Kalia Law P.C. http://www.kalialawpc.com Commonsense Counsel for Startups and Small Businesses Wed, 08 Nov 2017 02:40:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Should I Incorporate my Business in California? http://www.kalialawpc.com/2017/11/07/should-i-incorporate-my-business-in-california/ http://www.kalialawpc.com/2017/11/07/should-i-incorporate-my-business-in-california/#respond Tue, 07 Nov 2017 21:42:05 +0000 http://www.kalialawpc.com/?p=1251 Forming a new business venture is an exciting time for small business owners. The possibilities that may develop from the business venture seem endless, and it is easy for business owners to envision positive outcomes.

Despite the positive outlooks many business owners have for their business, the reality is that a majority of businesses fail in their first 5 years. Businesses-either because of poor market penetration, financial complications, or some other reason–fail.


A failed and unincorporated business can result in headaches for business owners. Coincidentally, a business owner can avoid these headaches by incorporating his or her business.

Is Incorporation Right for Me?

Business owners should first consider whether or not they want to incorporate their business or startup. In a majority of instances, incorporation is the correct decision for business owners.

One of the reasons business owners incorporate their business is to limit their exposure to potential liability. In the majority of cases, incorporation affords business owners the opportunity to avoid personal responsibility for business debts. Limited liability shields owners’ personal assets (homes, boats, etc.) from the business’ creditors.

Incorporating a business or startup may also provide for tax breaks that would be otherwise unattainable. Tax laws often provide corporations with tax write-offs that are otherwise not given to sole proprietorships and partnerships.

Incorporation allows for growth and future planning. Corporations can exist in perpetuity, meaning that business owners can incorporate their business in anticipation that their business entity will be successful for generations to come.

Incorporating in California

Once a business owner decides to incorporate, he or she must elect a state in which to incorporate. Several states, including Delaware and Nevada, are considered to be business friendly because of their laws regarding taxation and privacy. Still, it is not always wise for business owners to incorporate in Delaware or Nevada. Sometimes, business owners may benefit most by incorporating in their own state.


California, unfortunately, has the unfair perspective for being a state with a poor business climate. The state, however, continues to lead the in technology-related ventures. Moreover, more and more entrepreneurs are continuing to call California home.


It would be wise to incorporate in California if your business or startup is both located and conducting business in California. Businesses and startups conducting business in California must file statements of qualification and pay California’s franchise tax of $800 per year. A business that incorporates elsewhere may be required to pay fees in their state of incorporation in addition to California’s mandatory fees. Therefore, incorporating in California makes financial sense.


Electing to incorporate your business is a decision that should be made after considering all available options. This complex process can be made easier by seeking commonsense counsel. Kalia Law P.C. is committed to providing your small business or startup with simple, easy to understand answers to your complex business questions. Schedule your initial consultation by calling (650) 701-7617 today.



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Developing Effective (and Legal) Hiring Practices http://www.kalialawpc.com/2017/10/09/developing-effective-and-legal-hiring-practices/ http://www.kalialawpc.com/2017/10/09/developing-effective-and-legal-hiring-practices/#respond Mon, 09 Oct 2017 22:06:16 +0000 http://www.kalialawpc.com/?p=1246 Hiring new employees is an essential process for any startup looking to continue its growth. Startups seek to fill their employment needs by hiring the best and brightest employees, but hiring process can be long and cumbersome, diverting time and resources from other integral business areas. A startup can minimize the negative impact the hiring process has on its day-to-day business by developing an effective and legal hiring process.

Thinking Strategically and Hiring Smart

Startups should think strategically when looking to hire a new employee. Employers may fear missing out on the best possible candidate should they fail to act quickly. It remains imperative that employers look at their hiring process in a strategic manner. Failure to think strategically can lead an employer to make the wrong hiring decision; it may even expose the company to legal liability.

Job descriptions are a great tool that startups and businesses can use. A job description serves as an advertisement that calls out to potential employees. Potential employees can determine whether or not they possess the skills and experience that the position requires. Employers can use the job description for employment purposes, using it as a performance gauge or even as grounds for termination. It is important for job descriptions to avoid including language that may suggest a preference for a particular gender, race, or age.

