Floyd Skeren and Kelly LLP Law Firm
Employment and Labor Law of California

Employment and Labor Law of California

In recent years, employment law has become increasingly complex and expansive with such developments as the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008, the revised Family and Medical Leave Act, and the COBRA premium subsidy extension bill. In addition, employee claims for matters such as disability discrimination are skyrocketing, thereby resulting in huge defense costs for employers. To assist employers in navigating through this complicated maze of ever changing and evolving employment laws, FS&K has developed an employment and labor department headed by Bernadette M. O’Brien.

Ms. O’Brien is an experienced attorney and author of the LexisNexis publication Labor and Employment in California: A Guide to Employment Laws, Regulations and Practices, which has been in publication since 1992. The treatise is an easy-to-understand overview of the key topics in labor and employment law as governed by both federal and California law, including hiring, termination, wage and hour, family and medical leave, employee privacy, drug testing, sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation and the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Ms. O’Brien is also co-author of the online edition of California Unemployment Insurance and Disability Compensation Programs, a treatise on California unemployment insurance laws, and editor of Floyd, Skeren & Kelly, LLP’s employment related websites (employmentlawacademy.com, fskemploymentlaw.com, employmentlawweekly.com, and worklawreport.com) which provide daily employment law updates and other valuable information.

Ms. O’Brien works with an experienced team of attorneys and staff members within FS&K’s employment and labor department to provide expert advice, counseling, training, and liability defense for employers in numerous areas of employment law including:

  • Race, gender, and age discrimination
  • Disability rights/discrimination
  • Sexual harassment
  • Wrongful termination
  • Employee leaves
  • Affirmative action
  • Wage and hour
  • Occupational Safety and Health
  • Substance abuse and drug testing
  • Employee privacy
  • Workplace violence
  • Class actions
  • Personnel policies and procedures
  • Employee handbooks

She is the author of the popular Lexis Nexis publication Labor and Employment in California: A Guide to Employment Laws, Regulations and Practices, Second Edition which has been in publication since 1992. The book covers an array of employment related issues including discrimination, sexual harassment, wage and hour, Family Medical Leave Act, and privacy in the workplace.

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BERNADETTE M. O'BRIEN

Attorney at Law, Partner
Managing Attorney,
Employment Law Department

Email our Worker Comp Law Firm bernadette.obrien@fsklaw.com
Call our Law Practice (916) 920-1100 ext. 3250
Fax our Law Practice (916) 920-1150

BIOGRAPHY

Bernadette M. O'Brien is a partner at Floyd, Skeren & Kelly, LLP and an SPHR certified/SHRM-SCP Human Resources Executive. Ms. O'Brien serves as general counsel and executive advisor to the law firm's Human Resources (HR) Department and is managing attorney of the firm's employment law department. She is a published author, distinguished speaker, and website content developer.

Ms. O'Brien defends employers in employment related disputes including claims related to discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, wage and hour, privacy, and leave of absence laws. Ms. O’Brien also assists employers, human resource administrators, and risk managers with numerous HR topics including HR strategic alignment; short range and long range HR operational planning; coordination of HR activities and programs; compliance with federal, state and local employment related laws; tracking and responding to HR trends; developing, organizing and implementing the HR function; training and counseling management and staff; HR policy development, implementation and enforcement; personnel management: hiring, onboarding, performance, discipline, retention, and separation of employment; succession planning; designing competitive compensation and benefit packages; ensuring EEO compliance; managing disability and leave of absence policies and procedures; and, wage and hour compliance. Ms. O'Brien also conducts HR related training sessions throughout California.

Ms. O’Brien is author of the popular LexisNexis publication Labor and Employment in California: A Guide to Employment Laws, Regulations and Practices, co-author of California Leave Law: A Practical Guide for Employers, and co-author of California Unemployment Insurance and Disability Compensation Programs. Ms. O’Brien has been a frequent contributor to, and reporter for, the LexisNexis employment law newsletter Bender’s California Labor & Employment Bulletin. She is also editor and developer of Floyd, Skeren & Kelly’s employment related websites: www.employmentlawweekly.com, www.worklawreport.com, www.employmentlawacademy.com, and www.fskhrtraining.com, which provide the latest news and information related to employment law.

