It is a challenge to remain abreast of the latest changes in California employment law while trying to run your business.
The employment law attorneys at Bowles & Verna LLP help businesses of all sizes in all industries comply with California and federal employment laws and regulations.
Should you hire a lawyer to protect your business?
If you do have employee issues or are sued by current or former employees, our attorneys can assist you in defending and resolving the claims.
Our firm offers these and other services to employers and businesses:
- Policy manuals
- Employee handbooks
- Employment contracts
- Severance agreements
- Representation for labor board hearings
- Defense for employee lawsuits
- Counsel on best practices for employers
- Employee hiring and termination issues
- Consultant and independent contractor relationships
Best Practices: Helping You Avoid Employee Conflicts
At Bowles & Verna, LLP, our labor and employment law team offers advice and counsel for California employers, including a list of best practices. By adopting these practices, your company can dramatically reduce the potential for employee lawsuits.
Because we work for employees as well as employers, we bring a unique perspective that provides an advantage for claims resolution. We can protect you from legal disputes and provide representation, if needed.
Some of the most critical issues facing employers today are:
- Uniform policies and procedures — Having these set in place and insisting that they be used can potentially reduce the legitimacy of many discrimination and unfair treatment claims.
- Employee classification — Make sure that every position in your organization complies with state and federal employee classifications.
- Wage and hour laws — Many companies get into trouble here, asking employees to work off the clock or not keeping comprehensive records. Know how wage and hour laws affect your company.
- Wrongful termination — Employers must have legitimate reasons for firing an employee or a lawsuit may result. Employee reviews and manager complaints must be correctly filed and genuine to defend against potential grievances.
- Discrimination — Federal and state laws prohibit discrimination against employees in a wide variety of ways, including race, gender, religion, age and disability. Ensure that your company does not inadvertently violate these protections.
- Workers' rights — Employees have many rights in the workplace. Make sure you know what these are and that you are complying with them.
- Private Attorney General Act of 2004 (PAGA) — This gives private citizens the right to sue employers if the attorney general opts not to after the Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) has been informed of a violation.
- Sexual harassment — Any incident perceived as sexual harassment, between a manager and a subordinate or between co-workers, can become a major legal issue.
- Whistleblower claims — Employees are allowed to report their company for illegal activities. This is a protected action, and retaliation could result in severe consequences.
- Employer retaliation — This is a very subjective issue. Proper documentation and legitimate policies are required to avoid potential conflicts.
Employers have rights too. Our lawyers can help you understand your rights and protect your business against potential employee conflicts.
Employee Hiring and Termination
It is easy for employees and potential employees to be upset about hiring and firing policies at California businesses. Some even go so far as to bring hiring discrimination or wrongful termination lawsuits against employers. While employees have significant rights under state and federal law, employers have rights too. An experienced employee hiring and termination lawyer can help you understand your company's rights and responsibilities regarding employee hiring and termination.
At Bowles & Verna LLP, our labor and employment attorney team has handled many termination disputes and can assist you in resolving yours. We have extensive experience as trial lawyers and know that sometimes the most effective strategy is a proactive approach to resolving conflicts before they turn into legal disputes. Once we resolve your issues, we can work together to bring best practices into your organization to prevent the same problems from arising again.
Putting the Correct Policies in Place
Many companies find themselves facing an employment lawsuit because they did not lay out their policies and procedures in a clear and comprehensive manner. Also, employers forget that they need to have an ongoing communication with their employees regarding the employees' duties and responsibilities. Such communication can prevent hiring and termination disputes and allow both the employer and employee to feel confident in their position with the organization.
Our attorneys can work with you to put hiring, retention and termination policies in place that align with your company's current and long-term goals, as well as with state and federal regulations. We can help you create employee contracts and severance agreements, as well as other necessary documentation. Our goal is to provide you with the legal protections that allow you to focus on growing your business.
Employment Litigation: Defense for When an Employee Files a Claim
At some point, an employee or group of employees may be dissatisfied with a decision made regarding their employment. This may result in a lawsuit being filed against your company. Employees have many protected rights under California and federal law. Employers also have rights. Our employment litigation attorney will help you protect those rights.
The law firm of Bowles & Verna LLP provides a comprehensive and effective defense for large and small employers faced with employment-related lawsuits. Our experienced trial lawyers provide our clients with a thorough analysis of the claims, the potential risks, and the most effective defense strategy.
We represent clients before state and federal trial and appellate courts and state and federal regulatory agencies in employer defense cases involving:
- Wrongful discharge and termination claims
- Benefits litigation
- Wage and hour issues — including claims for unpaid commissions, vacation pay and severance pay
- Contract and labor disputes
- Unfair competition and trade secrets
- Employment discrimination
- Sexual harassment
Defense Before, During and After a Claim
We can help you put policies in place that can potentially lessen or eliminate the harm an employee lawsuit can cause before problems arise. These can include having an employee handbook and maintaining compliance with all state and federal employment laws. We can also help you revise current policies that may no longer stand up to legal scrutiny.
If an employee files a complaint against your company, our trial lawyers will evaluate the legitimacy of the claim and create a defense strategy that best aligns with your company's current and future goals. We have been successful in getting claims dismissed or moved for summary judgment as well as bringing cases to trial and verdict. Whenever possible, we use alternate methods such as negotiation or arbitration to minimize the financial and overall impact on your business.
Strong Legal Representation On Your Side
As a trial law firm with experience on both sides of many issues, we understand the mindset of our opposition and the considerations it needs to make. We have had considerable success in getting claims dismissed or moved for summary judgment. We have also brought cases to successful defense verdicts and settled cases for amounts acceptable to our clients.
Our lawyers evaluate your case in the context of your overall business goals and how particular outcomes may affect your overall employment picture. Whether it is an issue of setting policy or defending against employee accusations, they work to achieve the outcome that best meets your business's current and future goals.
Call Our Office In Walnut Creek To Schedule Your Consultation
Please contact at (925) 935-3300 for a legal consultation to discuss your employment law issue.