Employers of all sizes face personnel challenges, daily. Taking the right steps to encourage employee productivity is essential, as is keeping up with dozens of employment laws and city ordinances that are added each year. When you consider the number of hours—and dollars—consumed in managing disgruntled or difficult employees, threats of lawsuits, or actual lawsuits, the stakes are high for all employers.

For the most complex organizations that rely on workforces of thousands, as well as for the smaller, yet highly successful enterprises that operate with far fewer, Farella’s employment law capabilities are up to any task. We offer world-class experience, personal attention, and pragmatic representation in contentious matters, and provide day-to-day counseling and management training to avoid them. Our emphasis is always on finding expedient resolutions that strike a balance between business goals, costs, and reputational risks.

Employment Litigation

From the exceptional to the routine, our team can be trusted to guide employer decisions in addressing potential, pending, or in-progress litigation—when to fight or when to settle. Our experience in handling every type of employment law case allows us to offer clients the closest estimate of costs and outcomes. We help employers carefully weigh the benefits and drawbacks of multiple options to achieve minimum disruption and maximum impact.

A critical skill we possess is the ability to get to the bottom line as quickly as possible—to get the matter off of everyone’s plate. We work with the “other side” to understand motivations and alleged facts in a non-threatening manner, yet we are always ready to communicate our ability to take a case all the way through to court, if necessary.

We have successfully represented employers before arbitrators, juries, administrative agencies, and appellate courts on issues such as wage compliance, disability accommodation, and leaves of absence. We defend charges of sexual harassment, discrimination, and “whistleblower” retaliation. Our experience includes union relations, trade secret protection, unfair competition, non-compete/solicitation agreements, and the federal and state WARN Acts and have represented national and multinational corporations in federal and state class actions arising under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the California Labor Code, and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.

Pre-emptive Litigation Counseling

Often our varied clients—technology corporations, credit card and e-commerce companies, professional services providers, growers, producers, manufacturers, and more—require pre-emptive counseling when launching new initiatives. They rely on our litigators to walk them through any potential employment law risks should actions be challenged in federal, state, or local jurisdictions. In many cases, we are called upon to help executives negotiate with difficult people before issues rise to a level that merits litigation. When needed, our full service team can advise in related areas of corporate transactions, intellectual property, tax, and insurance matters.

Business Counseling and Training

Many companies engage us for general business counsel in the employment law area, where we employ a unique approach. Our employment law counselors go beyond reiterating what the law insists; we explain the parallel between the legal impetus and what society and good management practices dictate. We aim to help our clients get the most out of their people and how to maintain an exemplary reputation for a positive working environment that protects their brand in the hiring marketplace.

Because our lawyers have seen nearly every way that things can go wrong in the workplace, we can train managers on best practices that help people succeed. We give them the knowledge and tools they need to foster a healthy workforce. Among the many counseling and training programs we offer are:

  • Effective and lawful hiring processes, including interviews and background checks
  • Preparation and implementation of personnel manuals and policies
  • Training of both management and non-management employees concerning harassment, performance management, hiring, diversity, disability accommodation, wage & hour compliance, and leaves of absence
  • Overtime classification, breaks, hours worked, wage payment, and other compliance with California and federal wage and hour laws
  • Labor union relations, including collective bargaining agreement negotiations
  • Protection of trade secrets as employees depart, and how to avoid litigation when hiring employees from competitors
  • Investigation and remedy of illegal harassment allegations
  • Legal obligations to grant leaves of absence and otherwise accommodate disabilities, balanced against the employer's ability to regulate attendance and performance
  • Proper selection and processing of workforce reductions
  • Discipline, discharge, and severance
  • Investigations of workplace violence and appropriate protective measures
  • Employee privacy protections
  • Insurance coverage for various employment-related disputes

Firm Highlights


Use Caution When Laying off Employees Without a Return to Work Date

Employers who have laid off workers in recent weeks due to the shelter-in-place orders should be aware of little-known requirements regarding final paychecks.  Even if employees are being furloughed with the expectation of returning to...

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Coronavirus and the Workplace: Key Legal Updates for Employers

With the spread of COVID-19 and the rapidly evolving federal, state, and local government response, it can be difficult for employers to keep up with their rights and obligations. This week, California’s Governor Gavin...

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Coronavirus: Can tech allay the dangers of the Bay Area office of the future?

Rebecca Stephens spoke to the San Francisco Chronicle about legal considerations that could potentially hinder a return to physical work as much as technological ones. Link to the article: https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/Coronavirus-Can-tech-allay-the-dangers-of-the-15246378.php

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Families First Coronavirus Response Act - Posting Requirement for Employers

The recently enacted Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) requires private employers with fewer than 500 employees to post a notice by April 1 summarizing the benefits available to employees under the FFCRA. For employers...

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7 Tips for Creating a COVID-19 Essential Business Travel Policy

As states are relaxing COVID-19-related restrictions, employers should remain cautious about business travel. California’s public health orders still limit travel to an “urgent matter” or that which is “essential to your permitted work.” Given...

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Coronavirus and the Workplace: Is Your Business Prepared?

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) implicates numerous legal obligations for employers, including leave, medical privacy, and discrimination. Employers should prepare to implement policies that strike a balance between ensuring safety and fostering...

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Coronavirus and Employee Privacy Laws: What Employers Should Know

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) presents challenging medical privacy issues for employers. Employers must observe their employees’ continued legal right to privacy—including under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), HIPAA, and/or relevant...

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Employment Law Updates for Nonprofits in the New Normal (Webinar)

Join Rebecca Stephens and Jaya Bajaj in the discussion on Employment Law Updates for Nonprofits in the New Normal. Nonprofit organizations are subject to both state and federal employment laws and regulations. The past few...

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Unlimited Vacation Policies Present Potential Pitfalls for California Employers

As unlimited vacation policies increase in popularity, California employers must be careful to avoid legal pitfalls in drafting and implementation. In the first California appellate decision to address unlimited vacation policies, the court held that...

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Coronavirus and the Workplace: Guidance for Employers Resuming Operations

As states and localities begin to relax shelter-in-place requirements and allow businesses to reopen, the coronavirus pandemic presents new challenges for employers. In addition to operational and logistical questions surrounding reopening, employers must navigate...

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