Employees v. Independent Contractors v. Exempt Employees v. Non-exempt Employees

It’s one of the most common areas in which business owners make a mistake when they hire a new worker. Must I classify this worker as an employee? Or could I classify their services as a position of an independent contractor? Each has significant consequential differences. If an employee, besides wages and tax withholdings, you will also have to abide by California’s strict wage orders dealing with overtime and breaks. If an independent contractor, you’re generally not liable for their accidents, or any tax liabilities. It’s quite common to misclassify a worker; at least 70% percent of the new employer clients we work with have made that mistake. It can sometimes be costly, but it doesn’t have to be.

Employee vs. Independent Contractor

Quick Quiz

At Green Hills Country Club, there are 10 full-time assistant golf professionals that work at the pro-shop during the week. They also teach up to six half-hour lessons per week during their normal working hours to members of the club. For golf lessons, the club issues a 1099 at one hourly rate and W-2 at a different hourly rate for working at the pro-shop.

How should they be classified? Is the worker an employee, independent contractor or both?

Answer: In a similar case, the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement found that the assistant golf professionals were not independent contractors, but instead employees. Just because the golf professional only spends a small portion of their employment providing lessons and more time working in the pro shop, it does not change their relationship to one of an independent contractor.

It’s all about control

If you’re doing business in California, there are at least six different tests that are used to determine if a worker is an employee or independent.  Each test is chosen depending on the purpose of the worker’s job with very subtle nuances. For example, the IRS and the Division of Labor Standards and Enforcement of California (DLSE) each have its own tests with slight differences. What is in common with all of these tests, however, is that the more you control the product of the worker, the more likely they should be classified as employees.

The IRS has its own view when trying to determine the status of a worker. This federal agency uses a 20-factor test. A few important areas the IRS looks at include where the work takes place, training, instructions given to the worker, right to terminate the relationship and method of compensation. Notice that many of these factors still deal with the element of control.

The Right to Control

What is very important to consider for a business owner is that it is not just the exercise of control, but whether you have retained the right to control the details of a worker’s performance or instead, have you given up that right? If you have not, then you have to classify the individual as an employee. Just because you might have drafted a written agreement calling a worker an independent contractor, that is not determinate in establishing an independent contractor relationship. An easy distinction to remember is that if they are one-time workers who do the job at a set or fixed price while doing the work for many companies, they are often viewed as independent contractors; however, in practice, these distinctions do not come so easy.

An Important Test: Borrello

The California Supreme Court calls it the “right of control” or “economic realities” test adopted from the case of S.G. Borello & Sons, Inc v Dept. of Industrial Relations (1989) 48 Cal.3d 341. This is the test used when trying to determine a worker’s status in the context of wage and hour laws, workers’ compensation, and Fair Employment and Housing Act (discrimination or harassment issues). What you, as an employer, need to take away from that case is whether you have the control or the right to control the worker in the type of work that is performed, and the manner and means in which it was performed. It will help guide you in the decision to classify a worker as an employee or independent contractor. DLSE begins with the idea that the worker is an employee based upon Labor Code Section 3357. However,that may not be in your business’ best interest, and that’s why you need to make sure every worker is classified correctly because it can hurt financially and open the business up to legal liability.

Tips to Determine Independent Contractor Status

There is no set definition of an independent contractor in the state of California, but generally, California sees an independent contractor as “not an employee.” The Fair Labor Standards Act, and decisions by state employment and enforcement agencies to determine the classification of an independent contractor have discussed many ways that workers can be justifiably be classified as an independent contractor.

