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California Employment Law Update 2012


Speaker(s): Amira Day Dallafior, Anne G. Purcell, Apalla U. Chopra, David Offen-Brown, Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, Delia Y. Guevara, Greg J. Richardson, Hon. Teri L. Jackson, J. Lee Meihls, Ph.D., Larry Organ, Linda Lye, Oswald B. Cousins, Patricia K. Gillette, Paul F. White, Ph.D., Robert R. Roginson, Roberta L. Steele, Susan Seletsky, Timothy J. Long, Todd F. Jackson
Recorded on: Sep. 7, 2012
PLI Program #: 34098

David F. Offen-Brown (Boalt 1974), a Trial Attorney in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's San Francisco District Office, joined the EEOC in September 1994. While at the EEOC he has won a jury trial and litigated class actions and individual cases. As lead counsel in EEOC v. CalPERS, he negotiated a settlement worth $250,000,000 to the 1,700 beneficiaries of the settlement. He is now advising investigations and conducting litigation. Before joining the EEOC Mr. Offen-Brown was a senior associate with Saperstein, Goldstein, Demchak and Baller (now Goldstein Demchak Baller Borgen & Dardarian) of Oakland, where he litigated employment discrimination class actions on behalf of employees. He has continuously represented employees in employment discrimination cases since he started practicing law in 1976.


Delia Guevara is the Director of General Litigation and Counsel for Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) in San Francisco, CA. She leads a team responsible for all types of litigation involving the Company including, Commercial, Tort and Employment matters. She also serves on the Law Department's Diversity Committee. Prior to joining PG&E, Delia held various positions in corporate legal departments in the Bay Area including, Vice President and Sr. Counsel, Bank of the West, Director of Litigation and Sr. Counsel, PeopleSoft, Inc. and Vice President and Sr. Counsel, Citibank.  Delia began her career in private practice as a litigation attorney. She worked as an associate and Of Counsel at Paul, Hastings in the firm's Los Angeles and San Francisco offices.   


Dr. Lee Meihls is recognized nationally for her expertise in jury selection, witness preparation, courtroom communication, graphics development, and developing effective trial strategies. She founded her own firm, Trial Partners, in 2003. Lee has consulted on over 1000 cases and assisted in selecting over 300 juries. She has also served as an expert witness in federal conspiracy trials.

For over 30 years, Lee has consulted on many high profile criminal cases around the country (state and federal), including Illinois v. Robert Kelly (for the defense), State of North Carolina vs. Evans, Finnerty and Seligman (the Duke Lacrosse Players Rape case, for the defendants), People v. Michael Jackson (for the defense), Christopher Wallace (Notorious B.I.G.) v. City of Los Angeles (for the plaintiffs), People v. Robert Blake (for the defense), U.S.A. v. Bruce Karatz (for the defense), U.S.A. v. Pierce O'Donnell (for the defense), People v. Abdelgany, et al. (also known as The Irvine 11; for the prosecution), People v. Haidl, et al. (for the prosecution in the retrial), The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. John E. du Pont (for the defense) and U.S.A. v. Governor Fife Symington (for the prosecution). 

In addition, Lee has worked on several civil matters with bet-your-company verdicts at stake. Lee assisted MGA win a $310 million verdict against Mattel in a three-month trial in U.S.D.C., Santa Ana, CA (Mattel v. MGA Entertainment), she helped the plaintiff win a $350 million dollar verdict in Los Angeles (Auerbach Acquisition Associates v. Greg Daily) in a trial that lasted four and a half months, and she helped Union Carbide win a defense verdict after a six-week trial in Angleton, Texas (Kelly-Moore Paint Co. v. Union Carbide Corporation) in which the plaintiff was seeking $6 billion dollars. Lee also assisted the defense teams in the U.S.A. v. Henry Samueli/Broadcom and U.S.A. v. Cinergy/Duke Energy cases.

