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What Is a Hostile Work Environment in California?

Posted on August 5, 2019
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Workplace harassment and bullying can turn a workplace into a hostile environment where you do not feel welcome and constantly fear for your job or safety. Racial slurs, unwelcome sexual advances and other inappropriate behavior can create the conditions to be considered a hostile work environment under the right circumstances. To be considered a hostile work environment, the inappropriate behavior must be pervasive or severe based on a protected trait (such as … Read More

What Is a Bona Fide Occupational Qualification and Can I Be Discriminated Against for It?

Posted on June 12, 2019
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A “Bona Fide Occupational Qualification” (BFOQ) refers to a quality or attribute that employers are legally allowed to take into account when making hiring and employment decisions. If considered in other formats, these qualities would be classified as discrimination and would be in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). The BFOQ defense is narrowly construed to ensure that employers … Read More

What Is Trademark Infringement and How Is Infringement Determined?

Posted on June 4, 2019
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Trademark infringement is defined as the unauthorized use of a trademark about goods or services in a manner that is likely to cause confusion, deception or mistakes about the source of the goods or services. For a trademark owner to claim infringement, the Lanham Act specifies that three factors must be shown: use of a protected trademark, priority to use the trademark and a likelihood of confusion between the trademark and the alleged infringer. The first factor … Read More

What is “Fair Use” of a Copyrighted Work?

Posted on May 20, 2019
Fair Use of a Copyrighted Work

The term “fair use” refers to the limited permitted copying of copyrighted material without receiving permission from the copyright holders. It is used as a defense against copyright infringement, and if use of a copyrighted work is deemed to be “fair use”, then the action is not considered illegal. The Copyright Act of 1976 cites four factors it uses to determine whether the use of a copyrighted work falls under the category of fair use. The … Read More

What Is a “Joint Work” and Who Owns Its Copyright?

Posted on May 10, 2019
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A “joint work” is a work prepared by two or more authors with the intention that their contributions be merged into inseparable or interdependent parts of a unitary whole. See 17 U.S.C. § 101. A collaborative effort is only classified as a joint work if each author made independently copyrightable contributions to the work and if the authors fully intended to be coauthors. The phrase “independently copyrightable contributions” implies that if all of the authors of the … Read More

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