Labor and Employment Litigation

Payne & Fears LLP specializes in representing local, regional and national employers in all aspects of labor and employment law and related civil litigation. Our major areas of expertise include employment discrimination and wrongful termination litigation, wage and hour class action defense, union prevention and labor-management relations, unfair competition litigation, consultation and advice on a broad range of personnel matters, and immigration advice.  Demonstrating our level of expertise and experience, our attorneys frequently lecture and publish on employment law topics to teach other attorneys and business professionals about employment law.

The following are some of the areas in which we possess particular expertise:

Employment Discrimination

We have an extensive employment discrimination practice in the state and federal trial and appellate courts and before governmental agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, and the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. We regularly represent employers in response to charges, investigations and litigation involving discrimination and harassment claims. Our employment discrimination litigation practice runs the gamut from straightforward disparate treatment cases to class action lawsuits and other cases raising novel theories or posing the risk of substantial verdicts. We also defend administrative actions and civil litigation where property management firms are charged with housing discrimination.

Wrongful Discharge Litigation

Wrongful termination and related claims arising out of the employment relationship continue to proliferate in California. Tort and contract theories appear regularly in wrongful discharge cases and are often pled in sexual harassment actions as well. Intentional infliction of emotional distress and other related tort theories often accompany Title VII and other civil rights claims. We have significant experience handling such litigation, this being a major focus of our practice.

Labor-Management Relations

We represent companies in the traditional labor law field in matters arising under the National Labor Relations Act, including union organizing campaigns and unfair labor practice proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board and in the courts. We also represent employers in collective bargaining negotiations and arbitrations of grievances under collective bargaining agreements. Additionally, we represent our clients in federal court in contract actions and duty of fair representation matters, as well as litigation in both state and federal courts arising from picketing and strikes. We also provide union avoidance labor relations counseling programs to our clients.


Supreme Court Upholds Enforceability of Collective Bargaining Agreements that Mandate Arbitration for Statutory Claims

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Amends Coverage for Provisions of COBRA

Court of Appeal Clarifies Distinctions Between An Employee And An Independent Contractor

Significant Changes to the Family and Medical Leave Act Effective January 16, 2009

Ledbetter Fair Pay Act Signed Into Law by President Obama.

California Court of Appeal Rejects Punitive Damages for Labor Code Violations that regulate meal and rest breaks, pay stubs, and minimum wage laws.

Ninth Circuit Holds that California Labor Laws Apply to Work Performed Within California by Nonresident Employees

California Employers Await Definitive Answer from California Supreme Court on Meal and Rest Break Obligations

FEHA Statute of Limitations Subject to Equitable Tolling

California Legislature Clarifies Overtime Pay Exemption for Computer Professionals

California Supreme Court Brightens Rule Prohibiting Noncompete Agreements

Court of Appeals Holds that California Employers Need Only Provide Meal and Rest Breaks Not Ensure that Employees Take Them

New cell Phone Law Goes Into effect July 1, 2008

Starbucks Must Pay Baristas $86 Million Plus Interest for Tip-Pooling Arrangement

Residential Employees Not Entitled to Pay for "On-Call" Time

Recent Employment Law Legislative Developments

Recent Successes

Victory in Age Discrimination Arbitration

Payne & Fears LLP Successfully Reduces Plaintiff’s Verdict By 80%(McClay v. Trendwest Resorts Inc.)

Published Ninth Circuit Victory for Employer in Discrimination Suit

Victory for Payne & Fears Client in Hostile Work Environment Suit

Victory for Payne & Fears Client in Purported Whistleblower Suit

Victory for Payne & Fears Client in Disability Discrimination Suit

Victory in Wage & Hour Class Action

Jury Verdict in Significant Sex Discrimination Case