Can my Employer Classify Me as an Independent Contractor?

A common legal challenge facing small businesses and entrepreneurs is whether or not they can use the Independent Contractor status for people they employ. Many small businesses would rather use Independent Contractors. With no workers’ compensation, no withholding tax, no payroll tax, no employment law liability; running your business is easier and less costly and time-consuming.

Millions of workers in the U.S. are retained as “independent contractors” rather than “employees”. Home health aides, nannies, truck drivers, gardeners, general contractors, taxi drivers, limousine drivers, barbers, hair stylists and many others are hired as Independent Contractors.

Many of these workers prefer the independent contractor status for its flexibility, including the ability to decide how and when to work and for whom.

But a new law recently signed by Gov. Jerry Brown raises a large red flag for anyone using independent contractors in California because it dramatically raises the chance for businesses found to have willfully misclassified workers.

In October of 2011,California enacted a new law prohibiting “willful misclassification of independent contractors.”

Governor Brown signed the legislation that prohibits the willful misclassification and creates civil penalties of between $5,000 and $25,000 for each willful misclassification of a worker.

SECTION 1. Section 226.8 is added to the Labor Code, to read:

226.8. (a) It is unlawful for any person or employer to engage in any of the following activities:

(1) Willful misclassification of an individual as an independent contractor.

(2) Charging an individual who has been willfully misclassified as an independent contractor a fee, or making any deductions from compensation, for any purpose, including for goods, materials, space rental, services, government licenses, repairs, equipment maintenance, or fines arising from the individual’s employment where any of the acts described in this paragraph would have violated the law if the individual had not been misclassified.

(b) If the Labor and Workforce Development Agency or a court issues a determination that a person or employer has engaged in any of the enumerated violations of subdivision (a), (click here) the person or employer shall be subject to a civil penalty of not less than five thousand dollars ($5,000) and not more than fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) for each violation, in addition to any other penalties or fines permitted by law.

In summary, under the newly enacted statute — Labor Code §226.8 — any entity that “willfully misclassifies” an individual as an “independent contractor,” when that individual is determined to have actually been an “employee,” faces stiff civil penalties.

The law signed by Brown (effective Jan. 1, 2012) amends the Labor Code to add two new sections specifically aimed at the perceived practice of misclassification of employees as independent contractors and the purported loss of substantial dollars in unpaid taxes.

If you are a small business owner or a worker with questions about job classification, you will benefit from contacting a labor attorney specializing in this area.

Common Blunders in Lawyers Marketing

There’s one thing which should not go unmentioned and this is actually the idea that traditional lawyer marketing strategies continue to be used by most attorneys.

For your guidance, they no longer succeed and for lawyers who want to drastically improve their particular marketing outcomes, it could be best to prevent some of the following errors.

One mistake you should certainly avoid is referrals reliance. There’s each and every possibility that middle men will always command the circulation of new clientele if you depend too much on referrals. Depending strictly on referrals puts not one of your expertise and specific abilities within your area of work. Essentially, the only involvement you will be involved with is investing time getting back to the referrals.

Therefore, you must ensure that your own lawyers marketing program draws in questions which come directly from the prospects instead of relying on third parties of who you have little control of. By doing this you will be able to manage your affairs with full understanding of what is taking place.

One more mistake you will need to keep away from is over reliance on media exposure. As a way of bringing in new clients, it is possible to make print media article advertisements, as well as produce commercials on the radio and television like we buy houses Bacliff does. Certainly these kinds of modes of advertising will help, but just what most attorneys do is depend too strictly on these modes of publicity in their lawyers marketing program.

As much as it is a fact that your credibility can be improved by exposure, it is still a fact that exposure on it’s own is not enough. Thus, what’s required is ensuring that the marketing program creates actual interactions among both you and your clients. These kind of interactions are mainly caused with the creation of web sites.

The 3rd mistake you possibly can make is focusing too much on networking groups as the major source of new business. Typically, networking eats time particularly when there is the involvement of meeting potential customers and the technique of cultivating referrals. Yet typically, networking can bring business but usually what happens would be that the time required for productive lawyers marketing through networking takes way too long. Consequently, networking shouldn’t be put above some other marketing methods but opportunities that could result in meeting and talking to new clients should be pursued.