Here’s a an attempt of an exhaustive list of factors from all the different tests to use when trying to determine if you have an independent contractor relationship:

  • Needs very little control
  • Distinct Occupation
  • Occupation type is of a specialist without supervision
  • Specialized skill
  • Provides own tools or equipment
  • Hired for a short period of time
  • Paid by the job
  • Duty not part of employer’s regular business
  • Neither party sees relationship as employer-employee
  • Hiring party not a business or benefits business
  • Minimal instruction
  • Minimal training
  • Not personally rendered by worker
  • Not a continuing relationship
  • No set hours
  • Full time not required
  • Work off premises
  • Minimal reporting
  • No expense reimbursement
  • Significant investment of equipment used
  • Opportunity for profit or loss
  • Hired by others
  • Service available to general public
  • No right to discharge or terminate at any time

If your instructions to the worker do not include when, where, and how to work, then generally your working relationship is that of an independent contractor. It matters for your federal, state and local taxes as well. The IRS puts the degree of control and independence of the workers you hire into three categories: financial control, behavioral control, and the type of relationship of the parties.

Quick Quiz

Drive Quickly rents a taxicab from Blue Cab, Co. for $175 dollars a day. Mr. Quickly pays for all the costs of the gas and maintenance on the taxi. At the end of each day, Quickly keeps all the fares from the people he picked up during the day. Blue Cab provides him a radio, a call dispatcher and numerous advertisements every month for the cab service in the town’s only newspaper, where both parties benefit from the publicity.

How would you classify Drive Quickly’s worker status with the cab company?

Answer: Most courts will see the driver as an independent contractor because he rents the taxicab from Blue Cab. Most importantly, the company has no financial or behavior control over his actions.

Why Does this Matter?

Are you on the hook?

Generally, an employer can be held financial responsible for the mistakes caused by their employees. Quite often when a worker’s negligent actions occur there can be dangerous results, which could open up your company to a lawsuit.

In California, Civil Code Section 2338 states that if one of your employees is negligent in the transaction of the business of the agency, any wrongful acts committed by your worker under their scope of employment opens your business to financial liability. It does not matter if you had nothing to do with your employee’s negligent act; generally you can be held vicariously liable to the injured party.

Paying for Independent Contractor’s Mistakes?

If you have an independent contractor doing work for the company, notwithstanding some exceptions, you will not be vicariously liable to others for their acts or omissions.

It does not mean a business owner is not liable for the tortuous acts of independent contractors. There are some exceptions to the rule that include work in ultra-hazardous activities or if the independent contractor is directed by a statute, a city ordinance, or state safety order that provide safeguards, precautions, or to maintain equipment to a specified condition.

If you fail to show reasonable care to retain a careful and competent contractor, and that worker physically injures another party, in some cases it could open the door for you to be sued. Plus, if your instructions led to his negligent act, in some cases your business could be responsible.

Quick Quiz

Dan Driver is an employee of Mo’s Pizza Shoppe in San Diego. One night, he was on a delivery, but before he went to the customer’s home, he stopped at a video store to pick up a game. While Dan Driver pulled into his spot at the video store, he dropped his cell phone on the vehicle’s floor. While he looked for it, he did not see Slow Sally walking through the crosswalk. He struck her in the company van, which caused her numerous injuries. As the owner of Mo’s Pizza Shoppe, are you liable for Slow Sally’s painful injuries caused by Dan Driver?

Answer: In this particular case, the owner could still be liable for his employee’s accident.  An employer is liable when the employee is acting within the scope of his employment. It can be argued that Dan Driver was just on a “detour” when making his delivery and he is still within the scope of employment. Of course, Mo’s Pizza Shoppe is going to argue its best to suggest that Dan Driver was on a “frolic” and not acting within the scope of employment when he went on his own to purchase a video game. If he had hit her without any “detour” or “frolic,” that would be much clearer, and would hold Mo’s Pizza Shoppe financially responsible for the injuries.

Worker’s Legal Recourse

In California, wage and hour laws that deal with minimum wage, overtime, rest-breaks, anti-discrimination and retaliation laws only protect workers that are employees. Employees have an ally; DLSE helps workers make sure the law protects them when it comes to most areas of employment. If it’s determined they are an employee then they are generally eligible to file suit against a business under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, The National Labor Relations Act, and the Fair Labor Standards Act to name a few. With the help of DLSE, many employees do not even need the assistance of attorneys that would often be an obstacle in most lawsuits. This state agency protection does not apply if the worker is classified as an independent contractor. They would have to go to court to make sure terms of the contract with the business are enforced.

