Berliner Cohen’s employment law attorneys provide expert representation, preventative advice, guidelines and workplace training to all sizes of businesses in diverse industries. The employment attorneys respond effectively and efficiently to the needs of each client, whether it is an individual employer, a start-up enterprise, a corporation or a public entity.
The group’s attorneys offer preventative advice, counsel and training on a full range of legal issues affecting the workplace, including harassment and discrimination, wrongful discharge, wage and hour issues, unfair competition and trade secrets. When disputes occur, Berliner Cohen’s attorneys utilize their many years of experience to represent employers and managers in State and Federal litigation, trials and administrative agency proceedings.
California employers have a difficult job navigating the ever-changing maze of employment laws. Berliner Cohen delivers the tools employers need in order to keep abreast of the changing laws and to implement proven employment practices that can reduce legal risks, expense and burden, whether in an administrative agency investigation or litigation. These services include:
Advice and counsel
The employment group is available to meet its clients’ needs for advice at every step in the employment process, from hiring through leaves of absence, reductions in force and termination. The attorneys draft and update employment agreements, offer letters, proprietary information agreements, employee handbooks and policy manuals. Berliner Cohen’s employment attorneys have also assisted clients in investigating allegations of harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
Berliner Cohen’s employment trial attorneys have represented clients in federal and state courts throughout California. The attorneys in the group have compiled an impressive record of obtaining favorable court rulings on motions to dismiss and for summary judgment, jury trial verdicts, and appeals. Berliner Cohen’s employment group has successfully represented employers in many types of cases, including discrimination, wrongful termination, individual and class action wage and hour claims, recovery of misappropriated information and funds, and civil rights litigation.
- Griffith v. Loral Space & Range Systems, Inc., U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California
Obtained defense summary judgment on claims of breach of contract; obtained jury verdict on behalf of defendant on remaining claim of race discrimination following a five day jury trial
- Allivato v. New Directions Sign Service and Cindy Chavez, Santa Clara County Superior Court.
Obtained jury verdict following a five-day trial on behalf of an employer against a former employee for unfair competition and in favor of the employer on a cross-complaint for wrongful termination
- Abbate v. Espinosa, et al., County of Santa Clara (Department of Corrections), Santa Clara County Superior Court.
Obtained judgment of dismissal that was upheld on appeal (unpublished) in favor of County of Santa Clara and three County employees on claims of deprivation of due process and defamation brought by an employee who had been disciplined by the employer for sexual harassment of his female co-employees
- Curtis v. ESL Inc. and TRW Inc., Santa Clara County Superior Court.
Obtained summary judgment (upheld on appeal in an unpublished decision) for employer and manager on employee’s claim of defamation
- Piper v. City of San Jose, Santa Clara County Superior Court.
Represented group of twelve captains in the San Jose Fire Department who intervened in a “reverse” discrimination case to uphold the validity of the City of San Jose’s promotional examination; successfully obtained judgment following close of plaintiff’s case after five days of court trial
- Salvia v. Mariani’s Inn and Restaurant
Represented defendant in a wage and employee classification matter; Plaintiff was classified as an exempt employee and contended that he did not meet the supervisory exemption and therefore was entitled to overtime wages; Defendant introduced evidence upon cross-examination of plaintiff witnesses to refute plaintiff’s claim that he was non-exempt; case settled within the first week of trial
- Represented various clients in DLSE claims for unpaid overtime and wages; matters resolved by confidential settlement
- Represented various clients in State and Federal court discrimination, harassment and retaliation cases; matters resolved by confidential settlement
- Represented clients in investigations by California State and Federal agencies, including Cal-OSHA, DFEH, EEOC and U.S. Department of Labor
Berliner Cohen’s employment attorneys believe in taking a proactive approach to workplace problems, and frequently help clients avoid problems through measures such as educational seminars and training. Qualified attorneys can provide California state-required sexual harassment training for managers and employees, either at the Firm’s offices or at the client’s workplace.
Updates on Changes to California Law. Changes in California law occur not only annually, but also monthly, as cases are decided and laws are passed. Employers can inadvertently become subject to investigation, penalty or litigation if they are not kept apprised of these changes. Berliner Cohen posts employment law updates on its website and sends email notification to clients.
Employment Law Trainings. Berliner Cohen also provides for employers an annual update seminar on the legal changes affecting employers in January of each year. In addition, the “Breakfast with Berliner” series provides human resources or members of management with information on timely and significant topics and developments in employment law. Recent briefings have focused on worker classification, workplace investigation, compliance with sexual harassment, disability and discrimination laws, meal and rest periods, investigations and avoiding payroll pitfalls. These breakfast briefings are presented by attorneys who have experience litigating these issues and are designed to provide the Human Resource Manager or responsible individual with current information on the laws governing the work place, and how to conduct business in accordance with the law.
Sexual Harassment Prevention Training. California law (AB 1825) mandates that all employers with 50 or more employees provide sexual harassment prevention training for their managers and/or supervisors every two years. As AB 1825 became effective in 2005, most California employers designated 2007, and now 2009 as “training years.” Berliner Cohen can provide this training on site (employer’s facility). In addition, it hosts throughout the year compliance trainings in its offices, so employers who need to have employees make up a training (i.e. new hire) or who have just a few managers who need to attend need not incur the expense of an on-site training..
Sexual harassment prevention training is important and beneficial for all employers because federal and state laws make effective training part of an employer’s defense should a claim be made against the employer. Berliner Cohen’s training is designed to provide attendees with tools and skills to avoid harassment in the workplace and to promote high quality work environments, while complying with the requirements of AB1825.