Ms. O'Brien has been a speaker on a variety of employment law topics for numerous organizations including CalPelra, CWC, Ag-Safe, EAC, Northern California Workers’ Comp Forum, Intercare, National Interstate Insurance, CASBO, PIHRA, Strafford Webinars and the Employer's Fraud Task Force. You can reach Bernadette O’Brien at bernadette.obrien@fsklaw.com, (818) 206-9222, or (916) 838-3332.

Publications:

Treatises

California Leave Law: A Practical Guide for Employers;

Labor and Employment in California: A Guide to Employment Laws, Regulations and Practices;

California Unemployment Insurance and Disability Compensation Programs.

Articles

"Employers Beware: A 100% WC Permanent Disability Rating Does Not Mean an Employee Cannot Work."

"Who is Liable for Injuries Sustained by an Independent Contractor's Employee as a Result of a Lapse in Workplace Safety Requirements—The ‘Hirer' or the Independent Contractor."

"California Appellate Court Addresses a Key Question Linked to Both Immigration and Employment Law: May an Undocumented Worker Pursue a Discrimination Claim Based on a Refusal to Hire/Rehire."

"Employers Be Ready: A Number of New Employment-Related Laws Will Take Effect on January 1, 2012."

"The U.S. Department of Labor and the State of California Join Force to Crack Down on Employers: Avoid the Pitfalls of Employee Misclassification."

"Ninth Circuit Provides Important Guidance for Employers on When Attendance Constitutes an Essential Function of the Job"

     
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DONA L. SKEREN

Attorney at Law, Partner
Assistant Managing Attorney,
Employment Law Department

Email our Worker Comp Law Firm dona.skeren@fsklaw.com
Call our Law Practice (818) 206-9222 ext. 8863
Fax our Law Practice (818) 206-9223

BIOGRAPHY

Dona Lee Skeren is the assistant managing attorney of Floyd, Skeren & Kelly, LLP's employment law department. She provides advice and counsel to employers on a variety of employment related matters ranging from discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation to general human resources matters such as employee handbook development and employer notice obligations under federal and state law. Ms. Skeren's focus is on assisting employers with understanding and converging the return-to-work cross-over issues related to federal and state leave laws, more specifically, the nuances associated with California workers' compensation laws and the FEHA/ADA/ADAAA disability discrimination laws. She also conducts employment law related seminars and training sessions throughout California and is co-editor of fskemploymentlaw.com, employmentlawweekly.com and employmentlawacademy.com.

After finishing her undergraduate education at California State University, Fullerton, Ms. Skeren obtained her Juris Doctorate degree at Golden Gate University School of Law, where she was a law review staff member, received several academic awards and spent a summer term as a law clerk for an Administrative Law Judge at the Fair Employment and Housing Commission, in San Francisco, California. In 1995, Ms. Skeren began her career with Floyd, Skeren & Kelly, LLP, representing employers, insurance entities, and third party administrators in workers' compensation matters, including standard defense of claims, 132a discrimination allegations, serious and willful allegations and all other employment related issues. Additionally she assisted in the editing and publication of Judge David W. O'Brien's California Workers' Compensation Claims and Benefits handbook and his unemployment insurance treatise.

     
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JOHN M. LANGEVIN

Attorney at Law, Senior Partner
Certified Specialist, Workers' Compensation Law
The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization

Email our Worker Comp Law Firm john.langevin@fsklaw.com
Call our Law Practice (510) 452-9556 ext. 7799
Fax our Law Practice (510) 452-1869

BIOGRAPHY

John M. Langevin is the Managing Partner of the Law Offices of Floyd, Skeren & Kelly's Bay Area office.  He is a Certified Specialist in workers’ compensation law by the State Bar of California.

Mr. Langevin began his career in workers’ compensation defense at State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF) in the State Contracts Unit where he was responsible for representation of the State of California.  He was quickly promoted to senior counsel and regularly assigned complex cases, including catastrophic claims, discrimination complaints and multi-forum litigation.  After twelve years at SCIF, he joined the Law Offices of Floyd, Skeren & Kelly and has since overseen the growth of its practice on a statewide basis.  As a former nurse, his background in medical issues has proved to be an invaluable asset to achieving favorable results for his clients and that of his colleagues.

