Litigation and Defense of Claims
We defend companies and individuals against claims filed by employees for wrongful termination, harassment, discrimination, breach of contract, retaliation, whistle-blowers, failure to pay wages, defamation, failure to accommodate disability rights. Our services include defending cases filed in state or federal court, through private or binding arbitration, and responding to pre-litigation letters from employee counsel .
Advice and Counseling on Personnel Matters as They Arise
We are available every day to assist and counsel clients in managing the variety of issues that arise in the employment relationship, such as performance management and discipline; termination counseling; responding to requests for accommodation of disability; responding to leave of absence requests; resolving conflicts that arise between co-workers or between supervisors and subordinate employees.
We zealously represent clients in mediations, sometimes before a civil complaint has been filed and other times after the litigation is well under way. Although mediation has become routine in employment litigation matters, we will not agree to participate unless we truly believe it is in our client’s best interest to consider a reasonable settlement at that particular time in the case, We prepare for mediations as we would prepare for an arbitration, armed with evidence , documents, and testimony or declarations to convince plaintiff to abandon the case.
Unfair Competition and Trade Secret Protection
We defend or prosecute claims for unfair competition in order to protect the trade secrets and business advantages of our clients. This includes filing and defending against temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions. We provide tailored confidentiality and trade secret agreements for clients to distribute to its workforce.
We work with clients to develop all manner of personnel policies and practices that are suitable to the size and the culture of an organization. This includes employee handbooks, initial hire paperwork, performance management documentation, performance review documentation, leave of absence policies, wage and payroll compliance reviews.
Compliance Review and Self-Audit
The employment relationship is regulated by the federal and all fifty state governments. Accordingly, we conduct self-audits with our clients to review pay and personnel practices in order to maximize compliance with the law and minimize exposure in a government audit and/or private litigation. This includes full review of wage payment practices, employee classification and exempt or non-exempt, independent contractor status, leave of absence policies, background check practices, hiring procedures.
Employee Complaints to Management
In the event of an employee complains of harassment, discrimination or retaliation, you have a legal obligation to conduct a prompt and thorough investigation. We guide clients in complying with this obligation and in taking appropriate corrective action, if necessary. Prompt and thorough investigation is essential to managing litigation risk and downstream liability.
When clients do not have the experience of sophistication to conduct an internal investigation of a sensitive workplace complaint, or when the complaint concerns Human Resources or a high ranking officer of the company, we will personally conduct an investigation for the client, prepare a report outlining our findings and, if litigation is ultimately initiated, serve as an expert witness at trial. Typically, we do these independent investigations for clients of other law yers and law firms who do not want to have their familiar employment law counsel conflicted out of representation in the event a civil complaint is filed.
Government Investigations, Audits and Charges of Discrimination
We represent clients in responding to complaints and audits by the numerous state and federal agencies which enforce laws governing the employment relationship. This includes response to charges of discrimination from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; audits and investigations by the federal Department of Labor or the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement; audits by the Employment Development Department with regard to independent contractor status.
Corporate Reorganization and Reductions in Force
We assist clients in conducting reorganizations and staff reductions in a manner that minimizes claim risk by departing employees. This includes legal review of lay-off decisions, counseling on and preparation of severance packages, WARN Act review.
We provide advice and analysis in the “due diligence” phase of corporate transactions. We work with buyers to review the personnel compliance picture, outstanding claims and potential liabilities of the selling company. We also work with selling companies to review and evaluate employment liability issues in advance of entering into negotiations for sale.
Executive Contracts and “Work Outs”
We can review or draft executive employment agreements for our client. Alternatively, we can assist clients in extricating from executive contracts when necessary to do so before expiration of the term.