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952 School St. Ste 280
Napa, CA 94559

What’s in a name?

I am about to hire an employee from another country. His first name is very common where he’s from, but the name’s Spanish translation is gross and offensive. This employee will need to work with Spanish-speaking employees and might need to visit Spanish-speaking countries as part of his employment. Can I ask him to go […]

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Expired gift cards

Recently, a customer in my store asked me to honor a gift card that had expired several years ago. I honored it, but did I have to? In the future, can I impose an “inactivity fee” for gift cards? The law does not distinguish between “gift certificates” and “gift cards.” In California, the general rule […]

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Door-to-door sales

I’m thinking about starting a door-to-door sales business. How can I do this legally? Even under the best circumstances, selling things door-to-door can be difficult. If you’re reselling products for others, be careful about who your supplier, vendor or franchisors are. Absolutely avoid multi-level marketing or “work at home” scams; you need to be able […]

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Is this a test?

Is it legal for me to ask my potential employees or independent contractors to take an assessment test to test their knowledge prior to hiring? I’m thinking such a test may be useful for me in my search for additional help. Also, is it legal to ask current staff to take an assessment test? What […]

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Practicing law without a license

I’m thinking about becoming a business consultant and advising new business owners about what kind of entity to form and drafting corporate formation documents. A friend says I should be worried about practicing law without a license. What does that mean? California law prohibits people from practicing law in California unless they are an active […]

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Does our nonprofit need to be a 501(c)(3)?

I perform in a choir of 100 singers who get together and perform in the community. Members pay dues and buy costumes, and the choir keeps a small bank account. Do we need to incorporate or become a 501(c)(3)? The choir could certainly incorporate as a nonprofit, and could also seek 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status from […]

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Locking up cell phones at work

My boss thinks that we are “addicted” to texting and using cell phones at work. She told me, “While you are at work, you are being paid to work for the business. You are not being paid to use your cell phone.” A few weeks ago, she installed little lockers for us to lock up […]

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Doing business as someone else

If I register a fictitious business name, can someone else use the same name? I spent almost $200 to get my fictitious business name, and then I found out that someone else uses it too. I don’t think it’s fair to spend that much money for nothing. A fictitious business name (or “doing business as” […]

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New immigration laws

I heard about a new law that allows illegal immigrants to get a driver’s license. Can I use the new card as identity verification for Form I-9? Are there other new immigration laws I should know about? There are several new immigration laws that employers need to be aware of, but the one everyone is […]

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Did I discriminate?

I recently received a notice from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing saying that one of my employees is claiming that they were the victim of workplace discrimination. Do I need to hire a lawyer? As an employer, how do I avoid potentially discriminating against employees? The California Fair Employment and Housing Act […]

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