Labor & Employment

Labor & Employment


Cox, Castle & Nicholson assists employers in various industries with all aspects of the employment relationship. Our broadly experienced attorneys provide preventative counseling; structure and document employment relationships and business practices; facilitate compliance with labor, employment, and employee benefit laws; advise on maintenance of employee benefit programs; counsel with respect to terminations and other risk management issues; deal with unions and related issues; and represent employers in negotiations, mediations, arbitrations, federal and state administrative agency proceedings, and in litigation in federal and state trial and appellate courts. We focus on practical solutions and strategies to help employers avoid unnecessary employment-related costs and advise our clients on compliance with a myriad of employment laws affecting their business.


Assisted in the successful prosecution of claims by a general contractor against CalTrans in connection with freeway seismic retrofitting program.

Protested invalidation of low bid by Port of Long Beach on behalf of a national dredging contractor.

Represented a general contractor, in successfully withdrawing from a public contracting bid it had submitted to UCLA after realizing that errors in its bid calculation spreadsheet had caused it to drastically underbid, and that it would lose millions if awarded the contract.

Represented an insurance company adverse to a leading computer manufacturing company involving a claim under an Errors & Omissions policy. The claim arose out of underlying litigation in which the computer company was sued by former employees, who were treated as independent contractors, but were lawfully "employees" and entitled to benefits, including stock options.

Successfully defended a national homebuilder against multiple claims alleging prevailing wage and unfair competition claims violations.

Represented a shopping center developer in the Northern District of California in an ADA disability-access suit. Obtained favorable settlement for client through mediation.

Co-chaired jury trial in federal court in Colorado defending a national defense contractor against wrongful termination claims. Obtained favorable settlement for client in initial stages of trial.

Represented a software company in arbitration brought by employees alleging ethnic origin discrimination claim.

Prosecuted trade secret misappropriation and copyright infringement suit in the Southern District of California on behalf of Fortune 500 company against former employees of company. Obtained summary judgment against defendants, and caused return of the technology and monetary concessions by defendants.

Defended three separate clients who operate restaurants in San Francisco in wage and hour claims before the California Labor Commissioner.

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Represented an employer in class action wage and hour action brought by employees for unpaid meals and breaks.

Represented former WorldCom in all wage and hour disputes filed in Northern California at the labor commissioner level.

Represented a large bakery in wage and hour action brought by five employees for unpaid overtime, meals, and breaks.

Represented an employer in case involving allegations of wrongful termination brought by two employees fired for forming a separate company through which to direct company purchases and skimming by employees.

Represented a Fortune 100 company over the firing of employees in the defense industry.

Obtained judgment for a husband and wife terminated from a written employment contract.

Represented the president and CEO of large mortgage company in a wrongful termination action against large mortgage company. Resolved with 8-figure payment to client.

Successfully defended a glass manufacturer in a wrongful termination case.

Successfully defended two sexual harassment claims against a major computer importer.

Successfully defended a hotel owner in a multi-million dollar employment case.

Obtained defense verdict following jury trial on behalf of company in a sexual harassment lawsuit by former employee.

Obtained unanimous defense verdict for company in sexual harassment claim by former employee.

Represented a rock band and their manager in a sexual harassment claim by a roadie.

Successfully obtained TRO in favor of employer against employee who had absconded with trade secrets customer lists and other proprietary information.

Defended an action by employees over timing of funding of ERISA contributions.

Defended an action by ex employees over funding and rights to ERISA plan and ESOP program.

Obtained an appellate decision establishing the immunity of developers to class action prevailing wage claims through representation of general contractor, developer, and surety of master planned commercial and residential community against class action claims by employees seeking to represent all employees of all construction employers on the master planned development and claiming alleged underpayment of wages under California's Prevailing Wage Law.

Litigated individual and class action prevailing wage claims and authored numerous briefs submitted to California's Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal addressing the interpretation and application of the prevailing wage law.

Counseled a multiemployer health and welfare plan on compliance with health care reform.

Successfully defended and maintained trustee and sponsor interpretation of vacation plan structure through federal trial and appellate courts, obtaining a decision which protected trustee interpretations of ERISA benefit plans nationwide

Represented health and welfare trust funds and trustees against hospital provider claims for non-payment of services to participants.

Defended a general contractor against labor compliance program wage and penalty assessment in administrative hearings before Department of Industrial Relations.