     
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ERIC E. OSTLING

Attorney at Law, Partner
Certified Specialist, Workers' Compensation Law
The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization

Email our Worker Comp Law Firm eric.ostling@fsklaw.com
Call our Law Practice (916) 920-1100 ext. 7276
Fax our Law Practice (916) 920-1150

BIOGRAPHY

Eric E. Ostling is a partner and the Managing Attorney of the Law Offices of Floyd, Skeren & Kelly's Sacramento office. Mr. Ostling earned his Undergraduate Degree from the University of California, Davis in 1984. He attended the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, and was awarded his Juris Doctorate Degree in 1987, and also a Master of Law and Taxation (LLM) in 1988. Mr. Ostling has earned an AV rating by Martindale-Hubbell.

Prior to joining Floyd, Skeren & Kelly, LLP in 2007, Mr. Ostling spent many years litigating civil matters before various Northern and Southern California Superior Courts, as well as in all California Federal Districts. Mr. Ostling has successfully completed many Superior and Federal Court Trials as well as binding Arbitrations. Mr. Ostling represented clients in various types of civil litigation, including business, commercial contract, construction contract, employment, personal injury, product defect, union fringe benefit, surety bond, and wage and hour matters in federal and state courts. As a result of this litigation experience, Mr. Ostling brings with him a breadth of trial experience and knowledge in civil and employment litigation matters.

Currently, Mr. Ostling is the lead litigator for the firm's Employment Law Department, representing clients in discrimination, disability discrimination, sexual harassment, wage and hour, and wrongful termination claims. Mr. Ostling also represents employers, insurance entities, self-insured entities and third party administrators before the WCAB on standard workers' compensation defense, Section 132(a) discrimination claims and serious and willful misconduct claims.

     
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BRYAN R. BUSH

Attorney at Law

Email our Worker Comp Law Firm bryan.bush@fsklaw.com
Call our Law Practice (714) 558-8892 ext. 7930
Fax our Law Practice (714) 558-8759

BIOGRAPHY

Bryan R. Bush is an associate attorney with the Law Offices of Floyd, Skeren & Kelly, LLP in our firm’s Orange County location.

Mr. Bush earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Hope College in Holland, Michigan. He went on to earn his Juris Doctorate at Pepperdine University School of Law. Mr. Bush is licensed to practice law in the state of Michigan, as well as in California.

Mr. Bush began his career working in civil litigation for one of the largest civil litigation firms based in Orange County. While there, Mr. Bush assisted the firm in starting its workers’ compensation defense practice.

Mr. Bush is completely conversant in all aspects of workers’ compensation defense, including defending serious and willful and §132(a) claims. Additionally, Mr. Bush has an active subrogation practice on behalf of our clients. While able to handle either subrogation or workers’ compensation defense, Mr. Bush is able to easily blend both defending the workers’ compensation claim, while also pursuing subrogation in the same matter; thus, assisting clients to reduce their overall costs. Mr. Bush is also a member of the firm’s employment law complex litigation team, and handles all aspects of employment law litigation.

Mr. Bush is admitted to practice before the Southern and Central Federal Districts in California, as well as all of the State Courts in California.

     
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DAVID M. WEITZMAN

Attorney at Law
Certified Specialist, Workers' Compensation Law
The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization

Email our Worker Comp Law Firm david.weitzman@fsklaw.com
Call our Law Practice (818) 715-0018 ext. 7605
Fax our Law Practice (818) 591-3572

BIOGRAPHY

David M. Weitzman is an associate attorney with the Law Offices of Floyd, Skeren & Kelly, LLP in our firm's Westlake Village office location. After obtaining his Bachelor's Degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara, Mr. Weitzman continued on to obtain his Juris Doctorate Degree from Southwestern School of Law.

Prior to joining the Law Offices of Floyd, Skeren & Kelly in 2006, Mr. Weitzman developed years of experience with civil litigation and workers' compensation matters and has brought this experience to our firm. Mr. Weitzman handles all aspects of workers' compensation litigation including civil subrogation, standard litigation, §132(a) discrimination allegations and serious and willful misconduct allegations. In addition, Mr. Weitzman is a member of the firm’s employment law complex litigation team, where he handles all aspects of employment related litigation.

Prior to beginning his undergraduate and law school studies, Mr. Weitzman served honorably in the United States Air Force as a Security Specialist.

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