What's it like to work with F3?
We’re the trusted friend who answers your call and your questions any time. We’re not formal or stuffy, but don’t let that fool you; we’re top-of-the-line education employment lawyers with one priority: helping you succeed at your job.
What can F3 solve for you?
Public school districts and colleges have employment challenges like (and unlike) other enterprises. From correct classification of employees to employee discipline, leaves, accommodations, and professional development training, we have the experience and depth to handle any employment issue with a big difference: our sole focus is education.
Top Issues in Employment Law
“F3 Law’s employment law services are designed to provide comprehensive support and guidance to public education employers, helping them stay compliant with ever-changing regulations and protect their organizations from legal disputes, while fostering a positive and inclusive work environment for their employees.”– Jordan Bilbeisi, Partner
We help school districts run their HR departments, almost like having education-focused employment lawyers on site. That’s what we do, and our goal is simple: taking care of the legal side so schools can do what they do best: educate kids. School districts are incredibly complex legal entities with traditional employment matters and some that are unique to public education. With more than 80 attorneys focused exclusively on educators and education law, an answer or solution is just a phone call away. Many attorneys in our firm began their careers as teachers, aides, and administrators, providing them with a unique perspective on the needs and priorities of public education agencies. We know the law, the subtleties, and importantly, the impact decisions will have on your mission: providing the best education possible to California’s students.
Do you have questions about how employee leaves and accommodations apply to a particular employee? What process do you follow if there are allegations of discrimination, or harassment? What is the correct legal classification of a temporary teacher? What rules cover dismissals and layoffs when each may be governed by external laws, collective bargaining agreement and board polices? Are your administrator contracts up-to-date and legally compliant? If these sound like the kinds of questions you wrestle with, F3 knows how to help.
It may seem counterintuitive, but when we have taught a school district how to handle employment matters themselves – so they no longer need us – we’ve done our job well. We train employees, districts, and educational organizations on hiring and termination do’s and don’ts, classification of employees, conducting and documenting investigations, transition to administration, proper procedures for employee discipline, leave of absence policies, and more. While some policies and procedures are determined by collective bargaining agreements, others are the determined by statute or district policy, and it’s not always clear what law or policy applies. Count on F3 for tailored and precise training in all areas of employment-related policy and compliance.
Getting this wrong can be costly! We help districts with questions about employee classification – their status: certificated, classified, probationary, permanent, temporary, or substitute. F3 is here to guide you through every detail of correct employee classification and how to avoid litigation. In California, “certificated” employees are those required to have teaching or certain other credentials, and terminating a certificated employee can be a complex process. Consulting legal counsel is always a good idea. “Classified” employees perform a host of other essential work such as food service, office, maintenance, transportation, academic assistance, library and media, computer services, and more. They are often represented by the California School Employees Association (CSEA), with their employment status governed by both collective bargaining agreement and federal/state law. But the rules are continuously changing. Helping you stay current and in compliance is part of F3’s mission.
School districts must tread carefully when it comes to accommodations for disabled employees. Various federal and state laws prescribe how employers must accommodate employees, and handling accommodations incorrectly can result in allegations of ADA (Americans with Disability Act) violations and/or claims filed with the EEOC or the Reasonable Accommodation Office of the FDA. Employers are frequently unsure what the legal issue is but know there is one. F3 attorneys have decades of experience helping education employers avoid conflicts while enabling all employees to be successful.
Leaves of absence
Employee leaves of absence are among the most complex areas of California school law. There are bereavement leave, maternity and paternity leave, pregnancy disability leave, injury, personal necessity, jury duty, union leave, and others. Plus, certificated and classified employees may have differing rules. It’s often unclear what law or policy applies. We regularly provide districts and California educational organizations with training and assistance as they develop and enforce leave policies that are compliant with both federal/state statutes and collective bargaining agreements. For policy development, analysis, and counseling on individual matters, count on F3 experience for the right guidance.
Complaints and investigations
Complaints come from many directions: employees, parents, even students. They range from run-of-the-mill complaints about an employee to complex allegations of discrimination or sexual harassment and beyond. We assist districts in developing legally compliant procedures for handling complaints, and we are ready to advise, investigate, and document each matter. We have broad experience representing clients on all aspects of cases filed with administrative agencies, such as the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), the California Civil Rights Department (formerly the Department of Fair Employment and Housing), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), and others.