Defended a general engineering contractor against claims by electrician union and related trust funds for contributions and employees' dues on behalf of workers performing work on the MTA Exposition Line light rail and related projects.

Defended a non-profit performing arts center against employee claims of retaliation and wrongful termination arising from claims of unsanitary conditions at work place.

Defended a payroll company against Employment Development Department assessments for State unemployment insurance contributions.

Obtained complete dismissal by demurrer of wrongful termination and tort claims brought by dozens of employees against hotel developer and operator.

Represented and coordinated defenses of a building owner against workers' compensation claims and civil negligence and wrongful injury claims arising from injury to employee of painting contractor.

Represented a commissioned sales employee in claim for unpaid commission compensation.

Represented a developer/owner in arbitration proceedings for interpretation and enforcement of project labor agreement terms.

Represented an industry association in multiple appeals before the California Courts of Appeal and California Supreme Court as amicus curiae in relation to application and interpretation of California's prevailing wage law and California Charter City Constitutional Exemption.

Defended a homebuilder against Fair Housing Act, unfair competition, and racial discrimination claims brought by prospective buyer.

Obtained closure of employees' EEOC and state administrative charges against separate employers in Hawaii and Texas, alleging unlawful sex and religion discrimination and hostile work environment.

Defended ERISA health and welfare trust funds against claims by hospital service provider of violations of ERISA, RICO violations, and interference with contract arising out of reimbursement re calculations.

Defended a general contractor against ERISA trust fund claims for contributions under project labor agreement.

Defended plan trustees against claims of breach of fiduciary duties and prosecuted subsequent action and settlement on behalf of trustees against carrier for failure to provide coverage under fiduciary liability policies.

Defended trustees of against claims by subsequent trustee of violations of ERISA, fiduciary duties and prohibited transaction rules.

Represented an ERISA pension plan in withdrawal liability case and on appeal to enforce judgment.

Represented ERISA trust funds as interested parties in Department of Industrial Relations enforcement action for non-payment of prevailing wages and fringe benefits under Los Angeles Unified School District project labor agreement.

Represented developers, contractors, and contractor associations before Department of Industrial Relations in various project determination and administrative appeals determining application and interpretation of California Prevailing Wage Law to construction projects.

Defended against class action and certification of class of construction employees alleging nonpayment of prevailing wages for work performed on distribution center construction.

Defended the developer of former Fort Ord property against action by local building trades to impose prevailing wage requirements on all construction on former Fort Ord property based on deed covenants and development agreement requirements.

Defended a general contractor against employee class action claims for unpaid wages under California's prevailing wage law.

Defended a master planned community developer and general contractor against employee class actions claims for unpaid wages brought by employees of all contractors and subcontractors performing work on the master planned community and seeking to enforce prevailing wage law requirements.

Prosecuted action on behalf of employees against general contractor for failure to pay prevailing wages, violation of California's unfair competition law (B&P Code § 17200), and RICO violations.

Represented a developer in administrative appeal before the Director of the Department of Industrial Relations regarding application of prevailing wage law to commercial redevelopment project.

Represented an employee class on appeal in relation to interpretation and enforcement of prevailing wage law against public agency.

Defended a general contractor against class action claims of employees seeking wages and penalties for meal periods and rest breaks.

Defended a general contractor employer against initial wage and hour class action under IWC Wage Order No. 16 and Labor Code §§ 510 and 514.

Defended a large general contractor/builder of heavy construction – including infrastructure, highway, bridges, dams, etc. – against class action claims for unpaid meal period, waiting time penalties, and violation of California's Unfair Competition Law.

Represented a contractor against wage and penalty assessment by Los Angeles Unified School District Labor Compliance Program for nonpayment of wages and delayed production of certified payroll records.

Represented a multi-state employer against class action claims for unpaid wages, overtime, meal and rest period violations, and related penalties and claims on behalf of California employees.

Advised in establishment of U.S. platform for real estate development and property management by foreign institutional investment manager, including creation of national employment policies, practices and agreements.

Counseled employer termination of employees and successfully obtained closure of subsequent EEOC and state administrative charges in multiple states.

Represented a Canadian corporation in acquisition of a series of heavy equipment dealerships with respect to employment issues, compliance, risk management, and consolidation of workforce and employment practices.

Represented a pension plan trustee in breach of fiduciary duty claim by plan participant.

