Employment & Labor

Exceptional service doesn’t just happen

Employment & Labor

When Haight says “we know California,” our employment & labor counsel serves as case in point.

We know California employers, and national companies with California workforces, manage a regulatory compliance burden distinct from any in the nation.

We know employers’ challenges because we have worked on the other side of the table. Haight attorneys have previously worked in corporate human resources departments and served in-house at the National Labor Relations Board.

Haight knows employers’ legal issues do not usually fit neatly into a 9 to 5 day.

For clients, that means when you call late in the day with a severance agreement requiring a quick turnaround the next day, or need immediate guidance on a social media-generated crisis, we are on it. Employers have access to their Haight employment & labor attorney whenever needed.

Federal and state employment litigation and representation before government agencies throughout California is our practice emphasis. This ranges from preventive counseling and pre-claim investigations to individual EEOC claims, class actions, and trial and appellate court representation. Haight counsels public and private sector employers with workforces of all sizes. We defend wage and hour lawsuits in court, including class actions, which involve issues such as overtime, missed meal and rest break periods, prevailing wages, and wage statements.

Round-the-Clock Defense of Public and Private California Employers
Our clients are employers in public sector and private enterprises, ranging from municipal fire and water districts and other governmental entities, to educational institutions, Fortune 500 manufacturers, retailers and small business owners.

Attuned to the California and federal law parameters in which our clients operate, Haight attorneys manage the risks and diversion of resources associated with employment claims.

Haight’s employment & labor law team functions as on-the-ground, on-call advisors and litigators throughout the state. Our practical perspective is buoyed by a litigation bench poised to back up any strategic pre-trial positioning and courtroom challenge.

We share our clients’ litigation priorities: prevailing should litigation arise, and preventing its occurrence when possible. Haight sponsors numerous employment-related educational seminars and trainings to help clients succeed in this goal. Our attorneys include state-approved prevention of sexual harassment AB 1825 trainers, lecturers on diversity and bias in the workplace, and accredited instructors on all aspects of employment law, sexual harassment, discrimination, labor, and wage and hour litigation.

  • Areas of Employment and Labor Services
  • Workers' Compensation
  • Employment & Labor Client Successes
  • Client Testimonials
  • The iComp Calculator
  • U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
  • Department of Fair Employment & Housing (DFEH)
  • Discrimination – Disability, Race, Age, Gender, Sexual Orientation, Religion
  • Harassment, Wrongful Termination, Retaliation
  • Wage and Hour, Misclassification – Individual and Class Action
  • Whistleblower Claims
  • Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)
  • Family and Medical Leave Act and California Family Rights Act
  • Americans With Disabilities Act
  • The Unruh Civil Rights Act
  • California and Federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN)
  • Furlough and Lay-off Strategies
  • Trade Secret Misappropriation
  • Employment Contracts
  • Severance Agreements
  • Employment Counseling
  • Employee Handbooks, Policies, Guidance
  • Workplace Security and Privacy Rights
  • Investigations
  • Social Media Policies and Practices
  • Workers’ Compensation
  • Claims of Discrimination Under LC 132a
  • Claims of Serious and Willful Misconduct

Haight Brown & Bonesteel’s Workers’ Compensation practice group specializes in the defense of workers’ compensation issues for a wide range of clients. Our attorneys have accumulated more than 50 years of experience in the field.

The firm’s practice includes defense of all aspects of workers’ compensation, including §132a discrimination claims, claims for serious and willful misconduct, and defense of independent contractors before the WCAB. Our expertise includes representation in civil indemnification and subrogation. The practice group is an integral part of the firm’s employment law group, ensuring that there is close coordination and attention to the issues that affect a client’s exposure to actions under the Fair Employment and Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Our clients include self-insured employers, with and without third-party administrators, employers who maintain high retention levels requiring strict oversight of their claims, insurance carriers, construction companies, public school districts (including K-12), community colleges and small businesses operating under employee leasing programs or who work with independent contractors. We count among our clients multiple Fortune 500 companies, including Chevron Corporation, Mattel, Inc., Southern California Gas Company, Kiewit, Crete Carrier,  and Northrop-Grumman. We have longstanding relationships representing insurance companies such as Hudson Insurance and Continental Casualty Company.  We are also proud to represent sophisticated local and small businesses who focus resources on reducing their workers’ compensation costs, including Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, ACI Last Mile, and ISYS.

