Labor & Employment Law

Keeping your legal rights protected at your job is our job as Labor and Employment Lawyers.

Finding a California Employment Law Attorney

The Labor & Employment Department is the cornerstone of the Goyette, Ruano & Thompson Law Firm. For over 30 years, we have represented a wide variety of employee organizations, small and medium sized businesses and individual employees on a wide variety of legal matters.

Is Your California Paramedic License At Risk?

GRT has wide experience representing both public sector and private sector employees. Our work covers the application of federal law, state law, multiple levels of regulations and various local ordinances, municipal codes and of course collective bargaining agreements. We represent our clients in both state court, federal court and numerous administrative agencies ranging from California State Personnel Board to local personnel boards to boards of CalPERS and various other pension systems.

Work With Experienced California Employment Law Attorneys

GRT has a particular emphasis on representing public safety in public sector employees including peace officers, firefighters, correctional officers, teachers, nurses and a wide variety of other public sector employees.

GRT also protects workers from wrongful employment practices. We help employees who have been wrongfully terminated, harassed or mistreated.  GRT will handle your labor and employment law matter with expert, assertive and reliable representation to maximize our chances of getting a positive result for our clients.

If you need a California EMT license defense attorney or other type of California employment law attorney, contact our office to schedule your case evaluation. Call us today at 916.851.1900 or fill out the form below.

Areas Of Practice

Public safety and law enforcement are not immune to the law.

We know this, because we represent over 300 peace officers and firefighters per year who are facing legal problems. The reality is that police and fire departments staff need lawyers too. If you are a member of a fire department, sheriff’s department, or police force who needs legal counsel, we pride ourselves in defending all public safety employees.

In our 30 year history, more than 6,000 individual clients have trusted GRT’s law enforcement attorneys in Sacramento and elsewhere to defend them against a wide range of allegations. These include:

  • Letters of Reprimand
  • Officer Involved Shooting
  • Suspensions
  • Salary Reductions
  • Demotions
  • Terminations
  • Removal from Specialty Pay Assignments
  • POBR Violations
  • FBOR Violations
  • Retaliation
  • Death in Custody
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Verbal Counseling
  • Performance Review Questions
  • Response to Adverse Comments in Personnel File
  • Insubordination/Willful Disobedience
  • Incompetence
  • Conduct Unbecoming
  • Criminal Misconduct
  • Abuse of Sick Leave
  • Misappropriation
  • Excessive Force
  • Unauthorized Outside Employment
  • Inexcusable Neglect of Duty
  • Failure of Good Behavior Causing Discredit to the Department
  • General Qualifications
  • Failure to Write Reports/Reporting Requirements.

Goyette, Ruano & Thompson also offers writs and appeals on behalf of law enforcement clients.

Why You Might Need Us?

Are you facing criminal or civil action as a public safety officer? Or perhaps someone is trying to harm you? Or perhaps you find yourself being investigated following a critical incident? No matter what type of situation you’re experiencing, we understand the implications that an unfavorable verdict could have for you. Goyette, Ruano & Thompson’s team of law enforcement attorneys in Sacramento can offer high-quality legal assistance and representation to help protect your rights!

Besides criminal or civil charges or internal investigations, we represent public officers on personal matters as well.

Do you want to sue someone who has injured you? Or do you have a wage claim that you need assistance pursuing? No matter what type of situation you’re facing, we can help you get the justice and compensation you deserve.

If you’re facing a critical incident such as, weapon discharge, death of a suspect in custody, use of force, or any other, we can defend you and your rights.

Or if you’re facing criminal or civil charges or claims for monetary damages by suspects in an incident, remember that each of these requires different standards of proof and a separate defense. Whether you’re experiencing these or any other type of challenges or problems, our highly qualified and experienced civil and criminal law enforcement attorneys in Sacramento will ensure you get a fair evaluation and a solid defense based on your unique situation and the individual facts and circumstances of the case.