The final oversight you may make is embracing low price competition. There are many things which could deal a blow for your lawyers marketing campaign and one of them may come as a result of cutting down your fee in the view of bringing in new clientele. Essentially, just what would happen is you would have helped yourself in undermining your trustworthiness as most clients will conclude that your services aren’t deserving when compared with what was paid for formerly.

Therefore, competing on value instead of competing on price will be the best thing to do. In this situation, you can find only two things that will happen and that is you can either be better off as the most expensive lawyer that has clients appreciating his expertise or on the other hand you may be cheap and endure with clientele pondering on your skills.

Internet marketing can help you to get clients and you wouldn’t have to waste money up to the last buck in your pocket. Instead of wasting money money on Search Engine Marketing, which is largely unsuccessful, try Attorney Video Marketing. Many lawyers have seen close 100% results with video Lawyer Marketing.

Attaining a Better Understanding of Real Property Law and Conveyance

Understanding the transfer of land can be “tricky” business. The following makes it “crystal” clear as to the transfer of land pertinent to Real Property Law and the Law of Conveyances.

In order to understand your rights more fully in the ownership of land, this article addresses such matter(s) by definition provided by (English) common law.

Within this beginning series of articles relative to land ownership, we (once again) give definitive guidance as to the meaning of land ownership and all that it entails.

Relative to common law, land includes any soil, even soil immersed in water. Therefore, dry land and bodies of water such as lakes would fit under this classification.

When we refer to plots of land, under common law, the reference is made that such land stretches to supposed infinity upwards; and to the earth’s center downward.

Buildings as well as other type structures and plants growing on the land pass with it. Additionally, produce on the land becomes the owners by accession.

There are exceptions to what an owner is entitled to after acquiring a piece of land. For instance, objects merely resting on the property are not those of the owner.

However, should an object become firmly fixed to the land or becomes part of something else that is firmly fixed on the property then those objects form part of the real estate and are thus referred to as fixtures.

In certain scenarios, individuals entitled to the rights of the land for a pre-designated period of time, in example lessees (or tenants for life), may remove, upon giving up the land, any fixtures, they, themselves have established on “said” land.

Additionally, in other circumstances, persons involved in such an arrangement may garner remuneration from the freeholder for improvements he or she has made on the land.

A precise term as to the formerly mentioned improvements is: betterment.

Works that increase the property’s value off or outside the property such as a publicly-traveled road may also be referred to as: betterment.

Some laws (sometimes) insist that the landowner make contribution(s) to the cost involved in betterment works.

Another example, similar to the circumstances mentioned above, would be the setup of a chain length fence between two properties by two separate land owners. In this case, both might agree to split the cost of such a fixture 50/50 since the fence would set right on the property line; one side of the fence facing an owner’s property and the same holding true for the other (owner.)

From an agricultural perspective, crops produced on an annual basis by a farmer are considered “emblements” and pose an exception to the law wherein crops pass with conveyance of land.

In the circumstance previously mentioned, the crops are considered personal property and in effect may pass separately from the land itself, upon the owner’s passing.

Should there be a sale, they will be auctioned and/or sold with the soil unless there is a specific exclusion.

Particular terms have a known meaning when we are referring to land transferred.

In example, “Farm” includes the farmhouse and the land; “Water” means the owner has the right to the water and fishing; but not to any of the subsoil beneath the water.

“Pool” is inclusive of the water as well as its bed. Owners, who have land bordered by a river, acquire, in addition, alluvion due to the water’s recession.

In conclusion, transfer of land from one person to the next rests in the definition of English common law as it concerns the United States and Great Britain.

Why Should I Hire A Lawyer To Make A Will?

Writing a will is one of the most important undertakings that a person takes during his lifetime.

A will is a legal document that specifies a person’s wishes about his property, his estate and future of his children after he dies.

A will allows you to designate a legal guardian for your children. This is an important decision and one should make this decision as soon as the children are born.

Your will can also name an executor for your estate.

The executor will be responsible for distributing your assets among the beneficiaries of your will after you die. It is the executor’s responsibility to handle your estate according to the instructions you have left for him in your will.

If you die without a will, it will cause a lot of problems for your family. The court then takes up the onus of choosing an executor for your estate and the chosen person would then divide your property and assets based on the laws of the state.

