Our Employment Law Team
Shirley Jackson, Ernest Malaspina, Richard Noack, Karen Reinhold, Erik Khoobyarian, and Dan Pyne
When confronting the HR issues that arise in the ordinary course of business, most employers are left asking very practical questions, such as “What should I do?” or, “How do I do it?”
Rather than merely reciting arcane laws or telling clients what they can’t do, our Professionals provide practical, real-world answers and advice that clients can use and understand. In short, we help solve their problems.
We regularly work with a wide variety of clients—both public and private, large and small, union and non-union—on issues such as:
- Wage and hour compliance
- Discrimination and harassment
- Termination of employment and employee discipline
- Labor relations
- Public entity employment
- Development and implementation of personnel policies and employment contracts
- Employee mobility, trade secrets, and covenants not to compete, particularly in the tech sector
When litigation arises, our clients benefit not only from our deep knowledge of employment law, but also from our extensive experience in state and federal courts at both the trial and appellate levels.
Because our employment lawyers all have extensive experience in the field (none have practiced for less than five years), clients don’t pay for us to learn as we go. Our focus and experience allows us to get to the heart of a matter quickly, to provide answers in real time, and to enable clients to avoid the pitfalls that result in costly and time-consuming litigation.
While we seek to help clients avoid litigation whenever possible, we are ready to prosecute or defend lawsuits when disputes are unavoidable. In such situations, we first work with clients to determine appropriate objectives, then formulate a litigation strategy and work diligently and creatively to achieve the client’s goals.
- A West Coast petroleum distributor was sued by a group of truck drivers who alleged that they were mis-classified as exempt from overtime laws. The company turned to Hopkins & Carley, and we defended it by opposing certification of the case as a class action suit. As the court was about to rule on the motion, the case settled on terms that were favorable for our client.
- A former school employee filed a charge of discrimination with California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing, alleging that she was discharged due to her disability. The school system hired Hopkins & Carley to defend it, and we responded to the charge by demonstrating that the employee was laid off for economic reasons. The Department determined that it was unable to find any evidence establishing a violation and therefore dismissed the case.
- A leading financial services company believed that a regional sales representative was sharing proprietary and confidential data with competitors and using information to develop a potential job opportunity with one of the competitors. The firm developed a litigation strategy to obtain injunctive relief against the disloyal employee, as well as a competitor, in two different court jurisdictions. We obtained temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions in two separate jurisdictions that required the employee to return all of our client’s confidential and proprietary data and precluded the employee and the competitor from using any of it.
- A publicly traded, global technology company was sued by its senior vice president of marketing, who alleged harassment. We developed a strategic defense for our client in conjunction with specific renovations in connection with company-wide employment law training and general practices. The lawsuit was resolved effectively and practices were put in place to protect against similar claims in the future.
- A Fortune 50 company contacted us when competitors sued to block it from hiring two of their executives, alleging misappropriation of trade secrets and violations of covenants not to compete. We successfully opposed a motion for injunctive relief and then negotiated a favorable resolution that enabled the executives to work in the roles for which they were hired.
- A national market research company hired Hopkins & Carley to defend it after being sued for discrimination and failure to provide reasonable accommodation. In a complicated case involving potentially large liability, we won dismissal of the discrimination and accommodation claims through a motion for summary judgment.
- A national manufacturer of components used in the semiconductor industry was forced to reduce its workforce by about 1,000 employees as a result of the recession. The firm’s employment Professionals counseled the company’s executives and HR director and enabled the client to complete the reduction in force without triggering the WARN Act or generating any claims from affected employees.
- When a former office assistant accused a multi-state commercial real estate brokerage of sexual harassment, the company sought assistance from Hopkins & Carley in responding to the claim and in forcing its insurer to provide coverage. Working with the board chair and director of HR, we gathered and evaluated the evidence, persuaded the insurer to provide coverage and constructed a strong defense against the discrimination and harassment allegations, resulting in a confidential settlement on favorable terms.
Employers value our interest in learning their individual needs and goals, and also appreciate having access to a team of Professionals with extensive experience in dealing with the issues they confront. As a result, clients receive practical solutions in a timely and cost-effective manner.
“There is a synergy between our experience as advisors and as litigators,” according to Dan Pyne, Co-Chair of the firm’s Employment Law group. “Our clients benefit from having lawyers who know how a particular personnel decision might play out in court.”