We also offer discounted rates to public safety members on our Estate Planning services.

How We Can Help

Through disciplinary appeals, grievances, the meet and confer process, collective bargaining and contract negotiations, Goyette, Ruano & Thompson, Inc. has a record of aggressive tactical representation of thousands of employees, whose jobs and livelihoods were in jeopardy.

If you are a California law enforcement officer in need of legal counsel, have your legal case evaluated by our trusted team of attorneys today. Consultations are always free.

Goyette, Ruano & Thompson has a long standing and personal connection to the fire service ever since Paul Q. Goyette got his first job as a seasonal firefighter with CalFire in 1979. Since that time, the firm and its skilled professionals have provided the highest level of legal representation to the men and women who keep our families safe. Whether it be representing the union on collective bargaining or providing individual representation to an employee, Goyette, Ruano & Thompson is here for you.

Education Attorney Services

Are you looking for an alternative to the California Teachers Association (CTA) model of teacher representation? Goyette, Ruano & Thompson (GRT) offer attorney services for teachers and other certified education employees – it costs about ½ of what teachers currently pay in union dues. The experienced education attorneys at GRT will act as your professional negotiator at the bargaining table. Rather than your shop steward, we serve as your lawyer for every legal matter, and we give the teacher’s association local control over their finances and decisions without creating more work for the teacher’s association Board.

The Problem With Traditional Teacher Union Representation in California

Did you know that if your union has a local issue and wants to get involved in local politics, or elect a pro-teacher School Board Member, you have to request your own money and the issue usually has to jive with a higher-up, sometimes state-wide agenda to be approved?

Want a better model? Consider choosing GRT as an alternative to CTA for teacher associations in Sacramento County.

  • With representation from GRT, it’s your money to spend how you choose. There’s no need to seek state approval first.
  • As an independent public teachers association, your association can bring GRT on board for responsive, superior legal and labor representation for half the dues currently paid in the typical CTA union model.

Legal Representation for Independent Associations

Tens of thousands of California public employees are going independent. Put another way, these employees are represented by smaller independent public employee associations, which means they’re not attached to CTA, SEIU, AFSCME, or any of the other large national and international unions.

Public employee associations represent California public employees that work for the state, counties, cities and special districts, including police officers, nurses, mid-managers, firefighters, general employees, and everything in between.

There are even public school teachers operating under this model, including traditional public and charter schools.

At GRT, we offer a CTA alternative to teachers because our education attorneys are seasoned labor and legal professionals who have been working for independent employee associations for decades.

Put simply, we know this model works. We’re committed to ensuring we provide superior value and effective representation to our teacher union clients, whichever stage they’re at in their career and whatever their issue.

How Our Better Model Works

If you’re looking for an experienced and proactive teacher association in Sacramento, here’s how our model works and why it’s preferable to the alternatives.

  • Once a bargaining unit of teachers in a school district decides to act and decertify the big union that has been controlling their labor rights, they elect to be represented instead by an independent association made up of all the teachers in that same district. This new independent association has its own set of bylaws and simply replaces the big union with respect to the contract with the District.
  • Instead of paying $1,000/year in union dues to support a massive organizational and administrative bureaucracy that siphons away as much as 90% of the money towards the state and national union, you pay dues that are determined locally by you and your colleagues to cover the actual cost of providing the services that you need.
  • The independent employee association collects the lower dues and then contracts with labor and legal professionals to provide the representation for the membership.
  • Labor professionals provide the research and expertise to educate and advise the association’s negotiating team, as well as handling contract enforcement and grievances.
  • Lawyers represent the association and individual members in disciplinary matters and legal disputes, instead of stewards that are often undertrained and always in the difficult position of defending a co-worker.
  • The elected Board of Directors sets the agenda and policy of the association, without having to defer to the state or national unions on any matter. An independent association does not mean that current practices or contract provisions are nullified or changed. What it does mean is that the membership does not have to consult with or get approval from anyone before trying something new.

