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 clients navigate the challenging labor and employment law landscape with ease.
With every client and in every case, we 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. When workplace issues progress to litigation, our employment litigation attorneys are prepared to provide vigorous, yet cost-effective representation to our clients.
We serve as outside human resources and employment counsel to a number of Bay Area businesses, giving us the insight that many firms just don’t have into the day-to-day challenges of corporate life. It also gives us the experience we need to advise our clients on all aspects of employment law 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 counseling regarding wage and hour compliance.
Our attorneys also advise on employment matters, including:
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
Our employment 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.
We 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 Attorneys General Act
Fraud and breach of fiduciary duty
Wrongful termination and other employment disputes
Violations of FMLA and CFRA leave requirements
Because we work with both unionized and non-unionized workforces, our attorneys advise and represent clients on federal and state labor law. We represent clients when confronted with a union’s organizational campaign, at the bargaining table to negotiate collective bargaining agreements (CBA), in labor arbitrations to resolve workplace grievances, and in unfair labor practice charges before administrative agencies as well as federal and state court. We have advised clients on compliance through all phases of labor organizing, which include the following:
Responses to union organizing campaigns, including card solicitations, access to property, and communications to employees
Representation and (de)certification elections
Negotiating initial, renewing, and expired CBAs
Bargaining-unit petitions regarding accretion and clarification
Strike, lockout, picketing, and shutdown planning
Successorship and multi-employer unfunded liability issues in connection with business transfers
Labor-relations strategy, as well as permissible workplace policies, practices, and rules
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-upon 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.