An equal opportunity clause can help startups and businesses avoid discrimination suits. Employers cannot discriminate because of gender, race, or age. In California, it is also unlawful to discriminate because of an individual’s sexual orientation. The inclusion of an equal opportunity clause helps affirmatively state that the startup complies with employment and anti-discrimination laws. This should be of particular concern for California businesses as there were 5,870 discrimination charges filed with the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2016.

Employers who will seek to conduct background checks or pre-employment drug tests should include a conspicuous notice with the job posting. Employers must have express consent from the applicant before conducting any checks or tests, and the conspicuous language better ensures that the employer will see and agree to these conditions.

Effective Interviewing is Important

The search for the right employee does not end without interviewing potential candidates. Hiring a potential candidate often hinges on his or her interview and the abilities he or she highlights during the interview. As a result, hiring managers often look to ask the perfect question. Still, the interview may create potential problems. While certain questions may seem proper, they can be unlawful. Therefore, individuals making hiring decisions should undergo extensive training to ensure that they do not act in a manner that could expose the company to liability.


Avoid the legal pitfalls of hiring new employees by developing an effective and legal hiring process. Here at Kalia Law P.C., we are committed to helping you develop a legal an effective and legal hiring process that meets your current and future needs. Schedule your initial consultation by calling (650) 701-7617 today.




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Some things to Consider Before Signing a Commercial Lease http://www.kalialawpc.com/2017/08/18/considerations-before-signing-a-commercial-lease/ http://www.kalialawpc.com/2017/08/18/considerations-before-signing-a-commercial-lease/#respond Fri, 18 Aug 2017 15:59:04 +0000 http://www.kalialawpc.com/?p=1239 Startup owners may become overwhelmed in their search for commercial office space. Most often, entrepreneurs will need to lease office space because they neither own nor have the finances for purchasing the space they require. As a result, many startups looking to the trendy and versatile shared office spaces such as WeWork. While these solutions offer significant flexibility, the terms of a commercial lease should always be carefully considered and reviewed by an attorney.

Commercial leases are legally binding agreements into which two parties willingly enter. The lease’s terms govern the landlord-tenant relationship, and the terms often indicate how the parties will both conduct business and resolve disputes. Startups should anticipate negotiating the terms of the lease with the landlord. Negotiating the terms of a lease affords a startup the opportunity to reach an agreement that best suits its needs.

Permitted Use

Many commercial leases include a “permitted use” clause. This clause identifies those uses for which the startup may use the property. A narrowly written permitted use clause often restricts the startup’s use of the property to a low number of activities. Such an unfavorable clause can disrupt a startup’s future growth, any future sale of the startup, and any plans the startup may have for diversification. Tenants should negotiate for broad permitted use clauses.


Rent plays an integral role in the landlord-tenant relationship. A startup leasing commercial space should be aware of the total rent amount as well as when the rent is paid. This helps the owner of a startup better identify future expenses and allows for the owner to accord rent expenditures with expected cash flow.

The rent amount may change over time. Many commercial leases include clauses discussing future rent increases. Landlords must disclose how the calculate rent increases. A tenant may be able to negotiate terms that more closely align with expected revenues.

Lease Term and Renewal

A landlord and tenant will agree to a lease term that governs the duration of the commercial lease. Commercial leases are often entered into for several years. The lease term should best suit the startup’s needs and goals.


It is also advisable for startup owners to be aware of any options for renewing the lease. Owners often discover that the commercial space which they are leasing perfectly suits the company’s needs. An owner seeking to keep his or her startup in a specific commercial location should be aware of the lease’s terms and conditions regarding renewal. The inability or excessive costs for renewing the commercial lease may negatively a business’ goodwill and equity.

Operating Expenses

Several utilities are necessary to operate a commercial business space. A startup should not expect to pay the cost of all of those utilities. Startup owners should discuss the extent of their obligation to cover these operating expenses.