Exempt vs. Non-Exempt

How to Classify Exempt Status?

In California, one of the key areas employers need to know when it comes to determining the status of a worker is 51% of their work should be “exempt work” and their monthly salary must be equivalent to at least twice the state minimum wage for full-time employment in order to be classified as exempt.

51% Percent of Work

When you are trying to determine if a worker is doing exempt work, an important number to know is 51. If the position in question has the worker spending at least 51% of their time during the workweek doing bona fide exempt work then they must be classified in that category. Additionally, if the worker is a rule-maker instead of a rule follower, then generally they are considered an exempt employee and therefore, not eligible for overtime compensation.

What is Exempt Work?

Generally, the only workers who are not eligible for overtime have to be in positions that require exercising discretion and making independent judgments that significantly impact the operations of the business. Just because the work is highly skilled, or the worker must act in a professional manner, or is extremely valued by other members of the department, does not generally mean workers are in the exempt category.

Professionally exempt jobs that require specialized education in professional occupations or licensed professional occupations are generally classified as exempt workers. Some of those professions that are exempt include lawyers and doctors; however, through professionals, registered nurses and teachers are non-exempt.

According to the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, to qualify for the learned professional employee exemption, all of the following tests must be met:

•        The employee must be compensated on a salary or fee basis (as defined in the regulations) at a rate not less than $455 per week; (In California, it is twice the minimum wage on a 40 hour work week).

•        The employee’s primary duty must be the performance of work requiring advanced knowledge, defined as work which is predominantly intellectual in character and which includes work requiring the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment;

•        The advanced knowledge must be in a field of science or learning; and

•        The advanced knowledge must be customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction.

Another area that the federal government considers exempt is called “creative professional.” Some of those jobs include journalists, actors, musicians and their work involves invention, imagination, originality or talent in professions that depend on intelligence, diligence and accuracy.

Myth Buster

There is a myth that by making a worker on salary, there is no overtime requirement since by doing so, they are now exempt employees. As discussed, whether the worker gets paid salary is not determinative of exempt status. Non-exempt salaried workers are still entitled to receive overtime payments if they go over their set 40 hours for the week or 8 hours in one day (exceptions apply).

Quick Quiz:

You own a restaurant in San Diego serving classic Italian food in the heart of Little Italy. As the owner, you manage the cooks, the waitresses, and set the menu. You hire an Executive Chef on a monthly salary. The Executive Chef cooks during a 10-hour shift for dinner hours, while another cook works the lunch hours.

Is the Executive Chef owed any overtime?

Answer: Yes, the Executive Chef is a nonexempt employee. An executive chef could easily be considered an exempt employee, but in this case, “Executive Chef” is just a title. The Executive Chef is merely a cook in the restaurant. If the Executive Chef managed the staff, set the menu, bought stock, etc. then those would be exempt duties and the Executive Chef could be considered an exempt employee.

Fixing Misclassification on Federal Taxes

A simple misclassification with your city, state of California, and federal taxes could also open you up to stiff penalties. It’s one of the first areas we address when we work with a new business client, helping them to reclassifying their personnel. Quite often, we find workers that should not be listed as employees, but are on the books as such. In most cases, the financial damage has already been done to a company at that point

After reading this article, you may have realized that a worker you thought was an independent contractor was really an employee.  The Internal Revenue Service has a new program that will allow employers to resolve past worker classification issues and achieve certainty under the tax law at a low cost by voluntarily reclassifying their workers.

Under the Voluntary Classification Settlement Program (VCSP), eligible employers can obtain relief from federal payroll taxes they may have owed in the past. The plan is available to businesses, some tax-exempt organizations, and government entities that have filed taxes in the past to treat their works as one class, and now want to classify the workers as employees of the business.

Now What?

At Pasha Law it’s our business to make sure your business is running at its best. If you have any worker classification question, please don’t hesitate to contact our office. Remember, when you bring your business to Pasha Law you will receive a quality of service unlike what you will find at any other business law firm. Pasha Law services California, New York, and Texas.

