As a Los Angeles, California employment law lawyer, Melissa Marsh has dedicated herself to serving both employers and employees throughout Los Angeles County, including: San Fernando valley, downtown Los Angeles, Burbank, North Hollywood, Studio City, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, Woodland Hills, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, and West LA. When it comes to employment law matters, proper preparation and planning will make the difference.
For California Employers.
Ms. Marsh provides advice on how to avoid work related lawsuits, performs workplace audits, prepares employee agreements, offer letters, nondisclosure and proprietary rights agreements, employee manuals and policies, termination letters and severance pay agreements, and when necessary negotiates the settlement of wage claims. By formulating and implementing comprehensive employee policies and procedures on hiring, properly classifying a worker as either an employee or independent contractor, and as either exempt from overtime pay or non-exempt from overtime pay, and on handling harassment, discipline, leaves of absence, and termination matters, the employer can significantly reduce the probability of an employee lawsuit.
For California Employees.
Many California employers fail to implement the appropriate procedures, and consequently I also devote a substantial amount of my practice to negotiating and/or settling employee wage and overtime claims, which in many cases can evolve into a class action lawsuit with tremendous damages.
For California employees, proper planning is essential. It is always best to contact us early so you can properly document your employer's illegal workplace practices. If you don't necessarily have a claim, but need advice, we provide a low cost consultation to advise employees of their rights, to prepare letters to remedy negative work related situations, and to negotiate severance agreements. It is only when necessary, that we assist employees in bringing a wage claim, overtime pay claim, claim for missed meal periods and rest breaks, and/or claim for other California labor code violations.
Employee Wage, Hour and Overtime Pay Claims.
California employers oftentimes ignore California's wage and overtime laws and rarely have an attorney perform an employment audit of their workplace practices. Consequently, many California employers face a plethora of wage and overtime claims from disgruntled or terminated employees. If you are an employee, we can review your situation to determine if you have a wage claim for unpaid wages, unpaid overtime, missed meal periods or rest breaks, or any other violation of California's wage laws. Contact us for a free initial consultation.
Employee or Independent Contractor?
Proper classification of your workers is essential if you want to stay out of a court room, and keep the EDD and IRS from auditing your books. California employers who erroneously classify their workers as independent contractors can end up with huge tax liabilities and penalties for failing to pay employment taxes. Although a different test for independent contractor v. employee status applies depending on the circumstances, all of them boil to down to the “right to control” the work.
Hiring: Employment Offer letters, Contracts, and Agreements.
One of the biggest mistakes made by California employers if failing to properly define the employment arrangement, either because the relationship was never reduced to a writing or because the employer failed to prepare an appropriate contract. The strength of an employment contract often depends not only on its clarity, but also on the enforceability of its terms. My office works routinely with small business employers and employees in drafting and negotiating employment contracts for senior level employees and in preparing employee offer letters and policies for the general workforce. By identifying the main concerns of our clients when confidentiality, non-compete, and liability are at issue, we can prepare appropriate documents, policies, and procedures and in turn significantly reduce the possibility of litigation and strengthen the employer's protections.
Non-Compete, Non-Solicitation, and Confidentiality Agreements.
California employers who are concerned about protecting their confidential trade secret information must have well drafted confidentiality agreements prepared as California law has basically voided all noncompete and non-solicitation agreements. We can help.
Employee Handbooks (Manuals) and Policies.
Every business, even those with just a single employee, are required to have certain written employee policies. Employee handbooks and written personnel policies can be a very effective way to reduce the risk of an employee lawsuit, but if written poorly can also be the basis of an employee wrongful termination claim, or wage claim. Providing your employees with a well written employee handbook and policies that are accurate, up-to-date, and most importantly consistently followed by management is probably the best way for a California employer to minimize its exposure to employee lawsuits. When the employers policies, procedures and expectations are oral, he employer has no concrete proof, and the employee can present an elaborate he said she said story to a judge or jury.
We can provide your company with either specific employee policies, or a complete employee manual for a relatively low fee. We can also perform an employment practices audit, and/or train your human resource manager on the implementation of employee policies, pre-employment screenings, and proper record-keeping procedures all of which can help significantly reduce the risk of litigation.
Termination of Employees and Severance Pay Packages.
Oftentimes an employee is prompted to bring a lawsuit against his or her former employer because of the manner in which the employee was terminated. Reducing the possibility of a wrongful termination lawsuit can be achieved by developing and implementing standard termination procedures.
We can also prepare and negotiate severance agreements that can help your business avoid litigation and provide a smooth transition to an incoming employee. A severance pay package is often used by an employer to minimize the potential of an employee lawsuit. In essence, a severance pay package may be offered in exchange for the employee signing a document waiving the right sue the employer, and in some cases providing additional work during a transition period. A severance pay package often offers not only a monetary benefit, but also other employee benefits.
With employment law matters, proper preparation and planning will make the difference.
California Employment Practice Audit For Employers.
If you are employer, we can review and revise your employment practices and procedures, train your human resource manager, and help your business implement employee policies and procedures to significantly reduce the risk of employee wage claims and litigation. California labor laws are constantly changing and the complex minefield is filled with penalties designed to protect the employee from an employer's unfair business practices. The most common areas the subject California employers to wage and hour claims and penalties include:
- Misclassifying a worker as an independent contractor
- Misclassifying an employee as exempt from overtime pay
- Failing to ensure your employees actually take their meal or rest periods
- Failing to pay employees for their travel time
- Failing to pay employees for their preparation time
- Failing to reimburse their employees for business expenses
- Failing to properly pay salespeople their commissions
- Failing to keep accurate time records
In each of the above areas, a California employer can be held liable not only for back owed wages, but also innumerable penalties that oftentimes far exceed the actual amount of back wages owed.
- Prepare and file a Wage Claim
- Review and negotiate a severance pay package
- Prepare or Update your employee offer letters, contracts, or manual
- Perform an audit of your employment practices