Lee has assisted clients in all major areas of litigation and in all major industries, including antitrust, aviation, bad faith, construction, contracts, criminal conspiracy, defamation, drug importation, employment, environmental, fraud, insurance, intellectual property, legal insanity, murder, professional negligence, products liability, securities, sex-related crimes, toxic tort, trade secrets, and wrongful death. 
Dr. Meihls completed her Ph.D. in sociology at the University of California, San Diego, specializing in psychology, sociolinguistics, and law.  As a faculty member and administrator at UCSD and National University for many years, she published articles on gender issues, communications, and media studies. She also co-authored a book on decision making (Stanford University Press, 1986). In addition, Lee produced live television shows (in cooperation with the former Soviet Union) that were aired nationally on PBS, and she was a film critic for a newspaper in San Diego for many years. 

Lee frequently presents on trial consulting and juror decision making to ABA groups, judicial conferences, and other professional groups around the country. She has appeared as a jury expert commentator on numerous television and radio news programs. Lee is a member of the American Society of Trial Consultants.


Dr. White is a labor economist and the Managing Director of ERS Group's Washington, D.C. office. Since 1993, his practice has focused on the economic and statistical aspects of employment discrimination matters, including compensation, hiring, promotions, and terminations. Dr. White’s labor and employment practice includes EEOC investigations, OFCCP investigations of federal contractors, proactive monitoring of compensation and employee selections, economic damages (single-plaintiff, multi-plaintiff, and class actions), union contract negotiations, and NLRB hearings. His practice also covers the statistical aspects of wage and hour matters, including typicality and commonality analyses for class certification, misclassification, off-the-clock work, management edits, and other quantifiable issues. Additionally, Dr. White has conducted analyses on mutual fund trading practices, asbestos exposure, and prescription drug pricing.

Dr. White has testified numerous times in local, state, and federal courts. He served as the case manager or testifying expert witness in cases such as:

Dukes, et al. v. Wal-Mart
Zivali, et al., v. AT&T Mobility
Campbell, et al. v. PricewaterhouseCoopers
• Lott, et al. v. Westinghouse
Hall, et al. v. RiteAid Corporation

Dr. White served as an adjunct member of the graduate school faculty at Florida State University from 1996 through 2002. He has published papers in the Journal of Forensic Economics and the Journal of Applied Business Research. He has served as a referee for the Journal of Forensic Economics, Litigation Economics Review, and Contemporary Economic Policy. Dr. White often makes presentations to legal, human resources, and economic associations and is a frequent presenter at ERS Group seminars.

Dr. White received his Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from James Madison University, and his Masters’ and Ph.D. degrees from North Carolina State University, where he concentrated in labor economics, health economics, and statistics.


Greg J. Richardson is Senior Corporate Counsel at Genentech, Inc. in the Employment Law Group. Greg joined Genentech in May 2011. Prior to that time, beginning in October 2007, he was an associate and then a partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, practicing employment law. Greg also worked as an employment attorney from 1999 to 2007 at Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe LLP.  As an outside counsel, Greg litigated employment law cases from demand letters and agency charges to trial court and through appeal. He also provided labor and employment advice to several clients. As an inside counsel, Greg continues to advise internal clients on all aspects of employment law and manages employment litigation. Greg has been a frequent speaker at various conferences on a wide variety of legal topics. Greg obtained his J.D. in 1999 from University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law, and his B.A. in 1992 from Wesleyan University.


Larry Organ is a partner in Equality Lawyers, LLP, which has offices in San Francisco, Oakland, San Anselmo, and Los Angeles.  Equality Lawyers represents the victims of harassment, discrimination and retaliation with an emphasis on trial practice.  Mr. Organ has tried over 24 cases to verdict. Some of his more notable cases include a $30.5 million jury verdict on behalf of six female employees who were sexually harassed while working for Ralphs Grocery Company. This case was published at Gober v. Ralphs Grocery Co. (2006) 137 Cal.App.4th 204. He was appellate counsel on the groundbreaking Weeks v. Baker & McKenzie case which is recognized as one of the breakthrough sex harassment cases in the country where a partner harassed his legal secretary. Weeks v. Baker & McKenzie (1998) 63 Cal.App.4th 1128.  Mr. Organ has numerous other published cases including Greene v. Dillingham Construction, N.A., Inc.  (2002) 101 Cal.App.4th 418 (attorney's fees multipliers) and Ontiveros v. DHL (2008) 164 Cal.App.4th 494 (arbitration unconscionability).  He has had amicus briefs accepted by the California Supreme Court in cases such as Miller v. Department of Corrections  (2005) 36 Cal.4th 446. His colleagues have recognized him as a Super Lawyer for the last three years.