However, if you wish your property and assets to be divided in particular manner, it is very important that you have a will otherwise decisions relating to your property and children will be decided by the court.

When you do make a will, make sure you sign it in the presence of two witnesses, who are eighteen years and above, in order for your will to be deemed legal.

You also have to be mentally sound in order to make a will.

The best way to make your will legal is to approach an attorney who specializes in family law. Estate planning is part of family law and the lawyer will draft your will and sign it to ensure that it becomes a legal document and also your wishes will be carried out after you pass away.

Last Will And Testament

A will or testament is a document by which a person (the testator) regulates the rights of others over his property after death. The requirements for the creation of a will are:

  • The person must be over the age of 18 years.
  • The testator must clearly identify himself and declare that he revokes all previous wills and codicils (attachments).
  • He must declare that he is acting freely and willingly.
  • He must sign and date the will, in the presence of two disinterested witnesses. The testator’s signature must be placed at the end of the will.

When a person dies, a probate proceeding is initiated to take care of his property.

The will usually names an executor, who is assigned the task of carrying out the wishes of the testator.

A probate proceeding also helps to ascertain the validity of the will.

For this reason, it is better to take legal advice while drafting a will, although the law does not make it mandatory. If there is some technical website mistake in the will, it can be declared invalid by the probate.

Wills are of different types. A holographic will is signed and dated in the testator’s own handwriting.

It is common in emergency situations when the testator is nearing death.

A joint will is a single document signed by both the husband and wife, which makes a disposition of their property on the death of either or both of them.

A “pour over will” places the assets of the estate into a trust that is created during one’s lifetime.

What is Palimony?

Palimony is a combination of the words pal and alimony, and signifies settlement money paid to a significant other to whom you were never married.

For example, if you lived with a woman for several years and had promised to support the woman, when the relationship ended, the woman could attempt to sue you based on this claim.

It is important to understand that palimony is not a legal term, but rather a pun used as a simple term to signify this type of settlement.

Another term for it is a “non-marital relationship contract,” meaning a relationship that was not marriage but still had certain spoken agreements similar to a marriage.

Because palimony is sought outside of an actual marriage, it can be much more difficult to establish a legal claim to financial support.

For instance, if you were living with a man who was not your husband and he promised to take care of you financially, it is hard to prove that he made these claims. In marriage, this is a tacit promise.

It is easier to establish such a “non-marital relationship contract” when the couple has been in a common-law marriage, which can establish certain common property issues. Common law marriage requires that the couple:

  • Live with each other for a set number of years (depending on the state)
  • Hold each other out as husband and wife (refer to each other as such)
  • Have intentions to become married

However, in some states like Florida common law marriages are not recognized, except those already established in other states, so it can be especially difficult to prove shared property. It can help to have a lawyer take a look at your case to see if you are entitled to money.

Why People Delay Planning Their Wills and Trusts?

It has been seen most people spend more time planning a family outing than planning their family’s future.

People actually do not take time to do their estate planning and most will put if off to a later date.

So what is it that makes people put off estate planning?

There could be many reasons for it but below some of the most commonly seen reasons.

People are usually intimidated by lawyers and the legalities involved in estate planning.

That is why it is utmost importance that you find a lawyer you are comfortable with in order to do your estate planning. It is a good thing to ask your lawyer questions.

Your lawyer understands that you do not know the legalities involved and will not think of you as a moron even if you ask something silly.

The other reason people procrastinate is believing that estate planning is a very expensive affair.

However, it need not be expensive if you think of estate planning as an investment. The national average cost of probate is around 5 to 10 percent of the total value of the estate.

A probate is more expensive to settle than a trust. If your estate is valued over $2 million, by having a living trust you can save money on taxes.

Most of us tend to delay estate planning because we do not want to think about dying. We believe that if we do estate planning then we are planning for our death and this is something we do not want to think about.

However, we forget the hardships we will put our families through if we do not do estate planning and of course the losses that will be incurred because of the probate.

Doing estate planning will give you peace of mind knowing that your family would be well taken care of should anything happen to you.

It also insures that your assets are allocated the way you intended. And those decisions are also law binding.

Your assets can include both tangible and non-tangable items like a home, or a patent right or website. Any possession can be placed into your estate planning records.

So, why delay?

Remember, estate planning is important and this importance becomes an urgency only when we are faced with a life-threatening situation.