Contact a Silicon Valley Startup Attorney Today

Are you considering leasing office space for your startup? If so, consult with a skilled and knowledgeable attorney who can help you better understand the terms of the lease before you sign anything. Kalia Law P.C. is committed to providing your small business or startup with simple, easy to understand answers to your complex business questions. Schedule your initial consultation by calling (650) 701-7617 today or contact us online.

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Protecting the Technology Sector from Policy Changes to the H-1B Visa http://www.kalialawpc.com/2017/07/03/protecting-the-technology-sector-from-policy-changes-to-the-h-1b-visa/ http://www.kalialawpc.com/2017/07/03/protecting-the-technology-sector-from-policy-changes-to-the-h-1b-visa/#respond Mon, 03 Jul 2017 20:44:04 +0000 http://www.kalialawpc.com/?p=1232 On April 18, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order aimed at reforming the visa program for foreign technical workers. While the order itself calls for relatively tame measures, it signals a larger trend in the visa program which will likely become a significant burden for the technology sector.

The Trend

Currently, the H-1B visa program admits approximately eighty-five thousand workers to the United States every year. These employees are mostly employed in the industrial, medical and science field. High technology jobs also account for a significant portion of these visa holders. Approximately seventy percent of all H-1B visa holders are Indian citizens.

During President Trump’s campaign, he consistently addressed the H-1B program as part of his “America First” theme, which focused and returning jobs to and keeping them in America. It was therefore not wholly unexpected when he signed an executive order targeting the program. The executive order does not immediately create changes to the H-1B program. Instead, it calls for a multiagency report on what changes are needed. It also calls for H-1B visas to go those applicants who are paid the most.

While no changes are yet in effect, it is clear that the program is under heavy scrutiny. One of Trump’s campaign promises was to end the lottery selection process for H-1B visas (which, at present, must be used to accommodate a demand which vastly exceeds the available allotment). This is just one of many possible changes that may be coming in the near future.

How Workers and Businesses Can Prepare for Changes to the H-1B Visa

As with any challenge, strategic preparation can help technology businesses successfully navigate changes to the H-1B program. There are many possible solutions which may be appropriate, depending on the unique needs of your business:

  • Can any portion of your business operations be conducted remotely (or even overseas)?
  • Is your business operating at maximum efficiency? Can you reduce operating expenses by limiting your workforce?
  • Are there other visa programs for which your foreign employees may be eligible?
  • What return on investment does your business realize from employing foreign workers? Are you able to employ American workers? Is it cost-prohibitive to do so, or are there simply no qualified American workers in your line of business?
  • What are your long-term strategies for business development? Can these plans accommodate a workforce that does not require visas? Do you have alternate development strategies in the event that the H-1B program is dismantled entirely?
  • Do you have a short-term contingency plan in the event that changes occur quickly? Do you have access to temporary labor? Will your customers accept late deliveries? Do you have the capital to pay overtime to those employees who are unaffected by the changes?

Experienced Representation for Silicon Valley Businesses

Kalia Law, P.C. works with startups and small businesses specifically to address the unique challenges they face. Book an appointment through our website, or call (650) 701-7617.  Attorney Claire Kalia will help you ensure that your business is prepared for the many policy changes which could affect the technology industry.

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LLC or Corporation: Which is Right for my Startup? http://www.kalialawpc.com/2017/06/19/llc-or-corporation-which-is-right-for-my-startup/ http://www.kalialawpc.com/2017/06/19/llc-or-corporation-which-is-right-for-my-startup/#respond Tue, 20 Jun 2017 04:00:56 +0000 http://www.kalialawpc.com/?p=1225 When forming a startup, owners face the challenge of selecting a business entity that best fits with their personal and professional objectives. Although there are several business entities in the State of California, most startups elect to either incorporate or form a Limited Liability Company (LLC). Each business entity has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Selecting the appropriate entity may often depend on weighing out the differences and determining which best suits your startup’s needs.

