Employment Law

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.

Litigation
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.

Representative cases

  • 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

Training
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.

For more information, please contact Christine Long at christine.long@berliner.com.

Employment Law

Attorneys


Articles

Keeping the Faith: Fiduciary Duties – Forming LLCs to Hold Real Property

Dancing in a Minefield: The California Wage and Hour Law Tango

Employment Law Alert – California Supreme Court’s Decision on Retaliation

Contractor or Employee? – Legal Pitfalls in Worker Classification

Employment Law Alert – California Court Cuts Employers a “Break”

Employment Law Alert – Supreme Court Grants Review of Brinker Case

Employment Law Alert – CA Supreme Court Strikes Down Non-Competition Agreements

Employment Law Alert – Upcoming ADAAA Changes & Potential Implications to California Employers

Berliner Cohen Attorneys Author “Volumes”…

Employment Law Alert – IRS 409A’s Impact on Severance or Deferred Comp

Employment Law Alert – Stimulus Package Adds New Employer Notification Obligations under COBRA

Employment Law Alert – Employers Can Require “Tip Pools” - Risk Litigation

Employment Law Alert – Employers Should Take Steps Now to Prepare for Flu Season

Employment Law Alert: Discriminatory Harassment

Employment Law Alert – Congress Enacts New Anti-Discrimination Law

2010 California Employer Update

Restructuring and Resizing the Workforce: Legal Issues for the California Employer

Employment Law Alert – Senate Extends Cobra Subsidy and Unemployment Insurance

Employment Law Alert – Cobra Subsidy and Unemployment Insurance Laws Further Expanded/Extended

Employment Law Alert – What Employers Should Know About the Health Care Reform Legislation

Employment Law Alert – What Every Employer Should Know About Utilizing Interns

Employment Law Alert – Unemployment Insurance Expanded and Extended But Not Cobra Subsidy

Unintended Consequences: The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and Document Retention

2011 Berliner Cohen Employer Update

Employment Law Alert – U.S. Supreme Court Expands Who Can Sue for Retaliation under Title VII

Employment Law Alert – CA Supreme Court Weakens Chances for Early Dismissal of Discrimination

Employment Law Alert – CA Supreme Court Strikes Down Arbitration Agreement

Employment Law Alert - New California Law Requires Written Commission Agreements

Employment Law Alert – CA Supreme Court’s Long-Awaited Decision on Meal Periods & Rest Breaks

Employment Law Alert - Supreme Court Rules Health Care Act Constitutional

Employment Law Alert: New Pregnancy Regulations Provide Guidance to Employers

Employment Law Alert: Sexual Harassment Can Constitute a Hate Crime

California Employers Focus on Planning, Policies and Practices in 2014

Employment Law Alert: New Extended Deadlines for Compliance with ACA Employer Mandate

Reasonable Accommodations: Interaction with and Providing Leaves of Absence to a Disabled Employee

Employment Law Alert: California Requires Employers to Provide Paid Sick Days for Workers

San Francisco Bay Area Voters Approve Minimum Wage Increases, Paid Sick Leave Requirements

Employer Alert: Is Your Request for Medical Cert Setting You Up for a Discrimination Lawsuit?

Employer Alert: CA Labor Commissioner Finds Uber Drivers Misclassified as Independent Contractors

Employer Alert: Department of Labor to Revise Federal Overtime Regulations

Hiring Caregivers: Legal and Financial Considerations (Updated 2015)

Employer Alert: Time to Update Your Harassment Prevention Policy

Employer Alert: New San Francisco Law Requires Fully Paid Parental Leave

Labor Enforcement Task Force Visits – What Are Employer Rights?

Berliner Cohen’s Guide to California’s Minimum Wages as of 2016

Employer Alert: New San Francisco Law Requires Fully Paid Parental Leave

Assessing Employment Risks—Do I really need an Employment Law Audit?

Employer Alert: Are You Ready?  New Federal Overtime Regulations Effective December 1, 2016

Employer Alert: Effective March 1, California Businesses Must Gender-Neutralize Bathrooms


News

Roberta Hayashi Heads Berliner Cohen Employment and Labor Practice

Berliner Employment Attorneys Present Legal Update at CCHRA

Roberta Hayashi Presented 2008 Salsman Award by Santa Clara County Bar Association

Roberta Hayashi Appointed to SHRM Certification Advisory Committee

Roberta Hayashi Quoted in “Settling Well Into Retirement Keeps Jurist Busy”

