Few employment law attorneys have a working knowledge of traditional labor law and the unique substantive and procedural rules of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), but we do.
An employer targeted by a union attempting to organize its employees will likely be charged with committing an unfair labor practice (ULP) and investigated by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Corporate campaigns, the use of “salts,” and other surreptitious tactics are used by labor unions to obtain recognition. At Rediger McHugh LLP, we have successfully assisted employers with their counter-campaigns to union organizing, and represented employers at NLRB elections, in trials before the NLRB, and in petitions to review NLRB decisions in the federal courts of appeal. We have negotiated numerous collective bargaining agreements with various labor unions throughout the United States, including multi-employer CBAs in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose and Sacramento, and have represented employers before labor arbitrators, and in federal court in suits brought by union-affiliated Taft-Hartley trust funds.
We work with companies of all sizes to prevent and defend against allegations of discrimination, harassment and retaliation, wrongful termination, wage claims, unfair competition and other employment-related matters.
At Rediger McHugh LLP, we have successfully represented employers in actions involving employment discrimination, harassment and retaliation, wrongful termination, wage claims, unfair competition, trade secrets, and workplace violence injunctions before administrative agencies, judicial arbitrators, and in federal and state courts, including in jury trials. We have litigated numerous employment-related cases before administrative agencies, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board (CUIAB), and the California State Labor Commissioner, and in federal and state courts across the country, several of which have resulted in precedent setting decisions favorable to employers. We have been successful in exposing frivolous lawsuits through aggressive discovery at the outset of the litigation, and through the use of dispositive motions before trial.
We are experienced in litigating class action lawsuits through trial and have reduced the potential exposure of our clients by preventing lawsuits from being certified as class actions, negotiating favorable settlements, and obtaining dismissals of class action complaints in California state and federal courts.
Our attorneys have countered union organizing campaigns for our clients, litigated matters pertaining to NLRB representation elections, and defended employers accused of committing unfair labor practices (ULPs) in hearings before the NLRB and on petitions to review filed with the federal appellate courts.
Many unionized employers are signatory to collective bargaining agreements with labor organizations that provide that all disputes shall be resolved through final and binding arbitration. We have represented our clients before labor arbitrators on numerous occasions on various issues, including the arbitrability of a grievance, contract interpretation and discharge and discipline.
Many unionized employers are signatory to collective bargaining agreements with labor organizations that require them to remit contributions on behalf of covered employees to union-affiliated Taft-Hartley trust funds. Representatives of health and welfare and/or pension trust funds sometimes conduct “audits” of our clients’ books and records and allege that all required contributions have not been made. We defend employers in federal court in lawsuits brought by union-affiliated Taft-Hartley trust funds, several of which have resulted in published decisions favorable to unionized employers.
Once a labor organization has been recognized or certified as the exclusive bargaining representative of employees in an appropriate bargaining unit, an employer is required to negotiate in good faith with the union over terms and conditions of employment to be included in a collective bargaining agreement (CBA). Attorneys of our firm have negotiated numerous CBAs over the years, including the first multi-employer CBA with the SEIU covering security officers in the Bay Area, a multi-employer CBA with the Teamsters Union covering parking attendants in San Francisco, the first multi-employer CBA with the SEIU covering security officers in Los Angeles, and CBAs on behalf of several major hospitals in California.
Occasionally a labor organization may employ various legal and/or illegal economic weapons in an attempt to persuade an employer to accept or acquiesce to its position. We provide advice to employers regarding proactive and defensive options available to them in the event a union engages in various forms of concerted activities toward them, including strikes, picketing and/or boycotts.
How an employer responds to investigations conducted by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing is critical as such will affect the outcome of the charge or complaint filed against it. Both agencies employ a variety of strategies, tactics and discovery devices to gather information from employers on the complainant and on its other employees, including making requests for documents and on-site inspections, issuance of overly broad subpoenas, etc. We respond to requests for information from the EEOC and DFEH on behalf of our clients and represent employers in administrative proceedings before said agencies, and on petitions seeking judicial review of agency decisions in court. We have successfully litigated cases against the DFEH in administrative proceedings and against the EEOC in federal court.
