Expertise & Experience

Handshake

  • Wrongful Termination in Violation of Public Policy
  • Constructive Discharge
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Discrimination based on Race, Gender, Age, and Disability
  • Retaliation for Whistleblowing
  • Wage and Hour
  • Noncompetition, Nonsolicitation, and Confidentiality Agreements

 

Employment

Employment continues to be one of the most rapidly evolving areas of the law. A proliferation of new statutes and cases affecting employee rights and employer responsibilities make the workplace a fertile ground for disputes. From recruiting and retention, to termination issues, Mark’s knowledge and calming influence can help guide parties to a satisfying resolution.

Successful Outcomes

Breach of Employment Agreement

Claim: Plaintiff, the founder of a charter school organization and an educational administrator, was accused of orchestrating a cheating scheme to prepare students for standardized tests. The ensuing scandal ultimately led to the shutdown of a half dozen charter schools. As a result, the school board decided to eliminate plaintiff’s position as executive director, but then offered him a new position on less favorable terms. Plaintiff sought to enforce his original contract for the remainder of the unexpired term.

        Result: The parties negotiated a full resolution of all issues.

Wrongful Termination

Claim: A Hollywood entertainment executive alleged wrongful termination, seeking $2 million compensation for his ownership interest in the company, and for wages due for the remainder of his employment contract.

Result: The parties settled all monetary issues and reached agreement on a tax-advantaged payment structure. Each side benefited by avoiding the uncertainties of litigation and potential disruption of important business relationships.

Retaliation for Whistleblowing

Claim:  Plaintiff, a manager of a global technology services firm, alleged that he suffered retaliation after complaining to his supervisors that the company was engaged in tax and H-1B visa fraud, a classification permitting foreign nationals in specialty occupations to work temporarily in the United States. The company denied any wrongdoing, saying that it had legitimate reasons for warning plaintiff about his job performance, and that there was no connection between plaintiff’s complaints and any adverse employment action.

Result:  The parties reached an agreement resolving all outstanding issues.

Gender Discrimination and Sexual Harassment

Claim: Pregnant employee of a $40 million company alleged sexual harassment by her supervisor, and then termination on the pretext that her position was eliminated as part of a larger work force reduction.

Result: The company agreed to pay the employee a cash sum. In turn, the settlement allowed the company to remove the claim as a contingent liability from its books.

Disability Discrimination and Wrongful Termination

Claim: Cancer victim alleged she was terminated because of her disability, that the employer failed to make reasonable accommodations, and then attempted to mask discriminatory behavior by couching the firing as a reduction in force. She sought more than $1 million in damages.

Result: A monetary settlement was reached that compensated plaintiff for her emotional distress, loss of earnings and attorney’s fees claims.

Race Discrimination

Claim: Employees of an aircraft parts manufacturer alleged that management personnel frequently used racially-charged expressions, making their work environment intolerable.

Result: The parties negotiated a settlement calling for the employees’ voluntary resignation, payment of a cash sum to each individual and non-monetary inducements. Each side was greatly relieved that the matter was concluded: the employees, so they could pursue other jobs, and the employer, so it could have a free hand to replace them.

Disability Discrimination and Retaliation

Claim: Plaintiff alleged that her employment as events director by defendant, a popular bar and nightclub, was terminated in retaliation for her filing a Workers Compensation claim. Specifically, plaintiff alleged that the employer failed to reasonably accommodate her disability, and that she was fired shortly after returning to work on the pretext of poor sales performance. Defendant argued that the termination stemmed from a pattern of misconduct by plaintiff.

Result: A settlement was negotiated that allowed each side to move on and avoid the risk of an adverse jury verdict.

Hostile Environment and Quid Pro Quo Harassment

Claim: Female employee of a national hotel chain alleged that corporate employer maintained a hostile work environment in which a male supervisor, an individual with a history of harassing other women, forced plaintiff to have sexual relations. Defendants denied these allegations and said that all conduct was consensual.

Result: The parties negotiated a satisfactory settlement.

Pregnancy Discrimination and Sexual Harassment

Claim: Female restaurant employee alleged that a manager frequently made sexually explicit and demeaning comments to her because she was pregnant, and that the employer failed to take reasonable steps to investigate and stop discriminatory behavior.

Result: The parties reached a monetary settlement, avoiding the risk and embarrassment of trial.

Discharge in Violation of Public Policy; Whistleblower

Claim: Europe-based sales representative sued his employer, a leading technology firm, alleging that he was fired in retaliation for complaining to governmental authorities about business practices he believed violated the law.

Result: The parties agreed to a settlement that compensated the employee and resolved all outstanding issues between them.

Sexual Harassment

Claim: Plaintiff alleged that her employer ignored complaints about a male co-worker’s unwelcome sexual advances, including inappropriate statements and touching, that fostered a hostile work environment.

Result: The parties reached a settlement that resulted in the suit being dismissed.

Age Discrimination and Constructive Discharge

Claim: Salesman over 50 alleged that his employer implemented a new commission schedule that substantially reduced his income while giving younger employees more favorable compensation terms. Defendant denied any discriminatory behavior, and asserted that plaintiff was an independent contractor not covered by FEHA.

Result: The case was resolved at mediation to everyone’s satisfaction.

Constructive Discharge

Claim: Employee of a charitable foundation resigned alleging that the employer had misclassified her as exempt and had subjected her to intolerable working conditions. Claimant sought overtime pay, premium pay for missed breaks, emotional distress damages, and statutory penalties.

Result: The parties settled on a lump sum payment is satisfaction of all issues arising from the employment relationship.

National Origin Discrimination

Claim: Plaintiff, an employee of a national department store chain, claimed he was constantly bullied by his supervisor, endured derogatory comments and was poorly treated because of his Middle Eastern ethnicity.

Result: In addition to making a settlement payment, defendant was required to have its supervisor attend a diversity training program, which helped plaintiff feel that his concerns about discrimination were addressed in a meaningful way.

Hostile Environment and Quid Pro Quo Harassment

Claim: Plaintiff alleged she was the victim of rape and sexual battery, claiming that her male supervisor used the threat of termination and force to obtain sex.

Result: The parties settled all claims for harassment, and for wage and hour violations.

Sexual Harassment and Constructive Discharge

Claim: Plaintiff alleged that her employer failed to take reasonable steps to investigate or remedy harassment by a male supervisor, who she accused of repeatedly touching her, making sexual propositions, and displaying obscene materials.

Result: Defendant’s insurer agreed to pay $350,000 to have the suit dismissed.

Wrongful Termination; Wage and Hour Violations

Claim: Plaintiff, a hotel auditor and clerk, alleged that he was fired because he complained about being refused rest and meal period breaks and being forced to work 30 days straight without overtime.  The employer denied the allegations, contending that plaintiff failed a background check and did not disclose a conviction on his employment application.

Result: A monetary settlement was negotiated in exchange for a release.

Race Discrimination and Retaliation

Claim: Plaintiff, an African American woman who was employed as Human Resources Director for a medical group, alleged that she was terminated for reporting unlawful employment practices in the workplace, including discrimination in the hiring and promotion of other minority employees and violations of OSHA guidelines.

Result: The parties negotiated an agreement that resolved the litigation.

Retaliation for Whistleblowing

Claim: Plaintiff, a producer for a company that develops reality television shows, claimed that he was fired shortly after complaining about perceived Labor Code violations and accounting fraud.  The employer disputed these allegations, saying that plaintiff was an ineffective manager who was terminated because he failed to perform his job duties.

Result: The parties reached a settlement of all claims.