Berliner Cohen Partner Elected San Jose Sports Authority Vice-Chair

CCHRA Presents 2009 Employer Update

Roberta Hayashi Quoted In “Getting Things Done” on New Superior Court Presiding Judge

Berliner Cohen Partner Quoted in “End of ‘08 Brought Bonus for Some”

Business Journal Honors Berliner Cohen Attorney as Woman of Influence

Berliner Cohen Announces 2009 Training Schedule for Preventing Sexual Harassment Compliance

Berliner Cohen Attorneys Present at SHRM California Legislative Conference

Bar Association Honors Berliner Cohen Partner

Berliner Cohen Partner Selected to Lead ExecSense “Advising on Virtual Sexual Harassment” Webinar

Berliner Cohen Advances Two to Partnership

Berliner Cohen Attorneys Author BNA White Paper on Restructuring Workforce

Berliner Cohen Offers Upcoming “Recognizing and Preventing Sexual Harassment” Seminars

Berliner Cohen Presents Employment Seminar on Managing Performance

California Employers Required to Post New Workers’ Comp Notice

Launch Your Employment Law Audit Today

Berliner Cohen Attorneys Will Appear in Super Lawyers Business Edition

Berliner Cohen Offers Compliance Training for “Recognizing & Preventing Sexual Harassment”

Roberta Hayashi Quoted in Biz Journal’s Cisco Potential Retirement Buyout

Berliner Cohen Attorneys Included in 2012 Top Women Super Lawyers Edition

Susan Bishop, Litigation Attorney, Joins Berliner Cohen

2013 Super Lawyers Recognizes Thirteen Berliner Cohen Attorneys

Berliner Cohen Employment Group’s 2013 Proves Active and Successful

Berliner Cohen Prevails on Behalf of Employer, Wins Major Defense Verdict

Berliner Cohen Successful for Auto Body Employer in Rejection of Wage and Hour Class Certification

Berliner Cohen Schedules January “Recognizing and Prevention of Sexual Harassment” Training

Class Certification Denied in Favor of Berliner Cohen Tech Client

Berliner Cohen & Leavitt Group Present Webinar on “Managing Leaves of Absence”

Recognition & Prevention of Sexual Harassment Training Sign-ups for New Managers/Promotions

Berliner Cohen’s Innovative Strategy Defeats Wage Claims

Leavitt Group Presents Free ADA Webinar

Ban on Bare Hand Contact by Food-Service Workers Repealed

Roberta Hayashi Authors Article on Reasonable Accommodations & ADA

Susan Bishop Named Partner at Berliner Cohen

Berliner Cohen Associate Jennifer Leung Honored by Santa Clara County Bar Association


Events

2008 California Employer Update-San Jose

2008 California Employer Update-Merced

Contractor or Employee? – Legal Pitfalls in Worker Classification-San Jose

Contractor or Employee? – Legal Pitfalls in Worker Classification-Merced

Recognizing and Preventing Sexual Harassment - San Jose

Recognizing and Preventing Sexual Harassment - San Jose

ABA Minority Lawyers Conference

Hiring Caregivers: Legal and Financial Considerations

Drafting Corporate Agreements 2009

CCHRA Hosts 2009 California Employer Update

2009 California Employer Update - San Jose

2009 California Employer Update - Merced

Restructuring, Resizing and Riding Out Tough Economic Times - San Jose

Restructuring, Resizing and Riding Out Tough Economic Times - Merced

Recognizing and Preventing Sexual Harassment - San Jose

Recognizing and Preventing Sexual Harassment – Merced

Recognizing and Preventing Sexual Harassment – San Jose

Search Warrants and Government Subpoenas: What Every Employer Should Know - San Jose

Search Warrants and Government Subpoenas: What Every Employer Should Know - Merced

Recognizing and Preventing Sexual Harassment – Merced

Recognizing and Preventing Sexual Harassment – San Jose

Handling Information Requests from Government Agencies - Businesses’ Rights & Obligations

Recognizing and Preventing Sexual Harassment - San Jose

Managing Risks In a Down Economy

Recognizing and Preventing Sexual Harassment - San Jose

Workplace Crime – Legal Pitfalls and Protections for Employers

2010 California Employer Update - San Jose

2010 Californa Employer Update - Merced

Berliner Cohen Attorneys Are Presenters at NCHRA’s HR West Annual Conference

Pitfalls & Protections of Document Retention Policies - San Jose

Pitfalls & Protections of Document Retention Policies - Merced

Recognizing and Preventing Sexual Harassment 2010 - San Jose

Recognizing and Preventing Sexual Harassment 2010 - Merced

Managing Performance: Policy Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them - San Jose

