Valerie provides her clients with practical employment law advice based on her 13-plus years leading HR teams in high tech companies. Her work with clients covers all aspects of employment law disputes and legal compliance as well as operational advice regarding recruitment, hiring, employee relations, compensation, benefits, workers’ compensation, HRIS, training, reorganizations, acquisitions, divestitures and reduction in force events.

Valerie has served as outside corporate employment counsel for larger clients and as human resources professional for smaller clients. She also has a specialty in representing executives in negotiating employment and severance agreements.

Her experience includes stints as Senior Employment Counsel for US West Coast at Nortel Networks, Inc. (100,000 employees worldwide) and VP of Human Resources for Atmel Corporation (10,000 employees worldwide). She also created and led an HR team in a high-tech start-up, @Road, Inc. which was successfully acquired by Trimble Navigation.

Key Areas

  • Employment law and human resources consulting to employers
  • Employment law disputes
  • Administrative hearings: DLSE, EEOC, DFEH
  • On site representation during DOL and EDD audits
  • Executive employment and severance agreements
  • Internal investigations
  • Policies that minimize employer costs but maximize employee morale
  • Complex employee benefit and leave issues

Experience & Affiliations

Representative Matters

  • Served as employment law counsel to a multi-state government subcontractor for the last ten years. Advised company in all aspects of the employment law, and human resources related issues.
  • Successful defense of clients against claims of discrimination filed in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
  • Successfully represented business in appeal that overturned a significant award of overtime pay by the Labor Commissioner’s office. This prevented business from shutting down.
  • On site representation of clients undergoing audits by U.S. Department of Labor, and California Employment Development Department.
  • Conducted internal investigations of charges of discrimination and retaliation that resulted in appropriate proactive actions by employers to comply with best practices and reduce corporate exposure for acts of rogue employees.
  • Convinced California’s Labor Commissioner’s office to refuse to assert jurisdiction over a wage and hour claim brought by a caregiver whose abuse of her elderly charge caused a debilitating stroke.
  • Trained employees regarding prevention of sexual harassment and other forms of protected class discrimination.
  • Drafted policies to substantially reduce employer costs during employees’ leaves of absence while complying with leave law.
  • Proactively kept clients apprised of changes in employment law might impact the operation of their business or human resources policies.

Professional Organizations

  • State Bar of California
  • San Mateo County Bar Association
  • Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM)

Admissions

  • Superior Courts of San Francisco, Santa Clara, Los Angeles and San Diego
  • Northern District of California
  • Central District of California
  • Southern District of California
  • Southern District of New York
  • California Labor Commissioner’s Offices in San Francisco and San Jose, California
  • EEOC and DFEH offices in many locations
  • California Workers Compensation Appeal Board

Civic and Charitable

  • Former Human Relations Commissioner, City of Palo Alto

Speaking Engagements

  • Speaker, “Basics of Employment Law”, San Mateo County Legal Secretaries Association, June 17, 2014
  • Important Employment Law Issues for Start Up Companies, SK Marketlink presentation, SK Telecom Innovation Accelerator, Sunnyvale, California, May 14, 2014
  • Panelist, "Raising Your Tax A.Q. (Awareness Quotient): Tax Issues Facing Companies that are Expanding their Business Footprint", iACC, April 10, 2014

Insights

10/04/16
An Estimated 4.2 Million Exempt Employees May Soon be Eligible for Overtime Pay: Do They Work for You?
10/09/15
Be Smart and Be Proactive to Limit Your Company’s Liability under California’s Revised Gender Pay Equality Law
08/21/14
Can Unlimited Vacation Policies be Awesome for California Employers and Employees?
05/05/14
Why Assuming Out of State Non-Compete Agreements are Unenforceable Against California Employees is High Risk Behavior
11/13/13
The Evolving Protected Class of Caregivers: San Francisco’s Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance
04/30/13
Why Non-Unionized High Tech Companies Still Need to Pay Attention to the National Labor Relations Board
12/02/11
Misclassifying Employees as Independent Contractors – Employment Client Alert
06/01/11
Can You Prevent Former Employees From Taking Your Company’s Talent, Customers and Confidential Business Information?
03/01/10
The Stealth Protected Class: Family Responsibility Discrimination