In case you would like to present this information to others, feel free to use this presentation on the topic: Employee v. Independent Contracts v. Exempt Employees v. Non-exempt Employees Presentation by Top Floor Legal.

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  • Ep 50: Film Tax Credits with Steve Rothschild

    June 04, 2014

    Nasir and Matt welcome Steve Rothschild to discuss the film tax credit bill recently passed in California, as well as the importance of transferrable tax credits to businesses.  They also answer, “I received a demand letter from an attorney that is asking for way more money that I would ever be responsible for.  What should […]

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  • Ep 49: Beats by Apple

    June 02, 2014

    Nasir and Matt kick off the week discussing Apple’s acquisition of Beats and whether it was a smart purchase.  They then answer the question, “Should I give some of my employees a corporate credit card?”

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  • Ep 48: New Laws for Uber and Casual Fridays

    May 30, 2014

    Nasir and Matt break down the new laws involving Uber and Lyft in Colorado and answer the question, “Now that it’s almost summertime, I want to implement casual Fridays. Is there something I should restrict from a legal standpoint?”

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  • Ep 47: Paris Hilton Suit and Recording Your Employees

    May 28, 2014

    The guys discuss the most recent lawsuit involving Paris Hilton’s breach of contract and answer, “Is it legal to record audio of employees in the workplace without their consent?”

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  • Ep 46: Fast Food Robots and Raising Capital

    May 27, 2014

    Nasir and Matt talk about fast food restaurants replacing employees with robots and answer the question, “I’m trying to raise some capital from investors. When they ask how I am going to use their investment, what should I say?”

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  • Ep 45: All You Can Eat and Paying Minimum Wage

    May 23, 2014

    The guys talk about all you can eat buffets implementing surcharges for unclean plates.  They then address, “I have an minor working for me who said they would work for half of what the minimum wage is. Can I legally do this?”

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  • Ep 44: Are Secret Apps Really Secret with Daniel Libby

    May 21, 2014

    Nasir and Matt welcome security guru Daniel Libby to discuss the issues involved with the secrecy of whistleblower apps, and answer the question, “We had an issue with some customer info that was compromised. Should we tell our customers, and if so, how?”

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  • Ep 43: The House That Johnny Manziel Built

    May 19, 2014

    Nasir and Matt talk about the trademark filing surrounding Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M.  They also answer the question, “Can I put anything in my contracts that prevents my customers from leaving a negative Yelp review?”

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  • Ep 42: Snapchat Battles the FTC

    May 16, 2014

    The guys discuss Snapchat’s seemingly minor punishment for misrepresentations about its privacy policy and answer, “How do I decide what salary to pay myself?”

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  • Ep 41: Copyright Infringement of Mobile Games

    May 14, 2014

    Nasir and Matt welcome Jesse Lindsley to talk about people are ripping off successful mobile games and answer the question, “My partners and I have been developing an online software and a mobile app, but we are wondering if we should split the mobile aspect of our business into a separate LLC since not everyone is […]

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  • Ep 40: Workplace Loans to Employees

    May 12, 2014

    Nasir and Matt discuss the trend of employers providing loans to employees and answer the questions, “I know I need to pay some of my employees more to prevent them from leaving but I won’t have the revenue for another 6 months, what else can I do to keep them in the mean time?”

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  • Ep 39: Start a Fad Business & Business Bartering

    May 09, 2014

    Nasir and Matt talk about how a businesses based on a fad can succeed and answer, “I don’t have money to pay for certain services. Can I trade my products for other company’s services?”

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  • Ep 38: Creepy Privacy Policies & Protecting Proprietary Info

    May 07, 2014

    The guys discuss how companies use the data they collect and answer, “How can I make sure my employees don’t steal my proprietary info after they leave?”

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  • Ep 37: The Law Behind Donald Sterling’s Ban & Firing Annoying Employees

    May 06, 2014

    Nasir and Matt discuss the legalities behind the NBA banning Donald Sterling and answer the question, “One of my employees is very annoying. He does great work but I can tell he is not liked by most coworkers. I also know he will sue if I fire him. How can I handle this best?”

