Employment Legal Issues

Parent Q&A

Attorney for unemployment court action Dec 17, 2020 (1 responses below)
Employment Attorney Aug 5, 2016 (1 responses below)
  • Attorney for unemployment court action

    (1 reply)

    Can someone recommend an attorney skilled in court actions against the EDD? When my husband applied they did not properly account for his out of state wages so the weekly benefit amount calculated was far too low and for only 13 weeks. We tried appealing to an EDD administrative law judge but the process was awful and we are not hopeful about the outcome.

    Any recommendations? I see a few here but nothing recent. Thank you!!

    Joe Breen, 415-602-4848, is a fantastic employment law attorney and also teaches employment law at UCB Extension.

  • Employment Attorney

    (1 reply)

    I am a Small Business owner seeking to get some advice on dealing with an ex-employee who quit her job and is claiming/collecting unemployment.

    RE: Employment Attorney ()

    You should call Spencer Young 510-645-1585. He has assisted me in my business regarding employment law issues. He's dedicated to helping employers deal with claims and take the necessary steps to best avoid future claims of this nature. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Attorney specializing in unemployment claims

Feb 2013

I lost my job within a few weeks of having my baby. I received SDI, Paid Family Leave, and I applied for unemployment insurance. A week after I had my baby, I completed one final week of work to tie up loose ends before being laid off. I received a call from an umemployment worker after I sent my first unemployment claim. He said he thought my eligibility period started earlier than I had thought it would based on my understanding of SDI and Paid Family Leave. He said to complete the unemployment claim forms when I received them, which I did. However, his calculation of when I should receive the unemployment benefits was incorrect and resulted in a period of time in which I received Paid Family Leave and unemployment benefits at the same time. Between sleep deprivation and juggling life with a new baby and a two-year-old, I did not catch the overlap in dates. I just received a letter from the EDD saying I provided incorrect information. My unemployment insurance eligibility is being terminated, I am being fined over $900 and am being asked to repay the unemployment insurance I received. I am filing an appeal. I am wondering if anyone has any experience with the appeals process in terms of whether I should hire an attorney to assist and if so, please provide recommendations on who. Thank you! made an honest mistake

Diana Maier is an employment attorney who works for both employers and employees, including court actions, when needed. She can probably give you some input on how to resolve this. Reach her at www.dianamaierlaw.com (diana [at] dianamaierlaw.com) or her cell: 415-515-1707. . SP in Berkeley

Suing my employer for sexual harassment

Aug 2012

Unfortunately, in order to protect my livelihood I need to explore suing my employer for sexual harassment. Anybody know a good lawyer for this type of thing? Single working mom

I'm sorry to hear that you are having to take this path, but good for you for standing up for your rights. I would strongly recommend that you contact David Harris with North Bay Law Group http://www.northbaylawgroup.com/index.html . He is incredibly smart, caring, easy to work with and invested in the best interest of his clients. His office is in Marin but he takes clients all around the Bay Area. Good luck! Anna

I highly recommend Arcolina Panto. Arcolina specializes in Employment law, particularly related to Human Rights. Arcolina gave fantastic guidance for a family member of mine whose layoff was questionable. A friend of mine also just requested her expertise for an employment contract case. He is very pleased with their progress. Arcolina also just negotiated Kellogg Company into paying her client for an employee rights violation! Arcolina Panto Attorney at Law 510-658-2500 Good luck! Tara

Can Anyone Recommend a Good Employment Lawyer?

June 2012

I have a friend whose employer may be acting in violation of his rights, specifically with regard to disciplinary proceedings they've initiated against him. Can anyone recommend a good employment lawyer, preferably one with reasonable rates? We'd love to consult with one or two attorneys who can give us a clear and accurate picture of the pros and cons of a lawsuit in this situation.

