Employment

California employers face a higher risk of litigation than employers in almost any other state in the nation.  We have the experience necessary to ensure they are still in business at the end of a lawsuit.

From the agency charge stage through jury trial, our employment practices team provides efficient, cost-effective, and skilled representation to employers of all sizes and their employees.  We can accurately assess value of an early settlement or the risk of going through trial because we have handled thousands of cases for all types of  employers including public entities, schools, universities, individually-owned businesses, and large companies.

Our record on dispositive motions and defense verdicts in trials showcases our expertise.  If a matter is more suited to early resolution, we know how to make the best possible case for achieving an outcome that satisfies both sides.

We handle a wide variety of employment litigation:

  • Harassment and discrimination
  • Retaliation
  • Whistleblowers
  • Failure to accommodate/failure to engage in the interactive process
  • CFRA/FMLA claims
  • Constructive termination
  • Wrongful termination
  • Defamation
  • Civil rights violations
  • Constitutional claims
  • Wage and hour issues
  • Title IX claims

We also provide employers with preventative counseling, representation at administrative hearing, and advice on responding to charges filed with the Department of Fair Employment & Housing and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Successfully obtained an early dismissal of an employment action filed against Sutter County after the Court sustained a Demurrer with prejudice on grounds that Plaintiffs’ case was barred by the doctrine of judicial estoppel.  The Court agreed that plaintiff could not pursue the action based on allegations that contradicted an earlier lawsuit.

Obtained summary judgment on behalf of the County of Colusa in an employment discrimination and retaliation case brought under the Fair Employment & Housing Act and the ADA. The plaintiff was terminated by the County for rude and unprofessional behavior after 16 years of employment. She sued the County claiming that her behavior was a symptom of a brain injury she sustained several years prior to her employment with the County. In granting summary judgment, the federal court held that the plaintiff had not established that she had a qualified disability and that, even if she did, the County did not have knowledge of the alleged disability when it made the decision to terminate her employment.

Firm obtained a defense verdict for the County of Nevada in a retaliation case.  Plaintiffs, husband and wife, sued the Sheriff’s Department for violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act. The wife claimed she was terminated after she made a complaint of sexual harassment.  The husband claimed the department retaliated against him by creating intolerable working conditions forcing him to quit.  The Jury rejected both claims, finding that County neither violated any protected conduct engaged in by the plaintiffs nor acted inappropriately in the decisions and actions it took.

Shareholder Derek Haynes successfully defended a local county in the Third District Court of Appeal in a retaliation case under the Fair Employment and Housing Act. The Court of Appeal ultimately affirmed the trial court’s granting of Summary Judgment on a novel issue relating to exhaustion of administrative remedies. Specifically, the Court found that Plaintiff failed to adequately exhaust his remedies with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) because his DFEH charge did not specifically identify the protected activity that purportedly motivated the retaliatory actions.

Defense verdict obtained in jury trial on behalf of local public utility. A former Sacramento Municipal Utility District employee resigned after thirty years of employment and sued for race discrimination, race harassment and retaliation.  During trial, SMUD presented evidence that Plaintiff actually resigned because it helped her in bankruptcy.  Plaintiff claimed that she was forced her to resign because of a hostile work environment and asked the jury for one million dollars in economic damages and an unspecified amount for emotional distress. The jury deliberated for less than two hours and returned with a defense verdict on all claims.

New FEHA Statutes Mean More Cases Will Go To Trial

SB 820 & SB 1300 On September 30th, Governor Brown approved several bills related to workplace harassment, gender discrimination, and retaliation claims inspired by the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. These bills impact California employers in pre-litigation …

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Update for California Employers

New Labor Code § 432.3 Effective January 1, 2018, a new California law prohibits all employers—both private and public—from relying on a job applicant’s salary history in determining whether to offer employment and what salary to …

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New 2016 Employment Laws

New and Updated Employment Laws in 2016 For most of us, ringing in a new year means party hats, noisemakers, and lists of resolutions that are more than likely doomed to failure. For California employers, the …

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Technology in the Courtroom – Is it a Recoverable Cost at Trial?

by: David A. Melton and Lindsay A. Goulding The use of technology is so prevalent today that it is difficult to imagine an event that is “technology-free”—including a trial. Attorneys use technology to showcase timelines, impeaching …

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Recent Supreme Court Decisions Extend Liability for Discrimination Suits

by: Michael Pott and David Burkett Suits Against Employees of Educational Institutions On January 21, 2009, the United States Supreme Court created an avenue for employees of educational institutions to be sued as individuals for sex …

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