Prank Calls Wreck Restaurants – Criminal Liability and Fire Code Requirements

By Constantine Mittendorf

Attention Prank Calls

Last week, a number of restaurants in California’s Central Valley received a phone call from someone claiming to be from either a local fire department or a fire alarm company.  The caller asked the restaurant to test the emergency fire suppression system, claiming that the system was in “test mode.”  The problem was, it was a prank call, and the fire suppression system was not in “test mode.”

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How to Take Down Bad Reviews On Yelp and Win a $500,000 Judgment — Hint: Don’t Sue Yelp

By Constantine Mittendorf

Yelp - People Love Us
Want to remove bad reviews posted on Yelp that are hurting your business?  Want to win a half million dollar judgment against a malicious reviewer?  Here’s how one person did it – and they did it without suing Yelp.

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California Shark Fin Soup Ban Upheld

shark fin soupBy Christopher Yeh

After years of legal challenges, shark fin soup is off the menu for good in California.

Shark fin soup is a traditional Chinese dish frequently served as a luxury item at special occasions such as weddings.  It’s a controversial menu item because some fishermen harvest the fins by catching sharks, slicing off the fins, then tossing the shark back in the ocean.   Continue reading California Shark Fin Soup Ban Upheld

Final Federal Overtime Regulations Published

By Christopher Yeh

Last June, the U.S. Department of Labor published proposed changes to federal overtime regulations. We discussed it last year, and Duane Morris analyzed them in detail last July.

On May 18, 2016, the Department of Labor published its Final Rule for purposes of distinguishing between overtime-eligible employees and those “white collar” employees (i.e., executive, administrative, professional, outside sales, and computer employees) who may be exempt from the minimum wage and overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

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New Rule: Six Weeks of Paid Parental Leave in San Francisco

Maggie and DaxBy Constantine Mittendorf

Yesterday, San Francisco became the first city in the nation to require six weeks of full paid leave for new parents.  If you or work in or manage a restaurant in the City by the Bay, here are a few things you should know:

  • The law applies for both mothers and fathers
  • It includes newborn and adopted children
  • Part-time employees who work at least 8 hours a week are covered

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Sinbad’s Dine and Dash

By Constantine Mittendorf

Sinbads Before and AfterToday, Sinbad’s restaurant looks like a shipwreck next to San Francisco’s Ferry Building. A demolition crew is on site and Sinbad’s is in bankruptcy court. The classic restaurant-bar recently lost a series of legal battles that ultimately shut it down after 40 years of continuous operation.

To sum up what happened, Sinbad’s had been operating since the mid-1970’s. With its stunning views and location on Pier 2 at the foot of Market Street, it had a mixed clientele of locals and tourists. In turn, it paid rent to the City of San Francisco. Eventually due to population growth in the Bay Area, the City decided to expand the number of ferry terminals serving the City’s Financial District. The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission held public hearings in 2012 about the plan to expand the ferry terminals and remove Sinbad’s. Despite being notified, Sinbad’s didn’t show up. Continue reading Sinbad’s Dine and Dash

It’s Time to Update Your Anti-Harassment and Anti-Discrimination Policy: Big Changes to FEHA Regulations Take Effect April 1

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By Allegra A. Jones

Beginning on April 1, 2016, new regulatory amendments will apply to California restaurants, bars, and other employers of five or more full or part-time employees, since such employers are subject to the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA,” Cal. Govt. Code § 12900, et seq.). The FEHA prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of various protected characteristics, including gender, race, age, religion, and disability. For employees with disabilities, the FEHA requires employers to engage in the interactive process to determine a reasonable accommodation and to accommodate the employee. It also prohibits retaliation against employees who engage in activities that are legally protected.

If you don’t have a written policy against discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, now is the time to work with a lawyer on one. Notably, one of the many changes is that the amended FEHA regulations require every California employer to develop a harassment, discrimination, and retaliation prevention policy that: Continue reading It’s Time to Update Your Anti-Harassment and Anti-Discrimination Policy: Big Changes to FEHA Regulations Take Effect April 1

The Great Sushi Swindle

By Constantine Mittendorf

Sushi Photo1

Ever wonder if that sashimi you ordered is really bluefin tuna?   Well, the San Diego County City Attorney’s Office recently announced that it has been criminally prosecuting instances of sushi mislabeling.

“DNA testing found that one-third (33 percent) of the 1,215 samples analyzed nationwide were mislabeled

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Firing Staff Who Call the Boss an “A*#hole” or “Like” Such Criticism on Facebook

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Image credit: Facebook

By Allegra A. Jones

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently decided that a sports bar in Connecticut violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) when it terminated two workers for commenting on and “liking” a Facebook post. Specifically, an employee posted a derogatory “status update” noting that the owners of the bar “can’t even do tax paperwork correctly,” since employees owed more in state income taxes than they expected due to a tax withholding error. The post initiated a series of comments which the boss was called an “asshole.” The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found, and the Second Circuit affirmed, that terminating the employees due to their Facebook activity was unlawful. (Three D LLC v. NLRB (2d. Cir. 10/21/15) Case #14-3284, appealed from 2014 NLRB LEXIS 656 (8/22/2014).) Continue reading Firing Staff Who Call the Boss an “A*#hole” or “Like” Such Criticism on Facebook

Changes To The California Franchise Law

The California State CapitolBy Constantine Mittendorf

Earlier this month, the California assembly passed a new law that will affect franchisor agreements in California. Lawmakers attempted to pass a similar law last year that was designed to give franchisees more protection, but it was vetoed by the Governor. This time, it passed.

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