Start with labor attorney David Wolf (davidwolfwest [at] mac.com). He's a local good guy. http://goo.gl/D6sWU . SP

Lawyer for Kaiser employment issue

May 2012

Would anyone be able to recommend a laywer that has experience with Kaiser and employment and suspension and Last chance agreement kit

I can recommend Rae Lovko; she has employment/labor law experience and seems like she would be a good fit for you. She is honest, diligent, and conscientious and I've found her to be a great listener. Here's a link to her website: http://www.lovkoandking.com/employmentlabor-law.html Good luck! laura

Wrongful Termination Lawyer

April 2011

My husband was fired after he had filed a complaint with The Department of Fair Housing and Employment because of how he was treated at work. We believe that discrimination played a major role. It is a large (world wide) company. He has received his Right to Sue letter. Would greatly appreciate a recommendation for good lawyers who have dealt with this kind of case. Thank you!

Hi, I'm a consultant who works with attorneys, including plaintiff employment attorneys. I would highly recommend: Jean Hyams or any of the other attorneys at Dickson Levy Vinck Burrell Hyams http://www.dicksonlevy.com/ And/or Karen Bernston http://www.berntsonlaw.com/ You can also use the California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA) as a resource if these aren't a good fit. Best of luck.

Attorney - age discrimination, ADA

July 2010

I am over 50 and sort of changing careers - going from a lower level health care job to a provider role and I hear comments here and there from graduate faculty, from preceptors, from other providers, about my ''age'' (how old are you?) and ''health'' (I have a visible spinal deformity). I have overheard comments about candidates for positions along the line of ''how old is she? how long will she work before she retires? we need someone a lot younger!'' Also I am running into this same problem getting hired in a lower level health care position (RN) in a tight job market, so I am living on unemployment (for 3 more weeks anyway unless Congress renews it). I feel these comments are illegal, intrusive into my personal medical history, and discriminatory, as they can be used negatively against me in evaluations and recommendations. Possibly these are attitudes that will be held against me when I look for a provider job, and this scares me. I am changing careers partly so I CAN keep working until I drop dead (no retirement, very little if nonexistent SS, ) as I will be physically unable to keep working as a lower level health care worker for much longer, but WILL be able to do, much easier, as a provider.

So I decided I should consult with an attorney experienced in job hiring regarding age discrimination and in ADA law, such as discrimination based on a perceived handicap, to see how I can best approach these issues both in job interviewing, and after I am hired -- how can I best respond and handle these questions? People can refuse to hire you for any reason at all, and you will never know if it's because you are ''too old'' or ''look funny'', but I want to know what I can do, proactively, to protect myself. I know there are many disability activists in the SFBA and presume there are attorneys there who can advise on this. Anonymous

A wonderful person, and a wonderful attorney, is Craig Moody in San Francisco. He has great wisdom and unfailing principles. Sued and Won

I recommend Barbara Guiffre (San Francisco) who is an excellent employment attorney. Extremely smart and ethical. She is my husband's former classmate and a personal friend. best of luck

I know of a wonderful attorney-Cheryl Knoll. She works at De La Housaye and Associates. Her # is 925-944-3300 Debbie

I am an attorney who specializes in employment law and can talk about the quagmire of the age and disability issues and develop some application strategies. It is true that no employer is stupid enough to tell you he will not hire you because you are too old. (If it were only that easy). But there are inferences to watch out for, how to design your resume and such. Cheers Lori

I would recommend that you talk to Sonya Smallets on your potential ADA claim. Here is the link: http://www.lawless- lawless.com/Bio/SonyaSmallets.asp She is at Lawless and Lawless, a female owned and run San Francisco law firm that specializes in employment discrimination and wrongful termination. Sonya is brilliant. She went to law school with me at Berkeley and graduated the top of her class and I can't say enough about her as an attorney. Stefanie

For the writer looking for help with disability and age discrimination in hiring and other tricky situations: Susan Gibbs is great. She has a experience with helping people with disabilities and their families (special education and estate planning, too), inspired because she has a disabled adult child. She helped us with some similar issues, and it worked out really well for us. She's in the city. Try her at susan_gibbs [at] mac.com or 415-615-2271. Grateful

My brother, an attorney, can help you with this. He used to work w/ the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunities Commission) his email is jbryant [at] gmail.com and tel # is 415.420.4738. His name is Joel Bryant and is starting his own practice and may be able to cut you a break. Best of luck, Jennifer

Filing a wrongful termination lawsuit

August 2005

Does anyone know anything about filing a wrongful termination lawsuit? I would like it if anyone can offer any information on steps I can take to start a legal investigation. Any lawyers or law students that can offer help, please help me. Thank you. Good worker but heart broken

