HC Middle Market Insights

Practical Insights from and for the Silicon Valley Middle Market

For years, Silicon Valley Middle Market employers have faced a continuing stream of claims alleging that employees have been misclassified as exempt from overtime compensation rules. Most misclassification claims have involved the so-called “white collar” exemptions. Claims alleging misclassification under the inside sales exemption have received less attention than most other claims, but the inside sales exemption is not well understood by many employers, resulting in frequent misclassifications and potential liability. …
Most Silicon Valley Middle Market company employers know that the California Labor Code and the Wage Orders generally require an employer to provide certain meal periods and rest breaks to non-exempt employees during their work day and that failure to do so results in a penalty equal to an additional one hour of pay for each violation.  According to California law, an employee must be relieved of all duties during their meal period and their rest…
Employers who adopt English-only policies in the workplace expose themselves to a risk of claims for discrimination.  Since the circumstances in which an English-only policy might be justified are quite narrow, employers should not adopt such a policy before conferring with counsel, and any such policies should be carefully drafted and narrowly tailored. …
Many California Middle Market employers, especially those in Silicon Valley, utilize independent contractors to fulfill job openings, to generate payroll savings for their businesses, and to avoid the administrative hassles associated with the traditional employment relationship.  Whether a worker can be validly classified as an independent contractor depends on certain legal criteria, however, not merely the desires of the parties.  In the wake of the California Supreme Court’s decision last week in Dynamex Operations West,…
On April 13, 2018, U.S. Senator Cory Gardner, a Republican representing Colorado, announced that he was assured by President Trump that the Trump administration would not be taking any actions that would negatively interfere with Colorado’s legal cannabis industry. Additionally, Senator Gardner stated that President Trump pledged to support a federalism-based legislation solution that would give Colorado ultimate authority to create its own policies on the issue. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed Senator…
Last Friday President Donald Trump signed a $1.3 trillion spending bill.  In doing so, he averted a federal government shutdown – and renewed protections for medical cannabis patients and providers. Renewed Protections The spending bill includes the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer provision.  This provision prohibits Department of Justice funds from being used to prevent U.S. states and territories “from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.” U.S. Attorneys’ offices and…
Startup companies and their investors can breathe a little easier.  The tax reform bill working its way through the legislative process is likely to include provisions that, if passed into law, could help early stage companies. Background In November 2017 the House passed its tax reform bill, H.R. 1 – also known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  It received significant media attention for, among other things, lowering the corporate tax rate to 20%. …
Middle Market employers in Silicon Valley need to be familiar not only with the state minimum wage, but also any local minimum wage laws that may be applicable to them, and on July 1, a few cities, including San Jose, San Francisco and Emeryville, had new minimum wages go into effect: City Minimum Wage San Francisco $14 per hour San Jose $12 per hour Emeryville $14 per hour for employers with 55 or fewer employees;…
Employers in California, especially those in the Middle Market, are all too familiar with the tidal wave of wage and hour litigation they have confronted over the past decade plus – claims alleging misclassification, unpaid overtime, meal period and rest break violations, and pay stub violations, to name just a few.  A new decision from the California Supreme Court addresses claims based on long-ignored Labor Code statutes regarding days of rest.  Although the decision is…