If the association wants to keep dues the same as they are now, they can do so, and then decide how best to allocate that extra money. Some may opt to build up a reserve or contingency fund; others may choose to become more actively involved in local elections, including for their local School Board; and some may decide that they want to make a sizeable direct contribution to a big union in support of their broader political and social agenda (it is unlikely that the donation would be declined…).

This model works. Ask around. Chances are that your local police officers’ association or deputy sheriffs’ association are not affiliated with a statewide or national union (though they probably belong to a lobbying organization and/or legal defense fund) and they pay substantially less than teachers do in dues.

Learn More About the GRT Model for Teacher Representation in CA

The truth is that CTA and CFT have had a virtual monopoly of teacher representation in California. While we can debate the long-term success or failure of such representation statewide and nationally, there is no doubt that locally, the big union model is not responsive, not independent, but very expensive.

Learn more about GRT’s CTA alternative model for teachers.. Join us at an information meeting, check out our blog, or send us an email or call at (916) 851-1900 or Take control of your labor representation – and save a lot of money while getting a far better product while you are at it!

Advocating for Industrial Disability & Retirement Claims in Civil Litigation

At Goyette, Ruano & Thompson, we recognize the importance of protecting the rights and interests of workers facing industrial disability and retirement issues. If you’re seeking legal assistance with industrial disability claims or retirement benefits disputes, our firm offers civil litigation services to advocate for your rights and secure the compensation you deserve.

Our Industrial Disability & Retirement services include:

Claim Evaluation and Analysis: We begin by conducting a thorough evaluation and analysis of your industrial disability or retirement benefits claim. Our experienced attorneys review your medical records, employment history, vocational assessments, and other relevant documentation to assess the strength of your claim and identify potential legal strategies.

Negotiation and Settlement: Our attorneys engage in negotiation with insurance companies, employers, or pension administrators to seek fair and just settlements for industrial disability and retirement benefits claims. We advocate vigorously on your behalf to maximize compensation and ensure that your rights and interests are protected throughout the settlement negotiation process.

Administrative Hearings and Appeals: If your claim is denied or disputed, we provide skilled representation in administrative hearings or appeals proceedings. Our attorneys prepare you thoroughly for hearings, cross-examine witnesses, present expert testimony, and advocate vigorously to overturn denials or adverse decisions and secure the benefits you’re entitled to.

Litigation in Civil Court: In cases where negotiations and administrative remedies fail to resolve disputes, our firm provides aggressive representation in civil litigation. We file lawsuits on behalf of injured workers or retirees, alleging breach of contract, bad faith insurance practices, ERISA violations, or other legal claims to seek appropriate remedies and compensation through the civil court system.

Coordination with Other Legal Matters: Industrial disability and retirement benefits disputes often intersect with other legal matters such as workers’ compensation claims, disability insurance claims, or Social Security disability benefits. Our firm provides comprehensive legal representation and coordinates with other legal professionals to address all aspects of your case and maximize your recovery.

Appeals and Appellate Advocacy: If necessary, we pursue appeals through appellate courts to challenge adverse decisions and protect your rights on appeal. Our appellate attorneys are skilled in appellate advocacy and have a proven track record of success in overturning unfavorable decisions and securing favorable outcomes for our clients.

Client Support and Communication: Throughout the legal process, our firm provides personalized support and communication to keep you informed and empowered. We understand the stress and uncertainty that can accompany industrial disability and retirement benefits disputes, and we’re committed to providing compassionate guidance and responsive service to address your concerns and protect your interests.

If you’re facing challenges related to industrial disability or retirement benefits, don’t hesitate to seek legal assistance. Contact Goyette, Ruano & Thompson today to schedule a consultation with our experienced civil litigation attorneys. We’re dedicated to providing strategic, effective, and personalized legal representation to help you navigate through this challenging time and achieve a successful outcome for your industrial disability or retirement benefits claim.

