New Family Law Associate Position in Oakland

I have been exclusively retained by the Law Offices of Hannah E. Sims to recruit a new associate for their growing family law practice.  This is a fantastic opportunity to work with really nice people and do interesting, sophisticated legal work with one of the most well-respected family lawyers in the Bay Area.  If you are interested, or know someone who might be, please see our job posting on LinkedIn.  You can find that posting and apply here.

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U.S. Department of Labor Issues New Guidance on Joint Employment

Yesterday, the United States Department of Labor (DoL) issued new guidance on joint employment — that is, when more than one business is involved in the work being performed by a particular employee.

This is an increasingly common phenomenon in today’s economy, especially in the construction, agricultural, janitorial, logistics, staffing, and hospitality industries.  Employers in these and other industries frequently share employees and use staffing agencies, independent contractors, and third party management companies.  All of these scenarios raise the possibility that a business is a “joint employer” of a particular worker.

Why would that matter?  When two or more employers jointly employee a worker, that employee’s hours are aggregated for purposes of overtime and other purposes.  Moreover, when there are joint employers, each is individually and severally liable for compliance with state and federal wage and hour laws.  So you could be paying that jointly employed worker incorrectly.  Or, even if you are paying the worker correctly and playing “by the rules,” you could still face liability due to the other employer’s failure to do the same.

Find out if your business is potentially considered a “joint employer” by reviewing the DoL’s new guidance, known as Administrator’s Interpretation No. 2016-1.  You can find the publication here.

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Filed under Employment & HR

Q3 2015 Halo Report Shows Jump in Angel Investing

The Angel Resource Institute and PitchBook just released their Q3 2015 Halo Report. The report shows that angel investment for the quarter has increased dramatically, with the median round size ($725K) up 45% from Q2 2015 levels ($500K).  Other notable findings include:

Software, commercial services, and healthcare deals constituted over 64% of all deals closed;
The median pre-money valuation of early-stage angel deals increased 33% to $4m, the largest ever;
California leads all states and regions in terms of total angel dollars invested (19.7%);
California leads all states and regions in terms of total angel deals (21.1%), followed by the Great Lakes (12.9%) and New England (12.1%).

You can find the full Q3 2015 Halo Report here.

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Filed under General Business, Startups & Entrepreneurs

California Reclaims Spot as #1 “Judicial Hellhole” in America

California has once again been ranked the #1 “Judicial Hellhole” in America by the American Tort Reform Foundation (ATRF). This is the third time in four years that California has claimed the title.  The exception was last year, when New York stole the top ranking due to “monumentally egregious corruption” in the city’s asbestos court.

But, gloriously, California has reclaimed the top judicial hellhole prize again in 2015.  And how did we do that?  According to the ATRF, California has “a legislature hugely influenced by plaintiffs’ lawyers and checked only by an occasionally practical Governor.”  To prove this point, the ATRF pointed out that California’s legislature proposed over 2,300 bills and sent 941 of them to the Governor’s desk.  And, of those, 808 were signed into law.  For those keeping score, that’s an 86% conversion score.

All of these new laws churned out by “hyperactive lawmakers and regulators” translates into over 1,000,000 new lawsuits filed in California state courts each year.  The ATRF particularly cites the surge in disability access lawsuits in California, which stem from the state’s generous civil rights laws that award both damages and attorneys’ fees to plaintiffs.  With over 40% of the nation’s disability cases being filed in California, we have a “cottage industry” of plaintiffs’ lawyers that “browbeat small business owners” across our state, says the ATRF.

You can read ATRF’s full 2015-2016 report on California here.

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IRS Announces New Mileage Rates for 2016

Beginning January 1, 2016, the new standard IRS mileage rates are:

  • $0.54/mile for business miles driven;
  • $0.19/mile for medical or moving purposes; and
  • $0.14/mile for service to charitable organizations.

Employers that use the standard IRS rates for employee reimbursement purposes should review and adjust their expense reimbursement policies to be consistent with these new guidelines.

You can find the IRS’ announcement about the new rates here.

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Filed under Employment & HR, General Business