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In a two day sweep, investigators for the California Labor Commissioner issued $682,344 in fines to 18 different Los Angeles based garment manufacturers. Over $600,000 of the fines were issued against 6 different garment makers for failing to maintain workers' compensation insurance.

California Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su warned, in the agencies press release last week, that the California Labor Commissioner "will shine a light on the underground economy and those who contract with unregistered contractors will also be held accountable." While no big-name clothing companies were named, it is not uncommon for major brands to contract out the manufacturing of their product lines.

One accusation of sexual harassment is bad. Ten thousand? That's an epidemic. But that's how many women, so far, have joined a class action lawsuit against Sterling Jewelers, with allegations of harassment and discrimination stretching back as far as 2003.

And it might even get worse for Sterling. Court documents indicate the potential class for the lawsuit could be as many as 44,000 current and former female employees.

Last summer, the Obama administration announced plans to expand overtime pay benefits for workers to cover employees earning up to $47,000. This summer, the Labor Department announced the new overtime rule is official, and they would go into effect on December 1. But that still might not be enough time for some small businesses to be ready, argues the National Federation of Independent Business.

The NFIB contends that small businesses "can't just flip a switch and be in compliance," and is asking for a delay in implementing the rule until June 1 of 2017. But they don't sound likely to get it.

Hiring immigrants is not limited to one or two sectors or industries. From farms and factories to hedge funds and startups, businesses are being run by immigrant entrepreneurs and staffed by talented immigrants. Therefore, any new statute, order, or court decision relating to immigration will have ripple effects throughout the business community, right up to your small business's front door.

Here are three recent developments that could have a substantial impact on your small business.

Last week, news broke out of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, that factory workers at the Just Born candy company's Peeps factory have gone on strike. The men and women who make the delightfully fluffy, sweet, and soft confections walked out after the company proposed eliminating pensions, reducing wage increases, and increasing employee contributions to health plans.

Union officials for the Peeps' workers are pushing for the union's peeps to be treated fairly, receive reasonable wage increases, and the pension they've been promised. The cuts proposed by management come as the company has been making record sales.

There are a couple reasons you want to hire the best possible employees. First, you want the best ideas and the best production. Second, if they're working for you, they're not working for the competition. But what if your competition already got their hands on them? Is poaching a competitor's employees illegal?

For the most part, you're allowed to hire anyone who wants to work for you. But in certain cases, hiring someone who's already working for a competitor can get you in trouble.

We hear all the time about unemployment benefits for laid off workers. (Or at least you should -- if you're a business owner, chances are you and your employees are paying into the unemployment system.) But what about unemployment benefits for failed entrepreneurs? If you owned an unlucky small business, are you out of luck when it comes to unemployment?

While each state may run their unemployment benefit programs a little differently, there is one general rule to unemployment for small business owners: pay in, get paid.

We hear a lot about the Ubers, the Airbnbs, and the Snapchats, privately-held tech startups valued at over $1 billion known in the industry as "unicorns." But not every startup ends well. And one story that surfaced recently tells the tale of a startup going down in flames.

A marketing professional relocated from Dallas, Texas to Silicon Valley to chase a startup dream. But from her account of a month on the job, she lived closer to a startup nightmare.

2016 has been a year to forget for Chipotle. From criminal charges stemming from multiple E. coli outbreaks to illegal Twitter policies, the popular burrito chain has been making the news for all the wrong reasons. And when it rains, it pours.

Almost 10,000 current and former Chipotle employees are now suing the company, claiming they were forced to work unpaid hours off the clock. So here's our latest in the ongoing series: Don't Do What Chipotle Did.

Social media has presented a plethora of potential challenges for employers. Should you follow your employees on Twitter? How should you handle an employee's offensive personal tweets? Should you fire an employee for airing his grievances on Twitter, complaining about wages, and circulating a petition alleging workers couldn't take breaks?

While the answers to those first two questions are up to you, the third has just been decided by the National Labor Relations Board. The NLRB recently ruled that Chipotle violated federal labor laws when it fired an employee over tweets that the burrito chain claimed were in violation of its social media policy.