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- State Bar of California (1997)
- Santa Clara County Bar Association
- All California courts, all United States District Courts in California, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
- Juris Doctor
Santa Clara University
- BA, Political Science
University of California, Davis
When managers are evaluating an HR issue or faced with a dispute in their businesses, they want more than an explanation of the law. “They want practical, how-to advice,” said Ernie Malaspina.
Before he became an employment lawyer, he was a manager for over 15 years with a national freight carrier and logistics business, with a significant number of direct and indirect reports.
“I was a front line manager long enough to know that excellent legal advice is essential, and knowing how to implement that advice effectively, with minimal operational disruption, is critical,” Ernie explains.
“I come from a background that lends itself to practical counsel. Practical from a management standpoint, practical in terms of the application of the law, and practical if a situation ends up in litigation.”
To that end, Ernie devotes about half his time advising private and public sector employers on a wide range of employment issues, including:
- Hiring Practices
- Employment policies and procedures
- Wage and Hour compliance
- Employee discipline
- Wrongful Discharge
- Unfair Competition and Protection of Trade Secrets, and
- Effective strategies to avoid litigation.
When not engaging in advice and counsel activities, Ernie represents clients in the litigation of a wide range of complex employment disputes involving claims of wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, breach of contract, as well as single plaintiff and class action wage and hour disputes, among other disputes.
- When a former employee sued his employer alleging wrongful termination and retaliation based on a variety of discrimination and “whistle-blower” theories, the employer turned to Ernie for help. Through a series of strategic depositions, Ernie positioned the matter for a successful summary judgment motion at the trial court level, a ruling that survived scrutiny through two appeals. “Eliminating the need for a jury trial resulted in significant fee savings for this client,” Ernie notes, “is a common goal in most defensive litigation settings.”
- When a local business discovered that two former employees had embezzled a significant amount of company funds before their unannounced departure, the company’s principal looked to Ernie for guidance. By immediately employing an aggressive litigation strategy, Ernie was able to identify and lien assets, and eventually obtain a judgment in the amount of the embezzled funds.
- A publicly traded, global notebook computer and peripheral manufacturer/wholesaler was sued by one of its marketing representatives who alleged harassment at the hands of a company vice president. Ernie developed a strategic defense for the company along with improvements in company-wide employment law training and practices. The lawsuit was resolved effectively, and the practices were put in place to protect against similar claims in the future. “As a result,” added Ernie, “our client is better equipped to resolve this kind of problem at its earliest stage.”
- As part of its ongoing risk management program, a publicly traded, unified business communications company wanted to conduct comprehensive and engaging seminars directed to high level managers regarding pertinent employment law issues. Unhappy with the effectiveness of other training programs, the company turned to Hopkins & Carley. Ernie presented a customized, on-site training seminar. “They wanted straight forward tools for managing within the law,” said Ernie, “so, that’s what we gave them.”
Why Hopkins & Carley?
Ernie’s experience in the corporate world gave him a good idea of what to look for in an organization when he switched to a legal career.
“I like the firm’s transparency and how the lawyers are genuinely friendly and proud of their clients and the work they do for them. Everyone is pulling in the same direction, striving to be part of something that the community regards as good and fair."
“The focus of the firm centers around the concept of providing excellent, efficient, and effective legal services. Achieving that goal every day is exceptionally satisfying.”
Other than Hopkins & Carley
Born and raised in the Bay Area, Ernie is committed to the local community.