The firm’s workers’ compensation partners are Certified Specialists in Workers’ Compensation Law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. Our attorneys appear before the workers’ compensation appeals board throughout California. Our approach to this area of law is to identify each client’s needs individually. Working closely with the client, we devise planning and litigation strategies that are appropriate for that client’s workforce, litigation philosophy and insurance program.


Discrimination/$6.2 Million Verdict Reversed: The California Court of Appeal for the Second District reversed and remanded a $6.2 million judgment against the City of Los Angeles in a discrimination lawsuit filed by African-American lesbian firefighter, Brenda Lee. The reversal of the judgment also wiped out the $600,000 attorney fee award to plaintiff’s counsel. The Court of Appeal agreed with the City that that plaintiff’s failure to exhaust her administrative remedies regarding her termination was a jurisdictional bar to a civil suit on that claim.

Discrimination/Education: Our client, a public educational institution, faced claims from a project manager of gender discrimination, harassment, retaliation, termination against public policy, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Haight settled the matter favorably prior to trial.

Sexual Harassment/Fire Districts: In our defense of a Shasta Lake fire chief accused of sexually harassing a female district employee, including licking the plaintiff’s face during a work function, we mediated a settlement. We have numerous successes defending fire districts against claims of sexual harassment from employees, and have resolved claims on summary judgment, at trial, and in mediation.

Sexual Harassment/City Transportation: Three lawsuits brought by City of Gardena bus operators claimed our client, the operations manager, sexually harassed the drivers in the workplace. Our litigation strategy included achieving summary judgment in one case and favorably mediating the remaining two.

Sexual Harassment/Individual Defense: Haight attorneys defended a real estate management company in a suit against it by a former employee for sexual harassment. We settled the claim on the first day of trial for an amount substantially below the pre-trial demand.


ADA/Wrongful Termination/Tourette’s Syndrome: A paramedic brought ADA and wrongful termination actions in federal court against the Rancho Cucamonga fire protection district. He claimed he had Tourette’s Syndrome and could not be fired after it was discovered he had prior arrests for lewd conduct with minor girls. The district disagreed and we helped resolve the claim, prevailing early at summary judgment.

Wrongful Termination/Trial Victory: Our client, a drug manufacturer, won a defense verdict at trial involving an employee claiming wrongful termination.

Wrongful Termination /Water District: Haight attorneys defended the Otay Water District in wrongful termination claims made by a recently fired general counsel. After a motion for summary judgment and appellate proceedings, the action settled at trial after motions in limine.

Wrongful Termination/OSHA: After an orbital welder was discharged for poor performance, he claimed he was wrongfully discharged from his employment and discriminated against for making complaints about on-site safety violations. Using summary judgment, we reduced the numerous causes of action for our client, the manufacturer of precision workplace equipment. After a two-day bench trial, we obtained a defense verdict.

Wrongful Termination/Education: A private medical college turned to us to defend a wrongful termination allegation by the former president of the college.


Wage and Hour/Trial Victory: Our client, a manufacturer of scientific equipment, was sued by a former employee, a regional labor manager, who was terminated based upon a safety violation at a job site. Ten months after his termination, the plaintiff submitted revised timecards, which were created substantially after most of the projects upon which he claimed overtime had been completed. When he did not receive compensation for this purported overtime, he filed suit alleging state and federal law overtime and vacation claims, among others. Haight attorneys tried the case to a jury in Boise, Idaho. The jury found that the plaintiff was a “highly paid executive” under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and issued a complete defense verdict for our corporate client.

Wage Claims/Police Dept.: We settled a case brought by a former City of Beaumont police administrator in federal court claiming the city failed to pay certain wages and benefits owed pursuant to contract.

FEHA Violations: When a Los Angeles trade college asked us to defend a slew of claims alleging violations of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), Haight attorneys were able to reach a settlement with the nursing professor plaintiff prior to a trial.

Misclassification: In our defense of a national company in a misclassification case, we successfully drafted and argued a summary judgment motion.

Rest and Meal Breaks: Haight attorneys successfully defended a Labor Commissioner against claims by a housekeeping company for failing to provide rest and meal breaks to its employees.


