Lozano Smith serves as labor and employment counsel to public employers across the State of California. The firm's expertise includes issues along the full spectrum of labor and employment law; from the hiring process and drafting of employment contracts to collective bargaining, layoffs and workplace discrimination, harassment and retaliation. We are well qualified to provide legal assistance on virtually any personnel issue affecting certificated, classified, and administrative employees for school districts, in addition to bargaining unit and management employees for other public agencies.
The firm's attorneys are recognized experts on employment issues and are known for cooperatively negotiating creative solutions to labor conflicts and employee discipline actions. Lozano Smith attorneys have argued personnel cases before California courts, including the California Supreme Court, and have represented clients in hundreds of discipline matters at the administrative hearing, trial court, and appellate level. The firm's attorneys are also preeminent in the field of school district reductions in force and have successfully litigated layoff issues before administrative law judges, trial courts, and appellate courts.
Our Labor and Employment Practice Group attorneys are recognized experts at both state and national levels. As subject matter experts, they are routinely asked to lead seminars at the major labor and employment conferences in the California public agency and school district industries, including the National School Boards Association (NSBA), California School Boards Association (CSBA), Association of California School Administrators' (ACSA) Annual Personnel Institutes and Negotiators' Symposia, California Association of School Business Officials (CASBO), School Employers Association of California (SEAC), California Association of Latino Superintendents and Administrators (CALSA), League of California Cities, and California Council of School Attorneys (CCSA).
We recognize that the human resources field is constantly changing as technology evolves and as the local and state economy fluctuates. The firm's attorneys remain up to date with the latest news and issues affecting labor and employment practitioners, and provide our clients with regular legal updates in Client News Briefs. Our attorneys also educate clients through Lozano Smith's annual Labor and Employment Webinar Series, which addresses current legal issues, statutory changes, and court decisions.
Our attorneys form a stable and solid legal resource used by hundreds of school districts and other public agencies each year for timely and reliable legal advice and representation.
Lozano Smith's Labor and Employment Practice Group specializes in:
The Labor and Employment Practice Group conducts a Legal Consortium for clients and countless in-service trainings and webinars each year. The seminars are conducted throughout the state and also for individual clients, as requested. They provide in-depth information on a variety of topics to keep attendees informed on latest legislation, case law and legal trends. Recent topics include Teacher Classification, Employee Discipline, Employee Evaluations and Uniform Investigations and Complaint Processes.Real World Applications
The Labor and Employment Practice Group has expertly provided legal counsel to school districts and other public agencies in both high-profile disputes and everyday transactions. Our attorneys are acutely aware of the financial and practical constraints placed on school districts and other public agencies in the current economic climate and we work with our clients to explore all options toward achieving a practical, effective, and cost-efficient resolution of their concerns.Proactive Resolutions
The firm encourages its clients to build strong institutional knowledge of best practices in personnel matters, to consider alternative dispute resolution (including mediation when feasible), and to be proactive in resolving issues before they become costly problems. When litigation is unavoidable, our attorneys have successfully defended clients and prosecuted their claims in administrative hearings and in the courtroom.Sample of Recent Litigation
McIntyre v. Sonoma Valley Unified School District (2012) 206 Cal.App.4th 170. Lozano Smith attorneys successfully defended the school district against employee challenge to status and nonreelection. The California Court of Appeal reaffirmed key legal principles by holding that the school district correctly classified the employee as a temporary employee and then properly converted her to a probationary employee and properly and timely nonreelected employee during her second year of probationary employment.
Hildebrandt v. St. Helena Unified School District (2009) 172 Cal.App.4th 334. Lozano Smith attorneys authored an amicus brief on behalf of the California School Boards Association (CSBA) and asserted arguments that were adopted by the Court of Appeal in regard to bumping rights in a certificated layoff. This important case established a school district's right to refuse to "split" an existing full-time certificated position during a certificated layoff to accommodate a more senior employee's desire to "partially bump" into a more junior employee's assignment.
Atwater Elementary School Dist. v. Department of General Services (2007) 41 Cal.4th 227. Lozano Smith attorneys successfully represented a school district and convinced the California Supreme Court to issue a landmark decision holding that the four-year limitations period for a school district to bring dismissal charges against a teacher is not absolute. As a result, the Supreme Court adopted the school district's contention that the four-year period should be extended based on principles of equity to permit the District to introduce evidence of sexual misconduct that was discovered by the district many years after it occurred. This important case strengthens the ability of all public school districts to impose discipline against certificated employees.