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

Publication

Supreme Court Rules That Employees Can Waive Class Action Rights Through Arbitration Agreements

On May 21, 2018, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis that arbitration agreements containing class action waivers are enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act. 584 U.S. ___ (Dkts. 16-285, 16-300,...

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News

Farella Braun + Martel Wins Benchmark Litigation 2019 San Francisco Firm of the Year Award

SAN FRANCISCO, March 15, 2019: Farella Braun + Martel announces it has been named “San Francisco Firm of the Year” by Benchmark Litigation . Farella Partner Douglas Young accepted the award on behalf of...

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Publication

California Court Finds Shift Call-Ins May Trigger Reporting Time Pay

A California court has held that employees required to call their employers before a shift to determine whether they are assigned to work may be entitled to reporting time pay on days when they...

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Publication

California Supreme Court Declines to Apply Federal Excuse for Short Unrecorded Work Periods

By Doug Dexter , Holly Sutton , James Baker, and Brookes Degen In Troester v. Starbucks , a unanimous California Supreme Court held that California labor statutes and wage orders do not incorporate federal de...

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Publication

New California Employment Laws Will Require Significant Changes in 2019

California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed into law several bills that will have significant impact on employers’ workplace obligations. Effective January 1, 2019, the new laws will restrict nondisclosure agreements and certain settlement agreements covering...

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Publication

California to Implement Broad New National Origin Discrimination Protections

The California Fair Employment and Housing Council has published new regulations that increase protections from national origin discrimination, including expanding the definition of “national origin.” The regulations will take effect July 1, 2018. The regulations...

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Publication

California Supreme Court Clarifies Background Check Laws in California

Employers which use background checks in their hiring process without obtaining written authorization may wish to review their practices.  The California Supreme Court has rejected an argument that employers could not reconcile the state’s...

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