Tag Archives: hoffmann

Risky Spots for EPL Suits by Employees

A new study of employment practices litigation (EPL) data by Hiscox found four states — California, Illinois, Alabama and Mississippi — along with the District of Columbia, to be the riskiest areas of the U.S. for employee lawsuits. Businesses in these five jurisdictions face a risk that is substantially higher than the national average for being sued by their employees.

According to the study, a U.S.-based business with at least 10 employees has a 12.5% chance each year of having an employment liability charge filed against it. California has the most frequent incidences of EPL charges in the country, with a 42% higher-than-average chance of being sued by an employee. Other high-risk jurisdictions include the District of Columbia (32% above the national average), Illinois (26%), Alabama (25%), Mississippi (19%), Arizona (19%) and Georgia (18%). Lower-risk states for EPL charges include West Virginia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Kentucky and Washington.

Bert Spunberg, a colleague at Hiscox who is a senior vice president and the practice leader for executive risk, says: “Federal level information on employee charges is generally available, but state specific information is more difficult to aggregate. Understanding employee litigation risk at a state level is a crucial step for an organization to establish the processes and protections to effectively manage their risk in this changing legal environment.”

State laws can have a significant impact on risk. For example, the employee-friendly nature of California law in the area of disability discrimination may contribute to the high charge frequency in the state. Discrimination cases filed at the state level in California are brought under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). FEHA applies to a broader swath of businesses, covering any company with five employees, vs. a 15-employee minimum for cases brought under federal law as outlined in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

Mark Ogden, managing partner of Littler Mendelson, the largest employment and labor law firm in the world, says: “Not only are employment lawsuits more likely in those states, but the likelihood of catastrophic verdicts is also significantly higher. Unlike their federal counterparts, where compensatory and punitive damages combined are capped at $300,000, most state employment statutes impose no damages ceilings. Consequently, employers in high-risk states must ensure that their workforces are adequately trained regarding workplace discrimination, harassment and retaliation and that policies forbidding such conduct are strictly enforced.”

For more on the study, click here.

Leap Year Season 2, Episode 10 – How To Bite


Leap Year Season 2: Episode 10 by Mashable

Now this is where the C3D team is at their best – all working together against a common (and real) foe.  It’s all a team effort, so when Aaron neglects his critical task to try and make up with Lisa, his good old slacker/turncoat/thief brother is there to make sure Andy Corvell gets his come-uppance in front of the appreciating crowd.  Andy told Bryn that he stole their prototypes, drained their bank account and created a fake competitor to “teach them a lesson.” Turns out this was a lesson that went both ways: C3D learned to think quickly on their feet and Corvell learned that sometimes there are actual, real-life consequences to his actions.

Operation Revenge was a winner, but not because Corvell was led out of the auditorium by Detective Doyle.  That was sweet, but the positive feedback from the crowd, the many business cards from VCs Jack had in his wallet afterwards and, most importantly, Glenn Cheeky’s kiss of success are what will make a difference in the long run. The product launch was their graduation from a start-up into an all grown up business.  So, what’s next?

First, they need to keep spreading the word through PR and social media.  The reporters won’t always be there and it’s now up to C3D to keep their company and product top of mind.  Which leads nicely into their second task.

Second, C3D needs to keep influencing the influencers.  A positive Tweet or blog post by a tech industry thought leader could be the key to C3D’s commercial success. Sending free C3D conferencing systems to some top Silicon Valley media and investors would be a nice start.

Finally, they need to define the C3D brand in the marketplace.  This is about meaning something specific to the right people, not everything to everybody.  People like to hide behind texts these days, how can C3D get them to invite their friends and family around the world into their living room via hologram?

It’s been great to see C3D roll with the punches, keep finding new ways forward and never lose their will – just like thousands of successful startups have before them.  This season both the team and the business matured into better versions of themselves.  Their next step will be no easier – going from concept, to reality, to actual commercial success.  And that’s the thrill of entrepreneurship, no matter how high the next hill is to climb, if you believe, work hard and get the right support, you can make it to the top.

Leap Year: Season 2, Episode 8 – Behind the Hologram


Leap Year Season 2: Episode 8 by Mashable
Maybe Olivia actually learned something about marketing from her paramour, the Livefy CEO, after all. Turns out she was secretly filming the C3D team and posting their startup adventures as a new online series — Behind the Hologram. A startup web series as a plot point in Leap Year, a web series about a startup — it doesn’t get much more meta than that. And in both cases viewers are watching these series to see if C3D can actually get their product launched on time.

Now Bryn’s threatened Andy Corvel’s life and kidnapped June Pepper. Nothing like raising the stakes just when things were starting to feel a little more like a regular old boring startup just trying to make the next billion dollar product. It’s hard to tell exactly what’s going through Bryn’s mind right now, but her witty repartee with Remy the Detective was straight out of Law & Order or some old detective novel. But, for all her quick, acid responses, she might have actually exposed C3D to some real potential issues through the videos she posted on Behind the Hologram.

It’s not so much that Bryn threatened to kill Andy Corvel, that’s serious, but something for the police to address. However, the incendiary remarks she made about both Corvel and Livefye could potentially open C3D up to charges of slander or libel from their competitors, or their benefactor. Most startups don’t threaten anyone with physical harm, but quite a few have gone a little overboard in promoting their product and putting down the competition. Of course, there’s small business insurance to cover this. C3D would be protected from potential claims of advertising injury through their general liability policy. What’s not covered? Kidnapping and death threats. That’s something the team will need to deal with on their own.

So, if the Livefye office is fake and Andy Corvel paid off Derek’s lawyer fees, what exactly has been going on this whole season? And who actually stole their prototypes?