There are at least two places you can call: The Employment Law Center 415-864-8848 OR if you are female (your posting didn't make mention of gender) you could call the Golden Gate Women's Employment Law Clinic which is 415-442- 6647. Good luck. Mariana

Hi -- Your question is a little too broad to give advice, so I thought I'd write in with some good sources of information. If you think you are the victim of discrimination, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which enforces federal anti-discrimination laws, is a good source of information. You can find it on the web at www.eeoc.gov. Or you could call the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which enforces state anti-discrimination laws. Nolo Press (www.nolo.com) has some good information about your rights in the workplace. Just click on the ''rights and disputes'' tab at the top of the homepage and scroll down to ''employee rights.'' Also, if you are a woman, there is a nonprofit in SF called Equal Rights Advocates that has a hotline you can call for free information. You can find them on the web at www.equalrights.org. And if you are looking for an attorney to consult with, I recommend the lawyers at Siegel and LeWitter in Oakland. I used to be an attorney there, and they are top notch. They have an attorney assigned to take calls from prospective clients who can give you an idea of what to do. Good luck. Former workers' rights attorney

I used to work for Douglas Kahn, an employment law attorney in San Rafael, and can recommend him highly. From the situation you described, it sounds like something he could help you with. When you call, you will speak to his assistant, who will ask about the facts of the case. If it's something that Doug can help you with, he will get in touch with you promptly and talk to you about your options. He does both plaintiff and defense employment law, which is rather unusual, so he knows both sides. He can be reached at 415/460-2888. Lori

Lawyer for Wrongful termination of surgeon

July 2005

need to speak with a lawyer either well-versed in working the surgeons or well versed in wrongful termination. Preferably both.

You might give Therese Lawless 415-391-7555, Todd Schneider 415- 421-7100 or Steve Murphy 415-986-1338 a call. They all specialize in Employment Law and sit on my Board of Directors. Juliette

I recommend you contact Sarah Wright for your wrongful termination case. She is smart, easy to work with, and experienced in the area of law you have asked about. Here is her contact information:
Sarah S. Wright The Wright Law Firm 1050 Northgate Drive, Suite 300 San Rafael, CA 94903 Voice: 415-472-5900 Fax: 415-479-1776
Good luck. Patricia

I can highly recommend attorney Cliff Palefsky in San Francisco for your wrongful termination claim. In a former life I worked in his office as a brief writer and his excellent reputation in this field enabled him to settle many cases simply with a letter or phone call. I don't know about his knowledge of surgery or experience representing surgeons, but he knows EVERYTHING there is to know about California and federal law in this area, and is very smart and charming too. His office has other attorneys that do this work too, and they may try to steer you to one of them, but insist on Cliff. His number is 415-491-9292. Karen

Lawyer for wrongful termination?

October 2004

I would like a recommendation for an attorney who handles labor cases.

I was unexpectedly fired last week - the owner/CEO of the 3 person corporation at which I worked had a temper tantrum (not uncommon) and I was on the receiving end. It was unexpected, both to me and the other employee, who supervised my work and had been *very* happy with it. I had never received indication that I needed to correct something or improve.

I asked why I was being discharged and the owner replied that she did not want to discuss it. I asked again for some insight to this turn of events and all I could get in response was that I ''lack common sense''.

Additionally, a week later I still have not been paid. I have also been told that I would not be paid for the vacation pay that the owner previously told me I would receive.

The total owed to me is not a lot - about $2,000 - but I feel very badly treated and want to know what my options are. A

The California Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Labor Standards Enforcement investigates and enforces unpaid- wage claims. Their website address is: http://www.dir.ca.gov/DLSE/dlse.html

I don't know any lawyers to recommend,but do have some thoughts. Have you filed for unemployment yet? There's a one week wait period before your claim is paid, so it's good to file quickly. Also, you're supposed to get your final check the day you are terminated. Otherwise, you are entitled to one day salary for each day they are late. I worked for a company where terminated employees were NOT paid vacation - the excuse was that a full calendar year wasn't up. Unfair, but legal. Finally, California is an at will employment state, you can be fired for no reason and it's up to you to decide whether it's worth it to hire an attorney or just let it go. Good luck. anon

