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Thursday
Sep012011

Labor Laws 2011 - New NLRB Employment Law Poster

Wage and Hour DefenseEmployment Defense Attorney

by Sue M. Bendavid

818.907.3220

Employer Lawyer Los Angeles Google+ 

 

Attention Employers: There is a new labor law poster that must be displayed by most private-sector employers before November 14, 2011.

The poster is mandated by the National Labor Relations Board (the NRLB). The poster is intended to advise employees of their rights to organize under the National Labor Relations Act (the NRLA). Employers should be able to obtain the newest addition to the employer compliance posters before November 1st.

The compliance poster will contain information about the rights of employees to do the following:

▪ Act together to improve wages and working conditions;
▪ Form, join or assist a union;
▪ Bargain collectively with an employer; and
▪ To refrain from any of the above-listed activities.

The poster will provide examples of unlawful employer and union conduct, and it also provides contact information for the NLRB should employees wish to ask questions or lodge complaints.

Who Must Display the NLRB Poster?

Because the subject matter applies to all private-sector employers subject to the NLRA, as well as all union and non-union workplaces, almost all private employers in the U.S. will need to display this latest addition to employment law posters.

Certain industries and individuals are not covered by the Act. Exemptions include:

▪ Public-sector employees
▪ Agricultural and domestic workers
▪ Independent contractors and supervisors
▪ Workers employed by a parent or spouse
▪ Employees of air and rail carriers covered by the Railway Labor Act

Also, if you are a small employer (as defined by the Act) you might not be subject to the NLRB’s jurisdiction.

The notice is in English, but will also be available in other languages. If 20 percent or more of your work force is not proficient in English, you will have to display the notice in other languages as well. For example, if 20 percent of your employees speak Spanish, you will need a Spanish language poster.

Where Should You Display Employment Law Posters?

 

Employer compliance posters, including this latest one required by the NLRB, should be displayed in a conspicuous location where employees will readily see it. You should place these required notices anywhere you normally display personnel rules and policies.

If for example, you have a minimum wage poster displayed in an employee break room or by a time clock, you should post the new compliance poster in those areas as well.

You will not have to distribute the NLRB required poster electronically, but if you normally make notices of employee policy changes or display posters on a company intranet or website, you will have to add the new compliance poster to those platforms too.

If you have any questions about the new poster, labor laws or employer requirements, call me: 818.990.2120.

Sue M. Bendavid is a Los Angeles Employment Attorney and Chair of our Employment Law Practice Group. She represents employers throughout California.

 

 
Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

 

 

Tuesday
Aug302011

Underage Drinking | Social Host Law & Responsibility in California

Injury Attorney Los AngelesLos Angeles Injury Lawyer 

 

by David B. Bobrosky
(818) 907-3254

 

In 2011 the California legislature amended Civil Code Section 1714(d) to allow claims “against a parent, guardian, or another adult who knowingly furnishes alcoholic beverages at his or her residence to a person under 21 years of age.”

Parents know teenagers are going to have get-togethers or parties. Having said that, most parents would rather have the kids at their house so they can keep an eye on their own child. I know that’s how we feel. Some parents, however, also feel it’s acceptable to provide alcohol to minors as long as they remain under adult supervision.

According to the law above, if they do, and the minor leaves their house and causes an accident, the host of the party can be held responsible.

A number of states have variations of this law. The laws are commonly known as “Social Host Laws.” This amendment is a major change to California law, which for many years specifically held that there is no social host responsibility. As to adults over 21, the law did not change, and generally, there is no social host responsibility.

California’s Zero Tolerance Law

Keep in mind that California also has a Zero Tolerance Policy as to drivers under 21 having alcohol in their system.

Most people know that it is against the law for a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level to be .08% or greater.

Many people, however, do not know that if you are under 21, it is against the law to have a BAC level of just .01% or greater.

If you are found to have violated the Zero Tolerance Law, at a minimum, your license will be suspended for a year.

So for the next teenager party at your house, make sure there is no alcohol. Not only is it a crime to furnish alcohol to a minor, you may also find yourself on the other end of a civil lawsuit. And the minor will be in a worse situation.

David B. Bobrosky is a Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney and safe driving proponent. You can reach him at: 818.990.2120.

