Cox Castle is known for its expertise and experience representing and defending employers on traditional labor relations, employment and prevailing wage law, labor and employment litigation in state and federal courts and ERISA matters, serving a wide variety of real estate and construction industry clients.

Traditional Labor Relations

Cox Castle represents owners, public agencies, developers, contractor trade associations and employers in traditional labor relations. Our attorneys counsel contractor associations, assisting with industry-wide master labor agreement negotiations and legislative matters. We also advise on project labor agreements on behalf of owners and developers and provide ongoing representation for owners, developers, contractors and contractor trade associations in managing relationships and resolving disputes with individual unions and building trades union councils.

Employment & Prevailing Wage Law

Our attorneys have been extensively involved in prevailing wage law legislation, interpretation and litigation and are active in public works, prevailing wage, skilled and trained workforce and related labor-related issues. We routinely represent owners and contractors before the Department of Industrial Relations, the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement and in the courts on Prevailing Wage Law application, enforcement and related matters.

Labor and Employment Litigation

Our attorneys represent employers across various industries in a wide range of employment and business-related issues, including:

  • Class action claims                    
  • Wage and hour violations
  • Wrongful termination             
  • Sex, race, religious and other forms of discrimination
  • Sexual harassment                 
  • Unfair competition
  • Trade secret infringement   
  • Breach of contract
  • Company founder and director liability

We regularly appear on behalf of employers in federal, state, trial and appellate courts, and appear before such administrative agencies as the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

In addition, we counsel employers on day-to-day activities, such as structuring new company employment practices, managing and negotiating employment issues in merger and acquisition transactions, negotiating employment and severance contracts, establishing and maintaining employment policies and documents, responding to employee claims of violations of state and federal law and advising on risk management issues.


Our attorneys have significant expertise in benefit plan and fiduciary law issues that affect benefit plans, plan sponsors, plan trustees and plan service-providers. Our work in this field includes counseling trustees of multi-employer, employment benefit-related trusts with respect to the fulfillment of their fiduciary and statutory duties and representing such trustees in their dealings with third parties. We also advise in benefit plan technology and related intellectual property matters.


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Defended a San Francisco technology company in arbitration and defeated all claims for wrongful termination and national origin discrimination case.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • Represented a master developer of former military property against claims that prevailing wages requirements be imposed on all commercial and residential construction to be performed in the redevelopment, which claims were based on alleged deed covenants, development agreements, and California's Prevailing Wage Law.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.




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