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Employment Law

Today’s global and complex workplace present employers with unique business challenges. From initial hiring to promotions, salary adjustments and terminations, employment laws touch every aspect of human capital.

Walsworth’s team works closely with human resources professionals and in-house legal teams to resolve disputes and serve as a resource in navigating the myriad of federal, state and city laws.

In addition to litigation, our team counsels and advises employers on employment-related matters, including:

  • Terminations
  • Wage and Hour
  • FMLA/CFRA Leave Management
  • Whistle-Blowing
  • Workplace Investigations and Audits
  • Severance Policies and Separation Agreements
  • Executive Compensation and Employment Agreements
  • Employee Handbooks
  • Policy Memoranda
  • Independent Contractor Agreements
  • Sexual Harassment Policies and Training
  • Disability Access and Accommodation
  • Unfair Competition and Trade Secrets

Advice and Counseling

As your legal resource, our main objective is to keep you out of trouble. We provide day-to-day counseling to employers on a variety of human resource matters by creating effective workplace policies and procedures, and preventing problems by offering training and on-going updates on the latest legal developments.

Litigation

Our main objective is to partner with you to resolve issues before problems occur. However, we recognize that sometimes these complex issues lead to litigation. Our philosophy is to resolve matters in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible. To this end, we focus on early evaluation to assess liability, if any, and develop a litigation strategy. We have successfully resolved employment liability cases early through mediation and early settlement conferences. On non-liability cases, we have also prevailed on numerous summary judgment motions and obtained defense judgments which have been affirmed on appeal.

We also represent employers at administrative hearings before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, the Employment Development Department, and the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board in connection with Labor Code section 132a discrimination/retaliation and serious and willful claims.  We have also represented public entities in arbitrations, Skelly (disciplinary) hearings, and Pitchess motions.

Trial Ready

Trial is rarely the answer and something we try to avoid at all costs. Nonetheless, our partnership and extension of your team, includes a trial-ready team of lawyers. We have broad experience before judges and juries, defending clients in single-plaintiff and multi-plaintiff trials and arbitrations. As a firm, we have begun trial in nearly 900 jury trials, 250 non-jury trials, tried over 300 trials to verdict, and handled over 275 arbitrations. Our team of highly successful litigators are also members of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), one of the preeminent national organizations for experienced trial lawyers.

Representative Successes

  • Burkhardt v. City of Berkeley – Secured a defense verdict on all claims being made against the City, except emotional distress, in which the plaintiff alleged racial and sexual (same sex) harassment and discrimination.
  • Cline v. Bastanchury – Defense judgment in case brought by a former driver/distributor who made allegations of wrongful termination, breach of contract, and other claims.
  • Weston v. EMPI – Defense judgment in a bench trial on contract interpretation issues. The court’s findings on these issues in favor of our client negated the need for a jury trial.
  • Cardinalli v. Monterey Checker Transportation, Inc. – Successfully secured a defense verdict for a taxi company and corporate directors in a business dissolution, employment and breach of fiduciary duty jury trial. The defense verdict was subsequently appealed by the plaintiff. The verdict was upheld on appeal in the Sixth Appellate District with the California Supreme Court and United States Supreme Court denying review.
  • Scott v. IPC – Binding arbitration resulting in a defense award in favor of a small security company where the plaintiff was employed in one of the retail stores and alleged to have been sexually assaulted by an employee. The employee was criminally convicted of the crime. The judge found that IPC did not negligently hire or retain the employee, resulting in a defense award.
  • Employee v. Credit Union – Binding arbitration resulting in defense award in favor of our client, a prominent Southern California credit union. Plaintiff, an officer, claimed he was terminated due to disability discrimination and sought in excess of one million dollars. The arbitrator found plaintiff failed to provide any medical information to demonstrate he needed any accommodation, and that the termination was not based on his disability.
  • Bowes v. Club Car – Represented a utility vehicle company in a wrongful termination/harassment case. The jury deadlocked 7-5 in favor of a defense verdict and ultimately settled for a confidential amount.
  • Martinez v. National Railroad Passenger Corporation, et al. – Anti-SLAPP Motion to Strike granted with attorneys’ fees and costs. Obtained a dismissal of a contentious personal injury case against a client who was a passenger on an Amtrak train. Plaintiff, a former Amtrak train attendant, claimed he was fired after the client complained to an Amtrak supervisor of plaintiff’s inappropriate conduct while working aboard an Amtrak train. The anti-SLAPP motion to strike was granted, which effectively dismissed plaintiff’s complaint for intentional infliction of emotional distress with prejudice and without leave to amend. Additionally, the client was awarded attorneys’ fees and costs.
  • Adekunjo, Demps, and Block v. Housing Authority – Summary judgment granted in favor of the Housing Authority in three separate employment discrimination claims involving a former employee. Appeal by Demps affirmed by the appeals court.
  • Pascubello v. Urban Strategies, et al. – Motion of summary judgment granted as plaintiff failed to exhaust her administrative remedies under the California Fair Employment Housing Act (FEHA) and the California Tort Claims Act, and defendant SFHA did not employ Ms. Pascubello. Plaintiff alleged hostile environment harassment based on race.
  • Lawrence v. City of Richmond, et al. – Motion of summary judgment granted by state court on plaintiff’s racial discrimination and wrongful termination claims in favor of all defendants. Motion of summary judgment granted by federal court as to her section 1983 claim as it was barred by the statute of limitations. Plaintiff alleged racial discrimination, violation of her civil rights (section 1983 claim), and wrongful termination. Both the Ninth Circuit and California Court of Appeal affirmed the trial courts’ granting of summary judgment in favor of defendants.
  • Cipriano v. Mainline, Inc. – Represented broadband equipment manufacturer with over 100 employees in a sexual harassment claim brought by a former salesperson. Through discovery and taking the plaintiff’s deposition, developed compelling evidence that contradicted all her claims, including co-worker testimony, photographs of alleged incidents and an electronic record of her communications. Net result was mediated settlement for a fraction of the plaintiff’s original demand.
  • Wroblewski v. City of Orange – Represented City in a claim brought by a fire department captain alleging discrimination and disparate treatment based on marital status (single vs. married). Through multiple depositions of plaintiff’s co-workers, developed evidence to support defense that plaintiff was not discriminated against in being passed over for promotion and that the decision was entirely based on merit. Resolved claim for nominal monetary amount and agreement to remove certain disciplinary reports from plaintiff’s personnel file.