The Labor and Employment attorneys at Payne & Fears represent local, regional, and national employers in all aspects of labor and employment law and related litigation. We defend employers in employment cases, ranging from single-plaintiff wage-and-hour actions to complex disparate treatment cases brought on behalf of thousands of employees. We aim to deliver cost-effective results through early, comprehensive assessment of the facts and case strategy. While many of our cases are resolved by dispositive motions and early resolution, we are also skilled trial attorneys who successfully take employment cases of every size and type through trial, arbitrations, and administrative proceedings. Our major areas of concentration are discussed below.

Labor & Employment Litigation

Payne & Fears represents employers in all aspects of labor and employment law and related civil litigation. Our experience includes employment discrimination claims, wrongful termination litigation, defense of class actions, unfair competition and unlawful business practices litigation, and labor-management relations.

Employee Mobility & Trade Secrets

Changes in the workforce mean increased vulnerabilities for trade secret misappropriation. By helping clients understand the threats to proprietary information posed by their workforce, we help employers protect intellectual property in a variety of ways, including helping them create robust trade secret policies, add conditions to employee agreements, and place restrictions on the kinds of information employees may access. Our employee mobility and trade secret attorneys routinely help clients create confidentiality, non-compete, non-solicitation, and restrictive covenants, guard against unfair competition and unlawful business practices, and create policies to guard against computer fraud. These preventative measures help businesses to reduce the risk of trade secret theft. However, even with the best safeguards in place, disputes sometimes occur. The employee mobility and trade secret attorneys at Payne & Fears are prepared to assist clients with trade secret matters from preventative counsel all the way through trial.

Class Action Defense

Our employment attorneys have litigated and successfully resolved California and nationwide class actions with up to tens of thousands of alleged class members. We have litigated aggressively and creatively in superior court and federal district court, at the trial court level and on appeal. We have also efficiently tailored our approach to avoid expensive discovery and meet the needs of each client and case.

Discrimination & Harassment

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 (EEOC), the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, and the Civil Rights Department of the State of California (CRD). 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.

Employment Advice & Counseling

Payne & Fears’ labor and employment attorneys recognize that sometimes the best legal defense is preventing employment litigation. Our attorneys regularly counsel employers on the legal implications of personnel decisions, the latest court cases, statutory and regulatory requirements, and legal trends to ensure that they remain in compliance with state and federal laws and avoid unnecessary litigation. Our attorneys are also experienced in developing management training programs and employee education programs, creating effective employee manuals, implementing union avoidance strategies, and providing immigration advice.

Labor Law

Payne and Fears’ attorneys represent our clients in traditional labor matters as well as individual and class action employment cases. We regularly counsel our clients in union representation matters, collective bargaining, and arbitration, as well as litigation before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). We work to develop clear strategies to remain union-free and oppose union organization efforts. As union organizers continue to scale up their recruitment and organization efforts, we work to protect our clients and their employees from misleading campaigns and damaging press or social media activity.

We train management to encourage employees to voice their concerns openly to their supervisors, without fear of retaliation. We work to ensure that employees know that their voices are heard without the need for an outside union.

Labor & Employment Investigations

Today’s companies face increasingly complicated legal hazards in their everyday relations with employees. Employers can reduce these risks by working to comply with the many changes to labor and employment laws and conducting prompt, thorough investigations into any reported misconduct. Payne & Fears’ labor and employment attorneys help companies uncover and resolve workplace problems before they can threaten the health of an organization. In our labor and employment investigative practice, we find that when a careful investigation is combined with swift corrective action or response, many issues can be resolved without litigation.


When faced with retaliation claims, employers trust Payne & Fears to aggressively defend against such claims. For more than three decades, Payne & Fears has successfully represented employers in state and federal courts, in arbitration, and before governmental agencies, including the EEOC and the CRD.

Employment Law Appeals

Payne and Fears’ attorneys have a strong record of winning in state and federal appellate courts, whether defending our clients’ successes or correcting errors of the trial court. We know that the appellate process can be lengthy and expensive, and we offer our clients the information and realistic, experience-based advice that they need to decide whether to commit additional resources on appeal. We then provide high-caliber representation, briefing, and argument before the appellate courts.