Employment

The Employment lawyers at AlvaradoSmith help their clients resolve workplace issues, often before they occur. Our holistic approach – preemptively guiding management to anticipate and avoid most disputes, quickly assessing situations and identifying options when problems do arise, and closely collaborating with in-house counsel, executives, and managers to ensure that deadlines are met and distractions minimized – ensures efficient and cost-effective management of all employment matters.

From small business to public companies, to municipalities and more, our clients rely on the broad experience of our lawyers to resolve complex and challenging workplace disputes. In one matter, we were brought in a mere six weeks before a scheduled trial date to defend a public utility client against claims of disability discrimination and failure to reasonably accommodate an employee who sought more than $1 million in damages. After a three-week jury trial, the court granted a rare nonsuit motion in favor of our client, dismissing plaintiff’s entire case.

Employment Litigation

Our employment lawyers have helped clients resolve wage and hour class action litigation, accommodation and leave issues, trade secret, employee loyalty issues, and claims stemming from internal grievances, discipline issues and failure to promote. We have defended lawsuits alleging race, gender, disability, and age discrimination, wrongful termination, sexual harassment, whistleblower claims, Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) claims, breach of contract, and tort claims that include defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. We regularly obtain temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions to stop former employees from misappropriating confidential customer information and other trade secrets belonging to their previous employers.

And we have litigated before all the major state and federal administrative agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the United States Department of Labor, the California Department of Fair Employment & Housing, the California Employment Development Department, California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA), and the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.

Prevention and Compliance

In addition, our employment attorneys regularly work with clients to manage and avoid risks before they arise.  We counsel employers regarding terminations, mass layoffs, and plant closings, disciplinary matters, harassment and discrimination complaints, and legal compliance with the many federal, state, and local laws and regulations which affect the employment relationship.  We draft employment agreements, complex compensation plans, severance agreements, employee handbooks, and other employment policies.  To ensure the proper implementation of these strategies, we conduct management training sessions, provide ongoing guidance on best practices and conducting effective workplace investigations, and the like.

Cultural Compentency

Notably, our diverse team of lawyers has a deep appreciation for cultural competence issues in the workplace, often the true genesis of employment law claims. We believe that the different perspectives of our attorneys help our clients better understand the motivation behind any particular claim, and give them the perspective and insight to develop solutions to the issue at hand while modifying practices and procedures to prevent similar issues from recurring.

Representative work includes:

  • Represented the defendant in a lawsuit alleging misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of a non-solicitation agreement, as well as our client’s crossclaim for defamation. The eight-day trial and two days of deliberation ended in a defense verdict on all claims in the original complaint, and a $200,000 verdict for our client on their crossclaim.
  • Successful defense of a public utility in a disability discrimination and retaliation case by a former employee seeking more than $1 million in compensatory and punitive damages. We were brought into the lawsuit only six weeks before the jury trial was originally scheduled. After a three-week trial, the plaintiff rested her case and we moved successfully for a non-suit to dismiss the claim based on the lack of evidence presented.
  • Representation of a defendant in an action alleging sexual harassment and wrongful termination based on retaliation for filing a harassment claim. The claim was for $1 million in damages. After a four day trial and two days of deliberation, our lawyers obtained a defense verdict on the harassment claim and only a $25,000 verdict on the retaliation claim.
  • Defended an employer accused of failing to protect an employee from workplace violence by a co-worker. The dispute was resolved through arbitration, and resulted in the exoneration of our client.
  • Defended employer in a claim filed by six employees who contended they were not paid “prevailing wages” on their construction job. Because the employees were paid on a piece-rate basis, the employer kept no time records. We used the employer’s piece-rate daily reports to reconstruct hours worked by each employee, and after a 15-day trial, the Court found in favor of our client for three of the employees and awarded a mere 1% of the claimed damages to the remaining three plaintiffs.
  • Defense of a claim alleging age and disability discrimination, including failure to accommodate and failure to engage in the interactive process, filed by an employee of a local casino, seeking seven figures in damages. The matter proceeded to a full five-day arbitration hearing and resulted in an award for the defense.
  • Successful defense and dismissal of a federal court action involving a C-suite executive brought against a Mexican based multi-national dietary supplement company alleging breach of contract over a proposed employment agreement. The cross-border employment litigation was dismissed by a federal court and upheld by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Our Employment practice includes:

  • Employment Litigation
  • Employment Practices Counseling
  • Wage and Hour Litigation
  • Employment Discrimination
  • Retaliation
  • Sexual/Race Harassment
  • Wrongful Termination
  • Whistleblower Cases
  • Unfair Competition
  • Trade Secret Misappropriation
  • Employee Manuals
  • Employment Business Agreements
  • Wage and Hour Issues