 Mr. Organ graduated with honors from Duke University School of Law where he was chair of the moot court board. He has a master's degree in politics from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from University of California, Berkeley where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He also is raising three girls and two dogs.


Linda Lye is a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, where she focuses on free speech, open government and privacy issues. Her current litigation includes a suit against the University of California at Davis for its use of pepper spray on student protesters and another against the City of Oakland for its crackdown on peaceful Occupy Oakland protesters. Prior to joining the ACLU in 2010, she was a partner at Altshuler Berzon LLP, a San Francisco law firm specializing in labor and employment law, where she represented labor unions in federal and state court, administrative proceedings, arbitrations, and collective bargaining negotiations.  Earlier in her legal career, she clerked for Judge Guido Calabresi of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the United States Supreme Court. She received her undergraduate degree from Yale and JD from Boalt Hall, at the University of California at Berkeley.


Todd Jackson is a Shareholder with Lewis, Feinberg, Lee, Renaker & Jackson, P.C. where he represents employees in class action cases involving overtime pay, pension benefits, and employment discrimination.  Mr. Jackson has represented and is representing workers in numerous wage and hour class actions, including overtime cases on behalf of technology workers, construction workers, insurance claims representatives, processing workers and truck drivers. Mr. Jackson also represents employees in ERISA cases, including ESOP litigation and breach of fiduciary duty litigation.


Anne Purcell has spent her entire legal career with the National Labor Relations Board.  After graduating from the University of Missouri Law School, she began her career in the Kansas City office as a field attorney investigating alleged unfair labor practices and litigating those charges found to be meritorious.  In 1986 she moved to Washington DC where she served as Chief Counsel to Board Member Mary Cracraft.  Unfair labor practices are initially litigated before administrative law judges.  If a party disagrees with the administrative law judge, then the party has the right to file exceptions (i.e. appeal) to the full National Labor Relations Board.  The Board through its decisions establishes national labor policy.  As Chief Counsel to one of the five Board members, she managed the Board member’s staff, advised the Board member on the cases coming before her as well as the implications for labor law policy.  From that position, Anne moved to the Division of Operations-Management, starting as a Deputy to the Assistant General Counsel and then moving up the ladder to the Associate General Counsel position.  The Associate General Counsel in the Division of Operations-Management oversees a staff who in turn manages all field operations.  There are 50 field offices across the country and it is the Division’s responsibility to ensure that the field is well informed about the General Counsel’s positions and is enforcing the law consistent with those positions.  The Division oversees all aspects of performance as well as managing budgetary, personnel and the Agency’s internal labor relations issues.  In all,   Anne has now spent 38 years with the National Labor Relations Board.


Amira Dallafior is Employment Counsel at Facebook.  At Facebook Amira is responsible for U.S. and global labor and employment law matters. Prior to joining Facebook she worked as an Associate at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP in the Labor and Employment Department of the firm's San Francisco and Menlo Park offices.  Amira went to college at UCLA and law school at UC Berkeley, Boalt Hall.

 


Susan Seletsky is a graduate of Hunter College in New York, and UCLA Law School, and presently a Senior Trial Attorney in the Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of Labor, Los Angeles office. She has worked for DOL since 2000. Due to the nature of the underground economy in Los Angeles, her office concentrates much of its efforts on FLSA enforcement, in the garment, restaurant, car wash and other low wage industries.

 


Apalla Chopra is Chair of the Labor and Employment Practice and a partner in O’Melveny’s Los Angeles office. She specializes in litigating complex multi-plaintiff and class action discrimination and wage and hour cases. Her experience is broad as she has represented clients in cases regarding employee allegations of invasion of privacy, wrongful discharge, and discrimination based on age, race, sex, national origin, physical handicap, and related matters. Apalla also has represented clients in traditional labor matters under the National Labor Relations Act and Educational Employment Relations Act, and has experience negotiating collective bargaining agreements and executive employment contracts. She has appeared in state and federal courts in the civil and criminal context, as well as before various administrative agencies. Apalla’s industry experience is likewise broad, as she has represented companies in the biotechnology, manufacturing, airline, health, retail, hospitality, private and public schools, and entertainment sectors.

