Employment Litigation

Litigation is sport for lawyers. Too often it is nothing but an economic and emotional drain for everyone else. We understand that fact, and have the ethical character to make sure the result is different for our clients. No matter how skilled we may be in litigation and the art of winning cases, a true win in litigation means achieving the client’s goals in the most economic fashion. A true win can only be accomplished by a firm that is expert in the law, creative in developing strategy and committed to truly listening to and communicating with the client. We are that firm. We get true wins for our clients.

Wage & Hour Claim Defense

Included within state and federal law are literally thousands of technical rules regarding the hours employees may work and the payment of wages and benefits. Unfortunately, many “industry practices” are not aligned with rules. Worse, California law provides lucrative incentives for employees and their attorneys to find violations and file class action lawsuits. The claims may be filed in state or federal court. They are also commonly filed with the Department of Labor or the California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement. Regardless of where the claims are filed, we develop and implement the strategies necessary to get the claims dismissed.

Wrongful Termination Defense

New statutes and court decisions continue to expand the ways in which an employer can “wrongfully” terminate an employee. The unlawful reasons can range from breaching an alleged employment agreement to punishing an employee’s political views. Regardless, the ensuing civil litigation can be costly. We defend lawsuits filed in the United States District Courts and those in any of California Superior Courts. Our defense plans are specifically tailored to the client’s need and proven to get results.

Safety Violation Defense

Under state and federal law employers have a general obligation to provide a safe workplace.  That general obligation is then loaded up with numerous detailed regulations specifying exactly what an employer must and must not do.  With the constant change in regulations and operational realities, 100% compliance is rare despite the best intentions.  The inspectors for OSHA and Cal-OSHA, however, expect full compliance.  Worse their view of “full compliance” may stretch the regulations beyond the printed words or their original intention.  We appeal safety citations and employ sophisticated strategies to get the citations amended or removed.

Harassment & Discrimination Claim Defense

Claims of unlawful harassment and discrimination are not limited to the traditional bases of sex, race, religion, age and disability found under Title VII of federal law and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.  Harassment and discrimination claims have expanded dramatically to include a broad range from gender identity to genetic characteristics.  The claims may be lawsuits in the courts or administrative actions before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.  In either case, the employer’s exposure can be very large.  We have extensive experience in successfully eliminating the exposure, and doing it in a way that makes economic sense.

Workplace Violence and Security Risks

Although incidents of workplace violence are not a daily occurrence for any employer, they remain a significant problem. Some of that significance comes from the fact that the incidents are not a daily occurrence. Many employers have never dealt with violence issues and are unprepared to properly respond. We are prepared. We provide clients with the range of tools necessary from experts in psychology and risk assessment to obtaining temporary restraining orders and injunctions.

Uninsured Workers’ Compensation Claims

Workers’ compensation insurance policies in California cover industrial injuries, but by law do not cover claims for discrimination, retaliation or “serious and willful” conduct. These claims are frequently filed with the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board in addition to an employee’s injury claim. In such cases, the employer must obtain separate counsel to defend the non-injury claims. We have successfully defended cases time and again with an approach that gives clients multiple options tailored to the economic realities.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternative dispute resolution is simply a reference to something other than traditional litigation in the courts.  The most common forms are arbitration and mediation.  Even in litigated cases, some form of alternative dispute resolution will be required by the court prior to trial.  Accordingly, it is critical that litigation attorneys understand how to best utilize the various forms to achieve results.  Not all litigators do.  The demeanor and tools used in trial may be very different than what is required to successfully mediate a case.  We have the ability to adapt to the forum and the skill to get results.  We also assist clients by structuring agreements with employees to avoid the court system altogether.

Whistleblower and Retaliation Claim Defense

With all the new statutes and regulations implemented each year it has become common practice for the laws to include anti-retaliation language and specific protections for employees who complain. Sarbanes-Oxley, Dodd-Frank and a host of other state and federal laws prohibit taking action against employees who lodge complaints.  The protected complaints range from wage and hour violations to securities fraud and from sexual harassment to virtually any “public policy.” Because it is not uncommon for the “whistleblower” to be a bad employee making a specious claim, we give clients proven approaches for fighting back and turning the tables.

Insurance Defense – Employment Practices Liability

For a growing number of employers, Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) is an essential coverage. EPLI policies cover a wide range of employment claims that are not covered by other insurance. While the coverage provides an employer with protection, the skill and experience of the defense counsel can be critical. We routinely defend clients who have purchased EPLI. At times we are engaged directly by the carrier and at other times at the request of the client. However, some carriers will not honor client requests. It is therefore important to consider your defense counsel at the time the insurance is purchased, and insist on the ability to select the defense counsel. If you have any questions about the value of EPLI or the best place to purchase it, please contact us.