Looking for a Sacramento Union Formation Attorney?

The Sacramento union formation attorneys at Goyette, Ruano & Thompson help clients form and manage their own unions. Many employees come to realize that creating their own unions will allow them to more intelligently and purposefully bargain for the rights and benefits unique to them. While the process might seem too daunting to undertake, it isn’t when you have the help of an experienced Sacramento labor union lawyer with 30+ years of experience with union management and formation.

The History of Unions in America

The history of unions in America dates to the colonial period. Craft unions of skilled tradespeople were formed in the 1700s for the same reason today’s unions form: to protect workers’ rights and interests, and to empower workers in their negotiations for decent pay, benefits, and working conditions. Over time, unions evolved from a small number of craft-based organizations to the giant industrial unions we know today.

When to Seek Union Representation Sacramento

The interests of employers and employees often pull in opposite directions. Employers want to keep costs low, for example, while employees want as high a wage and benefits package as possible. Employers regularly hire attorneys to protect their rights and interests.
By law, you have the right to form a union. You also have the right to talk with coworkers about unionizing, the right to express your opinions about unions, and the right to attend meetings where unionizing is discussed. Employers do not always support unions and might try to penalize or harass those who express an interest in unionizing. A Sacramento labor union attorney can step you through what actions to take if you are facing such a situation

Whether you are currently not unionized and starting a brand new union, or if your current union is needing to split up, separate, and start fresh, forming a union requires steps like organizing early campaigns, drawing up union goals and demands, asking coworkers to join the union by signing membership cards, and petitioning the appropriate federal or state labor boards to hold an election.

If you need counsel on forming a union, consider whether hiring a Sacramento labor union attorney might be the right choice for you too. Sacramento union labor law attorney teams such as the experts at Goyette, Ruano & Thompson can help you with both ongoing representation and bargaining, or simply just with forming your new unions.

Contact Professional Sacramento Union Formation Attorneys

We understand that navigating labor laws can be a challenge, which is why we provide experienced attorneys who can help you make sense of complex regulations and devise effective solutions. Our Sacramento lawyers for union members will fight hard to ensure that your rights are respected and upheld—from grievances to labor contract negotiations. We also help employers respond properly to any complaints or union actions taken against them.

The labor law attorneys at Goyette, Ruano & Thompson have vast experience in helping unions of all sizes. Contact us today for your free consultation.

The attorneys and skilled labor negotiators at Goyette, Ruano & Thompson have in-depth knowledge and experience negotiating the best possible contract for their clients given the current economic and political climate. We work closely with the bargaining team appointed for the association to understand the unique concerns, desires and needs of the employees they represent.

Goyette, Ruano & Thompson, Inc., offers comprehensive training, and education and speakers programs for the clients and customers on a wide variety of subject matters.

For example, GRT offers training to its law enforcement organizations and their members in areas such as Internal Affairs Investigations and the Peace Officers Procedural Bills of Rights Act, critical incidents, avoiding the obstruction of justice minefield, success in collective bargaining, on the job injuries and workers’ compensation rights, wage, hour and overtime compensation under State law and the FLSA and employee organization management.

Similar programs are offered for firefighters and other public safety employee organizations. Finally, GRT in conjunction with RN Guardian offers comprehensive training to California Registered Nurses on liability risk management and licensing defense.

GRT’S Training, Education and Speakers’ Programs

Paul Q. Goyette heads up GRT’s training, education and speakers’ programs creating a unique, educational and entertaining program. GRT’s speakers program includes some of the most experienced and qualified professionals in their fields.

GRT’s training, education and speakers’ program are based upon the commitment to give you useful and practical information and the tools to use that information to meet both the long-term and short-term goals of your organization. In other words, GRT’s programs are not about simply providing the student interesting trivia. Rather, many of the programs are designed to help the student lay the foundation for personal and organizational growth. Students learn the value of establishing concrete goals for their organization and numerous strategies to meet those goals. Contact us to coordinate your own customized training or workshop today.