Apalla has represented both employers and amici in many significant trial court and appellate cases, including Chindarah v. Pick Up Stix, Inc., 171 Cal. App. 4th 796 (2009); Alch v. Superior Court, 122 Cal. App. 4th 339 (2004); Thomas v. Bristol Farms, Inc., 2003 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 11024 (2003); Wynn v. NBC, 234 F. Supp. 2d 1067 (C.D. Cal. 2002); and Fanaka v. Warner Bros., 2000 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19078 (2000).

Apalla has repeatedly been recognized by Chambers USA, Legal500, and the Daily Journal as a top woman lawyer and defense-side labor and employment law practitioner. She also has been recognized as “Rainmaker” by Diversity & the Bar and in “Women Worth Watching” by Diversity Journal.

Education

University of California, Hastings College of Law, J.D., 1992: cum laude; Thurston Society; Senior Note Editor, Hastings Law Review

University of California at Irvine, B.A., Political Science and Economics, 1988: magna cum laude; Phi Beta Kappa


Erwin Chemerinsky became the 13th Dean of Berkeley Law on July 1, 2017, when he joined the faculty as the Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law.

Prior to assuming this position, from 2008-2017, he was the founding Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law, and Raymond Pryke Professor of First Amendment Law, at University of California, Irvine School of Law, with a joint appointment in Political Science.  Before that he was the Alston and Bird Professor of Law and Political Science at Duke University from 2004-2008, and from 1983-2004 was a professor at the University of Southern California Law School, including as the Sydney M. Irmas Professor of Public Interest Law, Legal Ethics, and Political Science. He also has taught at DePaul College of Law and UCLA Law School.  He teaches Constitutional Law, First Amendment Law, Federal Courts, Criminal Procedure, and Appellate Litigation.

He is the author of ten books, including The Case Against the Supreme Court, published by Viking in 2014, and two books published by Yale University Press in 2017, Closing the Courthouse Doors: How Your Constitutional Rights Became Unenforceable and Free Speech on Campus (with Howard Gillman). He also is the author of more than 200 law review articles. He writes a weekly column for the Sacramento Bee, monthly columns for the ABA Journal and the Daily Journal, and frequent op-eds in newspapers across the country. He frequently argues appellate cases, including in the United States Supreme Court. 

In 2016, he was named a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  In January 2017, National Jurist magazine again named Dean Chemerinsky as the most influential person in legal education in the United States.

Education

B.S., Northwestern University (1975)

J.D., Harvard Law School (1978)


Oswald Cousins is an experienced trial lawyer, who focuses his practice in the areas of wrongful termination, whistleblower and retaliation, discrimination and harassment, wage and hour class actions and PAGA representative suits, trade secrets, and contract disputes. During his more than 20 years of practice, he has served as lead and co-lead counsel on numerous jury trials, bench trials, and arbitrations in federal and state forums. Oswald also provides advice and counseling to employers involving hiring and terminating employees, workplace investigations, disability accommodation, employee leaves, reductions-in-force, wage and hour issues, and various governmental compliance issues.

EDUCATION

J.D., 1994 - University of California, Los Angeles School of Law

B.A., 1990 - University of Vermont

PROFESSIONAL RECOGNITION

Northern California Super Lawyers, 2013-2016

AFFILIATIONS AND ACTIVITIES

Member, Labor and Employment Section, American Bar Association

Member, Bar Association of San Francisco

PRIOR LAW FIRM AFFILIATIONS

Nixon Peabody LLP

Littler Mendelson P.C.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

Latham & Watkins LLP

BAR ADMISSIONS

California

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

U.S. Supreme Court


Pat Gillette is one of the country’s leading experts and most sought-after speakers on gender diversity and equality.  Rated as a top employment litigator and trial lawyer by Chambers and other organizations for 40 years and as a leader and rainmaker in her firms, Ms. Gillette’s legal career focused on assisting Fortune 500 companies with their most difficult issues and challenges.  At the end of 2015, she resigned from her firm to pursue her passion for empowering women through keynote speaking and writing.  She was also invited to join JAMS in San Francisco and she now spends some of her time mediating employment cases. 

