Employment Law and Litigation for Management

Employment Law and Advice for Management

Jim Parton’s practice is dedicated to helping management make informed decisions concerning the many complex human resources challenges of the modern business environment.

For many years, Jim has represented employers in state and federal courts throughout California, as well as the Department of Fair Employment & Housing, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and California Labor Commissioner.

That experience has convinced Jim that, in most disputes, litigation is a “worst outcome” even if management ultimately wins. The cost and risk involved in any litigation should be avoided where possible.

Jim has, therefore, redirected his practice from litigation defense to helping employers avoid problems that could lead to litigation and negotiating settlements of claims before an administrative claim, arbitration demand or lawsuit is filed. His many years of experience enable Jim to anticipate problems and provide management effective advice in many types of employment disputes, such as:

Wage and Hour Claims | Discrimination, Harassment and Wrongful Termination Claims | Family, Pregnancy and Other Leave; Disability; and Workers Compensation | Accommodation of Disability | Intellectual Property and Trade Secrets Protection | Privacy and Other Issues

Wage and Hour Claims

Proper compensation of employees, and determining who is an “employee” is governed by complex rules backed by severe penalties for even minor mistakes. Parton & Sell has extensive knowledge and experience in employment law including: California Labor Code, Regulations and Wage Orders, DLSE policies, Fair Labor Standards Act and Federal regulations. His advice includes issues such as:

  • Classification of employees as exempt (“salaried”) and non-exempt (“hourly”)
  • Determination of status of a person as independent contractor or employee
  • Alternative work week arrangements
  • Compensation of non-exempt off-site employees
  • Sales employee commission plans
  • Employee expense reimbursement requirements
  • Overtime, meal and rest periods
  • Record keeping
  • Class action defense

Discrimination, Harassment and Wrongful Termination Claims

Jim counsels numerous clients with issues involving potential discrimination, harassment, or wrongful termination claims, providing:

  • Guidance in proper hiring procedures:
    • Legal and illegal questions
    • Immigration Control Act compliance
    • Background checks
    • Employment contracts
    • Record keeping requirements
  • Advice and direct investigation of, and response to, sexual, racial and other types of harassment complaints
  • Negotiation of severance agreements
  • Response to DFEH and EEOC investigation

Family, Pregnancy and Other Leave; Disability; and Workers Compensation

Some of the most difficult and complex problems routinely encountered by management concern proper handling of the Family & Medical Leave Act, the California Family Rights Act, pregnancy, and other types of leave. Often the situation is complicated by a concurrent workers compensation leave and/or a claimed disability requiring a temporary leave. Jim counsels employers in:

  • Proper designation and calculation of FMLA, CFRA and pregnancy leave
  • How to obtain appropriate verification of medical information supporting a designation of leave without violations of privacy rights
  • The relationship between FMLA/CFRA leave and workers compensation leave

Accommodation of Disability

Jim helps clients meet obligations to accommodate employee disabilities without harm to their businesses. He can:

  • Help determine if an employee has a disability that can be accommodated
  • Guide the “interactive process” to achieve a reasonable accommodation
  • Safely identify those situations where no accommodation need be provided

Intellectual Property and Trade Secrets Protection

Protection of a company’s confidential proprietary data, customer lists, business practices and strategy is often a critical part of its long-term success. Sometimes a company will hire an employee from a competitor and be faced with a charge of, or litigation claiming that the employee has stolen trade secrets and put them to use for his or her new employer. Jim has successfully defended both companies and new employees faced with such an accusation. He helps businesses protect critical trade secrets by:

  • Drafting comprehensive non-disclosure agreements
  • Creating policies and procedures which ensure that your trade secrets are protected by law

Privacy and Other Issues

Employment law and employment litigation can’t always be categorized under bold umbrella statements. Jim also has expertise in many diverse, cutting-edge issues in today’s workplace, including:

  • Privacy issues and disputes in use of electronic mail and other areas
  • Development and enforcement of policies regarding social network websites such as Facebook
  • Drug and alcohol testing policies and procedures
  • Violence in the workplace
  • Cal/OSHA compliance