Practice/Industry Group Overview
Hill Farrer defends employers and their management in all manner of employment litigation.
We represent clients through all phases and types of employment litigation, ranging from individual charges and cases to large-scale class and collective actions. Our employment litigators have the breadth of experience and knowledge to successfully represent employers regardless of whether a claim is litigated in an administrative, judicial or arbitral forum. The firm’s attorneys have successfully defended a broad spectrum of cases, including claims made under federal laws such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) , the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and the Worker Adjustment Retraining and Notification Act (WARN), as well as cases alleging violations of California’s unique anti-discrimination and wage laws. Our lawyers routinely defend claims of employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful discharge, wage and hour violations, entitlement to employee benefits, misappropriation of trade secrets and confidential information, unfair competition, labor-management disputes, defamation and other employment-related torts.
Although we try a large number of cases every year to arbitrators, judges and juries, the vast majority of cases are resolved when we win summary judgment or achieve an early settlement consistent with the client’s objectives and instructions. Normally, it is possible to prepare a game plan directed toward summary judgment or settlement within the first several weeks after the filing of the complaint or receipt of a demand. We attempt to control the focus and pace of every case from the outset by adhering to a handful of essential guidelines.
First, we conduct an early case analysis. We interview the key witnesses and collect the key documents. This preparation not only helps us litigate to win (if that is the client’s objective), it also helps us assess weaknesses in cases and settle them cost-effectively at the earliest possible stage before our adversaries have mastered the facts and before our clients have incurred substantial fees. We also are vigilant in helping employers to compel cases to arbitration when appropriate, a crucial strategic decision that should be made at the earliest possible time.
Second, we collaborate with our in-house contacts to form a unique strategy for each case. We work with management, in-house counsel and our clients’ insurers on early analysis and strategy and can provide associated case budget estimates. We staff our cases lean, generally with one partner and one experienced associate.
Third, despite the individuality of each case, we recognize that there is no value in “reinventing the wheel.” We leverage our deep expertise with cutting-edge technology and an extensive library of battle tested work product from previous similar cases to streamline the implementation of the chosen strategy in your case.
With this approach, we can help employers define what counts as a “win” in each case, and we can then help them achieve that outcome, whether it is cost-effectively telling the employer’s side of the story to an experienced arbitrator or a jury, or whether it is settling a case early at a fraction of the total cost of going to trial.
- Persuaded Arbitrator to issue arbitration award in favor of employer following three day arbitration hearing of claims alleging retaliation following report of workplace injury and resulting disability, after obtaining Court of Appeal reversal of trial court’s erroneous decision refusing to compel arbitration. Reynolds v. Cornerstone Staffing Solutions, Inc., No. A110952, 2006 WL 2536712 (Cal. App. 1 Dist. Sept. 5, 2006).
- Obtained summary judgment and award of prevailing defendant's attorneys fees on behalf of large grocery store chain against plaintiff alleging age discrimination and related wrongful termination theories.
- Obtained dismissal of a disability discrimation claim brought by ex-employee who was terminated after failing to return to work following a medical disability leave. We obtained a photo demonstrating that the plaintiff had in fact been on an international cruise.
- Defensed whistleblower claims by executive who complained about the employer's alleged regulatory violations and financial improprieties, includnig alleged embezzlement by the CEO.
- Persuaded arbitrator to issue artbitration award in favor of employer following three-day arbitration trial of claims alleging retaliation following report of workplace injury and resulting disability, after obtaining Court of Appeal reversal of trial court's erroneous decision refusing to compel arbitration.
- Obtained summary judgment in a sexual harassment case filed by an administrative assistant who claimed that she was constructively terminated as a result of sexual harassment by a female co-worker and a supervisor.
- Defense award following trial to arbitrator of wrongful termination, disability, pregnancy discrimination and retaliation claims. During trial, we proved that the plaintiff had been untruthful about authoring key documents and had concelaed vital evidence from her own expert witnesses.
- Obtained dismissal and award of attorneys' fees and costs against the employee in a whistleblower case. The employee claimed that she had been terminated in retaliation for complaining about employer's billing and collection practices.
- Tried to an arbitrator sexual harassment and discrimination claims brought against a hospital and key surgeon by five female nurses who claimed that the surgeon was abusive and harassed them due to their gender. We proved that the surgeon's verbal outbursts and explosive behavior were rooted in his patient care concerns and that all hospital employees - males and females - were held to the same high standards.