Employment & Labor Law

Advice, Negotiation and Litigation (including Mediation, Arbitration, Claims before the California Labor Commissioner, and Civil Actions in Court).

In our country, federal and state laws govern many aspects of the employer-employee relationship. These laws were established long ago to offer workers protections that contribute to their overall well-being while on the job.

When Conflict Arises

Even though there are laws in place to protect your rights as an employee, you may still find that you’re involved in a dispute with your employer. This conflict could have an adverse impact on your wages, benefits, long-term career potential, and quality of life.

If you’re currently involved in an employment law dispute, you’ll want to reach a resolution as soon as possible. However, you may be too intimidated to speak with your employer or may have tried to discuss the conflict, only to receive little to no support. In these instances, it may be in your best interest to consult with an employment law attorney.  Bluer & Bluer, LLP can provide you with representation when facing the following California employment issues:

Bluer & Bluer, LLP specializes in discrimination cases of all types, including race, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, veteran status, gender identity, and pregnancy.  These laws apply to employers who have 5 or more employees.  If you have been denied equal pay, a promotion, training opportunities or other conditions of employment because of a protected characteristic stated above that is illegal under federal and state law.  Similarly, if you have been selected for layoff, a performance improvement plan, a warning, or wrongful termination because of a protected characteristic, your employer may be liable to you for your monetary losses—past and future, emotional distress damages, punitive damages and attorneys’ fees.

We are often consulted when an employee suffers one of the “adverse employment actions” stated above, to help the employee negotiate a favorable severance package, or if necessary to resolve the dispute in mediation or a lawsuit.

Get the advice you need and the representation you seek from experienced discrimination attorneys, Bluer & Bluer, LLP.

Bluer & Bluer, LLP has handled many sexual harassment cases.  These claims can be complex because the particular facts will often drive the result, not the law.  In general, sexual harassment may be shown in one of two ways.  One way is if a manager tells an employee—directly or indirectly—that to stay employed or to get favorable treatment the employee must perform a sexual favor.  Sexual harassment is also actionable when an employee or group of employees creates a hostile working environment that is sexually charged and offensive to at least one employee.

Both men and women have the right to be free of sexual harassment and same sex harassment occurs as well.  Claims may also be brought not only against the employer but the individual harasser(s) as well.

To learn more about this area of the law and to discuss the facts of your particular case, contact Bluer & Bluer, LLP.

Many of the clients that seek advice from Bluer & Bluer, LLP have lost their job due to involuntary termination, layoff, constructive discharge, or some other form of resignation. We explain to clients that while the “at will” doctrine is the law in California, there are many ways around this doctrine that allow for substantial recovery to employees.

Bluer & Bluer, LLP is highly skilled in informal severance negotiations, as well as mediation and litigation.  Each case is viewed both from the perspective of our many of years of experience representing employees and employers in a myriad of employment claims, as well as striving to get the result that is right for each client.

Retaliation and whistleblower claims involve an employer taking an adverse action against an employee—often termination—because that employee has opposed an unlawful practice.  Typically, the employer will try to hide their retaliatory intent by saying that whatever action the employer took was due to some business reason.  Bluer & Bluer, LLP is skilled at refuting these employer arguments and fighting for the rights of its clients who stand up for their and their fellow employees’ rights.

Bluer & Bluer, LLP has learned after decades of practice that many cases that involve discrimination also involve retaliation.  Our attorneys will look for all possible theories to utilize to get our clients the maximum recovery for their employment disputes, whether through informal resolution or when necessary, by tough and reasoned litigation.

Know your rights about your pay.  Many employers try to save money by denying their employees their full wages and making them work through their statutory rest and meal periods.  Just because you are paid a monthly salary does not mean you are not entitled to overtime pay, shift premiums, meal periods and rest periods.

Often times, employers misclassify employees as independent contractors, denying them of many wages and employee benefits, including overtime pay.

Both federal and state laws require employees to take action within certain time limits, called statutes of limitations.   If you take legal action on time, you may be able to recover unpaid wages, overtime, missed meal period and rest period penalties equal to one hour of your regular wage, pre-judgment interest, and other penalties.

Bluer & Bluer, LLP, has expertise in the following wage claims:

Misclassification of non-exempt employees

Misclassification of independent contractors

Unpaid Overtime

Missed Meal and Rest Periods

Bluer & Bluer, LLP will resolve wage claims as appropriate by negotiations, before the California Labor Commissioner and in court.

With some exceptions, employers with 50 or more employees must provide employees who have worked for them at least a year with 12 weeks of unpaid leave to attend to the employee’s own serious health condition or the health condition of a close family member.  Unfortunately, some employers do not provide the statutory leave or take action against employees who exercise their rights under the federal Family Medical and Leave Act (“FMLA”) or the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”).  In some cases, employers even terminate employees who have taken FMLA/CFRA leave, claiming of course some other supposed business reason.

