is the legal foundation of a relationship between a business and a landlord. If you own and operate a medical practice in the Bay Area, navigating a lease agreement can be especially complicated. There are some unique issues that should be considered and addressed as part of your commercial lease. In this article, our California contract review attorney highlights some of the key issues to consider when drafting and negotiating a lease for your medical practice.

Key Commercial Leasing Issues for Medical Practitioners

Any successful medical practice needs an appropriate space to operate. The commercial property that you set up shop in should be well-suited for the particular needs of your practice. Additionally, the commercial lease that you operate under should provide an appropriate amount of legal protection. Some of the key issues that should be addressed in a commercial lease for a medical practice in California include:

  • Cost: You should have a clear definitions of the costs associated with your commercial lease. As a starting point, there must be a clear structure for how rent is calculated—either as a fixed monthly rate or as a percentage of revenue/profits. Additionally, a lease usually specifies responsibility for utilities, taxes, common area expenses, and other costs.
  • Liability: Liability is an important issue in a commercial lease — particularly for medical practitioners. A commercial landlord may try to include terms that shift liability towards your medical practice. Be sure to carefully review and fully understand liability risks.
  • Tenant improvements: In many cases, a medical practice needs to make certain improvements and alterations to a commercial space to operate. The lease should clarify two key things:
    • Your right to make improvements
    • Financial responsibility for any improvements
  • Weekend/night operations: Medical needs can arise at any moment. Many practices operate outside of normal working hours, including on nights and weekends. Make sure that your lease allows for weekend/night operations and ensure that the property is prepared. For example, the heat/air conditioning should be running.
  • Privacy (landlord access): Privacy is a major concern for medical practices. There are many state and federal privacy regulations in place to ensure that health care providers protect the sensitive health information of patients. It is a best practice to address landlord access to the property and other privacy concerns in a commercial lease agreement. 
  • ADA compliance: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal civil rights law that puts certain responsibilities on property owners, as well as businesses and business owners. Leases often include waiver of ADA compliance by landlord, and the burden shifts to the tenant to comply. A commercial space may need to be upgraded to ensure that your practice is in full compliance with the ADA. ADA complaints for non-compliance can be expensive.
  • Duration (termination and renewal): A commercial lease should always have a well-defined duration. Beyond that, the lease should clarify your rights and responsibilities regarding leaving the property before the lease ends and remaining in the property once the lease expires. Among other things, your lease should address forced moves to substitute premises, subletting rights, early termination options, and renewal rights.

Contact Our Fremont, CA Commercial Lease Lawyer Today

Lynnette Ariathurai has deep experience negotiating, drafting, and reviewing commercial leases. If you have any questions about navigating a lease for a medical practice, we are here to help. Contact us now for a confidential consultation. Our firm serves clients from our offices in Fremont throughout the Bay Area including Newark, Hayward, East Bay, Milpitas, Union City, San Leandro, Gilroy, San Jose, and Santa Clara.

commercial lease, medical practitioners, navigating medical practice lease, negotiating medical practice lease

Changing California Employment Laws Could Impact Your Business

Changing California Employment Laws

California Employment Laws

Several important employment law changes are taking effect in California on January 1st, 2022. If you own or operate a small or mid-sized business it is crucial that you take action to ensure that your company’s policies and procedures are still in full compliance with federal, state, and local regulations. Here, our Fremont employment lawyer for employers provides an overview of the changing employment laws in California and explains the value of seeking professional guidance.

An Overview of the Key Employment Law Changes in California

Over the past several years, California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed a number of bills with employment law provisions. A few changes officially took effect on January 1st, 2022. Some of the most notable employment law changes include:

  • Revision of the California Family Rights Act: In 2020, there were significant changes made to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). In 2021, a new bill (AB 1033) was passed to fix a drafting error within the previous CFRA reform. Further, AB 1033 expands the CFRA mediation program for small employers.
  • Heightened enforcement of wage and safety violations: As of January 1st, 2022, Senate Bill 606 took effect in California. The legislation significantly expands the Cal/OSHA’s authority to hold employers accountable for certain types of wage violations and workplace safety violations. It is crucial that small employers ensure full compliance with all state and federal wage and hours laws and all state and federal safety regulations. 
  • New rules on severance and settlement agreements: New regulations regarding severance and settlement agreements are taking effect in California. Among other things, the law prohibits employers from including non-disclosure provisions in most settlement agreements pertaining to a workplace harassment claim or a workplace discrimination claim.
  • Continued COVID-19 workplace safety compliance: Finally, there are continued COVID-19 workplace safety regulations that employers need to be aware of in 2022. With the spread of the highly-transmissible Omicron variant, COVID-19 is expected to be a significant workplace safety issue in 2022. Employers must comply with SB 336 and AB 654.

Small Business Can Benefit from an Employment Law Review for 2022

As a small business owner in the Bay Area, you undoubtedly have a lot on your plate. It is imperative that you do not allow California employment law changes to go unaddressed. The start of a new year is an excellent time to seek professional legal guidance regarding employment handbooks as well as employment policies and benefits. Our experienced California employment lawyer for employers can conduct a comprehensive review of your company’s practice to ensure that you are in full compliance with all applicable regulations—both the already established rules and the updated laws.

Contact Our California Employment Law Attorney Today

Lynnette Ariathurai is a skilled employment lawyer for employers. If you have any questions about California’s changing employment laws, we can help. Contact us today for a confidential consultation. We provide employment law representation throughout the region, including in Fremont, Newark, Hayward, East Bay, Milpitas, Union City, San Leandro, Gilroy, San Jose, and Santa Clara.

California employment laws, employment law attorney, employment law changes

Steps to Defend a Claim When an Employee Sues

business attorney

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.

employee claim, employment law attorney, employment liability

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