Santa Ana Business Law Blog

California dram shop laws relieve pressure on bar owners

By one estimate, 36% to 53% of small businesses are involved in litigation in any given year. California bar owners, especially, have plenty of reasons to lose sleep. Some think they've discovered why it's called the "bar exam." If you're starting a business where alcohol is served, consider a relationship with a law firm experienced in licensing, employment requirements, real estate, mediation, contracts and more.

But know this. Getting sued every time a customer drives away isn't your biggest worry in California.

What are some common parts of an employment contract?

When you are interviewing for various job opportunities in California, chances are you have done your research to find something that caters to your career goals and enables you to progress toward your overall vision. However, once you have narrowed your options and it is time to make a decision, you may be asked to sign an employment contract. This important agreement serves as a protection for both yourself and your employer, and it is imperative that you are aware of some of the things that may be discussed in the document. 

Before you are required to sign an employment contract, you have the option of negotiating the terms and conditions within reason. It is in your best interest to read through the contract thoroughly to identify areas of concern that may have you wanting to discuss your thoughts. Make note of these areas and come up with a realistic and fair counterargument to what is proposed. 

How California works to reduce underage drinking

According to NBC Bay Area, a recent survey showed that the top way California teens obtain alcoholic beverages illegally was through shoulder tapping. This means that a minor uses an adult decoy at the legal drinking age to purchase them liquor, often while they stand just outside the store. Roughly one in 10 drinking-age adults agree to purchase the liquor when approached by minors.

Law enforcement agencies now employ their own decoys to prevent underage drinking. One method the agencies use is to send a minor who is a decoy into the stores. When clerks do not check IDs, they may receive citations or get arrested. Using this method, law enforcement agencies arrested 3,200 people in 2018.

Can I fight back against mandatory worker agreements?

CNN reports that when one law student got a job offer from a prestigious California law firm in Silicon Valley, she was asked to sign some unusual documents. This included signing over her right to participate in a class action lawsuit against her employer. She also signed a non-disclosure agreement. Believing she did not have room to bargain as a new graduate, she did not at first raise any objections.

After a few months, she started to think back to these agreements, especially in light of the #MeToo movement and what that could mean if she were ever a victim. Her only option in that instance would be to pursue reparations through arbitration in a private setting. While often faster and cheaper for both sides, it nonetheless helps to silence victims and keeps wrongdoings out of the news.

California tackles barriers to work faced by trans people

According to the National Public Radio, the unemployment rate of transgender people are double the national average. To combat this, California restaurants set up America’s first large-scale program to bring more transgender people back into the workforce. The program started with a trans woman who has provided employment to trans people at her restaurants for seven years.

She bought her first El Pollo Loco franchise in 1988 before her transition. By the end of her transition in 2004, she owned six restaurants all across California. In 2012, she hired a trans employee and learned from them how difficult it was to find employment. This completely changed her recruitment process. Of roughly 150 employees, up to 10% are now transgender.

What should I consider before investing in business real estate?

Real estate in California can be expensive. For many people, this is the first big road block they face when they decide to invest. Business real estate comes with an even higher price tag, even when you are just buying land. This stems from the obvious purpose of purchasing the property: to make an income.

According to Forbes, patience is one of the first important attributes of a dedicated investor. The sales cycle for these properties tend to be longer. Due diligence, for example, does not take mere days; it takes months. Finding new tenants and building out the office spaces also tend to take a much longer time. However, the longer leases tend to make up for this.

What licenses do you need to start a food truck?

If you are a California entrepreneur interested in starting a restaurant, you may want to consider operating a food truck. This alternative to a traditional restaurant offers a variety of unique benefits, including traveling to different locations and perfecting a small menu of excellent dishes. Starting a food truck business in California requires you to get several permits and licenses.

Based on the guidelines of the California Business Portal, a food truck operator is a mobile food vendor. You must get permission to operate from various federal, state and city authorities. For example, you must decide what type of legal entity you want your business to be, and you may need to obtain an Employer Identification Number from the IRS. You may also need to apply for a business license in your city or county and obtain a health permit. If you plan to hire employees, you may need to get Worker's Compensation Insurance.

Brief updates on cannabis, wine and beer in California

All across America, states have been debating the possibility of legalizing marijuana use. Some cities and states already have local laws in place that make some provisions for marijuana use. Sometimes only medical use is allowed, while others have legislated for recreational use as well. Often touted as the free state out west, California nonetheless has some serious restrictions on cannabis use in public spaces.

According to Forbes, the official ruling on marijuana in California is that it does not mix with alcohol. Put simply, people cannot assume they have the right to sell marijuana or marijuana-infused beverages simply because they have a liquor license. In fact, California prohibits the sale and use of marijuana on premises licensed to sell alcohol. This may include restaurants and even private hotel rooms. It certainly includes wineries. Not even popular festivals may flout this law.

Ways to reduce your liability when starting a business

When starting a new business, it is important to understand liability—you may be at risk if something goes wrong with your business. Especially if you work in the food-service industry, where lawsuits are a common occurrence, your personal assets may be at risk. Here are some tips on how to minimize your risk.

1. Choose the right business structure

Does your bar or restaurant need an employment agreement?

When you are in the process of getting your Santa Ana bar or restaurant off the ground, you need to make hundreds of important decisions. The employees you hire are likely some of the most important decisions you will make, as everyone from your manager to your chef to your waiters, bartenders, bussers and more will contribute to the success of your new business.

However, in the midst of such a busy time, many California bar and restaurant owners can overlook an important part of the hiring process: the employment contract or agreement. An employment agreement benefits both the employer and the employee by laying out clear terms for the employment relationship. While hiring employees via an oral or handshake agreement may seem convenient, it can be difficult to enforce in a future conflict. What do you need to know about employment agreements?

Put the insight and integrity of Blake & Ayaz on your side today. We are ready to serve you. Call 714-667-7171 or send an email now.

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Blake & Ayaz, A Law Corporation

Blake & Ayaz, A Law Corporation
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Santa Ana, CA 92706

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