Legal Newswire


When it comes to hiring and firing, there are a lot of grey areas that can lead to a number of issues for your business. It is critical that you properly understand the local and federal laws that regulate hiring and firing. One common employment lawsuit that we see here in California is a wrongful termination lawsuit. As your San Diego employment lawyers, we are here to help if a wrongful termination lawsuit has been filed against your business.

The best case scenario is to avoid this lawsuit altogether. For this reason, check out the following information about wrongful termination in California to ensure that you keep your business out of harm’s way.


One of the very first things any established business should do is to draft a legally-binding employee handbook, also known as an employee manual. For many business owners, this crucial step is skipped over. In some cases, a company deems themselves too small to worry about this document, putting it off for the day they build an HR team. However, just because you are small or new on the scene, doesn’t mean you can get by without this critical document.

Ultimately, an employee manual serves to protect both you and your staff. It covers important policies, such as sexual harassment policies. As local employment lawyers in San Diego, we help businesses small and large draft up this important manual. Check out the following reasons why, no matter what industry you are in, you need an employee manual.


When you are facing potential litigation, we recently covered what not to do. However, there are some important steps you can take prior to landing in court. Whether you are facing a legal dispute over labor laws or a class action settlement, taking the right steps up front can save you from a large number of headaches down the road.

Be sure that you begin by hiring the right business litigation law firm in San Diego. You need a lawyer who has experience in the world of business law and who will prioritize your needs. Opt for a well-established law firm with a solid reputation in the local community. If you want further information about how we can help and the unique approach we take to business litigation, we welcome you to reach out to our team today. Check out the following steps we will help you take when you choose to work with our law firm.


It is a situation every business owner hopes to avoid but one that invariably will come your way — a legal battle. Business litigation is a frustrating and costly experience. No matter how well you dot your i’s and cross your t’s there is no way to 100 percent guarantee that you are safe from lawsuits. The bigger your company gets and the more products or services you sell, the greater the risk to your business.

If you are facing a legal dispute, there are a lot of things you should and shouldn’t do. As a local San Diego business litigation lawyer, we have seen countless businesses in our area go through this harrowing experience. In our time of service, we have taken note of what actions are ideal and which ones to avoid. Check out these five things you should never do when you are facing a legal dispute.


When it comes to running a successful business, there are a myriad of factors that come into play. A crucial component of beating out your competition is investing in the right kind of advertising. From actual advertisements to your products’ labeling, how you portray your company and brand is a vital component to success.

However, with advertising comes a slew of risks to your business. As local attorneys with experience in advertising law in San Diego, we are aware of how difficult it can be for many business owners to navigate the murky waters of advertising legality. It isn’t always easy to know where the line has to be drawn and what risks your company faces in regards to how you portray your brand and products. If you need help understanding advertising laws better or you are facing a lawsuit in regards to the way you have advertised your products, please reach out to our team. In the meantime, check out the following important information about the risks of advertising.


Business litigation gets complex in a hurry. Whenever you are sued or find yourself in a situation where you need to sue someone else, it’s easy to panic. That’s why it’s so important to have reliable legal counsel by your side. One mistake even the most intelligent people make is assuming that all lawyers are the same. This just isn’t accurate. The reality is the employment attorney who you choose to hire could make or break your case. It’s a bit scary, isn’t it? Frankly, selecting the person who represents you in your case can be a nightmare. But it doesn’t have to be. Keep reading as we explain five qualities of a successful lawyer.

  1. Experience - This one’s a no-brainer. There’s a good chance your reputation and your business are on the line at the moment. Why leave such a delicate situation in the hands of an inexperienced lawyer? Robert L. Shipley has more than three decades of experience in business litigation and consulting. Whether your case involves...

On January 1, 2018, a new California law will take effect, drastically changing the ways an employer may utilize evidence of criminal history in making employment decisions.


Presently, most forms inquire into previous convictions; effective January 1, 2018, this practice will be illegal. Employers may no longer include on any application for employment any question that seeks disclosure of the applicant’s criminal history (whether an arrest, conviction or otherwise).

