As a private business owner, you have the right to discipline an employee for any lawful reason. Unfortunately, even when you do so for legal reasons, you may still find yourself trapped in employment litigation if a bitter current or former employee decides to sue. At Jordan Law Group, we will provide an aggressive defense against such employees so that your rights and business assets are protected.
Lawful Termination vs. Unlawful Termination
The main issue in employment litigation is whether or not the employee was disciplined or terminated for legitimate business reasons. Employees who are part of a protected class can use their status to accuse you of employment discrimination. An employer should not make employment decisions based on:
Additionally, current or former employees may accuse you, either in State agencies or in court, of not paying appropriate overtime, not providing meal and/or rest breaks and failing to keep appropriate documentation.
Preempting Employee Lawsuits
The best way to avoid or limit employment actions or litigation is to be prepared. This means making sure that your handbook and all policies and procedures are legal, that you treat all employees in the same fashion and that you keep detailed and timely records. All employees’ personnel files should also contain detailed records of every infraction, warning, and/or disciplinary action.
Jordan Law Group can help you write an enforceable employee handbook, assist you in the proper way to document and enforce discipline and in general provide as much ammunition as possible in case you are faced with a state action or lawsuit. We can prevent the escalation of employee claims by:
- Representing you before the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement or the EEOC
- Assisting you with unwarranted unemployment compensation claims
- If the employee has hired counsel, representing you in all communications with that attorney
- If necessary, negotiating an out of court settlement
- Engaging in pre-litigation or pre-discovery mediation in an effort to save costs
Class Action Lawsuits
A current or former employee who is part of a large enough group of employees may initiate a class action attacking what is alleged to be a common employment practice. This type of employment litigation is especially complicated and costly. At Jordan Law Group, we have successfully defended a variety of class actions from both current employees, claiming discrimination on the basis of gender and/or race, to former employees, claiming wage and hour violations. Managing discovery, knowing how to demonstrate the individualized nature of claims and resolving issues with potential class members directly create opportunities to contain costs and control results. Mediation is inevitable and our attorneys understand how to make mediation successful.
Employment Law Arbitrations
Many employers require employees to accept agreements to arbitrate all employment disputes as a condition of employment. These agreements are enforceable if they meet certain conditions. We can ensure that arbitration agreements are the right choice for you. Recently, the United States Supreme Court held that individual agreements to arbitrate bar class action lawsuits and, further, that the law does not provide for “class action” arbitrations. We are carefully monitoring this potentially dramatic change in employment law. Selecting an arbitrator is an important element. We aggressively analyze arbitrators’ backgrounds and published decisions. Having arbitrated hundreds of labor and employment law cases, we are well equipped to protect your interests.
Contact us at 415-459-9865 for a free consultation!