Liability Protection

Both LLCs and corporations offer owners limited liability. This means that an LLC or a corporation provides protection for the owner’s personal assets unlike other entities like sole proprietorships or partnerships. Under California law, a creditor is (generally) not permitted to access an owner’s personal assets; instead, a creditor is only allowed to access those assets which the owner has identified as collateral or put in the business’ name.

This is one very important quality the two business entities share. However, it is the differences between the entities that lead an owner to elect one business entity over the other. We discuss some of those differences below.

Management of the Business Entity

A startup, like any other business, requires careful management. In choosing an appropriate business entity, startup owners must consider the filing and management requirements of each entity.

LLCs are either designated as “manager-managed” or “member-managed.” They are required to follow fewer and less strict requirements than a corporation. Members or managers manage the day-to-day operations and they also a direct say in the business’ operations.

Corporations do not offer the same “hands on” approach of an LLC. Corporations must elect a board of directors to manage the corporation. The board, however, does not manage the corporation’s day-to-day business. Instead, it will appoint executive officers who are responsible for regular business operations. Additionally, corporations must hold shareholder meetings in which shareholders vote on the approvals of major corporate decisions.


In California, an LLC is, by default, taxed as a partnership, which for status purposes is considered a pass-through entity. The tax structure of a partnership allows the entity’s profits or losses to pass through directly to the owner(s). For LLC owners/members, choosing the default taxation method may be most advantageous but it should always be discussed with an experienced attorney.

Unlike an LLC, corporations are “double-taxed.”  Generally, this means that a corporation is taxed at both the entity and the owner level. While a corporation may also benefit from pass-through taxation–here, it would be classified as an S-Corporation–it would be subject to more strict restrictions. Individuals forming a new startup should discuss these restrictions with an experienced attorney.

Selecting an entity that is appropriate for your business will depend on how you plan to run the business and where you hope to take it. One size does not fit all. Crafting a strategic entity can mean a world of difference as your business begins to take off.


Before forming their startup, owners must always carefully evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of the business entity they plan to elect. The numerous advantages of both LLCs and Corporations help make the decision easier. Still, startup owners should sit down with an experienced business attorney who can help ensure that the startup’s election is best suited given the startup’s goals. Kalia Law P.C., is committed to providing you with simple, easy to understand answers to your complex business questions. Schedule your initial consultation by calling (650) 701-7617 today.

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Social Media Campaigns for Startups – Legal Issues to Consider http://www.kalialawpc.com/2017/04/18/social-media-campaigns-for-startups-legal-issues-to-consider/ http://www.kalialawpc.com/2017/04/18/social-media-campaigns-for-startups-legal-issues-to-consider/#respond Tue, 18 Apr 2017 16:11:36 +0000 http://www.kalialawpc.com/?p=1221 For startups, social media serves an advertising channel and a direct line of communication with its existing and prospective customers. When used correctly, social media can have a positive impact. Successful social media campaigns can peek the interest of potential new customers and improve brand equity, among other things.

Startups should be aware of the potential legal issues that may arise from using social media. Legal issues are not unique to social media, but they may also become an issue at a faster speed due to social media’s “viral” nature. This means that startups should be acting proactively and mitigating risks.

Copyright infringement

Social media thrives on quality content such as photographs, music, and video. Startups looking to tap into trends or what is considered “cool,” especially startups with a limited quantity of original content, may elect to use content found on the internet. Sometimes, startups can use this media without facing any problems, but this is not always the case. Startups may be mistaken that content available online may be used or reproduced for free.

Original artistic content, in the United States and across the globe, is most often protected by copyright law. This means that it is unlawful to engage in the use, reproduction, and dissemination of the content for commercial purposes–including in social media campaigns–without obtaining the appropriate rights.

Startups should seek to retain counsel to help navigate copyright law’s intricate landscape. Startups may avoid significant issues and unnecessary legal fees by retaining counsel to help consult with potential legal issues and assist in obtaining all required licenses and clearances.


In today’s internet age, it’s not uncommon for social media accounts to be used to directly interact with users and comment on the competition. For example, when McDonald’s recently announced that it would be using never-frozen beef in some of its products, Wendy’s took to Twitter and asked the fast food giant “So you’ll still use frozen beef in MOST of your burgers in ALL of your restaurants?” – highlighting the fact that Wendy’s used never-frozen beef in all of its products.

