Employment

California is known for having some of the nation’s most complex employment and labor laws, laws that require a team that is both experienced and nimble.

Coblentz represents private and public companies, working as skillfully with small high-tech start-ups as we do with Fortune 500s and established nonprofits. Our employment attorneys are known for helping their clients navigate the challenging employment law landscape with ease.

Labor and Employment Advice

We serve as outside human resources and labor counsel to a number of Bay Area businesses, giving us insight into the day-to-day challenges of corporate life that many firms just don’t have. It also gives us the experience we need to advise our clients on all aspects of employment law, both with unionized and non-unionized workforces. Our deep experience includes audits of employment policies, procedures, and practices; sexual harassment and anti-discrimination training of human resource personnel, managers, and supervisors; negotiation and drafting of individual employment contracts and collective bargaining agreements; and counseling regarding wage and hour compliance.

Our attorneys also advise on employment matters, including:

  • High-risk terminations
  • Reductions-in-force
  • Leave and disability accommodations issues
  • EEOC and DFEH inquiries
  • Human resources investigations
  • Third-party staffing and third-party contractor arrangements
  • Theft of trade secrets and other confidential business information
  • Non-compete and other contract-based claims

With every client and in every case, our attorneys take a proactive approach to counseling and compliance matters, providing advice that is strategic, savvy, and specific to our clients’ needs with a focus on litigation avoidance whenever possible.

Internal Investigations and Monitorships

We are often engaged by our clients to perform sensitive, internal investigations typically involving serious allegations concerning key personnel. In these investigations, we are asked to organize a credible response to an often urgent situation in what can be a trying time in the life of the company. We thoroughly examine all the contested circumstances and provide an objective assessment of the facts so important employment decisions can be made based on the highest quality investigative process and product.

We are also regularly selected by parties to complex or class action employment cases – typically national in scope – to serve as Monitors of Consent Decrees that resolve those cases, or as Special Masters to resolve disputes arising under those Decrees. These cases involve wide-ranging injunctive, remedial, and corrective relief that seeks to re-engineer the employment systems that are alleged to have led to the underlying cases. We have handled multiple cases brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or by private class action plaintiffs’ firms against national companies. These assignments require active involvement with both parties to ensure that the agreed up transformational efforts are working and the Decree is being honored in the execution of those commitments. These assignments can also involve providing consulting services on how to design effective Human Resources functions, such as investigations, complaint analysis, and training methodologies.

Employment Litigation

When workplace issues progress to litigation, Coblentz’s litigators are prepared to provide vigorous, yet cost-effective representation to our clients. Our litigators have defended virtually every kind of employment case, including class actions, collective actions, and public enforcement proceedings brought in every kind of forum, including:

  • Wage and hour class actions and FLSA collective actions arising from alleged “misclassification,” overtime violations, and minimum wage violations
  • Denial of meal and rest breaks
  • Paystub and recordkeeping violations
  • “Off the clock” work requirements
  • Improper deductions from paychecks
  • Sex, race, age, disability, pregnancy, and national origin discrimination
  • Sexual and racial harassment
  • Whistleblowing and retaliation
  • Invasion of privacy
  • Breach of express or implied contracts
  • Theft of trade secrets
  • Claims for statutory penalties under the Labor Code Private Attorney
  • General Act
  • Fraud and breach of fiduciary duty
  • Wrongful termination and other employment disputes
  • Violations of FMLA and CFRA leave requirements

Our litigators have assisted firm clients in putting a stop to, or recovering damages for, a wide range of improper activities regarding employee misconduct, including misuse of company property, theft of trade secrets, unfair competition, workplace violence and stalking, trade libel, breach of fiduciary duty, violations of nondisclosure agreements, and embezzlement.