Barbary Coast

Marijuana in the Workplace

The workplace is supposed to be a safe environment to better allow employees to maximize their productivity and their work experience. Surely, one thing that helps motivate employees is how comfortable they are in the workplace or in their working environment. To that end, many employers implement policies to address drug and alcohol use, which,…

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Buyer Beware: Avoiding the pitfalls of successor liability when purchasing a network

Over the last decade, our firm has represented hundreds of Dunkin’ franchisees who have expanded their networks through the purchase of existing restaurants. The vast majority of these acquisitions are transacted as purchases of tangible (e.g. furniture, fixtures, and equipment) and intangible (e.g. telephone numbers) assets, as opposed to the purchase of the stock or…

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Pins are in at In-N-Out Burger

Appeals Court protects employees’ right to wear buttons advocating higher wages While employers may require employees to wear a uniform at work, under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) employees have the right to wear union buttons and insignia while working. Those conflicting rights have created fights over what a company may require and what…

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Dunkin’ and the No-Poach Clause

Many franchisors utilize so-called “no-poach” clauses in their franchise agreements, and such clauses may be structured in a way that limits a franchisee’s ability to hire employees of other, same-brand franchisees and/or employees of the franchisor. Recently, a group of state attorneys general and prominent legislators began pressing franchisors to cease use of so-called “no-poach”…

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Misclassifying Employees Can Be a Costly Mistake

In this day and age, most employers have considered the possibility of wage-hour liability. Savvy employers understand that wage-hour liability comes in many different forms, and two of the most talked about have been “misclassification” and unpaid overtime. Misclassification can occur in one of two ways: either the employer classifies a worker as an independent…

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Don’t tread on us: Franchisees sue their brand for encroachment and win

El Pollo Loco – their slogan is “Crazy you can taste” – is popular for Mexican-style food such as tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and quesadillas and, in particular, citrus-marinated, fire-grilled chicken. The Costa Mesa, California chain operates over 460 company-owned and franchised restaurants in the southwest, and is a favorite with many locals. In Lancaster, Calif.,…

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Forecasting 2018

As I sit here, just a few days before Christmas, I am watching the weather change outside my office window from relatively warm (for Minnesota), to downright cold. And like the weather, the one thing that we can always count on as the seasons change, is change in the political and legal landscape affecting business…

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Protecting Yourself From Lawsuits Involves Many Shades of Gray

Americans file 15 million lawsuits each year. Not every lawsuit has merit. Not every lawsuit has issues that are clearly defined in black and white. But there are many hungry lawyers eager to represent a plaintiff on a contingency-fee basis, which means you have to defend yourself. One reason entrepreneurs are so vulnerable is because…

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Whose Business is it Anyway?

Has it ever occurred to you that you don’t actually own your network of Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants? Well, let me clarify that proposition…while you most likely own the assets, such as the coffee pots, menu boards, and Radiant systems, you do not have the unfettered ability to sell your business. Even if you and your…

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