Earlier Recommendations

Attorney for breach of contract

May 2003

Hello, I am trying to gather referrals for an employment lawyer who would work with me on an hourly basis. I need help to file a claim for breach of contract. Thank you. Need Help

I've just gone through the search process for employment lawyers. I think most will work hourly ($250/hr avg.), and can prep a letter w/in an hour. I've found the Bar Association referral service to be quite useful. For $25, you get a half hour consult with a lawyer who specializes in your situation. You tell the clerk your problem, then the Bar Assn. calls around & gets you an appt. I had a great conversation with the SF lawyer who I was referred to, and his advice went more in depth than I was able to get from the ''cold calls'' to the Employment Lawyers listed online. I was getting frustrated with the quick evaluation of ''how much money would your case bring me?'' without considering other options we may have without agressive litigation. SF Bar: (415) 989-1616, Alam. Co. Bar: (510) 893-7160, and Co Co Co Bar: (925) 825-5700. There is also a Workers Rights Clinic, that re-opens next week, if you qualify for lower income advice: (415) 864-8208. One last thing, get good advice, or at least a couple of opinions, our 1st attorney actually dug a bit of a hole for us, which has limited our options. Good Luck. anon

Please call my husband Garet O'Keefe at 510-540-8320 or email garet at okeefelaw.com. He has helped many wrongfully terminated employees negotiate settlements or pursue litigation. Amy

My husband and I both practice employment law. My first impression w/o more information is that you may encounter an obstacle if your theory is breach of contract in that employment is typically ''at-will''. But it depends. I can't assist you b/c I'm a public employee but my husband can speak with you. His office is in the City but we live in Berkeley and he can meet you in the east bay if that is convenient. He is John Huster, of the Huster Law Group. They are at 415-221-5490. Good luck to you. karen

Maternity leave job equity

March 2003

Hi -- I'm looking for an attorney who can provide advice regarding employment law, particularly in regards to returning from maternity leave and being placed in an ''equivalent'' position to the one held prior to going on leave. My ''equivalent'' position, which I did not consider to be so, was subsequently eliminated, and I'm wondering if I have any recourse. I'd appreciate leads on any attorneys who could advise me on my situation. Thanks. anon

I am not sure if he is the one to do this, but check out Alan Miller in Berkeley- 848-7200. Or try Hersh and Hersh in SF- they may be able to help. Good luck, sounds like a rotten deal. anonymous

You should call Berne Reuben in Berkeley. His phone number is (510) 549-3188 and he is very personable. He deals with employment issues and will give you time on the phone. If it is not something he handles, he will direct you to someone who can. Good luck with this. anonymous

I can recommend Mary Pat Hough of Hough and Hess in SF for your needs. I have consulted with her recently and liked her matter of fact approach. Her phone number is 415-399-1110. I was talking to her about my rights as I was laid off whilst I was pregnant and she helped me negotiate a better severance deal. Good luck. anon

I am the director of a Plaintiff attorney association and would suggest giving either Therese Lawless 415-391-7555, Todd Schneider 415-440-3440 or Steve Murphy 415-986-1338 a call- they all do employment law. Send me an email if none of them work for you and I'll give you some addiitonal names. Good luck! Juliette

Alameda County employment law attorney

December 2002

We would appreciate getting referrals for an Alameda County employment law attorney. Thank you for your response. anon.

Robert Wallace in Oakland at 891-9900. I was referred to him by another attorney who could not help me with my employment law issue. I was satisfied with Mr. Wallace's services and his guidance helped me solve the problem. anon.

Try Mark Thierman (Law Offices of). Has won some big cases - I think his office is in Oakland. anon.

I work for an association that provides services to trial lawyers and might be able to help. We may need more details on your situation. Please call and ask for Juliette or Mailia- 415- 956-6401 or email me at admin At sftla Dot org. Juliette

Jonathan Siegel is a friend and an excellent employment attorney in Oakland. He has a great reputation, and will give you a referral to other competent people if he cannot help you. anon

The specifics of your situation will matter a great deal in selecting an attorney, and with respect to which attorneys, if any, are interested in taking your case. You might try for starters an attorney named Kathryn Dixon. She used to be in Oakland, at a firm called Dixon and Ross. If she cannot help you, she could certainly provide names of other East Bay employment attorneys. anon

Discrimination case against employer

May 2002

I have looked through past posts, and I am wondering if anyone has any names to add. I am looking for an attorney who can represent me in a potential discrimination case against my employer.
Usually sign, but Anon for obvious reasons.

