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Developing an employee handbook

Every start-up experiences growing pains. The process of hiring more employees and increasing your size carries with it headaches that most entrepreneurs would rather avoid.

One of these is developing an employee handbook. That’s very unfortunate, because the purpose of this document is to prevent problems in the future. A small investment in time and effort today can help prevent misunderstandings, bad feelings, and even lawsuits in the future.

Protect your trade secrets with these 7 steps

The movies have conditioned us that stolen trade secrets are the result of an eastern-Europe originated cyber breach or the result of a daring break-in where the Tom Cruise-looking spy navigates through your maze of lasers security system to hack into your data center. And before you know it, your trade secrets are gone.

But is that really how trade secret theft happens? Let’s be real here, you don’t even have a laser maze security system. And a statistical study of trade secret theft shows that it’s far more likely your own employee will be the one stealing your trade secrets. 

Litigation results in $2 million verdict

Most people in California simply want to go to their jobs and perform their job-related tasks to the best of their abilities. Unfortunately, the actions of others can make this a difficult task. While sexual harassment is illegal, victims should at the least be able to expect that their employers will help them take appropriate action to resolve such treatment. If help does not come, victims may have no choice but to turn to litigation.

Such was the case for a woman in another state. In a lawsuit filed against a company focused on funeral services, she claims she was the victim of sexual harassment. Court papers indicate that another co-worker touched her inappropriately and made offensive comments to her, among other allegations. The plaintiff in the case argues that she made it clear to him that his behavior was not wanted.

Litigation over alleged pregnancy discrimination

The way that expectant mothers are viewed in the workplace has changed dramatically over the course of the last several decades. In fact, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act made discrimination based on medical conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth illegal. Further protections were added in 2008. Though most employers in California are willing to provide the accommodations required by law, there are still those who violate law and discriminate against pregnant workers. Unfortunately, Walmart may be facing litigation over allegations that it discriminated against a pregnant worker who claims she was seeking reasonable accommodations.

The woman claims that she began to feel nauseated due to her pregnancy while at work as a packer at a distribution center for Walmart. When she informed her supervisor, he told her she would have to bring in a note from her doctor to get another break. She returned with a note stating that she needed to avoid heavy lifting. The supervisor reportedly  informed her to take the note to human resources.

Litigation over train engineer's termination

Multiple jobs in California and other areas of the country require employers to make split-second decisions. In some cases, the worker is torn between potentially preventing a serious incident or causing damage to company property in an attempt to avoid an incident. A man in another state is now turning to litigation after he claims he was wrongfully terminated after he avoided a potentially serious accident.

The man began working for BNSF Railway Company, the defendant in the lawsuit, in 2002 and remained with BNSF until he was terminated in Aug. 2015. The month before his termination, he claims he was controlling a locomotive as he attempted to move several freight cars between yards. Unfortunately, he explains that when he applied an independent brake, nothing happened.

Grumpy Cat litigation leads to $710,000 award

When it comes to social media, it may be difficult to predict what exactly will attract attention and become a viral sensation. When such fame comes, however, many people in California must work hard to protect their property. For example, the owner of a cat -- known as Grumpy Cat -- turned to litigation after she claimed a company infringed on her copyright.

The cat, whose name is Tarder Sauce, began showing up in a variety of different places after she became famous on social media. Her pictures could be found on book of cat philosophy as well as calendars. In fact, she was included on the Forbes list of Top Influences.

Litigation: Man awarded $1.2 million for wrongful termination

People in California often have a path in life. For many, this includes going to work and doing the best they can while employed. Fortunately, should something unexpected occur -- such as an illness or injury -- they should be able to trust that their employers will make reasonable accommodations for them, including allowing them to take medical leave. If such accommodations are not allowed, workers have the option of seeking recourse through litigation under certain circumstances.

One man in another state chose to do so. He was reportedly employed as a data resources manager from 2004 to 2015. Unfortunately, in 2013 he experienced tumors in the nerves of his feet, leaving him in severe pain. After therapy failed, he underwent surgery. He notified his employer that he would need medical leave from work while he underwent and recovered from surgery; he claims that he notified his employer at the time that he would be spending part of his leave in Mexico as his family had already planned a trip.

Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Ed Sheeran part of copyright litigation

Musicians and writers in California and across the world work hard to create original works. Once they have done so, they typically want to ensure that their works are protected from copyright infringements. To do so, people must sometimes turn to litigation in order to protect their intellectual property.

In fact, two songwriters have recently filed a lawsuit as a result of a duet sung by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. The plaintiffs claim that the song "The Rest of Our Life" blatantly copies a song written by them called "When I Found You." The lawsuit asks for $5 million -- or more -- in damages in addition to an injunction.

PTSD diagnosis at center of pending lawsuit

Those who have a job related to public safety often have highly stressful positions. Even workers who answer 911 calls and dispatch emergency responders spend a great deal of their job hearing -- and sometimes experiencing trauma -- on calls. Unfortunately, a pending lawsuit claims that a city wrongfully terminated a woman who allegedly developed post-traumatic stress disorder after a particularly disturbing call.

The woman reportedly began working for the city as a public safety call taker in Feb. 2005. After briefly leaving the position in May 2010, she returned a year later, staying until March 2016 when she claims she was forced to resign. The lawsuit she filed in late Dec. 2017 alleges that while working as a dispatcher, she received a call from a man who admitted to shooting someone; during the call, she realized that the victim was her brother. The caller then took his own life.


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