Employers also may not inquire (verbally by way of interview, or in any other way) into any criminal history until after a conditional offer of employment has been made; Govt. Code § 12952(a)(2);


If an employer intends to deny an applicant a position after conducting a (post-offer) background check, then the employer must undertake an individualized assessment of whether the applicant’s conviction has a “direct and adverse...


California’s new Salary Privacy Law makes it unlawful for an employer to inquire or rely on an applicant’s salary history as a factor in hiring and salary decisions.

What are the main points I need to know about the Salary Privacy Law?

  • During interviews (and at other times) it is no longer acceptable to ask an applicant about his or her salary history (either verbally or in writing on job applications)
  • You may not utilize the salary history of an applicant to determine whether to hire the applicant.
  • You may not utilize the salary history of an applicant to determine what salary to offer the applicant.

Are there any exceptions?

  • Yes. The law does not apply to salary history that is public record pursuant to state or federal law.

When does this law take effect?

  • January 1, 2018

What if the applicant tells me his or her previous salary without me asking?

  • That’s okay!
  • The new law does not prohibit an...

Barnes and Noble was recently handed a defeat by the California Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. The employer terminated a manager working at one of its stores relying on the presumption of at-will employment in California. The employee sued Barnes and Noble for wrongful termination alleging that there was an implied contract for employment between her and Barnes and Noble (among other claims). The employer succeeded in convincing the trial court to throw out the employee’s case. But the employee appealed.

The California Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s decision, and its main basis for doing so was the existence and application of the company’s progressive discipline policy.

During the plaintiff’s employment Barnes and Noble consistently followed a progressive disciplinary policy. The policy was described in detail in the company’s employee handbook. Managers were told that they would be disciplined by Barnes and Noble if they terminated employees without following the steps of the progressive discipline policy, even though the policy included a...


In a relatively new approach to ADA compliance lawsuits, plaintiffs have begun to challenge accessibility features of commercial websites. Allegations of this new type of lawsuit often center on the lack of adequate accessibility for vision impaired disabled users of websites.

A prime example of this new approach was recently tested in a Central District Court in California. In Robles v. Domino's Pizza, LLC, the plaintiff was a visually impaired individually who alleged that he was unable to access the menus or make orders using Dominos’ website and mobile app. The plaintiff claimed that the lack of accessibility rose to the level of a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Although the district court dismissed the plaintiff’s claim in Robles, it did so on grounds that may not remain much longer. The district court found that Dominos’ had a due process right to know the minimum guidelines for compliance with any ADA accessibility requirement for its private website and that the DOJ had not provided any such guidelines. Therefore the...


If you downloaded a “Smart Form” Form I-9 from the USCIS website between November 14, 2016, and November 17, 2016, then you should download a new version of the form. You can find an updated form at

The older form had a glitch that would misinterpret Social Security Numbers input into the “Smart Form.” For example, the number 345-67-8910 entered in the Social Security number field might appear as 345-56-8910.

In addition to using the new form, if employers were using the older form, they should check to see if employees’ Social Security Numbers were incorrectly stored.

If they were incorrectly stored, then employers should have the employee draw a line through the error, enter the correct number, and initial and date the change on the hard copy form.

Finally, employers should include a written explanation for the alteration to the form in case an audit occurs by the USCIS. The written explanation should expressly reference the USCIS’s announcement of the glitch....


It’s my experience that time punch rounding is a common practice for California employers. The rounding practice I see most often rounds time punches to the nearest tenth of an hour (the nearest six minutes). Although California expressly allows employers to round time punches, there are serious risks to engaging such a practice.

Under California law, employers are permitted to utilize a rounding policy for time punches provided the rounding is used in such a manner that it will not result, over a period of time, in failure to compensate the employees properly for all the time they have actually worked. As a practical matter, this means that an employer complies with this rule only if on average, and over time, the rounding policy favors neither the employer nor the employee.

The question most employers should ask themselves, then, is: “How can we be sure that our company’s rounding policy favors neither the employer nor the employee?” In my experience, an employer who has a workforce that arrives to work on time or early and works until the end of the day may...