Ms. Gillette’s newly published book, “Rainmakers:  Born or Bred” is filled with practical tactics and strategies that can be easily implemented to enhance business development skills and expand books of business.  In the book, Ms. Gillette highlights the nationally acclaimed Rainmaker Study and includes helpful tips from rainmakers and clients across the country.  Using the research studies Ms. Gillette commissioned, her own experiences, and her charismatic style, Rainmakers: Born or Bred inspires attorneys to think differently about how they can realize their personal and business goals.

Ms. Gillette has been recognized for work to advance women in the profession in many forums and has received several awards including the ABA Golden Hammer Award, the California Women Lawyers Association’s Fay Stender Award, the Transformational Leadership Award as one of the Top Women Rainmakers, and the Barristers Association of San Francisco Award of Merit. 

Ms. Gillette is the co-founder of the Opt-In Project, a nationwide initiative focused on changing the structure of law firms to increase the retention and advancement of women. Ms. Gillette has been a Commissioner on the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, a member of ABA’s Gender Equity Task Force, Co-Chair of the BASF No Glass Ceiling Initiative, and she serves on several non-profit boards dedicated to protecting and promoting women, including Equal Rights Advocates and DirectWomen,

Ms. Gillette is the proud mother of two successful and enlightened sons and lives in Kensington, California with her husband of 40+ years.  She has served as an elected official of her town and is active in political and community organizations and activities.

For more information about Ms. Gillette, you can visit her website at www.patriciagillette.com or contact her at 510.604.6252. 


Robert Roginson is a shareholder in the firm’s Los Angeles office. His practice includes all aspects of employment and labor law litigation and counseling for employers.

Mr. Roginson has represented private and public employers in state and federal courts and administrative agencies. Mr. Roginson has defended dozens of employers in class actions involving a variety of allegations, including employee misclassification, meal and rest period violations, off-the-clock claims, and record keeping violations. Mr. Roginson focuses on bringing creative solutions to complex legal problems. He has negotiated several settlements of wage/hour class and representative actions on terms favorable to the companies. He also counsels employers and companies on California and federal wage/hour and pay practice laws, prevailing wage laws, project labor agreements (PLAs), reduction in force issues and WARN notification requirements, labor relations and union matters, tribal immunity and sovereignty issues, and retaliation and discrimination claims.

From November 2007 until March 2010, Mr. Roginson served as Chief Counsel for the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE). Appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mr. Roginson represented and advised the California Labor Commissioner and her staff in all aspects of enforcement and interpretation of California’s labor and wage/hour laws, licensing requirements, and retaliation statutes. He also managed and directed the Division’s litigation and handled matters involving meal and rest period compliance and enforcements, public works and prevailing wage requirements, child labor and work permit issues, the Talent Agency Act, farm labor contracting, garment manufacturing, and the Private Attorney General Act (PAGA).

As Chief Counsel, Mr. Roginson authored DLSE amicus briefs and opinion letters, including:

  • DLSE amicus brief in the California Supreme Court meal period case, Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court (Hohnbaum)
  • DLSE opinion letter affirming California’s on-duty meal period requirements
  • DLSE opinion letter affirming an employer’s right to take deductions for vacation and sick time for partial-day absences for exempt employees
  • DLSE opinion letter affirming an employer’s right to implement proportionate salary and work schedule reductions for exempt employees
  • DLSE opinion letter authorizing the use of debit paycards and convenience checks
  • DLSE opinion letter approving summertime alternative workweek schedule

Mr. Roginson also co-wrote and edited the DLSE’s Public Works Manual.

Prior to joining Ogletree Deakins, Mr. Roginson worked in the industrial relations department for the Associated General Contractors of California (AGC of California), where he represented construction contractors in labor grievance and arbitration matters in addition to the negotiation of the Southern California Basic Trades Master Labor Agreements.


Tim Long leads a vibrant employment law practice representing clients throughout the state and beyond from his offices in Los Angeles and Sacramento. For the last two years, The Daily Journal has selected Tim as one of the top labor and employment lawyers in California. 

