Experience

Private Attorney Generals Act Litigation

Represented several automobile dealerships in litigation under California’s Private Attorneys General Act alleging non-compliant break policies and unpaid wages; obtained favorable settlement pre-discovery.

Topete v. Treasury Wines

Defended Treasury Wine Estates Americas Company in a putative class action by all current and former non-exempt employees who worked for in California in 2011 through 2016. Plaintiffs’ alleged Treasury failed to include all non-discretionary incentive pay in the regular rate of pay for overtime purposes; failed to provide second meal periods to its non-exempt employees on shifts over 10 hours; implemented an uneven time-rounding practice; and failed to maintain and issue accurate payroll records. Civil penalties were sought under the Private Attorneys General Act. Without formal discovery, we reached an early mediated resolution of all claims minimizing litigation costs for our client.

California's Equal Pay Act

Represented global technology retailer in a putative class action alleging pay disparities under California’s Equal Pay Act and Private Attorneys General Act; obtained favorable settlement pre-discovery.

Discrimination-based Failure to Hire Litigation

Obtained summary judgment for global e-retail and technology company in civil litigation alleging failure to hire based on race, national origin, age, and religious discrimination.

Private Attorney Generals Act Litigation

Represented global e-retail and technology company in litigation under California’s Private Attorneys General Act alleging non-compliant break policies and unpaid wages; obtained favorable settlement after limited defense discovery.

Class Action Defense: Classification Case

In defending a class action alleging that the nation’s largest PC manufacturer had misclassified customer service engineers as exempt, we resolved the case without class certification or notice.

Class Action Defense; Classification Case

In defending a federal class action, we obtained summary adjudication that a telephonic seller of precious metals was a "retail establishment" qualifying salespeople for the "commissioned" exemption under the FLSA.

Employee Transitions; Restrictive Covenants

In a New York Stock Exchange arbitration involving the enforcement of a non-competition clause, we obtained a $3.4 million award on behalf of three former partners of an investment bank. In addition, the arbitrators took the extraordinary step of granting our request for attorneys' fees, although there was no attorneys' fees provision in the contract at issue.

Bonner v. SFO Shuttlebus

Defended class action brought by hourly commuter bus drivers alleging failure to pay for compensable time, including pre- and post-trip inspection time, time spent waiting between shifts, medical examination and license maintenance time, and rest break violations. Analyzed bus drivers covering numerous different routes to various clients, including Google, Facebook, and Genentech. Settled claims after taking depositions of class representatives.

Class Action Defense; Hourly Worker Cases

For a restaurant service business, we obtained decertification of an overtime class action upon being associated into the litigation.

Class Action Defense; Hourly Worker Cases

On behalf of a major Bay Area company, we successfully negotiated a resolution of a potential class action wage and hour claim prior to the filing of any formal lawsuit. This was accomplished without paying any settlement amount.

Class Action Defense; Race Discrimination

For a large beverage distributor, we obtained dismissal of race discrimination class action allegations brought on behalf of delivery drivers.

Correa v. Sabah International

Defended class action involving field service technicians who were required to drive company vehicles. The main claim centered on the compensability of time spent traveling from home to the various work sites (i.e. whether the technicians were “subject to the control” of Sabah during that commute). Ancillary claims include compensation for the completion of work reports, cell phone calls, and maintaining the company vehicle. All claims were settled at mediation, court approval is pending.

Individual Actions; Wrongful Termination/ Retaliation

We defended the president of an S&L against a lawsuit by the former general counsel, who claimed that he had been wrongfully terminated as a result of advising management of illegal lending practices.

Individual Actions; Discrimination & Employee Transitions; Unfair Competition

We defended and settled the sexual harassment and age discrimination claims of a former faculty member at a Bay Area private school. Because the alleged harassment led in part to the break-up of the school, we also concurrently resolved complex unfair competition claims.

Individual Actions; Discrimination & Wrongful Termination/ Retaliation

Our defense papers prompted a plaintiff's counsel to withdraw (and likewise caused the Department of Fair Employment and Housing to drop its investigation) regarding claims of an employee who had complained about alleged sexual harassment and was terminated just a few weeks later.

Individual Actions; Discrimination (Age)

On behalf of a national beverage company, we obtained summary judgment against an entire complaint alleging termination based upon age discrimination and retaliation.

Individual Actions; Discrimination (Gender)

We successfully represented a software company against pregnancy discrimination, sexual harassment, and wage claims brought by a former executive, and obtained an arbitration ruling that not only completely rejected the executive's claims, but also awarded our client damages for the executive's financial fraud while employed at the company.

Individual Actions; Discrimination (Gender)

On behalf of a national furniture manufacturer, we obtained summary judgment against pregnancy discrimination claims.

Individual Actions; Discrimination (Harassment Allegations)

For an international hotel chain, we recently settled an emotionally charged race/religion/ethnicity harassment and discrimination case before any depositions were taken. The settlement was funded with a very substantial contribution from the defendant's insurance carrier.

Individual Actions; Discrimination (Harassment; Age)

On behalf of a major California food and beverage producer, we defended and successfully mediated parallel sexual harassment and age discrimination claims brought by two former employees (the complaining party and her alleged harasser).

Manager Training; Environment (Harassment)

Before the filing of any formal complaint or adverse publicity, we successfully mediated explosive allegations of sexual harassment brought by an employee against a high-ranking corporate vice president.

Ortega v. Nestle Waters

Represented defendant Nestle Waters in a putative state-wide class action by delivery drivers and warehouse employees alleging wage and hour violations, wage statement defects, and failures to reimburse business related expenses. The parties reached a mediated settlement of all claims.

Ortiz v. Ghirardelli

Defended a wage and hour class action brought by hourly restaurant and retail employees for all California locations. The complaint included meal and rest break violations, unpaid overtime, non-compliant wage statements, unreimbursed business expenses, and PAGA claims. We resolved all claims prior to class certification through mediation, and the court approved the settlement.

Firm Highlights

Publication

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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Publication

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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Publication

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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Publication

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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News

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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Publication

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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Publication

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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Publication

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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Publication

Weed at Work: Understanding Legalized Marijuana in the Office

Click here  for the audio recording of the webinar "Weed at Work: Understanding Legalized Marijuana in the Office."

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Publication

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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