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  • Ep 36: How Workplace Relationships Affect Culture

    May 02, 2014

    Nasir and Matt discuss the story of a woman’s claim of sexual harassment at the software company Github.  They then answer the question, “Is it a good idea to get a patent before I start my company or wait down the road?”

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  • Ep 35: Roy Daya the Startup Guru

    April 30, 2014

    Nasir and Matt welcome business guru Roy Daya.  They talk about why a business might fail after an acquisition and answer the question, “I have put in many years to get my business profitable and just reached that goal this past year. We have a sound business model in place and secured investments so we […]

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  • Ep 34: Working at Walmart

    April 28, 2014

    Nasir and Matt discuss the Walmart that claimed its employees were home on Easter but were really working in the store.  They also answer the question, “I gave a small ownership interest to a friend. Now he refuses to do any voting in which a shareholder vote is required. I have the majority so do I need […]

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  • Ep 33: Working Remotely

    April 25, 2014

    Nasir and Matt talk about Amazon’s offer to employees to take cash to quit and answer a question on hiring employees to work remotely.

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  • Ep 32: Heartbleed

    April 23, 2014

    The guys discuss the effect of the Heartbleed virus on small businesses and then provide guidance on exempt employees.

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  • Ep 31: Hell’s Kitchen

    April 21, 2014

    Nasir and Matt discuss a lawsuit involving Gordon Ramsay and his business partner.  They then address the question of whether an attorney or a CPA should take priority.

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  • Ep 30: Culture is King

    April 18, 2014

    Nasir and Matt discuss UPS laying off 250 employees over the decision by one worker.  They also answer a question on the best techniques to keeping employees long-term. Update: Those 250 employees have been rehired.

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  • Ep 29: Working Overtime

    April 16, 2014

    Nasir and Matt address the problem surrounding employees not taking vacation.  The two also talk about overtime pay in the question of the day.

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  • Ep 28: Toothless Stock

    April 14, 2014

    Nasir and Matt talk about Google’s new class of stock that has no voting rights, as well as how to bring on investors without losing equity in the company.

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  • Ep 27: Ronald McDonald

    April 11, 2014

    Nasir and Matt discuss the commercials featuring Ronald McDonalds approving of Taco Bell’s breakfast.  They also attack the independent contractor misclassification issue from the employee perspective in the question of the day.

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  • Ep 26: Items of Flair

    April 09, 2014

    Nasir and Matt talk about the lawsuit over items of flair from Office Space and answer a question on options in purchasing a business.

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  • Ep 25: PiinPoint

    April 07, 2014

    Nasir and Matt discuss the potential benefit of PiinPoint, the digital location finder, will have on small businesses.  They also answer a question on whether you should make the first draft a contract.

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  • Ep 24: Candy Crushed

    March 31, 2014

    Nasir and Matt discuss the IRS deciding that Bitcoin is property and not currency, the recent ruling that college football players may unionize, a lawsuit filed over an asset purchase gone wrong, and why one early investor is not excited about the Candy Crush IPO.  They also answer questions about putting the “LLC” designation after […]

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  • Ep 23: Bracket Busters

    March 24, 2014

    Nasir and Matt start things off by discussing PayPal’s decision to stop freezing accounts for crowdfunding, as well as Starbucks licensing its mobile payment system, a company having to advance legal fees for a manager, and which NCAA tournament bracket contests are legal.  They also answer questions about what to discuss at board meetings, corporate […]

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  • Ep 22: Podcast Patents

    March 17, 2014

    In this week’s episode, Nasir and Matt welcome attorney Mark Wisnosky to discuss the ongoing legal battle involving patents on podcasts and legal crowdfunding.  They also talk about a class action lawsuit against McDonald’s, the proposed new rules for overtime pay, and Uber’s smart move to increase its insurance policies.  Nasir and Matt also answer […]