Disability Retirement: A Carpentaria Summerland Fire Protection District firefighter/paramedic was placed on leave after an off-duty accident. He filed for disability retirement claiming he could no longer perform his duties due to emotional distress after years of handling emergency calls. His retirement application was subsequently denied and he sought reinstatement of his firefighter/paramedic position, plus more than three years of back wages and benefits, although his certification had lapsed. In our representation of the district, we achieved summary judgment as the plaintiff had never been dismissed for a disability.

Retaliation: We guided our client, the Orange County Fire Authority, in its summary judgment victory against a firefighter’s allegations of retaliation, assault and battery, petition for writ of mandate and injunctive and declaratory relief.

Whistleblower: In a wrongful termination and whistleblower employment case in Oregon, we successfully argued and won a state court summary judgment motion.

Labor Unions: Haight attorneys have represented and defended employers in union grievances and in contract negotiations with unions operating across various trades and industries.

Breach of Employment Contract: We defended an employer in claims of breach of written and oral employment contracts. All causes of action except breach of oral contract were removed from the case by summary adjudication. We ultimately achieved a defense decision and a cost bill paid by the plaintiff.

Commission Claims: Haight successfully represented a national software development company in defeating an employee’s claims, through the appellate level, for post-termination commissions. This case resulted in a published decision by the Court of Appeals. [American Software, Inc. v. Ali (1996) 46 Cal.App.4th 1386].

Trade Secret Misappropriations: In our defense of an employer against the company’s former president, we obtained a preliminary injunction in a misappropriation of trade secrets case.

“We appreciate your firm’s professionalism and approachability, genuinely like the lawyers and staff, and consider you one of our true business partners. Your work sells itself. Feel free to use that for a testimonial someplace if you’d like.” David Neumeister, Sr. Vice President, Corporate Secretary & General Counsel, HDI-Gerling America Insurance Company


Never be without a schedule of California’s permanent disability values again. The iComp Calculator by Haight Brown & Bonesteel LLP displays the compensation rate and permanent disability value for any date of injury after 1983. You provide the average weekly earnings and it calculates the TTD rate and PD rate. You provide the percentage of permanent disability; the App calculates the number of weeks of payment, the lump sum value of permanent disability and, where appropriate, the life pension weekly rate for percentages up to 99.75%. You can’t inadvertently use a permanent disability rate out of range for the date of injury, because the application shows the range permitted for each disability percentage and date.

This tool replaces all the charts and folders practitioners have had to carry around to obtain permanent disability values in California’s complex system. The calculator is a short-cut that makes PD charts and tables obsolete. And, it works off-line! Try it free for 30 days from the iTunes store at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/icomp-calculator/id704045365?mt=8, then purchase it for $4.99 if you want to continue to use it to save time and effort. The App will be updated with the 2014 rates before the end of 2013.

Caution is of course required when using the App, and no legal opinion is expressed in providing this application or the results it returns. Each user remains entirely and solely responsible for the proper use of the application, for confirming that the data used is accurate, and for confirming that the answers provided by the application conform to all the applicable provisions of the California Labor Code. Neither Haight Brown & Bonesteel LLP nor TZT&C LLC warrant the accuracy of the results nor the proper use of the application.

No liability will be assumed by the publisher, writer or sponsor of the application for its proper use or accuracy.


I need help on how to use the App, how do I get instructions?

Please send your questions regarding operating the App to tpenny@hbblaw.com.

I have problems loading the App or it keeps hanging up on my iPhone or iPad, where can I go for technical advice?

Please send your technical questions about operating the App in the iOS environment to glazed4@yahoo.com.

I have a question about California workers’ compensation law, can you help me?

Please direct all questions about workers’ compensation law to tpenny@hbblaw.com.

Does the App calculate the life pension rate for the years following December 31 of the year in which the Life Pension starts?

No. The law provides that “For injuries occurring on or after January 1, 2003, an employee who becomes entitled to receive a life pension or total permanent disability indemnity . . . shall have that payment increased annually commencing on January 1, 2004, and each January 1 thereafter . . .”. Labor Code Section 4659(c). The App does not contain the data nor do the calculation for applying that increase.

Will the App reflect future changes in permanent disability?

Yes. The data to provide the permanent disability for each year after the year of purchase will be available to all paid App subscribers on or before January 1 of that year.

I would like to retain your firm to represent my company in a workers’ compensation matter, who should I contact?

Please direct all inquires for representation to tpenny@hbblaw.com.