 

 
Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

 

 

Thursday
Aug252011

Seeing Louboutin Red - The Battle for a Trademarked Sole

 

Franchise Agreement LawyerIntellectual Property Attorney

 

by Tal Grinblat
818.907.3284

 

People rarely associate color with a trademark.  But protecting Louboutin Red as a trademark has become a central issue in designer shoe-maker Christian Louboutin’s dispute with Yves St. Laurent.

U.S. Trademark law protects many kinds of marks.  These range from words, logos, slogans, distinctive scents connected with products, sounds and even color (if one can prove the public associates the color with one’s products or services). 

In 2008 Designer Christian Louboutin was able to register several trademarks containing his famous red color, which he named “Loubutin Red”.  These are shown below.

Trademark Law and ColorLouboutin claims that by virtue of his use of this vibrant, iridescent color over several decades, members of the public now have come to associate Loboutin red exclusively with Louboutin shoes and leather bags.  The color has become associated with high fashion, designer items. 

Louboutin Red and Intellectual Property LawMany will recognize a Louboutin shoe almost immediately, spotting the red-lacquer flashes of distinction as fashionable women click by you on the sidewalks on their way to work, at parties, or while leisurely perusing the wares at other designer stores.

The shoe designer has been undercoating his footwear with the shade since 1992. As a color, it’s distinctive, particularly on the sole of a shoe. 

But a district judge in New York may be stepping on the designer’s toes, leaning more towards competitors like Yves St. Laurent who may want to paint the town (and their shoes) red as well. 

On August 10th the district judge refused to grant a preliminary injunction stopping Yves St. Laurent from selling shoes with a red sole that Louboutin says infringe his trademark. The judge did not believe that a designer could trademark a color. According to U.S. Justice Victor Marrero:

“Color serves ornamental and aesthetic functions vital to robust competition . . . Louboutin is unlikely to be able to prove that its red outsole brand is entitled to trademark protection.” 

If Yves St. Laurent is successful in contesting Louboutin’s trademark rights to the color red, the trademark may be canceled. If that happens, the French-based Christian Louboutin S.A. will likely step up their fight against Yves St. Laurent and take the case to the Supreme Court. 

If Loubutin loses their trademark infringement case, the loss may open the door for other shoe companies to start painting their soles Louboutin Red.  Should that happen, distinguishing the real Louboutin shoe from others will be a real “feet”.   

Tal Grinblat is a Los Angeles Intellectual Property Lawyer and California State Bar Certified Specialist in Franchise and Distribution Law, as designated by the Bar’s Board of Legal Specializations. Contact him by calling 818.990.2120 or via e-mail: tgrinblat@lewitthackman.com.

 

Disclaimer:

This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

 

 

Tuesday
Aug232011

Good Housekeeping and the Art of Business Entity Maintenance

 

by Robert A. Hull

How many times have you heard that you should not mix your business with your pleasure?

Well, here’s yet another reason to separate the existence of your business affairs from your own:Viewtech, Inc. v. United States (9th Cir. 2011). More on that in a moment.

As a Los Angeles business lawyer and estate planning attorney, one of my most common refrains to clients is to ‘respect the formalities’ of your business entity. Like any successful relationship, you must respect boundaries – in this case, by complying with government-mandated formalities. 

That means, among other things, maintaining: 

▪ Adequate Corporate Minutes

▪ State Filings

▪ Clear Separation of Personal & Business Identities:
Online business formation and legal forms services often ignore these, and other aspects of an entity’s ongoing obligations.

If you do not comply with the above, you may face personal liabilities as the result of any business liabilities, defeating the very purpose of having such a business entity. Or, as the recent 9th Circuit Viewtech case indicates, your business might suffer as the result of your personal liabilities.

Here’s what happened:

1. The IRS subpoenaed bank records of an S-Corporation, Viewtech, in the IRS’s search for funds of an assessed taxpayer, Jung Kwak, the primary owner of Viewtech.

2. Viewtech moved to quash the subpoena on the grounds that it had not been given proper notice by the IRS (notice of such a third-party subpoena does not have to be given to the third party if the party was a fiduciary or transferee of the assessed taxpayer, among other exceptions).

3. The Court found on several grounds, that the IRS did not have to give notice to Viewtech. One of those grounds was that Kwak transferred personal funds into Viewtech’s account, and the corporation both paid money into his account, and paid some of his taxes (presumably, there was no contemporaneous promissory note which established separateness between the corporation and its shareholder).