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  • Ep 21: Taking Selfies

    March 10, 2014

    This week’s episode examines who owns the selfie taken at the Oscars, why one food truck is facing criminal charges, how Getty Images is making some of its photos free, and a teen’s Facebook post that may cost her dad $80,000.  Nasir and Matt also field questions about who owns work created by an employer’s […]

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  • Ep 20: Best of the Podcast

    March 05, 2014

    This week’s episode features the best moments through the first 20 podcasts.  Topics include the popular sauce vs. crust debate, having your employees work on Thanksgiving, the interview with Jerry Sanders,  legalities of running a fake promotion, Texas A&M licensing the 12th man to Seattle, and the first and last employee vs. independent contractor discussion. […]

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  • Ep 19: Capital One, What’s in Your Home

    February 24, 2014

    Nasir and Matt start the show off discussing Facebook’s newest acquisition (WhatsApp), how Capital One’s credit card policy allows entry into consumer’s homes, the importance of new top level domains to small businesses, and how to not respond to a (fake) employee quitting.  They also answer questions concerning about hiring a minor, what expense you can […]

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  • Ep 18: Dumb Starbucks

    February 17, 2014

    In this week’s episode Nasir and Matt discuss the Dumb Starbucks store that surfaced in Los Angeles, an NFL player voiding his contract for more guaranteed money, and employees at Starbucks questioning a disabled veteran with a service dog.  They also welcome special guest Reggie Lal to discuss Ponzi schemes in real estate investing.  Nasir and Matt […]

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  • Ep 17: The 12th Man

    February 10, 2014

    Nasir and Matt kick off this week’s episode by discussing Microsoft partnering with Foursquare.  They also talk about Texas A&M licensing use of the “12th Man” to the Seattle Seahawks, the FTC going after a mega spammer, and the backlash by developers of King.com’s “candy” trademark.  Nasir and Matt answer questions about legal concerns of running […]

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  • Ep 16: Another Show about Pizza?

    February 03, 2014

    In this week’s episode, Nasir and Matt discuss some of Obama’s planned executive actions for 2014, Ohio pizzerias breaking employment laws, the importance of forum selection causes in contracts, and the crazy story behind one man losing his Twitter handle.  They also answer questions about changing business agreements, being an at-will employee, and running multiple […]

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  • Ep. 15: Fresh Off the Press

    January 27, 2014

    Nasir and Matt discuss a new law mandating paid sick leave for employees in New York City, the Union-Tribune in San Diego losing a lawsuit for misclassifying independent contractors, small businesses finding another loophole in the Affordable Care Act, and one person’s opinion to never do online banking for your business.  They also answer questions […]

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  • Ep. 14: A Golden Ticket Promotion

    January 20, 2014

    Nasir and Matt start things off by discussing one company’s huge victory over Yelp, and then get into Staples’ motives for cutting the hours of part-time employees and the FTC cracking down on Sensa for weight loss claims.  The two give a call to former gym owner, Noah Mangus, to discuss cancellation policies for gyms and the […]

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  • Ep. 13: Seacrest Out, Blackberry In

    January 13, 2014

    Nasir and Matt discuss Blackberry’s lawsuit against Ryan Seacrest, the changes to the small business health care tax credit, when unpaid volunteers can be considered employees, and combating bad weather for a business.  The two also answer questions about being responsible for debt in dissolved companies, valuation ideas for startups, and a partner withholding access […]

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  • Ep. 12: Ringing in the New Year, in Texas?

    January 06, 2014

    Nasir and Matt kick off 2014 discussing the new changes to Obamacare, a bookkeeper stealing from the business she works for, the consequences of raising minimum wage, and the backlash surrounding Uber’s surge pricing.  They also answer questions about paying yourself in an LLC, copyright infringements in a t-shirt printing business, and working with international […]

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  • Ep. 11: That’s What She Said

    December 30, 2013

    In the final episode of 2013, Nasir and Matt discuss an age discrimination case involving the Maui police department, FICO opening up to small businesses, the lawsuit over a copyright on the Baltimore Ravens’ logo, and the merger of Elance and oDesk.  The two also answer questions concerning starting a business at the end of […]