The content distributed by a startup in its social media campaign may also be actionable if it injures a third party’s image or reputation. Typically, defamation will occur whenever a startup defames an individual or relatively small entity. This can occur simply by sharing defamatory statements, images, or content. The seemingly boundless audience that social media accounts can reach may only make things more problematic.

There are defenses to defamation claims. As a result, it is important that startups retain legal counsel when faced with such claims.

Privacy and Confidentiality

Privacy, especially on the internet, is very important. It has become a hot-button topic because users are now understanding how businesses collect, use, disclose, and sell information.

Social media campaigns, despite being social in nature, may still be subject to privacy laws and regulations. This may mean that startups collecting data–whether it be a name, email, or even IP addresses–may be required to comply with privacy laws. These laws govern not only how the startup collects and manages the data but also how it uses, stores, or distributes it. Failure to comply, even in the case of a tiny misstep, may result in legal and financial consequences.

Social media may play a critical part a startup’s business and marketing plans. A well thought out social media strategy can help maximize followers, increase customers, and increase interest in a startup. Even well-planned strategies may not be without hiccups. Whenever legal issues arise, a startup should alway seek commonsense counsel. Kalia Law P.C., is committed to providing you with simple, easy to understand answers to your complex business questions. Schedule your initial consultation by calling (650) 701-7617 today.

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What Will Happen to the New Overtime Rule? http://www.kalialawpc.com/2017/03/14/what-will-happen-to-the-new-overtime-rule/ http://www.kalialawpc.com/2017/03/14/what-will-happen-to-the-new-overtime-rule/#respond Tue, 14 Mar 2017 17:46:52 +0000 http://www.kalialawpc.com/?p=1215 Employers and employees across the country are closely monitoring developments regarding the suspension of former President Obama’s “Overtime Rule.” In November 2016, a Texas Federal Court judge issued a preliminary injunction against the Overtime Rule, halting its implementation.

The Overtime Rule was an effort by the Obama Administration to help workers. The Rule increased the eligibility threshold for overtime pay exemption from $23,660 to $47,476. According to some estimates, this change would have benefited an estimated 4.2 million workers. On the other hand, the increased overtime pay threshold would have negatively impacted many employers’ bottom lines.

The preliminary injunction temporarily halts the implementation of the Overtime Rule. But perhaps the most pressing question is, “What will happen next?”

Preliminary Injunction

A preliminary injunction is an injunction entered prior to the final merits determination of a legal case. An injunction either halts certain conduct or compels a party to continue said conduct.

Here, the Texas judge’s injunction temporarily halted the Overtime Rule’s implementation. The Overtime Rule was set to go into effect on December 1, 2016, at which time employers were required to be in compliance with the Rule. The injunction permitted employers to ignore the Rule’s requirements. Instead, employers could continue following existing overtime pay rules.

Current Overtime Rules

Businesses and startups in California and across the United States are to follow existing overtime rules until a final determination is rendered on the Obama Administration’s Overtime Rule. Currently, the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA) mandates employers to pay their nonexempt employees overtime (calculated as time and one-half) for those hours worked in excess of what is considered to be “full-time.” (Typically, full time is considered to start between 35-40 hours per week.)

The FLSA sets a series of minimum requirements which businesses must follow regarding overtime pay and labor standards. States may further expand on FLSA requirements, setting more stringent requirements. This is why some states have a higher minimum wage.

An example of a more stringent state-enacted overtime requirement can be found right here in California. Under California law, individuals who work more than eight hours in one day are eligible to receive overtime pay. This is true even if they do not work a “full-time” 40 hours over the course of the workweek. Overtime pay increases to double the employee’s normal rate of pay if he or she works more than 12 hours in one day!

