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Court says Grubhub driver is independent contractor, not employee

Here at Duggan Law Corporation, we advise California employers about classifying workers as either independent contractors or employees. The answer is significant to both parties because if the person is an employee, he or she is subject to applicable California and federal labor and employment laws governing overtime, minimum wage, workers' compensation eligibility and more.

A new court opinion interpreting California law

On February 8, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California released the decision of a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the case of Lawson v. Grubhub, Inc. The court found that Lawson, a food delivery driver for Grubhub for a brief time, had been properly classified as an independent contractor because under state law, Grubhub did not have the "necessary control" of an employer over an employee's work.

California law bans employer immigration-related retaliation

As we discussed in a previous post, new California employer responsibilities that took effect on January 1 require valid warrants, subpoenas or court orders of federal immigration personnel before allowing access to workplaces and employee records. In addition, existing California law forbids employers from taking intimidating actions against employees related to immigration status, including threats to report workers or their family members to immigration authorities.

#MeToo Movement: Workplace Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Is As Important As Ever

The #MeToo movement has brought a heightened awareness to the prevalence of sexual harassment. In California, larger employers are legally responsible for providing sexual harassment prevention training to supervisors. As of January 1, 2018, California law expanded this training to include gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation.

Who must receive the training?

Duggan Law welcomes attorney Laura McHugh

Duggan Law Corporation is proud to announce that Laura McHugh has joined the firm as a shareholder. Laura brings more than 22 years of experience defending and counseling employers of all sizes in labor and employment law matters.


With extensive experience in individual and class action litigation, Laura has tried and arbitrated numerous cases, and argued before the California Supreme Court and Third District Court of Appeal in cases that resulted in precedent-setting decisions. In 2017 and 2018, she was recognized by Lawyers of Distinction as being within the top 10 percent of labor and employment lawyers in the country, based on peer and client reviews. In 2017 she received recognition by the Sacramento Business Journal as Best of the Bar. Before joining Duggan Law Corporation, Laura co-founded a successful management labor and employment law firm where she practiced for over 18 years.

How Should Employers Handle Workplace Romances?

In light of the #MeToo movement, office romances may seem like they are quickly becoming a thing of the past. But even if the number of people in workplace relationships is gradually decreasing, it is still far too high for employers to ignore.

At the end of last year, an online Harris Poll survey sponsored by CareerBuilder asked 809 private sector employees across the U.S. about office romances. The survey reported a "10-year low" of people who said they have dated a coworker - 36 percent of respondents. This may be lower than the previous year's finding of 40 percent, but that doesn't mean employers no longer need to worry about their employees dating each other.

Bill would extend time to file state sexual harassment complaints

California, along with the rest of America, is experiencing an explosion of awareness about sexual harassment in the workplace, as more people come forward to publicly report their own stories. Employers of all types and sizes in the state are understandably concerned about protecting their own employees and keeping their workplaces in compliance with state and federal laws against illegal discrimination and harassment.

In this atmosphere, a bipartisan group of assemblywomen introduced Assembly Bill 1870 on January 18 in an attempt to give victims "more tools and remedies." The legislation would extend the deadline for filing complaints of illegal harassment and discrimination under state law with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) from one to three years after an incident of discrimination or harassment, in most circumstances.

California employers to protect immigrant workers under new law

In recent weeks, we have been sharing information about new California state laws that will enhance the legal duties of employers toward their employees in a variety of areas. One unique law requires employers to provide certain protections to employees against federal immigration authorities.

Gov. Jerry Brown approved Assembly Bill 450 on October 5, 2017, to take effect on January 1, 2018. According to his press release, the governor saw this bill as part of a larger effort to support and to provide "civil protections" for immigrants residing in California, to see that "hard-working people who contribute to our state are respected."

New California employer responsibilities in 2018

At Duggan Law Corporation, we advise employers of their legal responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is to prevent and stop illegal discrimination and harassment. Beginning in 2018, a new law expands those duties as they concern lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees.

Current law

California law explicitly prohibits discrimination and harassment against employees and job applicants based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. The law covers private and public employers with at least five employees. Retaliation is also prohibited against anyone alleging harassment or discriminating at work or in hiring based on a protected category.

Employer drug policy after recreational marijuana legalization

On January 1, California Proposition 64 became law, legalizing recreational marijuana sales to adults age 21 or older. Legalization has dominated state and local news, as sellers and cultivators learn how to comply with the law. Marijuana legalization also affects California employers, most particularly with respect to policies regarding employee marijuana use.

An employer may be concerned about employees coming to work high or using marijuana at work. In the context of medical use, already legal in California for more than a decade, the California Supreme Court said that employers may still require drug-free workplaces and may test employees for marijuana use.

When is a will invalid because of undue influence?

A will is typically considered invalid if the person writing the will (the testator) signed, modified or revoked the will because of the undue influence of another person. In this context, "undue influence" means that the perpetrator puts coercive, manipulative pressure on the victim to force him or her to execute or change a will in favor of the wrongdoer.

The coerced change normally gives the perpetrator some financial gain, such as being named to inherit money or property. The victim of such coercion is often vulnerable because of age or disability.

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