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  • Ep. 10: Smart San Diego Business with the Mayor

    December 23, 2013

    For the 10th episode of the podcast, Nasir and Matt welcome Jerry Sanders, President and CEO of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce and former mayor of San Diego.  The three of them discuss the jobs outlook in San Diego for 2014, the importance of retaining quality employees, and the value of craft breweries in […]

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  • Ep. 9: Phil Mickelson’s Home Office (he’s a golfer)

    December 16, 2013

    This week’s episode kicks off by discussing a photographer winning a lawsuit against Getty Images, businesses in Washington getting scammed over workplace posters, disability lawsuits targeting small businesses, Domino’s Pizza involved in a minimum wage dispute, and an animated reenactment of a recent Bob Filner suit.  Nasir and Matt also answer questions about someone stealing your business’ name, […]

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  • Ep. 8: Too Hot to Work & Too Cold to Shop

    December 09, 2013

    Nasir and Matt discuss Amazon’s refusal to sell a company’s products, one company’s lawsuit against a customer who wrote a negative review, Swarm Mobile’s attempt to track consumers inside stores, and the most recent lawsuit filed by the woman claiming to be too hot.  The two also answer questions about dissolving a company with debt, bringing […]

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  • Ep 7: Patent Trolls

    December 02, 2013

    In this week’s episode, Nasir and Matt debate how patent firms affect small businesses, discuss the importance of Small Business Saturday for local businesses, and analyze the lawsuits surrounding companies offering fake markdowns–anyone hear of false advertising?  The two also welcome guest Tyler Jensen of The Startup Garage, who offers his take on making financial […]

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  • Ep 6: Mining for Bitcoins

    November 25, 2013

    Tyler Sickmeyer of Fidelitas Development crashes the podcast, offering his perspective on stories about lawsuits surrounding the legitimacy of negative Yelp reviews, the crackdown on Airbnb and the sharing economy, the possibility of Facebook disappearing, and the legalities of fake online profiles.  Tyler also assists Nasir and Matt in answering questions about making employees work […]

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  • Ep. 5: Bean Counting with the IRS

    November 18, 2013

    This week Nasir and Matt discuss the legalities of Google’s virtual library, the lawsuit brought by Yelp reviewers, and watching porn in the workplace.  They also discuss the IRS shifting its audit focus with the help of Brad Gastineau of Gatto, Pope & Walwick, LLP.  Nasir and Matt also answer questions about employees making special […]

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  • Episode 4: Sauce vs. Crust

    November 11, 2013

    This week’s episode features stories about restaurant trade secrets, the falling out of a coffee shop partnership, and the assumption of risk involved in attending sporting events.  Nasir and Matt also answer questions about what a business should trademark, getting compensated for free services, and how to fire an employee.  Matt also recounts his experience […]

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  • Episode 3: Big Yellow Taxi

    November 04, 2013

    In their third episode, Nasir and Matt debate the significance of company culture, voice their opinions on legal directories, and discuss a newly formed taxi cab union.  They also answer questions about an employee taking his company’s domain name, whether it’s better to purchase or start a business, and the difference between employees and independent […]

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  • Episode 2: Chicago’s Deep Dish Pizza

    October 29, 2013

    Nasir and Matt discuss the questionable business decision that led to Deepak Chopra’s lawsuit, a new insight into Twitter’s valuation, the class action lawsuit of the week involving some big names participating in no-hire pacts, and new SEC proposals for crowdfunding.  Nasir and Matt also answer questions about ending a business partnership, the effect of non-competes, making […]

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  • Episode 1: Basement Slave Labor

    October 21, 2013

    In our first episode, we answer questions sent to Top Floor Legal regarding the legal needs of businesses.  We also cover the most recent Amazon lawsuit, the Legal Zoom v. Rocket Lawyer case, and the situation surrounding Arian Foster taking himself public.  We close by discussing a perplexing blog post on how to draft your own contract.

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  • Geoff

    Wow, that just shattered some of my preceptions on IC v. Employee. Back to the drawing board.

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