Rather than waiting for something to happen and only then taking action, it is better to act now and do your estate planning.

If something happens and then you think of estate planning, it could be too late for you and your family.

Lead Exposure in Older Buildings & The Law

Fortunately, lead poisoning is not as common as it once was and lead testing is easily accessible.  Water is no longer a big  source of  lead exposure in the United States, although corroded pipes, an antique municipal water street connection or lead pipes should be replaced.

The quality of public water supplied by a municipal source, by the way, is not the responsibility of your landlord according to the law.

Since leaded gas has now been eliminated, 80% of today’s lead poisoning cases are from exposures in homes and apartments built before the 1978 ban. Experts estimate these lead hazards exist in about 19 million of our residences and apartments.

The problem is that paint occasionally chips, flakes and peels and even this limited exposure can be a serious problem for children, developing fetuses and some adults.

Fortunately, leaded paint is often well ‘sealed’ underneath fresher paint, but problems occur during remodeling if precautions are not taken.

As multifamily housing is a highly regulated category of housing, some states require registration of buildings that pre-date the leaded paint ban and regular inspections of apartments to check for deferred maintenance, i.e., peeling or chipping paint.

Removal of leaded paint is illegal by anyone who is not certified as a lead abatement specialist – even in a private residence – as the dust is toxic, infiltrates the air and can enter ventilation systems.

No one should live in the home while lead paint is being removed unless the rooms are fully sealed by a professional and the air quality is properly protected.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is the entity that provides the guidelines for both inspection and lead paint removal.

Some states like Oregon and Maryland distribute do-it-yourself inspection kits to residents on their website.  These are generally simple kits and merely identify the hazard without a comprehensive diagnosis.

By contrast, a professional lead abatement specialist will use a portable x-ray fluorescence (XRF) machine to ‘see’ through the surface to determine if lead paint is underneath.

These inspections start around $400 to $600 depending on the size home.

Inspectors normally take 80 to 100 samples from all parts of the home including ceilings, trim, windowsills, etc.

Each of the samples is then tested to determine the amount of lead exposure risk and whether removal is warranted or required.

Debtors – Know Your Rights

Obtaining credit nowadays seems to be a lot easier than it was 10 or 20 years ago. Because we are not all mind readers, it is sometimes impossible to determine what lies behind the corner which could have a negative affect on our finances.

If for some unfortunate reason you found yourself in a situation where you were no longer able to meet your monthly repayments to your creditors, would you be aware of the protection from creditors you have from the Office of Fair Trading?

It was recently reported that 12 debt solution companies were issued warnings for misleading debtors to cancel existing Individual Voluntary Arrangements and opt for Bankruptcy instead.

These companies sent unsolicited mail to unaware debtors informing them that they should not be in an IVA as it was unsuitable for them and should go down the bankruptcy route instead.

The companies had no right to do this, as one a debtor is in an IVA, it is a legally binding agreement between the creditors and the debtor which also ensures the debtor is protected from any form of harassment including how the debtor is making repayments.

The Office of Fair Trading makes it clear what is expected of creditors when dealing with people in debt.

There are guidelines set out for creditors which they are expected to follow and is important for people who are struggling repaying their creditors are aware of these guidelines so that they know their rights and know when creditors are attempting to act outside of these guidelines.

The guidelines are not only set out for those already in repayment arrangements but for all who are in debt.

All creditors are required to follow the guidelines set out by the OFT, this includes:

  • Not encouraging debtors to borrow money to pay their existing debt
  • Not contacting a debtor at work if this puts the debtors job at risk
  • Creditors should not harass debtors for payment where undue stress is being caused

The Data Protection Act also protects debtors from creditors disclosing their information to any third party without written permission from the debtor.

This includes sending letters to the debtor with information regarding who they are on the envelope.

Some creditors may arrange house calls to speak to the debtor regarding repayments. If they are unsuccessful, they may try to get information from a neighbor regarding your whereabouts. If this happens, the creditor must disclose who they are or why they need to contact the debtor.

If they were to disclose this information, they would be breaching the Data Protection Act and could have action taken against them.

Creditors who do not abide by the guidelines outlined by the OFT website could find their Consumer Credit License taken away from them which in effect, put’s them out of business, as they cannot legally lend money to people without it.

