Whistle Blower

Whistle Blower

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There is a strong public policy in California to encourage employees to report organizations that they reasonably believe are operating in violation of the law. The California legislature has enacted laws that protect such employees and provide incentives for them to become a whistleblower. Every employer in California should be familiar with their potential legal and financial exposure under these laws. Likewise, every California employee should be aware of the rights, protections and incentives provided to them as a whistleblower. California False Claims Act ("CFCA") The CFCA is modeled on the federal False Claims Act [31 U.S.C. §§ 3729, et seq. "FFCA") and has comparable protection for whistleblowers. The CFCA is codified under California Government Code §§ 12650, et seq. CFCA permits the recovery of civil penalties and treble damages…
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Employee vs. IC Legal Guide

Employee vs. IC Legal Guide

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The hot topic in the employment world is figuring out if you have independent contractors or employees. Employers often categorize employees are independent contractors in order to avoid having to pay payroll taxes and obtaining necessary benefits, such as workers compensation insurance, and now, health insurance. However, miscategorizing employees as independent contractors can be a very dangerous move. Not only can the employee improperly classified as an independent contractor sue the employer or file a claim with the Labor Commissioner for unpaid minimum wages or overtime pay based on the work performed for the employer (and get waiting time and other penalties too), but the IRS is really cracking down on enforcing improper categorizations against employers, entitling them to sometimes years of back payroll taxes and penalties. There are a…
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Anatomy of a Lawsuit

Anatomy of a Lawsuit

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Whether you are contemplating initiating a lawsuit by suing someone or you have just been served with a summons and complaint in an existing lawsuit, entering into the civil litigation arena in California can be a scary feeling. Despite all of the self-help tools available, the court system is still a complicated process, and competent legal guidance is necessary. Here are the basics of a lawsuit in Superior Court in California. The Pleadings The pleadings are the initial papers filed both the plaintiff and defendant in the lawsuit. The plaintiff files a complaint to start the lawsuit (although in limited circumstances, a petition is used instead). The defendant then has a few choices on how to respond. The defendant can file an answer, which is a formal, legalized response to…
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Right to Financial Privacy in Litigation

Right to Financial Privacy in Litigation

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Unfortunately, a tactic often used in litigation is to demand documents and information concerning an individual or corporation's financial affairs to intimidate and harass the other side. Fortunately, the law recognizes the highly sensitive and private nature of financial affairs and provides a fair amount of protection against such unwarranted intrusions. Even when the information sought is relevant, an individual who is a party to litigation has a fundamental right of privacy regarding their confidential financial affairs under California Constitution, Article 1, Section 1. [Cobb v. Superior Court (1979) 99 Cal.App.3d 543, 550; Civil Code section 3295(c).] In addition, the confidential affairs of third persons (nonparties) are also entitled to privacy. [Valley Bank of Nevada v. Superior Court (1975) 15 Cal.3d 652,658.] However, the right to privacy under the California…
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