Employer Liability and Flat Fee Legal Services – Part 2 by BPE Law Attorney Elizabeth Arias

Here’s the situation: Client comes to BPE Law Group after receiving a demand letter from a former employee. This former employee is demanding to be paid at least $150,000 due to allegations of not being paid overtime and not being allowed to take meal and/or rest breaks. The client turns over the complete personnel file to BPE Law Group, and after a thorough review, it is determined the employee was improperly classified as “exempt.”

The consequence?  The client is on the hook for all of the unpaid overtime, penalties for not paying the overtime when it was due, penalties for “inaccurate wage statements”, penalties for missed meal and rest breaks, and attorney’s fees. The kicker?  This former employee went to other employees (current and past) and this client had five more employees threatening expensive litigation if settlements were not reached.  This client was able to work out settlements with these employees, but not before spending several months in negotiations and at least $20,000 in attorney’s fees. All of this could have been avoided if the client had initially hired an experienced employment law attorney to review his employment law documents to make sure they were in compliance with federal, state and local laws.  The client thought he could save money by not going to an attorney first, but rather, downloaded his own employment forms from the internet.

While the internet is a wonderful source of information, it is not a good substitute for specialized knowledge that only comes from proper education, licensing, and years of specific experience. For example, it would be incredible, and even laughable, for a person suffering stomach pain to “Google” how to remove an appendix and then perform the surgery on himself, yet this is exactly what clients tell us they do when it comes to legal documents.  They usually become our clients due to issues created out of these self-created legal documents.

California employment laws are constantly changing, and are growing increasingly more favorable to employees.  As stated previously, just one simple violation could end up costing the employer thousands of dollars.  BPE Law Group is aware of these changing employment laws and has put together several “flat rate” packages for its business clients that will help ensure these clients stay in compliance with these employment laws.

For the more budget-conscious client, or the client who is just starting his/her business,  BPE Law Group will draft the documents every business with employees needs: the employment handbook, employment agreements for both exempt and non-exempt employees and an arbitration agreement.  If the client already has these documents, BPE Law Group will review them and revise them according to current laws.

For just a little more, the client can also have a non-disclosure agreement drafted as well as an audit of up to two hours of the business’ payroll records performed by BPE Law Group at its Gold River location.

Our more established business clients, or those clients who find themselves growing quickly, will want to take advantage of the additional services offered to them which include having an employment attorney physically visit the client’s business and inspect the workplace and procedures/systems used to ensure the client’s business and operating procedures are in compliance with applicable employment law.  Additionally, these clients will receive a “legal check-up” on their one-year anniversary of retaining BPE Law Group’s employment law services, and depending on the package chosen, either three or four “1-hour” employment law consultations to be used within the first 12 months of retaining BPE Law Group for employment services.

The client can also choose to have BPE Law Group draft up to ten employee classifications with detailed job descriptions to avoid any potential confusion from vague and brief descriptions that often provide loopholes for an employee to later claim “nonexempt” status when he/she should have been “exempt.”  The “exempt/nonexempt” status often comes down to the employee’s job duties.

All of the above described services are offered in “packages” and are priced as one flat rate depending on the package selected.  The packages range in price from $2,000 to $10,000.  Of course, these packages are meant to provide the most common services our business clients commonly need, but we can also customize a package to best suit your current employment needs.

If you have employees and are interested in how BPE Law Group can help you with your employment-related matters, call us at (916) 966-2260 or email Elizabeth Arias at earias@bpelaw.com.

This article is not intended to be legal advice, and should not be taken as legal advice.  Every case requires review of specific facts and history, and a formal agreement for service.  Please feel free to contact us if you need legal advice and are interested in seeing if we can help you