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May 27th, 2011 2:34 pm
Firing Your Best Workers & Other California Absurdities

Mercury News opinion writers David Houston and Jot Condie give a sense of the near impossibility of doing business in California.  Andy Puzder is the CEO of CKE Restaurant, the parent company of Carl’s Jr., a popular hamburger eatery in California.

Even after businesses have gotten off the ground, California’s regulations continue to pigeonhole business owners in how they operate. For example, California’s strict work rules classify general managers as employees, requiring that they take breaks at specified times, harming their ability to manage the business effectively. Puzder said he has had to fire managers who insisted on working more hours than the state allows.

The reason managers would have to be fired for working hard is that it makes businesses vulnerable to litigation. With more than 1 million lawsuits filed every year, California is one of the most litigious states in the country, and its countless regulations make business owners a magnet for abusive lawsuits. No matter what type of business you are in, it seems like there is a lawsuit waiting for you.

If you own a restaurant and your bartender chooses to forgo a break to collect extra tips, you can be sued for wage-and-hour violations. If your trash can is moved by someone else in your store, you can be sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you try to bring renewable energy to the desert, you can be sued by environmentalists and unions. Is it any wonder that many owners are deciding doing business in California is not worth it?

Firing managers who want to work more hours for more money because the law makes litigation almost mandatory?  Now that’s Progressivism!

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