Tim has developed a national reputation litigating complex employment matters.  Tim has acted as lead counsel in numerous class, collective and representative actions and advised on dozens more.

Mr. Long is one of the few lawyers who has tried to verdict an employment class action, obtaining a complete defense verdict on behalf of a major retailer. He went on to protect the verdict on appeal.  Last year Tim argued to the California Supreme Court, achieving a victory for another retail client.  He also made it to the U.S. Supreme Court in a case involving independent contractors and the enforceability of arbitration agreements.  That case settled on the eve of oral argument.

Tim is also the Editor of PLI’s Employment Law Yearbook, which is the most comprehensive, annual update on issues that are most relevant to employment law practitioners.


The Honorable Teri L. Jackson has served on the San Francisco Bench since September 2002. Judge Jackson currently presides over asbestos and CEQA litigation at the Civic Center Courthouse in San Francisco. She previously presided over civil and criminal trials. In 2008, she was one of the 22 judges selected by the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court to sit in Riverside County on a special Criminal Backlog Reduction Task Force. The task force was able to resolve more than 1,000 backlogged criminal cases in one year.

In June 2010, Chief Justice Ronald M. George appointed Judge Jackson to serve as an advisory member of the Judicial Council for a 3-year term, effective September 15, 2010. Judge Jackson became a voting member of the Judicial Council on June 1, 2011 after her appointment by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye.

Since January 2006, Judge Jackson has been teaching as an Adjunct Law Professor for the Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. Since January 2005 until December 2006 and January 2012 until the present, Judge Jackson held the position of Adjunct Law Professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law. She also was a Law Instructor for the San Francisco Law School from October 1984 to May 1992.

Gov. Gray Davis appointed Judge Jackson to the San Francisco Bench in August 2002. She is the first African American female judge to be appointed to the San Francisco Bench. Prior to her judicial appointment, Judge Jackson was an attorney for nearly five years with Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP, in San Francisco, where she specialized in complex litigation, employment defense, real estate, trade secrets, bankruptcy and white-collar defense in federal and state Courts.

Before entering into private practice, Judge Jackson served as an Assistant District Attorney in the San Mateo County Attorney's Office, 1981 and the Office of the San Francisco Attorney, 1984. From May 1984 until November 1997, she held numerous Managing Attorney positions in Misdemeanor Trials, Domestic Violence and Homicide Units.

Judge Jackson earned her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. She is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Judge Jackson is a member of numerous professional associations, including the California Judges Association; Northern California Association of Business Trial Lawyers; and American Inn of Court, Edward J. McFetridge. She also is a member of several civic associations, including the Young Scholars Program; Board of Directors, Peninsula Community Foundation; Mid-Peninsula Boys and Girls Club; and the San Francisco Soroptimist.

In March 2008, Judge Jackson was the recipient of the Madam C.J. Walker Pioneer Award. She earned recognition in September 2007 from the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. In April 2006, she received the A. Philip Randolph Institute Roseina Tucker Award.


Roberta L. Steele is the Regional Attorney for the San Francisco District Office of the Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC).  She is responsible for the agency’s litigation program to enforce the federal anti- discrimination laws in Northern California and Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho.   Before joining the EEOC, Ms. Steele was a partner at the law firm then known as Goldstein, Demchak, Baller, Borgen & Dardarian (Oakland, CA), where she spent 17 years litigating plaintiffs’ employment discrimination and wage and hour class and collective actions nationally. She also served as the Program Director for the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) for two years directing the organization’s broad range of continuing legal education and advocacy initiatives, including NELA’s Amicus and Judicial Nominations Programs.  Ms. Steele was an Executive Editor for Lindemann & Grossman, Employment Discrimination Law, 5th ed. (2013). She was a member of the Board of Directors of Equal Rights Advocates for eight years, including serving on the Executive Committee and as Chair of the Litigation Committee. Ms. Steele has been active in the American Bar Association’s Labor & Employment Law Section for many years. She is a frequent lecturer and panelist on subjects relating to the fair employment and wage and hour laws, class and collective actions, and litigation practice and procedure. Ms. Steele received her J.D. from Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Cleveland, OH, in 1993, where she was an Associate Editor and Notes Editor for its Law Review. In 1990, Ms. Steele graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in English from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA.