Employment Issues

At the Law Office of Jerome B. Smith, Jerry helps employers with a wide variety of employment-related issues. Mr. Smith has extensive experience in preparing employee handbooks and conducting the seminars required by law on avoiding sexual harassment, discrimination and hostile workplace issues. The law firm regularly advises employers on techniques to avoid potential wrongful discharge, discrimination and other employment-related claims.

Jerry's true value to his employer clients is in avoiding problems before they arise or, at the beginning stages, to rectify any problems that exist. This is particularly important in the employment context since California laws and, often the administrative agencies that administer them, are extremely pro-employee.

For example, most employers are not aware that if you fail to pay an employee all of the wages due (either in a particular pay period or upon termination), including commissions, vacation, et cetera that California law imposes against the employer a waiting penalty of up to 30 days' salary for the employee, regardless of the size of the compensation withheld. This means that if an employer fails to pay an employee $50, it can potentially be liable for a full month's salary and benefits (including commissions or accrued bonuses) to that employee. In most cases, a brief consultation with the Law Office of Jerome B. Smith will assist in avoiding such pitfalls.

Employers often need to know how far they can go in asking an employee to sign a confidentiality agreement. Many agreements run afoul of the California Supreme Court's prohibition on non-competition agreements and risk being declared invalid in their entirety. Many employers may want to enter into a written agreement with certain employees and still maintain the right to terminate an employee with or without having to prove "cause."

In California, the employment-related laws change yearly. An outdated employee handbook that misstates the law is a trap for the unwary. The Law Office of Jerome B. Smith can help to review and update your employee manual and other employee practices.

In these difficult economic times, many employers have no choice but to lay off employees so that the business can survive. Seeking legal advice before the layoff is vital to minimize or avoid the chance of later claims.

At the Law Office of Jerome B. Smith, initial consultations are always free. Jerry will be able to tell you whether your company faces exposure from employee claims, or whether you are fully compliant. Even professional human resource directors, while vital to the operations of your company, cannot adequately advise you regarding many of the California employment issues.