Represented the owner of a substantial closely-held business, who was also the trustee of the company's ERISA plan, who was sued by a former employee for ERISA violations.

Conducted numerous sexual harassment investigations on behalf of employers accused of workplace harassment.

Represented a major pension fund with respect to employment issues arising out of fund's $800 million investment in the acquisition of a portfolio of properties and property development and management personnel, including drafting of employment agreements and covenants not to compete.

Defended a clothing manufacturer against claims of violation of COBRA filed in federal court.

Defended an employer against citations issued by OSHA.

In a wrongful termination case, developed critical evidence through discovery demonstrating that an e-mail submitted by the plaintiff was a fake, which caused the plaintiff and her counsel to walk away from the case for a minimal settlement.

Obtained appellate decision enforcing arbitration agreement against out-of-state employee resulting in the transfer of the case to Texas for arbitration before the American Arbitration Association.

Represented an automobile services franchisor in a state court action filed by former employees alleging breach of contract, fraud, constructive wrongful termination, and related torts.

Represented a developer/property management company in a hearing before the OSHA Appeals Board with respect to citations issued by OSHA.

Represented an employer trade association in a trial by jury state court action brought by a former employee alleging wrongful termination.

Represented a homebuilder with respect to a breach of contract claim by an executive level employee in binding arbitration.

Represented an individual employee as a co-defendant in pre-litigation proceedings (mediation) involving a sexual harassment matter asserted by a former employee against a Fortune 500 company and the individual employee.

Represented an individual stockbroker in a state court action and a subsequent arbitration in connection with compensation owed in connection with severance of the employment relationship.

Represented a marketing/entertainment company in a state court action alleging pregnancy discrimination.

Represented numerous employers in unemployment hearings with respect to claims for unemployment made by former employees, usually because the unemployment hearings involved evidence which would have an affect on more serious pending or anticipated employment claims.

Represented a sporting goods retailer in state court action alleging wrongful termination of employment.

Defended construction industry enforcement fund in a federal court action alleging wrongful termination, breach of employment contract, and other claims.

Defended to successful resolution a fair housing case alleging familial status discrimination involving the largest apartment project in San Francisco, and conducted fair housing training in connection therewith

Defended an accounting firm against state court action and arbitration alleging wrongful termination and discrimination.

Defended a commercial developer against a complaint for sexual harassment filed with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing and a subsequent superior court action alleging wrongful termination and sexual harassment by former employee.

Defended a commercial property developer in state court against claims of race discrimination filed by terminated employee.

Defended a country club and individual employee defendants in sexual harassment and wrongful termination lawsuit brought by former employee.

Defended a currency exchange company against employee claims of unlawful termination and unlawful discrimination based on disability, gender, medical condition, and for failure to accommodate and prevent discrimination.

Defended a developer/homebuilder against wage claim filed with the California Labor Commissioner and additional claims alleging discrimination on the basis of race and age.

Defended a developer/property manager against employee claims of unlawful discrimination based on religion.

Following a trial alleging race discrimination, prevailed on appeal in an action filed by a minority construction worker against his employer following his termination for fighting with a co-worker

Represented a beauty products retailer in state court action against claims of wrongful discharge and pregnancy discrimination.

Represented a chemical company in federal court action filed by applicant for employment alleging race discrimination in violation of Title VII and related torts.

Represented a closely controlled family owned management company providing services to high-net worth individuals with respect to complaints of employment discrimination filed with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

Represented a clothing store in employment discrimination lawsuit by employee who claimed she was terminated because of her age and national origin.

Represented a community bank in state court action alleging sexual harassment and sex discrimination.

Represented a developer/homebuilder with respect to complaint of discrimination filed by former employee with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Represented an electrical supply company in a superior court action alleging disability discrimination filed by a former employee.

Represented an employer trade association in a state court action alleging wrongful termination, defamation, and other claims by a former employee.

Represented a high-net worth individual in pre-litigation proceedings (mediation) with respect to employment and disability discrimination claims asserted by a former domestic worker.

Represented a homebuilder in conducting employment investigation and audit and follow up to claims of sexual harassment and/or gender discrimination.

Represented numerous employers with respect to Section 132a discrimination complaints filed in worker's compensation proceedings.

Defended a property management company and homeowners association in a unique federal court disability access case in which the plaintiff/homeowner asserted the right to a dedicated common area parking space.

Defended an ERISA health and welfare plan in multiple actions seeking payment of health and welfare plan benefits.