What to Expect

Businesses are, without a doubt, in limbo due to the current status of Obama’s Overtime Rule. The injunction is temporary. Businesses may be required to comply with the Overtime Rule if a final ruling is made. This would mean accommodating for increased costs due to the nearly doubled threshold.
Businesses may still have a lifeline. The Overtime Rule is a product of the Obama Administration. The new Administration may either withdraw its support for defending the rule or it may decide against its implementation. California businesses and startups should stay abreast of these developments and should also remain aware of potential changes California may make to its own laws.

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Where Should You Incorporate? http://www.kalialawpc.com/2017/02/27/where-should-you-incorporate/ http://www.kalialawpc.com/2017/02/27/where-should-you-incorporate/#respond Mon, 27 Feb 2017 15:55:19 +0000 http://www.kalialawpc.com/?p=1211 Launching a new business presents an exciting opportunity that includes making important decisions with far-reaching consequences. Not the least of these is deciding where to incorporate your business. Some states are widely considered more business friendly than others, and some companies prefer to go the traditional route of incorporating in their home state. There’s a lot to consider.

Business Basics

There are some fundamental financial considerations that every new company planning on incorporating should be aware of:

  • Formation fees are a one-time filing fee paid to the state you incorporate in. This is a relatively low one-time expense that should have little financial effect on your business over time.
  • Most states impose annual fees and report filings, which amount to a yearly set fee accompanied by a one-page report. These fees range from a few dollars to several hundred dollars, and – again – shouldn’t present a significant financial burden when amortized over your corporate fiscal-year.
  • In place of or in addition to annual fees, many states levy franchise taxes, a tax imposed for the privilege of incorporating or conducting business in that state. The franchise tax calculation method varies considerably from state to state – some states, like California, charge a minimum fee even if your business is in the red and others, like Delaware, charge fees based on shares and par value, which can help minimize this expense for small corporations.
  • Because Delaware has a separate business court – adjudicated by a judge with business experience instead of a jury – that is dedicated to business dispute resolution, many Fortune 500 companies choose to incorporate there. This is rarely advantageous for small businesses, however.
  • Delaware also offers large corporations the advantage of improved investment opportunities. Many business investors are especially amenable to financing venture capital in Delaware, and they often make incorporation in Delaware a requirement for investing.
  • State corporate income taxes will undoubtedly affect your company’s bottom line and should be taken into careful consideration. These taxes, however, are levied by the state that houses your business. There are a few states that offer the significant advantage of having neither corporate nor personal income tax: Nevada, Wyoming, and South Dakota. Unless you are considering moving your business to one of these states, however, you won’t be able to reap this financial benefit.

The Best Choice for Your Business

Choosing which state to incorporate in is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Those states with the fewest expenses are not always the best choice. Some states have uniquely advantageous tax platforms, but these only apply to businesses that operate within those states. If your business is small with few shareholders, it is generally advisable to streamline by incorporating at home. For larger corporations, it’s worth investigating further when it comes to deciding where to incorporate.

Contact an Experienced Small Business Attorney in California Today

If you are ready to incorporate, we are here to help. Claire Kalia is a skilled business attorney with expertise in helping small businesses set themselves up for success. At Kalia Law, P.C., we’ve helped many Californian businesses get off to the right start, so please call us at 650-701-7617 or contact our office for more information today.












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10Fold to Host Media Sharktank Charitable Event http://www.kalialawpc.com/2016/10/06/10fold-to-host-media-sharktank-charitable-event/ http://www.kalialawpc.com/2016/10/06/10fold-to-host-media-sharktank-charitable-event/#respond Thu, 06 Oct 2016 21:24:28 +0000 http://www.kalialawpc.com/?p=1206 10Fold, a San Francisco integrated marketing and public relations agency and friend of Kalia Law, P.C., is hosting its 6th annual Media Sharktank event on October 13, 2016. The event will allow startups, entrepreneurs, and others to pitch their corporate stories to a pool of journalists (the “sharks”) who are in the position to cover their business in the news. Participants are asked to donate $1,800, which allows 10Fold to make a charitable donation to San Francisco Baykeeper, an organization that has been working to stop pollution in San Francisco Bay for more than a quarter of a century.