I would like to highly recommend William Kwong of Minami, Lew & Tamaki in S.F. for the person who may need to bring a discrimination suit against their employer. I first met William in 1996 when I clerked for him during law school. He was a great boss, and he is an excellent attorney. He is smart, friendly, really approachable and he will not waste your time and money if you do not have a case. He will be straight with you about all of your options. I recently referred a friend to this law firm who was quite pleased with the service he received from William Kwong. Incidentally, although I am an attorney, I am currently not practicing law, and I am not referring this firm with any expectation of return business. I am recommending MLT because they are a great law firm. They are one of the few law firms out there that truly does have a social conscience. The firm was founded by community activists who never lost their idealism. They continue to fight the good fight today. Good luck with your employment issue. Stella

I would like to recommend Paul Justi as a lawyer for your potential employment discrimination suit. He was the main lawyer on the recent Wonder Bread case that got a huge jury award (although Angela Aliota got most of the press, I believe he did the legal work). In addition to that high profile case, he has lots of experience. He's also a very nice person to talk to. His number is 415-538-9200. meghan

I highly recommend David Lerman -- in Berkeley near the BART station. 516-665-8500 Judy Hahn

Severance of employee with ADHD

March 2002

My husband, who suffers from ADHD, has just been notified by his employer of 15 years, a Fortune 500 retail company, that he can either take a one month severance package and be dismissed (for reasons surrounding his ADHD symptoms) or he can take his chances and the next poor judgement call will result in termination with no severance. This is the first year he's ever had a bad review at this company -- it's also the first year that anyone was aware he has ADHD, himself as well as the company. He's tried several different medications in varying dosages to help him ''focus'' and had ADHD counseling (individual and as a couple) - all of which the company is aware of. The normal severance for this company is two weeks for every year served - nowhere near what they are offering us.

Dear Susan,

Please excuse this self-serving recommendation, but my wife and I are members of this network and she noticed your listing.

I am an attorney with 18 years experience in the field. I practice in SF at my own firm, Kerosky & Bradley. You can take a look at our website, fightbacklaw.com, which will tell you alot about our firm.

I would be happy to meet with your husband or have him meet with one of our other lawyers who is a disability discrimination expert. He has certain rights under various state and federal laws, which the company may in fact be violating. If he'd like to meet with us, I would ask him to fill out the questionnaire in the website and email it back to us, or call our office and they will send you one. Then, we'll call back and set up an appointment.

Good luck to you both.

Christopher Kerosky

Attorney for Severence of Contract

September 2001

My husband is concerned about how his company is handling the termination of his job contract and he would like to consult with a lawyer who may be able to help him negotiate this process. Can anyone recommend a lawyer who could do this, especially without being too combative with the company? I checked the website but didn't find a lawyer with this specialty. Thanks!.

One of the partners in my firm has helped several of his clients handle the negotiations for termination of their employment. He's mild-mannered but very thorough and a good negotiator; I think he has generally gotten good results. His specialty is general corporate work but he is fairly well-versed in most employment law issues. His name is John Ritchie, tel. is 415.392.7900, email jritchie AT gmssr DOT com Good luck! Fran

A few times, I have consulted Michael Korda at Korda Johnson & Wall (408) 494-0700 in San Jose and found him to be a good guy for dealing with job issues. Greg

More Recommendations

Nov 2004

There were lots of requests for lawyer referrals, so I'll give a few for each category (I'm a lapsed lawyer and keep in touch, to some extent, with the fields requested)

Employment lawyers: (I can't promise they have experience with UCB, but they're experienced and very good)
Patti Roberts - Oakland - 893-2860
Kathy Dickson and Jeff Ross - Oakland - 268-1999
Horowitz and Rubinoff - Oakland - 444-7717
Alan Miller - Berkeley - 848-7200

I can't vouch for results, of course, but the recommendations are of people/firms I know. Amy O.