Defended an ERISA pension plan against multiple actions seeking payment of participant pension benefits.

Defended an ERISA pension plan against participant claim for benefits.

Defended an ERISA pension plan against participant class action seeking payment of pension benefits pursuant to terms of the Plan.

Defended an ERISA pension plan against participant suit seeking pension benefits and on appeal against novel interpretation of application of vacation hour contributions for vesting purposes.

Defended an ERISA pension plan in class action filed in federal court seeking pension benefits.

Represented ERISA employee benefit plans in both federal and state court actions seeking to enforce the plans' rights to recover delinquent benefit contributions.

Successfully defended an ERISA pension plan in a state court bench trial brought by a participant seeking to recover pension benefits.

Defended a restaurant against wage and hour claims.

Represented a medical practice group with respect to wage claim filed with the California Labor Commissioner.

Prevailed on summary judgment for the employer on the first WARN Act case filed in the Central District of California.

Assisted numerous sellers and buyers of businesses involving 100-plus employees in complying with the WARN Act (and California's mini-WARN Act).

Represented a developer in defense of wrongful termination claim by manager of sales force and in prosecution of claims for conversion.

Represented a retail store owner in ADA accessibility lawsuit.

Represented shopping center owners and big box retailers in responding to disability discrimination claims (ADA).

Defended a hotel operator in claim of alleged interference with contract brought by former employees of bar operator whose contract was terminated based on the bar operator's improper conduct.

Represented an employer in obtaining a temporary restraining order against a former employee for misappropriation of proprietary company information.

Represented key executives and negotiated employment and related agreements in conjunction with $1 billion homebuilder acquisition.

Represented an institutional investment fund in negotiation and preparation of management team employment and related agreements for U.S. property investment and management platform entity.

Represented construction industry employer interests on the National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans and on the Retirement Security Review Commission in the Commission's development and submission of proposed pension plan and funding amendments to ERISA.

Successfully defended a retail employer against one of the first California same-sex harassment lawsuits.

Successfully defended the constitutionality of the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act of 1980 before the United States Supreme Court.

Obtained coverage determinations from the Department of Industrial Relations finding that affordable housing financing structure did not trigger application of California's Prevailing Wage Law on various projects.

Represented a national contractor in $1.4 million administrative enforcement proceedings seeking payment of prevailing wages resulting by alleged violation of subcontractor on public works project.

Negotiated dozens of project labor agreements on behalf of project owners, including on renewable energy generation construction throughout California.

For over twenty-five years, counseled contractor association collective bargaining committees in negotiating the Master Labor Agreements and various specialty agreements with the Basic Trades.

Represented a contractor in response to union picketing and obtained rare temporary restraining order under California's "little Norris-LaGuardia Act" against mass picketing and use of violence, threats, and intimidation by picketers.

Defended a construction joint venture against union unfair labor practice charges before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) arising from joint venture negotiation of project labor agreement scopes of work.

Nationwide case involving access to the various U-Haul facilities across the country.

Represented developer in a series of access cases brought against tenants of a major shopping center.

Represented developer in an access case brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Represented hotel chain in a series of cases involving compliance with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Successfully settled a multi-party dispute on behalf of a concessionaire at a major sports complex, arising over improvements designed to accommodate the rights of the disabled.

Defended a developer/homebuilder against complaints of housing discrimination based on familial status filed with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (FEHA) and HUD.

Successfully settled property owners of shopping center developments, residential apartment complexes and single free-standing businesses on numerous occasions involving lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Attorneys &

Name Title City Phone  
Ashai, Simmone A. Associate Los Angeles 310.284.2265
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Hamidi, Ali P. Partner San Francisco 415.262.5106
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Hannifan, Kevin M. Associate Los Angeles 310.284.2125
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Herrera, Max P. Paralegal San Francisco 415.263.5537
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Kao, Michael Y. General Counsel Los Angeles 310.284.2132
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Kranz, Frederick H. Partner Orange County 949.260.4626
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Laes, Scott L. Associate Los Angeles 310.284.2117
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McKenzie, Dwayne Partner Los Angeles 310.284.2279
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Miller, Jr., John S. (Rocky) Partner Los Angeles 310.284.2235
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Moses, Cathy T. Partner Orange County 949.260.4629
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Noneman, Charles E. Partner Los Angeles 310.284.2236
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