Employer Defense and Counselling
Employer Defense Attorneys
Once a legal action is filed against your company, the best course of action for employers is to retain counsel to evaluate the claims being brought against the company. Because employment law can deal with both Federal and California Law, BWA Law Group APC has experienced lawyers to help determine, evaluate, and defend you against any employment law matter. This is crucial in protecting the company’s assets and its bottom line. Many times, these claims against the employer can resolved before costly litigation.
If you are an employer being sued by one of your employees, contact BWA Law Group APC for a free consultation on the claims being brought against your company.
Even if your company is not being sued currently, many times the best defense against a lawsuit is having prior knowledge of the laws and implementing best practices into your company before the lawsuit is brought. The first step is asking for help. BWA Law Group APC can guide you, a California Employer, through the laws that may put your company at risk. Below are the most common lawsuits against companies that can be mitigated with proper policies and procedures implemented into your company prior to being sued.
Sexual harassment claims can damage the reputation and financial resources of your company even if the claim is untrue. Federal and California law prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace. Claims of sexual harassment can arise from offering employment perks in exchange for sexual favors, inappropriate gestures, pictures, or other actions, or inappropriate jokes or comments made about one’s body or physical appearance. The determination of whether that lawsuit against your company will succeed can depend on:
- Your company’s sexual harassment policy;
- Employee protocol availability or whether the protocols were followed when reporting the harassment;
- The remedial measures that were taken by the company;
- Employer actions.
These are only some of the issues that can arise in a sexual harassment claim. If the claim successfully finds that you violated Federal or California Law, your company could face serious financial and reputational harm.
Wage and Hour Lawsuits
Lawsuits filed under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and/or California Labor Code usually involve claims such as failure to pay overtime or minimum wage and improper employee exemption classification. Remember, the fact that an employee is paid on a salary basis does not automatically exempt that employee from coverage.
In California, breaks, waiting time, time-rounding, wage statements, record keeping claims are prevalent. Additionally, California Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) and unfair business act claims under California Business and Professions Code § 17200 are also common in California Wage & Hour lawsuits. Often, Wage & Hour lawsuits assert a “collective” or “representative” action. These cases are filed by a plaintiff individually, and on behalf of all other similarly situated current and former employees. Employees that prevail may recover “liquidated” or double the damages for certain claims under the FLSA.
In response to the flood of Wage & Hour cases, some courts have implemented specialized scheduling orders while Judges may require employees to file a verified summary of time worked and wages allegedly unpaid. Employers may file responses to the employees’ claims and some courts require the parties to attend an in-person settlement conference. Recently, courts have become more inclined to dismiss lawsuits early that contain only conclusory or “bare bones” allegations and do not assert specific facts to support the employees’ claims.
Defending a Wage & Hour Lawsuit
Once you have been served with a Wage and Hour lawsuit, it is vital to identify any an all available defenses to the claim. If the violation exists, it is wise to consider remedying those claims voluntarily when practical. Some of the defenses available in Wage & Hour cases include the statute of limitations, the “good faith defense,” employee exemptions, and certain exclusions, exceptions, and credits.
The best defense against Wage and Hour claims in California is to implement preventative measures. Business owners should conduct periodic audits of their pay practices to identify potential Wage & Hour issues. Employers/owners should train managers and HR on the current law and to keep accurate records of their payroll practices. Employers should treat employees fairly and consistently when it comes to pay practices.
Wage and Hour claims are an evolving and prolific area of the law that is burdensome for employers. The lawyers of BWA Law Group APC always strives to provide our clients current, efficient, and effective strategies for preventing and defending these claims.
Workplace harassment is another type of action that is brought against employers and is illegal under both Federal and California Law. Generally speaking, workplace harassment may include an unwelcome contact that occurs due to one’s race, religion, age, sex, national origin, color, or disability. Workplace harassment claims are complex because everyone’s interpretation of harassment is unique. Allegations of workplace harassment where there are isolated incidents, slights, disagreements, and minor annoyances, are generally not protected. Because of the subjective nature of the law, the courts must use a variety of factors in determining each case. As such, if you are being sued for workplace harassment, contact us today.
California is an at-will employment state. This means that most employer/employee relationships may be terminated at any time for any reason or no reason at all. However, just because the employment in California is at-will by default, that does not mean that the employer/employee relationship cannot be modified. At-will employment can be modified by any of the following:
- Statutory laws that govern governmental employees;
- Union contracts;
- Specific employment contracts;
- Implied employment contracts.
These are only some of the ways at-will employment can be modified. Many times employees often get terminated when disputes arise or due to unsatisfactory work performance or behavior. These employees often file law suits against their previous employer claiming that the employer illegally terminated them. Some employers believe that employees can be hired and fired at a manager’s discretion, since California is an employment-at-will state; however, there are certain instances in which terminating an employee is illegal. If an employee is alleging that he or she was fired in violation of a law that protects certain characteristics such as age, sex, race, or under other employee protections, an employer must defend the action to avoid providing court-ordered relief. For more information on wrongful termination in the workplace, BWA Law Group APC can assist you. Contact us today.
EMPLOYMENT CLAIM DEFENSE LAWYERS SERVING SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
BWA Law Group APC is a full service defense firm serving Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, Riverside, and San Bernardino. If you need assistance defending an employment claim in Southern California, contact us today.