The State of California has one of the largest and most complex bodies of government employing more than 235,000 employees across 231 different agencies serving more than 39 million Californians. It’s no wonder that the issues surrounding State Employment are one of the most common arenas Goyette, Ruano & Thompson has worked with over the past 30 years.

Like individuals working in the public sector elsewhere in the country, employees of the California state government work tirelessly to provide worthy services in fields like civic administration, architecture and engineering, entertainment, tourism, maintenance, and more, performing duties that benefit the entire community. As employees of the California state government, they are eligible for certain rights and benefits. However, at times, they have to fight in a court of law to keep them.

While many state employees are included in bargaining units of varying sizes, there are also thousands of employees that are considered “excluded” without the right to bargain. Our state employee lawyers in Sacramento and other parts of California focus on representing not just associations but also individuals in what can seem like an impossible task – taking on the state.

The California State Personnel Board (“SPB”) is the independent agency vested with primary responsibility for the classification and compensation of most state employees. The SPB also adjudicates employee appeals of disciplinary actions regarding California state employees.

We handle any California State Personnel Board defense matter on behalf of our clients, including hearings, appeals, writs of mandate and everything in between.

Flat Fee California State Personnel Board Defense for Employees Served with an Adverse Action

Many of our clients first contact us after they have been served with a Notice of Adverse Action. Believe it or not, there is a significant amount of power in promptly appealing an adverse action served on them by their employing state agency or department – something often California public employees fail to appreciate.

Under the California constitution, nearly every disciplinary action taken against a public employee falls under the jurisdiction of the California State Personnel Board.  A successful appeal can completely reverse the adverse decision, result in the restoration of lost benefits and salary, and/or promote a global settlement of the dispute even if returning to work is not the desired option for the employee or the employer.

Adverse actions that may be appealed to the California State Personnel Board include: (1) suspensions; (2) demotions; (3) reductions in salary; and, (4) terminations. An appeal of adverse action must be filed within 30 days from the effective date of the personnel action. Late appeals will not be accepted unless there is good cause shown for the delay.

Contact Goyette, Ruano & Thompson if you have recently been served with a Notice of Adverse Action.  The GRT team will personally provide you with a complimentary, no-commitment, initial consultation.

Fixed Flat Fee for Writs of Mandate and Traditional Appeals to the Courts of Appeal

Many peace officers and public and private employees fail to appreciate the power of appealing an adverse employment decision handed down by an administrative law judge, arbitrator, or superior court judge.  A successful appeal can completely reverse the adverse decision, result in the restoration of lost benefits and wages, and/or promote a global settlement of the dispute even if returning to work is not the desired option for the employee or the employer.

After the “street fight” of an administrative or trial court proceeding is over, most employees are simply exhausted.  An adverse decision from an administrative law judge, arbitrator, or judge can simply be too much for one’s emotional resources.  Ironically, many employees quit the fight too soon.  A dispassionate review of the trial record may reveal that reversible error occurred during the trial — the adverse employment decision might be legally infirm, the result of reversible procedural violations, or an abuse of discretion exercised by the judge or arbitrator.

The Writs and Appellate Law Division at Goyette, Ruano & Thompson can discern whether the case should be appealed.  Often we can confidently tell our clients, “it’s not over!” and then pursue either a writ of mandate or a traditional appeal in the state or federal courts of appeal.  We have a strong record of getting arbitrary and capricious decisions overturned or modified on appeal, including erroneous decisions rendered by administrative tribunals, including the California State Personnel Board and the Office of Administrative Hearings, as well as decisions by arbitrators and superior court judges.

Contact Goyette, Ruano & Thompson if you have recently lost a trial or an administrative disciplinary case and you would like some plain talk and a candid assessment of your appellate options, and how the flat fee program works.