The Specifics

The event will take place on October 13, 2016, at the Hotel Vitale in San Francisco from 6:00 to 9:30 p.m.  Founders and/or executives of companies will have 3 minutes to pitch their corporate story with four members of the media. The person making the pitch can bring another person into the room to take notes. The members of the media panel will then provide participants with tips and feedback regarding the effectiveness of the pitch. The participating reporters write for a variety of national business publications, including the following:

  • The Wall Street Journal
  • CNBC
  • Reuters
  • San Francisco Business Times
  • CBS
  • KPIX
  • CNET
  • Venture Beat

A Valuable Opportunity for Startups

For cash-strapped startups that are unable to afford much in the way of advertising, the media can be a valuable partner. If you have a compelling corporate story, an article published in a widely-read publication can provide free exposure and generate significant goodwill among the public. Of course, in order to have a story written about your company, you need to be able to pitch your story in a way that will be attractive to journalists who are looking for material for their next article. 10Fold’s Media Sharktank gives founders and entrepreneurs an opportunity to communicate directly with people who can have a significant impact on success of your business in a low-pressure environment, allowing you to hone your pitch so your story gets picked up when it really counts.

For more information about the event, you can view the official flyer here.

Kalia Law P.C. Provides Startups and Small Business with Commonsense Legal Counsel

Quality legal counsel is essential to the success of any startup. Silicon Valley business attorney Claire Kalia has a wealth of experience and knowledge in business law and focuses her practice on helping small business and startups succeed. Call us today set up a consultation.

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How Zika May Affect Small Business Owners http://www.kalialawpc.com/2016/09/06/how-zika-may-affect-small-business-owners/ http://www.kalialawpc.com/2016/09/06/how-zika-may-affect-small-business-owners/#respond Tue, 06 Sep 2016 17:35:14 +0000 http://www.kalialawpc.com/?p=1200 If you live and work in California, the threat of the Zika virus may seem remote. However, more and more cases are being diagnosed across the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Many of these cases result from mosquito bites while traveling to affected parts of the world. In addition, many people do not demonstrate obvious symptoms of Zika and could be carriers without realizing it and may sexually transmit the virus. The true threat of Zika is the ability of a woman to pass the virus to a fetus, thereby causing severe and often fatal brain damage to the child.

As a small business owner, if you have any employees, you should be aware that there are guidelines for how to address Zika in the workplace, both regarding workplace safety and anti-discrimination principles.

Health and Safety Guidelines

Even if you do not believe that mosquitoes in and around your workplace are not passing around Zika, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that you ensure that any employees working outside take proper precautions. You should make sure your employees have adequate repellant and other gear to prevent mosquito bites whenever possible. You should also rid your business premises of any standing water to prevent mosquitoes from breeding nearby.

In addition, you should realize that Zika may be a particular concern for the following employees:

  • Women of childbearing age who may become pregnant;
  • Women who are currently pregnant;
  • Men who are having sexual relations with a woman who is pregnant or who may become pregnant.

If any of the above employees request to work inside or to postpone work-related travel to certain parts of the world, you should consider accommodating their requests due to Zika concerns.

Anti-Discrimination Rules

While you should be aware of the risks of Zika among pregnant women or women of childbearing age, you cannot single them out in the workplace – even out of concern. If you allow other employees to travel for work but prohibit travel for women, you could be accused of unlawful discrimination based on sex or pregnancy.

In addition, employers do not have the right to demand medical information regarding Zika from employees. Even if an employee has come back from a trip to an affected part of the world, OSHA has indicated that Zika is not a big enough danger in the workplace to warrant intrusive questioning or demands for information regarding a diagnosis or medical records. If you do so, you may face legal liability or disputes from employees.

Discuss Your Situation with a California Small Business Attorney Today

ZIka is only one example of how the trends of our society can affect your small business and require compliance with guidelines and rules of which you may not even be aware. This is only one reason why is it wise to have the assistance of an experienced small business lawyer to provide guidance and advice on any legal matters that may arise. Please do not hesitate to call Kalia Law, PC today for more information about our small business services.

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