Company to pay $584,000 for firing employees who demanded overtime

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

Are you familiar with both federal and state overtime rules? You should be. It’s public policy and, depending on their classification, your employees are entitled to it. But let’s say there’s a disagreement about the overtime you paid and it turns into a lawsuit. Can you then fire an employee because they sued you for back overtime? Not in California. A company there just learned this lesson the hard way–and now a court has ordered the company to pay three of its former employees $584,612.

Here’s what happened. Read More…

Less than one in five start-ups are founded by women

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

It’s still a man’s world, particularly for those starting up a small business.

New research data from Crunchbase, the research arm of technology site TechCrunch, has found that only 17 percent of new start-ups during the first quarter of 2017 were founded by females – and the number hasn’t changed for a while. The data focuses on those companies that received venture funding so there are many small businesses – pizza shops, nail salons, restaurants – that aren’t considered here. Regardless, it’s eyebrow-raising. Read More…

The World’s 10 Most Downloaded Apps All Have This One Amazing Thing In Common

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(This post originally appeared on Inc.)

SensorTower, a company that tracks data about mobile applications, has released its quarterly listing of the world’s most downloaded non-gaming apps. When you take a look at the list, particularly if you run a business, you’ll discover something amazing. You’re probably using most of these apps. In fact, many people in your company are using these apps. What’s truly amazing is that I’m using all of these apps on my Android Galaxy S7 smartphone and so are the people in my company. Not for fun or for laughs (well, OK…a little). But to help run my business. Slowly, but surely, mobile applications have evolved from novelties and time-savers to tools that our companies rely on day-to-day.

Yes, I admit that a few of the apps I’m using are a little more for my personal life than my company. But each and every one of these has some professional value – some more than others. Let me further explain.

#1 – WhatsApp. This is a chat application (owned by Facebook) that doesn’t require a mobile network – just a WiFi connection. It’s hugely popular around the world because many people don’t have mobile plans that can be used internationally. At my company, we use WhatsApp for group chats and for sending photos and files to each other over WiFi so I don’t have to incur data charges. I also have a few business contacts overseas and use WhatsApp to message them because it’s cheaper, more reliable and happens to be (for most of them) their primary messaging tool anyway. Read More…

Just in in time for 4-20: A ‘Shopify’ for cannabis

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

It’s that time of year. Thursday is April 20. 4-20, 4/20, 4:20 or just 420. It’s the day of the year many call the “stoner Christmas.” No one really knows where this day and time to celebrate pot came from (Herb.com traces it back to a bunch of high school stoners in the ’70’s who called themselves “Waldo’s). But that’s not important. What’s important is that millions of pot-smokers will be celebrating this Thursday, and the multi-billion-dollar cannabis industry stands to profit.

So naturally, it’s a great time to introduce an online shopping application for cannabis businesses. That’s what the entrepreneurs at Baker Technologies, a three-year old marketing start-up are doing. Read More…

Do you evaluate a new employee after 100 days? I didn’t think so.

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

Late last year a client of mine hired a new accounting manager. Being an accounting manager at a 60-person company is not an easy job.

He supervises a staff of three people that enter orders, invoices, payables and vendor payments. He must oversee the preparation of monthly statements for the owner. To do this job, he must be intimately familiar with the company’s books and records and all the transactions that flow through its general ledger. This means he must understand how the company values and accounts for its inventory and the entire flow of cash from–from quote to order to invoice to payment both from a customer and to a supplier. Besides these duties, he handles personnel matters like the company’s health insurance and benefit plans.

The jury’s still out on this guy, according to my client. He’s doing okay but not surprisingly, he’s made mistakes. He’s rubbed a few people the wrong way, missed an important deadline and still hasn’t gotten his arms around the company’s inventory valuation methods. But he’s getting better. It’s a big job, right? And besides, it’s only been about four months. Read More…

Banning Children Has Led to Rave Reviews for This North Carolina Restaurant

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(This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post)

“Our dinner was excellent,” said one diner.

“This will make us come back again,” said another.

“I wouldn’t stop coming,” said a satisfied customer.

What is a restaurant in North Carolina doing that’s creating such a buzz? According to this report from WCNC, they’ve come up with a real crowd pleaser. They’re banning kids — and business is booming.

Read More…

Excited About Tax Reform? Don’t Be.

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(This post originally appeared on PhillyMag)

It’s tax deadline time, and regardless of whether we’re receiving a refund or we owe money, most of us usually take a moment to look at our returns and reflect and on just how much we’re paying to the government. Sure, we know that taxes are a necessity and we’re all willing to pay our fair share. In fact, a Gallup poll released last week found that 61 percent of us believe our federal income tax is fair. But that same poll also concluded that more than half of us still feel that our taxes are too high. So if we could pay a little less, that would be nice too.

That’s what the Republican party believes. Which is why tax reform is such a high priority on their agenda. The Trump administration and congressional leaders feel that making the system less complex and — most important — lowering tax rates for both individuals and businesses will spur economic growth and investment. That’s the reason behind their push for tax reform. Read More…