No matter what, Goyette, Ruano & Thompson will provide you with the very best California State Personnel Board defense available, but at a low, fixed price you can count on.

At Goyette, Ruano & Thompson, we provide comprehensive legal services tailored to the unique needs of public sector associations and individuals facing disciplinary investigations, disciplinary appeals, and grievances before the State Personnel Board (SPB). With a deep understanding of labor and employment law in the public sector, our firm offers strategic representation to protect the rights and interests of public sector employees.

Our services for Public Sector Associations and State Personnel Board matters include:

Disciplinary Investigations Defense: We provide proactive legal counsel and representation to public sector employees facing disciplinary investigations initiated by their employers. Our attorneys assist individuals throughout the investigation process, advising on their rights, responding to inquiries, and advocating for fair treatment and due process protections.

Disciplinary Appeals Representation: If you’ve received a disciplinary decision or adverse employment action from your employer, our firm offers skilled representation in appealing the decision to the appropriate authorities, including the State Personnel Board. We analyze the grounds for appeal, prepare persuasive appeal documents, and present compelling arguments to challenge the disciplinary action and seek appropriate remedies.

Grievance Resolution: Our attorneys assist public sector employees and associations in resolving workplace grievances through informal negotiations, mediation, or formal grievance procedures established by collective bargaining agreements or personnel policies. We advocate for fair treatment, resolution of disputes, and implementation of corrective actions to address workplace issues and improve working conditions.

Collective Bargaining Support: We provide legal guidance and representation to public sector associations in collective bargaining negotiations with employers, including government agencies and public entities. Our firm assists associations in developing bargaining strategies, drafting proposals, and negotiating collective bargaining agreements that protect the rights and interests of their members.

Legal Compliance and Training: We offer proactive legal advice and training to public sector associations and employees on compliance with labor and employment laws, regulations, and policies governing disciplinary procedures, grievance resolution, and collective bargaining. Our attorneys provide seminars, workshops, and customized training programs to educate stakeholders and promote legal compliance and best practices in the public sector workplace.

Administrative Hearings and Litigation: If disciplinary matters or grievances escalate to administrative hearings or litigation, our firm provides skilled representation before administrative agencies, arbitration panels, and state or federal courts. We prepare clients thoroughly for hearings, present evidence and testimony, and advocate vigorously to protect their rights and achieve favorable outcomes.

Policy Development and Review: Our attorneys assist public sector associations and employers in developing, reviewing, and implementing personnel policies, procedures, and practices to ensure compliance with legal requirements and promote fair and equitable treatment of employees. We provide guidance on disciplinary policies, grievance procedures, and other employment-related matters to minimize legal risks and enhance organizational effectiveness.

At Goyette, Ruano and Thompson, we’re committed to providing dedicated, responsive, and effective legal representation to public sector associations and individuals in labor and employment law matters. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can assist you in navigating the complexities of disciplinary investigations, appeals, and grievances in the public sector.

Labor & Employment Videos

California Employment Law Attorneys

If you need a California EMT license defense attorney or other type of California employment law attorney, contact our office to schedule your case evaluation. Call us today at 916.851.1900 or fill out the form below.

Paul Goyette Entrepreneur Lawyer
Paul Goyette

Founder, CEO & Partner

Rafael Ruano
Rafael Ruano

CAO & Partner

Daniel Thompson
Daniel Thompson


Eric Acevedo, Attorney
Eric Acevedo

Attorney at Law

David J. Garcia, Attorney
David Garcia

Attorney at Law

Alison Gilmore
Alison Gilmore

Attorney at Law

Brandon Largent, Attorney
Brandon Largent

Licensed Lawyer

Amanda Malucchi, Law Clerk
Amanda Malucchi

Attorney at Law

Scott Nelson, Associate Attorney
Scott Nelson

Attorney at Law

Derek Ulmer, Civil Litigation Attorney
Derek Ulmer

Attorney at Law