Bluer & Bluer, LLP has litigated many FMLA/CFRA claims and can provide advice, counsel, and legal representation on these claims.

Under both the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and the California Fair Employment & Housing Act, most employers have a legal duty to provide a reasonable accommodation to their disabled employees.  Employees with both physical and mental disabilities are protected by these laws.  Reasonable accommodations may include: providing unpaid leave, modification of job duties, part-time work, time off for treatment, job coaches, changes in work stations, telecommuting, assistance with some job duties, or even the elimination of non-essential job duties.  Bluer & Bluer, LLP is very knowledgeable about this complex area of the law and has handled all types of failure to accommodate claims, including claims where employers fail to properly “engage in the interactive process.”  The law separately requires employers to engage in the interactive process to determine a reasonable accommodation for an employee so that employee is able to work with a disability or disabilities.  When an employer fails to engage in the interactive process, or when the employer prematurely terminates the interactive process, an employee can sometimes recover damages.

Failure to accommodate cases may turn on whether the employer faces an “undue hardship” when presented with a request for accommodation.  These factual disputes require competent and experienced counsel to fight for the employee’s rights in the face of what are often unsubstantiated defenses by the employer.

Bluer & Bluer, LLP helps clients at all stages of the contractual relationship: drafting, interpreting, and asserting a breach of a contract.  Clients frequently seek advice from Bluer & Bluer, LLP when they have a new offer letter or employment agreement.  Knowing that the employer’s attorneys have drafted the proposed offer letter or employment agreement, employees rely on Bluer & Bluer, LLP’s expertise in making sure that the offer letters and employment agreements are not one-sided and unfair.

Bluer & Bluer, LLP is also very experienced in the law of unfair competition and making sure that Confidentiality, Proprietary, Non-Disclosure, and Non-Competition agreements are not in violation of California’s general prohibition against “non competes” that prevent an employee from practicing his or her vocation.

Should a dispute arise that requires mediation, arbitration or litigation, Bluer & Bluer, LLP is there to help and to represent its clients get a favorable outcome.

Not every case involves a wrongful termination or an employee leaving their current employment.  Sometimes, employees need help understanding their rights under a Commissions Agreement or Incentive Plan.  Bluer & Bluer, LLP routinely represents clients by negotiation, hearings before the California Labor Commissioner, and in court, where employees allege a breach of a Commissions Agreement, Incentive Plan, of other agreement that provides a bonus.
Many clients retain Bluer & Bluer, LLP’s in the area of severance negotiations.  These employees need help knowing whether their employer’s severance agreement is fair.  Bluer & Bluer, LLP provides sound guidance in assessing the fairness of all the provisions in the proposed agreements, based upon what is “best practices” for all areas of employment throughout the Bay Area.  Bluer & Bluer, LLP generally has a better insight into what is “possible” than most other firms, due in substantial part to the large volume of severance agreements the firm has reviewed over decades of practice in San Francisco.

Bluer & Bluer, LLP will conduct a thorough intake of the applicable facts to determine what “leverage” an employee might have to get the most favorable monetary severance possible without having to pursue litigation, except where the employer leaves the employee no choice but to sue.  The firm also advises clients on important non-monetary clauses to include in severance agreements, as well, based upon Bluer & Bluer, LLP’s years of experience in reviewing all types of language that employers have agreed to in the past.

Do not go unrepresented in your severance negotiations.  Bluer & Bluer, LLP specializes in severance negotiations and is here to help.

The area of Hostile Working Environment is an offshoot of discrimination law.  In essence, an employer cannot create a hostile working environment based upon a protected characteristic such as race, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, veteran status, gender identity, and pregnancy.  When an employee is subjected to this type of illegal harassment, he or she may recover substantial emotional distress and punitive damages, even if there is no monetary loss.

Bluer & Bluer, LLP has handled many cases with hostile working environment claims. Let Bluer & Bluer, LLP, represent you to either stop the harassment from occurring, or to get you out of the environment with a fair settlement or court judgment, if necessary.


Protecting Your Rights

As an employee, you have the right to be treated fairly by your employer. If you believe that your employer may have violated the law in its dealings with you, contact Bluer & Bluer, LLP to seek advice from an employment law professional. Bluer & Bluer, LLP is happy to meet with you one-on-one to discuss your case and provide you with guidance so that you can take measures to resolve your employment dispute.

Don’t be afraid to stand up for your rights as an employee. Call Bluer & Bluer, LLP today for help.