PRACTICE AREAS

Katherine's specialties cover counseling, compliance, negotiation, and litigation for a wide variety of Labor & Employment matters.

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WAGE AND HOUR

Katherine provides thoughtful advice on a wide range of wage and hour issues governed by California and federal law, including:

  • Overtime and minimum wage rules
  • Commission disputes
  • Exemption tests
  • Employee vs independent contractor classification
  • Meal breaks and rest periods
  • Alternative work schedules
  • Wage records and notices
  • Payments of accrued vacation

Katherine represents clients in state and federal courts in wage and hour litigation as well as before administrative agencies, such as the Department of Labor and California Labor Commissioner’s Office.  She has successfully litigated several wage and hour class actions, including lawsuits involving California Private Attorney General Act (PAGA) claims and allegations of misclassification, non-payment of overtime, and meal/rest break violations.

DISCRIMINATION, HARASSMENT, AND RETALIATION

Katherine counsels clients concerning federal and state equal opportunity laws, including Title VII, the American Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).

She has specific expertise in helping clients respond to employee requests for medical or family leave and identify reasonable accommodations, if any, for employees with disabilities.  She also assists employers as they engage in the interactive process with the employee and his/her health practitioner.

Katherine represents clients in state and federal courts as well as administrative agencies (such as the EEOC and DFEH), concerning claims of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.  She has had tremendous success in resolving matters at the administrative level before they transition to lawsuits. She also has managed third party investigations of sexual harassment claims and helped clients resolve claims as they arise, without any litigation.

UNFAIR COMPETITION

Katherine counsels clients with respect to the enforceability of non-solicitation and non-compete agreements, particularly out-of-state agreements signed by executives seeking to work in California. She advises businesses on protecting their trade secrets and confidential information. She has successfully litigated claims of misappropriation or unfair competition by negotiating reasonable settlements that minimize alleged theft of trade secrets and confidential information.

PERSONNEL DECISION, EMPLOYMENT POLICIES, AND TRAINING

Katherine assists businesses as they make important decisions concerning hiring, firing, and managing the performance of employees, particularly those within protected classes. She understands that the success of a business depends on a productive, cohesive workforce. She appreciates the costs of litigation and potential liabilities associated with certain employment decisions. Her advice to clients balances such competing factors, and she works closely with her clients to come up with solutions that best fit their needs and circumstances. She is adept at crafting performance improvement plans and preparing severance agreements that minimize litigation risks.

Katherine also has advises clients on whether they are covered by the Federal or California Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) and helps them implement reductions-in-force in compliance with WARN requirements.

Katherine’s practice includes helping clients create and update employment policies, handbooks, and mandated notices. She also offers in-person training to employees and supervisors concerning the prevention of unlawful discrimination, harassment and retaliation. She also provides training to human resources personnel and supervisors concerning leave laws.

GENERAL LITIGATION

With over 10 years of general litigation experience, Katherine helps clients defend or prosecute contract, real estate, and business tort disputes, and she leverages technology to litigate her cases in a cost-effective way.  Katherine has successfully resolved a broad range of general business matters, including:

  • disputes concerning business partnerships, guaranty agreements, leasing and/or purchase agreements, and other contracts;
  • fraudulent conveyance, eminent domain, premises liability, and nuisance actions; and
  • lawsuits involving claims of fraud, false advertising, interference with contract, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

One such case involved the successful defense of a grocery store in a jury trial. Not only did Katherine help secure a verdict in favor of the defense, she helped her client win an attorneys’ fee award.