The Court noted that this ground supported the conclusion that Viewtech was Kwak’s fiduciary or transferee, and the IRS could subpoena Viewtech’s bank records in a case relating to Kwak’s tax deficiency without any notice whatsoever to Viewtech.

The IRS Will Treat You the Way You Treat Yourself

It’s important to note that the Court found that Viewtech was also not entitled to notice because Kwak, as a 100 percent and 97 percent shareholder during the relevant periods, was entitled to substantially all of Viewtech’s income, and was a Viewtech employee and officer, and therefore had a sufficient interest in Viewtech.

So, even if separate accounts are maintained, the IRS may be able to subpoena your business entity’s records without notice to your company.

But this is no reason to ignore the formalities. Since Kwak did not maintain a separate business entity and commingled his accounts, he risked his corporation’s financial well-being, in addition to his own. The IRS may be able to seize not only Kwak’s personal assets transferred to the corporation, but also the rest of the corporation’s assets as well.

The IRS can argue that since Kwak did not treat Viewtech as separate from himself, the IRS can do the same.

Practicalities & Precautions in Housekeeping

Federal courts often give the IRS more leeway than they would give to a private party suit against you (for example, allowing the IRS to apply certain tests “non-technically” as indicated by Viewtech Court’s recounting of a prior applicable case).

This means that it is even more important that entity formalities are maintained – they are no guarantee against a successful suit by the IRS, but dollars to doughnuts the IRS will use the slightest entity upkeep irregularity to come after your assets for your corporation’s liabilities and vice versa. Why? Because it can. Don’t give the IRS that ‘in’ – keep your business and personal houses in order. An ounce of maintenance is worth a pound of cleanup.

The Takeaway – “Good Housekeeping” is not just a magazine, but sound advice when conducting your business through an entity such as a corporation or limited liability company.

If you have any questions regarding business formalities for your entities, or any other questions regarding your particular business, please feel free to Michael Hackman: 818.990.2120.

 

Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

 

 

Thursday
Aug182011

The 2012 Presidential Election & the Ghosts of Elections Past

Litigation Los AngelesEnvironmental Litigation  

Stephen T. Holzer
818.907.3299

Two major events affecting the 2012 presidential election occurred last week. One got, and is still getting, national media attention. That would be the August 12 Iowa Straw Poll, in which Reps. Michele Bachmann (Minnesota) and Ron Paul (Texas) emerged as winners in that particular battle for the Republican nomination.

On the other hand, and garnering hardly any media notice at all, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 459 (Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Francisco) into law on August 8.

The law assigns California electoral votes to the candidate winning the national popular vote. The former bill is the result of a movement sparked by the 2000 presidential election, in which George W. Bush won the presidency on the strength of electoral votes, even though Democratic opponent Al Gore won the national popular vote.

Anomalous as the election may seem, it also happened when Rutherford B. Hayes won the White House over Samuel J. Tilden in 1876, and when Benjamin Harrison took the presidency over incumbent Grover Cleveland, in 1888.

But what does Governor Brown’s move mean for the 2012 presidential election?

Probably nothing, for the next year or two, even though California’s endorsement carries quite a bit of weight. First, under AB 459, California’s participation in the measure first requires States with 270 electoral votes also to sign on. So far there are 134:

State

Electoral Votes

California55
Illinois21
New Jersey15
Massachusetts12
Washington11
Maryland10
Hawaii4
Vermont3
District of Columbia3

 

The other reason we probably won’t see a significant move toward a direct national vote is because we can expect a rainstorm of legal wrangling, should the movement attain the 270 necessary votes.

The U.S. Constitution allows individual states to select electors as the States see fit; but some will argue that this does not permit (in this case, mostly larger) States to “conspire” together to reduce the electoral clout of other (smaller) States, as this measure would do (i.e., candidates would probably concentrate on large population areas to rack up the popular vote while ignoring some geographical regions of the country).

If the popular-vote measure ever goes into effect, the debate over its Constitutionality undoubtedly would ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Stephen T. Holzer is a Los Angeles Civil Litigation Attorney and Chair of our Environmental Law Practice Group.

 

 
Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

 

 

LEWITT HACKMAN | 16633 Ventura Boulevard, Eleventh Floor, Encino, California 91436-1865 | 818.990.2120