The guidelines set out by the OFT can be found on their website. It is wise to be clued up about your rights when you find yourself in a situation where you can no longer meet the repayments required of you.

It is not a crime to be in debt, anyone can find themselves in debt for a variety of reasons at any time of their lives.

The important thing is to always keep in touch with your creditors so that you can come to an agreement of what you can realistically afford to pay each month and be aware if a creditor attempts to mislead you about what and how you can pay.

How to find a lawyer

If you find yourself in a jam and need a lawyer, how do you find one? One of the best way to find one is the same one that you’d use to find a family doctor, mechanic, or insurance agent — ask people you know if they can recommend one.

The problem with this approach is that, while most people have a mechanic and a doctor, not all of them have a lawyer.

It’s always worthwhile contact your local or state bar association. Most bar associations have a referral program that will give you the names of two or three lawyers who have experience with your legal problem.

Do some web searches — one of the most basic is your city or zip code and the type of lawyer you need. If you’re not sure what type of lawyer you need, here’s where the bar referral program can come in handy — most of them will help you identify what your legal problem is and the type of lawyer you probably want.

Remember, an attorney’s webpage is advertising, it’s supposed to make the lawyer look good. A good site should still give you a sense of the lawyer’s personality.

No matter how you get the referrals, make sure that the attorney doesn’t have any disciplinary action against them. You should be able to look up the lawyer on the state bar association’s website or the state Supreme Court’s website.

If the attorney is in “good standing,” then he or she is up-to-date on their law license fees, has complied with the required Continuing Legal Education requirements, and is not currently disbarred or suspended from practicing law.

The American Bar Association has a great webpage, that gives you one-stop access to all the information I discussed above — local bar association referral services, free and low-cost legal aid, and information on how to check on attorney licensing. Simply chose your state from the main page.

How to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Philadelphia

Personal injury is an area of law that helps to protect you from careless, negligent, or even deliberate harmful actions of others. If you are hurt in such an accident, the negligent party may be legally held accountable.

First and foremost, you must be able to prove that someone has a duty to protect your safety or well-being.

Next, you must show a “breach of duty”.

For example, a retail business owner owes his/her customers the duty of a safe shopping space.

If the owner does not maintain a space and a customer has an accident, it is said the owner has” breached the duty” and the breach was the cause of the accident.

Personal injury law covers many areas.
A few if the common accidents include:

  • Automobile accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Dog bites
  • Slip and fall
  • Slander
  • Defamation

However, some areas of personal injury, such as medical malpractice, are very complex and often require specialized legal counsel.

The types of damages in a personal injury case may include monetary damages and non-monetary damages, also known as “pain-and-suffering”.

If a judge or jury finds gross negligence, punitive damages may also be recovered.

If you are considering a lawsuit for personal injury it is recommended that you seek the services of an experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Philadelphia.

To find the right attorney for your case, please fill out our free, fast, and confidential form. is a legal matching service that connects you to the expert specific legal counsel that you need. It is a totally free service.

This article is only for educational and marketing purposes and in no way should be considered legal advice. It also does not establish an attorney-client relationship

How Much Does a Lawyer Cost?

This is a very common question and with good reason. The common answer is that “it depends.” It depends on the type of law, type of claim, your location, the size of the firm, and the experience of the lawyer. More specifically, however, reports the following hourly average rates:

The national average billing rate is $284 per hour

Firms with 2 to 8 lawyers have a national average billing rate of $262 per hour

Firms with 76 to 150 lawyers have a national average billing rate of $295 per hour

Firms with more than 150 lawyers have a national average billing rate of $333 per hour

By Region: Northeast ($319 per hour), West ($296 per hour), South ($276 per hour) and Midwest ($264 per hour)

This, of course, is the hourly billing rate. Expensive, we know. However, some lawyers will be more flexible than others with rates. If one lawyer is too expensive, ask that lawyer if there is someone they know who is cheaper. The chances are they know a young lawyer or a lawyer that needs more work who is willing to provide a discount.

In some situations, like personal injury, a contigency fee is often available. Also, lawyers that specialize in minor criminal cases or transactional work may offer flat-fee arrangements.

The best thing to do is to ask questions, learn more and shop around! Don’t go with the first quote that you hear! This is why we created our site. After you submit your claim, if lawyers are interested, we have a few contact you and compete over price.