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Orange County Legal Blog

What will immigration look like in 2021?

As fall sets in, we're nearing the end of 2020 -- a year filled with many unprecedented events. Needless to say, there have been many challenges for immigrants as a result.

But what will the future look like? What can we expect for immigration in 2021? There is no way to know for certain and there are far too many variables involved, but some experts have already put together "action plans" detailing the changes that they hope to see. Some of their main hopes include:

  • Creating a stronger and more robust U.S. economy, thus creating jobs for both immigrants and native-born workers
  • Ending any discriminatory practices so that all who come to the U.S. have the same opportunities
  • Putting special emphasis on options and protections for both families and children
  • Building up a leadership base that supports immigration and works to make it function smoothly
  • Putting extra focus on helping those who need it most, such as those who are fleeing from violence and unrest in their own countries
  • Creating borders where people's rights can thrive and where both sides can work together to help immigrants easily and legally enter the country
  • Getting ride of immigration jails and making sure that immigration is not criminalized

Will your business need multi-lingual contracts?

The vast majority of business contracts written in the United States are simply written in English. If you're thinking of branching out and working overseas, though, you need to consider the fact that partnering with international companies means connecting with those who may not have English as a first language -- or may not speak it at all. If this is the case, those contracts likely need to be written in multiple languages so that all parties can understand what it is they are agreeing to.

Naturally, the languages you choose depend on where you're going to be doing business. However, the American Bar Association does list the following as the most common second languages used in these situations:

  • Chinese
  • Korean
  • German
  • Spanish
  • Russian

Retention agreements help companies retain crucial talent

The table has been set, and now your company prepares to complete the acquisition of a rival firm that brings additional strengths and new markets. Optimism prevails for your combined company as some predict that the sky is the limit. But hold on. A significant matter you must not overlook is the talent sitting on the other side of the table.

That talent is now part of your team and sitting at your table. They held key leadership and management roles in the rival company. It was their vision that also made that company a success. If those employees had not been in those positions, the acquisition may not have occurred. In recognizing their importance, it is crucial to retain certain top-performing members. And you can do that through a retention agreement, a tool that companies use to encourage certain employees to remain working for them.

For immigrants, the American dream is not always easy

The idea of the "American dream" is often what lures immigrants to the United States in the first place. They see it as a land of opportunity, a country where they can improve their lives and find new opportunities -- for education, work, careers, family life, etc -- that they wouldn't have at home.

Unfortunately, many do find that chasing that American dream is harder than they may have realized. Stability, from a financial perspective, depends on working almost immediately. For many with no experience, this means seeking entry-level jobs just to make ends meet. Some have to work and have no chance to go to school and get the education that they really wanted when they opted to come to the U.S. in the first place. In other cases, they have to allow their careers to regress just to get work.

What are California’s overtime rules?

When you hire employees for your business, you must follow state labor laws when paying them. Because California is a very employee-friendly state when it comes to labor law, the Golden State has unique overtime rules. Businesses that fail to follow them could face wage lawsuits down the road, so owners and managers need to understand how and when California employees qualify for overtime.

The CROWN Act could become federal law

It's been a year since California became the first state to outlaw discrimination against natural hair in the workplace. Since then, six other states and two municipalities in additional states have passed their own CROWN Act. CROWN stands for Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair. Meanwhile, 23 state legislatures are considering similar laws.

California State Sen. Holly J. Mitchell, who led the fight for the state law, said last year, "Until Congress is able to recognize that the quality of my work as an employee or student is based on what's inside my head and not how I choose to wear my hair, we will continue the state-by-state strategy to pass the CROWN Act in every state in our nation."

Should you use an employee handbook?

Not all companies have an employee handbook. You're not obligated to give workers documentation that they can refer to when learning the ropes or asking questions about the processes used in a new job. However, if you're considering it, there are some major benefits to keep in mind.

One is that you may be able to avoid litigation or win a case if it does arise. The handbook helps to eliminate miscommunication. Plus, if an employee claims they didn't know something, it at least gives you a document to point to as you indicate what they should have known.

Do you really need a trademark or copyright?

Many California companies apply for copyrights or trademarks as part of their business branding strategy. Doing so can help establish the company's name and reputation in the marketplace. You can register a copyright or trademark to protect your creative works and to minimize the chances of someone unlawfully representing your organization.

There are numerous things that trademarks protect. It safeguards your name, color design patterns, symbols, words and sounds that you may use to distinguish the goods and services that you offer. A trademark can last indefinitely as long as you use it in commerce and defend it against violators.

Registering a trademark only provides so much protection

When you register a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USTPO), you might think you have no more work to do. While registering your trademark is a great way to protect your intellectual property, you will have to take some proactive steps to ensure you receive the full benefit of registered trademark protection.

How long do intellectual property rights last?

There are many different options that you can choose from when it comes to protecting your creative works. There are copyrights, trademarks, patents and trade secrets. You may sue anyone who uses any of these without your permission. Your intellectual property rights don't remain in effect forever. You should familiarize yourself with how long they do, though.

Trademarks and trade secret protections remain in effect the longest. A mark's owner can use and defend it against infringement for as long as it's an active part of the commercial process. Trade secrets protections also remain in effect as long as the proprietary information remains commercially valuable and the owner takes reasonable measures to protect it from interception.

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