In addition to defending employers before administrative agencies such as the EEOC and DFEH, we counsel and represent employers in litigation brought by employees through private counsel in court alleging various forms of employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination and assorted employment-related causes of action such as breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, defamation, interference with contractual rights, and the negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress. From the outset, we conduct discovery aggressively with an eye toward disposing of the plaintiff’s lawsuit short of trial through the use of dispositive motions. We have obtained numerous favorable jury verdicts in federal and state court on behalf of our clients.
Employers sometime enter into formal employment contracts with their employees that provide that all disputes regarding their relationship shall be subject to final and binding arbitration. We have represented employers in regard to employment-related claims brought in arbitration, prevailed on counterclaims advanced by an employer against its employee, and secured an award of attorney’s fees in favor of our client in arbitration.
We commence actions on behalf of employers against their former employees (and sometimes our client’s competitors) for injunctive relief and/or damages for breach of employment agreements that contain no-raiding, non-solicitation, non-competition, and confidentiality clauses, for misappropriating our client’s trade secrets, such as sensitive customer information or electronic data, and for violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016. We also obtain temporary restraining orders (TROs) and commence actions seeking injunctive relief and/or damages on behalf of employers against their former employees who engage in conduct in violation of the Workplace Violence Safety Act and other laws.
Given the short amount of time an employer is afforded to evaluate a complaint for wages filed by an employee with the California Labor Commissioner, it behooves an employer to be prepared to settle or secure the dismissal of the complaint at a settlement conference that is scheduled before a formal administrative hearing. We represent employers before the California Labor Commissioner and in trial de novo proceedings, and provide our clients with the tools they need to ensure compliance with the federal and state wage and hour laws. We have also defended our clients before, and in connection with audits conducted by, the U.S. Department of Labor and the California Bureau of Field Enforcement.
In addition to representing employers before the California Labor Commissioner, we defend our clients in federal and state courts in wage and hour lawsuits brought by employees as class actions under California Unfair Competition Law (ULC) and as representative actions under the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA). From the outset of the class action litigation, we conduct discovery aggressively with an eye toward defeating the inevitable motion for class certification the plaintiffs bring prior to trial, obtaining an award of attorney’s fees incurred by our client against the plaintiffs, and securing a jury verdict on behalf of our client.
During the course of litigating a case, it sometimes becomes necessary to petition an appellate court for a writ of mandate or prohibition. Our firm has filed several petitions for extraordinary writs with the appellate courts, several of which have resulted in published decisions favorable to employers. We have also prosecuted and defended appeals on behalf of employers following the entry of final judgments in the federal and state trial courts.
We represent employers in regard to safety and health-related matters, including in connection with citations issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and California OSHA.
Claims for benefits made by employees who suffer on-the-job injuries are generally handled by an employer’s workers’ compensation insurer. Our firm becomes involved in workers’ compensation proceedings when an employee also files a petition for increased benefits pursuant to Labor Code Section 132a, or a petition claiming that he or she was injured as a result of the serious and willful misconduct of the employer, both of which are generally not covered by our clients’ workers’ compensation insurance policy.
We provide counseling and advice to our clients on potential problems with the goal of eliminating or reducing the chance that such will result in formal litigation. Such counseling and advice takes many forms. We have also written many short articles that appear on our blog and address such diverse topics as Terminating an Employee Immediately After She Requested a CFRA Leave, Calculating Paid Sick Leave for Commissioned Exempt Employees, and Your Business Needs Well-Written Job Descriptions ASAP. In addition, our Client Portal contains valuable practical resources for our clients to download and use, including such articles as How to Hire the Best Employees, Are All Your Notices And Posters Up To Date? and Checklist of Leaves of Absence Required by Law in California.
By not having a well-written employee handbook, an employer relinquishes its ability to run its business the way it desires and provides unintended assistance to a litigious employee in an employment-related lawsuit. We assist employers by first identifying the policies and procedures that should be essential components of their personnel operations and then drafting employee handbooks that complement their application, interview and hiring processes. We also assist our clients by preparing formal agreements to “sever” the employment relationship with an employee, ensuring that all matters have been addressed and finalized.