Practice Areas

Employment Litigation

Tyson & Mendes represents management in employment disputes in state and federal court, and before federal and state administrative agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Fair Employment & Housing, and the National Labor Relations Board. With an emphasis on initially focusing their energy on providing early and accurate assessments of the risks and costs involved in litigating cases, we are able to consistently formulate winning strategies for clients, whether through settlement, motion practice, mediation or trial.

The firm’s philosophy is that effective representation at trial is often the product of an effective pre-trial practice. In some cases, strategically planned and well-crafted motions resolve the case before trial. In others, motions pare down the issues to be tried and allow for the strategic removal (or inclusion) of portions of the case which may assist a jury in rendering a verdict in the client’s favor.

Because litigation can often exact an emotional toll on an employer’s work force as well as present large monetary costs, we often recommend that management employ one or more alternative dispute resolution procedures. While these different tools range from stipulated binding arbitrations to private mediations, they are all designed to bring the client the best possible result within an appropriate time frame. Sometimes, management’s goals are best served by an early resolution, but other times litigation is necessary. Bearing in mind the client’s goals, we work hard to tailor our representation to assist management in the effective running of its business rather than forcing it to shift its focus to litigation.

Well-considered pre-litigation advice is essential in assisting management in making employment decisions designed to avoid litigation or to minimize the impact of unfortunate planning. When accusations of sexual or other harassment, substance abuse or similar problems arise, we assist management in conducting appropriate, legal and thorough internal investigations. After the presentation of the conclusion of such an investigation, management can rest assured that it is making its decision after having had the best opportunity to weigh the risks and benefits of its options. In addition to drafting general policies and forms, we routinely assist management in accomplishing the separation of employees from the company with effective documentation and severance agreements.

Posts about Employment Litigation

Employer Does Not Need To Have “Discriminatory Intent” To Found Liable For Disability Discrimination

Date: June 16, 2016

In Wallace v. County of Stanislaus (2016) 199 Cal.Rptr.3d 462, a sheriff’s deputy brought a disability discrimination case against a County based on the County’s removing the sheriff’s deputy from his job as a bailiff, and placing him on an unpaid leave of absence based on an assessment the sheriff’s deputy could not safely perform his job duties as a bailiff. On appeal, the appellate court reversed the trial court’s decision to issue a jury instruction defining discriminatory animus in the context of an employer’s intent to discriminate against a disabled employee, finding it was not necessary to prove intent to discriminate.

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California Supreme Court Overturns Well Settled Rule Relating To Prevailing Defendant In Cases Filed Under The Fair Employment And Housing Act (“FEHA”)

Date: June 9, 2015

In a disturbing case for companies sued by employees/former employees under FEHA, and who considered the prevailing party post-trial, the California Supreme Court (in Williams v. Chino Valley Independent Fire District (May 2015) No. S213100) found a prevailing defendant under FEHA is not automatically entitled to their costs of suit. In Williams, the plaintiff was […]

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Pregnant Women in the Workforce

Date: April 7, 2015

A recent decision from the U.S. Supreme Court held pregnant workers may claim the same accommodations which employers grant to similarly restricted workers. In Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc. 134 S. Ct. 2898 (U.S. 2014), Peggy Young (“Young”) was employed as a delivery driver for the United Parcel Service (“UPS”). In 2006, she became […]

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Record $186 Million AutoZone Verdict Unlikely To Withstand Judicial Review

Date: November 25, 2014

On November 17, 2014, a California federal jury awarded $185 million in punitive damages to a San Diego woman who alleged she was fired by AutoZone Stores, Inc. after she complained she was demoted following the birth of her child. The $186 million award is believed to be the largest employment law verdict for an individual in U.S. history. The record award, however, is likely to be reduced on appeal.

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The Use of Collateral Estoppel After Arbitration

Date: October 16, 2014

While collateral estoppel can be a powerful, evidentiary tool, it is not without limitations. Given the growing use of arbitration as a litigation alternative, the question arises whether an arbitration award can be used to assert collateral estoppel in a subsequent lawsuit?

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NLRB’s General Counsel Opines Franchisor Can Be Liable For Unfair Labor Practices Under “Joint Employer” Standard

Date: September 9, 2014

The California Supreme Court recently ruled franchisor Domino’s Pizza could not be held liable for sexual harassment claims brought by a former employee of a franchisee because the franchisor was not a “joint employer” of the former employee (Patterson v. Domino’s). Taking a contradictory approach, the General Counsel’s office for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has authorized charges against McDonald’s in its capacity as a franchisor.

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Hiring Domestic Help: A Trap for the Unwary

Date: August 26, 2014

There are risks when you employ domestic help. When a person brings someone into their home to perform domestic services, there could be an assumption that domestic help is immune from tax laws, wage/hour regulations, etc… Nothing could be further from the truth. In this article, we will discuss commonly used domestic help and corresponding pitfalls.

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