Clarifying day-to-day issues is an important piece of your Great Workplace puzzle...

 

S&F

Even The Most Careful Workplaces Can Make Costly Wage and Hour Mistakes

California and federal laws on how and when to pay employees (and what to tell employees about their pay) may seem straightforward, but actually are complicated and full of risk, even for the most savvy employer. And what we know is that companies across the U.S., and particularly in California, are inundated with wage and hour claims. And unfortunately even the smallest of errors quickly can escalate into expensive litigation. Schor Vogelzang wants to protect our clients from this risk. In response to the astronomical increase in these claims, our Firm created a multi-pronged legal services program to address wage and hour practices holistically, from the beginning of the employment relationship to the end. Our experienced lawyers, who have both counseled and litigated these claims for decades,

  • Provide counseling to our clients on all day-to-day items regarding wage and hour laws and compliance to help them avoid expensive mistakes and understand the applicable laws;
  • Educate our clients (including all levels of company stakeholders, from line employees to management to board members) on compliance and correct day to day practices;
  • Audit existing practices to identify areas of risk, and to create compliance programs to reduce that risk;
  • Apply our deep and broad experience to defend against wage and hour class and collective lawsuits, as well as government enforcement actions, including claims for:
    • Missed meal and rest breaks
    • Off-the-Clock work
    • Inaccurate pay stubs
    • Failure to properly pay overtime (including overtime on a bonus or other additional compensation)
    • Unpaid minimum wages
    • Misclassification of exempt status
    • Independent contractor status
    • Equipment/uniform/business expense reimbursements
    • Reporting time pay
    • Standby/on-call time
    • Class action waivers in arbitration agreements
  • Finally, we litigate appeal issues in such cases.

 

Our Defense of Wage and Hour Claims

We start by learning our clients' needs and the goals of their business models, and then assist our clients in complying with the law and with crafting strategies to defend against wage and hour cases in a manner that is consistent with our clients' business ethos. We have honed the defense plan by creating a comprehensive defense strategy for each stage of each class action, and often utilize attorneys' particular skill sets for each stage. For example, our team has skilled attorneys who focus on discovery and keenly understand the discovery phase of complex litigation. These practitioners craft a discovery plan that highlights the clients' strengths in support of class discovery. Our legal writers are gifted at defeating conditional and final certification of collective, representative and class actions via thoughtful, efficient motion writing. We also have in-house talent who creates class member and damages models that are used in defense of the litigation.

 

Our Response to Government Enforcement Actions

California employers have experienced a marked rise of Private Attorney General Act (PAGA) claims brought by plaintiffs' firms. Our team is adept at handling this unique law, and, like with the class/collective action model, we have created a strategy aimed at defeating or severely minimizing PAGA claims. The federal and state governments have significantly increased their attention on these issues, and many agencies now actively investigate and enforcing companies' compliance with federal and state wage and hour laws. Our team is experienced with defending such actions, and we have in place a streamlined response plan that is utilized when the government knocks at our clients' doors. We provide training on the front end in an effort to button up companies' practices and policies, and so that our clients are armed with knowledge on what to do if the government shows up at their doorstep.

Once the government formally initiates an investigation, our team steps in to guide the process in responding to a government agency that seeks to gather information and conduct witness interviews in their assessment of compliance with wage and hour laws. We partner with businesses in defending against these claims, and have worked with the government countless times to reach resolution for our clients.

 

Audit, Compliance & Training to Protect Your Company

The team provides meaningful tools and resources to clients who want to address wage and hour issues proactively. Participation in this program will not only enhance a company's compliance with wage and hour laws, but can be used as a defense in any litigation where the company is accused of "ignoring" or "purposely" violating wage and hour laws. There are three parts to the program:

  • Audit. The Firm conducts audits on all wage and hour issues, as needed or requested. If the client prefers to conduct the audit, the Firm provides guidance and tools to enable the client to conduct a comprehensive and effective audit. Such audits include items such as: meal and rest breaks; background checks, leave administration, pay issues, classification of employees, pay stubs, sick pay and gender/racial pay equity issues.
  • Compliance. The Firm provides compliance tools and systems to enable the company to obtain compliance, and to remain in compliance.
  • Training. The Firm provides training to all levels of company personnel in order to educate staff and management on compliance with policies and practices.

 

Day to Day Counseling to Reduce Risk

In addition to the counseling services provided as part of the wage and hour compliance program, we provide comprehensive day to day counseling services to clients on understanding the wage and hour laws, and applying them mindfully.

 

Schor Vogelzang LLP

Partnering to create your great workplace!

600 B Street, Suite 2200, San Diego, CA 92101
P: 619.906.2400 F: 619.906.2401

 

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