Whether you are a business owner, an executive, or a non-exempt employee, employment law issues are critical to nearly everyone.

For Employers

Every business owner/manager can benefit from the use of properly designed Employment Agreements, Employee Policy Manuals (aka Employee Handbooks), and Independent Contractor Agreements. Properly classifying workers using the various factors set out in case law and IRS regulations takes an experienced attorney who has dealt with these issues. The test for classifying workers is not a bright line rule. It takes an examination of more than a dozen factors to make the proper classification. The risk and potential exposure for misclassifying workers is extremely high given the fact that wage and hour plaintiff’s attorneys get their fees by statute from the employer and the employer must pay penalties and interest on top of the wages that the employer failed to pay. These fees, penalties and interest snowball and quickly turn into a potentially devastating number for the employer. If it is not already clear, it is important to understand that California is a pro-employee state and you must take this into consideration when classifying and treating employees.

Your business is more likely to be sued by one of your former employees than by a competitor, vendor or customer. Guidance on compliance with California’s complex, pro-employee wage and hour laws takes the right attorney who not only knows the law, but how to counsel you in applying it to your business. Having an attorney that knows and works on both sides of the issue is invaluable.

Black and Deen offers employers a competitively priced employment law package which includes a number of templates and forms for your use, which includes: Guide to Properly Classifying Workers, Offer Letter, Employment Agreement, Employee Proprietary Information and Innovations Assignment Agreement, Independent Contractor Agreement and Employee Handbook. Assistance customizing these templates is available and recommended.

For Employees

If you are an executive who needs assistance in negotiating and documenting your executive compensation package, having an experienced attorney on your side to negotiate on your behalf to help you creatively secure a lucrative employment contract and whom you have confidence in is invaluable. Often, a tense salary and benefits negotiation between an executive and employer can taint what is supposed to be an exciting new start for the executive and positive change for the company to take the next step or reenergize a workforce. Having an attorney to be the “bad guy” on your behalf in the negotiation helps ensure a smooth transition.

Whether you are an executive or not, having assistance when exiting employment can also be vitally important. Often, employers ask departing employees to sign a separation agreement or other similar agreement and try to bully you into signing something that you shouldn’t. Additionally, making sure that you understand your duties with respect to trade secrets and other proprietary information of your former employer will help keep you out of litigation and help ensure a smooth transition to your new position.

As a regular employee who may or may not be exempt, it is important to understand your rights under California law to ensure that you are paid for your work and are treated fairly by your employer.  It should come as no surprise that some employers still pressure employees into signing incorrect timesheets, working overtime without additional compensation or worse.  I can help you determine your rights and whether or not to pursue remedies that may be available to you.  It is important to work with an attorney with experience on both sides of the issue who can give you truly unbiased advice so that you can make the best decision for you and your family.