Managing Performance: Policy Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them - Merced

Recognizing and Preventing Sexual Harassment Seminars - September 2010 - San Jose

Recognizing and Preventing Sexual Harassment Seminars - September 2010 - Merced

Recognizing and Preventing Sexual Harassment Seminars - December 2010 - San Jose

Recognizing and Preventing Sexual Harassment - December 2010 - Merced

Berliner Cohen Employment Attorneys Present Update at CCHRA

2011 California Employer Update - A Seminar for all HR Professionals - San Jose

2011 California Employer Update - A Seminar for all HR Professionals - Merced

Berliner Cohen Attorneys Offer Session at SHRM California Employment Law Conference

Berliner Cohen Attorneys Speak at 2011 HR West

Berliner Cohen Attorney Speaks at SCCBA Sexual Harassment Mock Trial Seminar

Hiring Practices that Comply with the Law: Good Processes for Good Hires - San Jose

Hiring Practices that Comply with the Law: Good Processes for Good Hires - Merced

Berliner Cohen Attorneys Present at 2011 SHRM Annual Conference

ADA Access – Viewing Your Business from the Outside - San Jose

Berliner Cohen Offers Compliance Training for “Recognizing & Preventing Sexual Harassment”

Berliner Cohen Offers “Recognizing & Preventing Sexual Harassment” - This is Compliance Year

2012 California Employer Update Seminar - Register for January Seminar-San Jose

2012 California Employer Update Seminar - Register for January Seminar-Merced

Berliner Cohen Offers Jury-Style “Recognizing & Preventing Sexual Harassment” Training

From Planting to Processing: Best Practices for Agricultural Employers to Avoid Employment Liability

Berliner Cohen Presents at 2012 HR West

Christine Long, Berliner Cohen Attorney, Speaks on ADA at Restaurant Operators Seminar

Facing the Inevitable Conversation-How Employers Can Help Employees Live with End-of-Life Situations

Modesto September Mixer & Employment Law Seminar

“Recognizing & Preventing Sexual Harassment” Training - San Jose

2013 California Employer Update in San Jose - Is Your Workplace Ready for 2013?

2013 California Employer Update in Merced - Is Your Workplace Ready for 2013?

2013 California Employer Update in Modesto - Is Your Workplace Ready for 2013?

Berliner Cohen Presents AB 1825 Training for Santa Clara County Employer Advisory Council

Berliner Cohen Presents Employment Law Town Hall at 2013 HR West

Berliner Cohen Presents 2013 Mid-Year Employment Law Update for Santa Clara County EAC

Berliner Cohen Seminar in Modesto: What’s In Your Future? Employment Law 2014 and Beyond

Berliner Cohen Seminar in Merced: What’s In Your Future? Employment Law 2014 and Beyond

Berliner Cohen Seminar in San Jose: What’s In Your Future? Employment Law 2014 and Beyond

2014 California Employer Law Update - Complimentary Seminar - San Jose

Recognizing & Preventing Sexual Harassment Make-up Training - San Jose

2014 California Employer Law Update - Complimentary Seminar - Merced & Modesto

Christine Long Speaks on ADA Accommodations at National Restaurant Association Meeting

Roberta Hayashi Presents “Managing Leaves of Absence” at Santa Clara Co. Employer Advisory Council

Recognition & Prevention of Sexual Harassment Training for New Managers/Promotions

“Managing Leaves of Absence” Webinar

California Employment Law: Change is the Only Constant

ADA Compliance Webinar

Reasonable Accommodation and the ADA - Fall Berliner Cohen Seminar - San Jose

Reasonable Accommodation and the ADA - Fall Berliner Cohen Seminar - Modesto

2015 California Employer Law Update - San Jose

2015 California Employer Law Update - Merced & Modesto

Berliner Cohen Presents at 2015 HR West

2015 Year-End AB 1825 Sexual Harassment Prevention Training - San Jose

2016 California Law Update Session - San Jose

2016 California Law Update Session - Merced

2016 California Law Update Session - Modesto

Partners Christine Long and Susan Bishop Present at 2016 HR West

Berliner Cohen Partner Christine Long Teaching at CRA’s San Jose Restaurant University

Partner Susan Bishop CRA Panelist at the Western Foodservice Expo

Lunch & Learn: How to Legally and Effectively Conduct Internal Workplace Investigations

2017 California Law Update Session - Merced

2017 California Law Update Session - Modesto

2017 California Law Update Session - San Jose

2017 California Law Update Session - East Bay

Partners Christine Long and Susan Bishop Present at 2017 HR WEST