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Cutting-Edge Employment Law Issues 2019: The California Difference

Speaker(s): Byron Goldstein, Dana Barbeau, Erin M. Connell, Hillary Benham-Baker, Hunter Pyle, Jennifer Shaw, Jennifer B. Zargarof, Jerome I. Braun, Jessica Stender, Laura L. Ho, Leila S Narvid, Timothy J. Long
Recorded on: Sep. 25, 2019
PLI Program #: 254300

Erin M. Connell, Co-chair of Orrick's EEO & OFCCP Compliance Group and Pay Equity Task Force, represents employers in high stakes employment litigation and is an expert in equal employment opportunity law, pay equity, and OFCCP compliance.

Erin's practice covers all aspects of employment law. She defends employers in class actions and other complex cases, as well as in systemic investigations and audits by the EEOC, OFCCP, and the California DFEH. Erin has led dozens of internal pay equity analyses and is a trusted advisor for several of the nation's most prominent employers on developing areas of employment law, including DEI, OFCCP compliance, pay equity, and issues stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Erin also is an accomplished trial lawyer. She has tried several cases before juries and in arbitration, and has obtained numerous defense summary judgment rulings and other favorable resolutions in state and federal court. Erin led the trial team that obtained a complete dismissal for Oracle in OFCCP v. Oracle, the largest pay equity case ever brought by OFCCP, which garnered national media attention and earned Erin recognition as a Litigator of the Week by the American Lawyer and a 2021 Employment MVP by Law360.

Erin is currently the management chair of the ABA Equal Employment Opportunity Committee. She is also a faculty member with the Institute for Workplace Equality (IWE), and frequently speaks on California and national employment law issues, including for IWE, the ABA, the Practicing Law Institute (PLI) and the American Employment Legal Council (AELC). She has published numerous articles on employment law in publications around the country, including the ABA Journal of Law & Employment Law. She also provides employment law training and conducts internal investigations on employment-related matters.



Dana Barbeau is Senior Legal Counsel for labor and employment at CVS Health. Her team manages all litigation and HR counseling in California, as well as handling California and nationwide class actions for CVS.  Dana has extensive experience advising employers on employment law issues, specifically in California, including discipline, termination, reductions in force, outsourcings, leaves of absence, accommodations, wage and hour law, workers’ compensation and traditional labor issues. She has spent the last seven years as in-house counsel, previously with Amgen, and has managed relationships with outside counsel, drafted and revised company policies, managed litigation, and conducted employment law training sessions for human resources professionals and management.  Dana obtained her JD from the University of California, Hastings College of Law in 2007, and a BA from UCLA in 2003. She also externed for Judge Martin J. Jenkins at the United States District Court for the Central District of California. Prior to her in-house positions at CVS and Amgen, Dana was an associate at Sidley Austin and Sheppard Mullin. She is admitted to practice in California.

Byron Goldstein is a partner at Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho.  He has investigated and litigated numerous successful complex class actions on behalf of employees and consumers.  His current practice focuses on California and federal discrimination, wage and hour, privacy, and consumer class actions.  Among his current cases, Mr. Goldstein is counsel in a proposed class action against Nike alleging that women working at the company’s headquarters were discriminated in pay and promotions. 

Prior to GBDH, Mr. Goldstein was a public defender for children with the Legal Aid Society in New York City, where he handled dozens of trials and other hearings.  Mr. Goldstein also previously litigated complex civil and criminal cases while at a large, international law firm and at a litigation boutique.  Mr. Goldstein clerked for Judge UW Clemon in the Northern District of Alabama.

Jennifer B. Zargarof is a labor and employment partner based in Los Angeles. Jennifer advocates for employers in a broad range of employment-related disputes, with a focus on class actions and multi-plaintiff litigation. She serves as defense counsel in wrongful termination, discrimination, retaliation, wage and hour, Fair Credit Reporting Act, and other varied employment-related matters at both the trial and appellate levels. She also counsels clients on myriad labor and employment issues, including personnel policies and procedures, employee discipline matters, and employment contracts. Jennifer practices across several industries, including retail, healthcare, transportation, financial services, media, and technology.

Jennifer has nearly 20 years of experience arguing before US state and federal courts and in arbitration. She has received defense verdicts on behalf of clients, including jury verdicts in a whistleblower and retaliation case; a sexual harassment and retaliation case; and a multi-plaintiff meal and rest period case. She also received judgment in an overtime exemption class action at the conclusion of court trial.

Jennifer is a frequent speaker on various employment-related topics and conducts trainings on sexual harassment, discrimination, wage and hour issues, and other employment law issues.

Awards and Affiliations

Labor & Employment Star, West, Benchmark Labor & Employment (2018)

Recommended, Labor and Employment Litigation, The Legal 500 US (2015–2017)

Member, Labor Law Section, Los Angeles County Bar Association

Executive board member, Litigation Section, Los Angeles County Bar Association


New York University School of Law, 1999, J.D.

University of California, Los Angeles, 1995, B.A.

Jennifer Shaw is the founder of Shaw Law Group and a 2019 recipient of the Sacramento Business Journal’s “Women Who Mean Business” award. A well-respected expert in employment law for more than 20 years, employers rely on Jennifer to provide practical advice and counsel on a broad range of employment law issues, including wage-hour compliance, reasonable accommodation/leave of absence issues, and hiring/separation processes. She is a trusted advisor to HR professionals and leadership teams in a wide variety of organizations and industries. 

Jennifer also offers considerable expertise in conducting neutral investigations for employers. She is often called in to assist with challenging and high- profile matters. Jennifer also regularly trains and advises clients on this important topic.

Jennifer has developed a national reputation for providing innovative and entertaining workplace training to management and non-supervisory employees. She uses case studies, audience participation, and storytelling to bring employment law to life. Through private, on-site sessions, open public sessions, and webinars, she trains thousands of people each year.

Jennifer regularly authors articles on employment law, and is often quoted in publications.

An active member of the Society for Human Resource Management and the Legal and Legislative Group of the Sacramento Area Human Resources Association, Jennifer also belongs to the Association of Workplace Investigators.

Jennifer is the founder of 100+ Women Who Care Sacramento Valley, a local giving circle, and is active in many pro bono activities.

On the weekends you can find Jennifer:

Playing with her daughter and enjoying the sunshine!

Jerry Braun is the immediate past president of The Other Bar, Inc., and is a founder and senior partner in the San Francisco law firm of Farella Braun & Martel, one of California’s fifty largest firms and an alcoholic in recovery with 23 years of sobriety. He has been practicing law for 66 years. He graduated from Stanford Law School in 1953. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a Fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, a Past President of the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers and the recipient of the American Inns of Court Professionalism Award and the Ninth Circuit’s John Frank Award honoring a senior lawyer distinguishing himself for skill, professionalism and excellence in the profession and by devotion and contribution to the Ninth Circuit. Most recently he has been named as the recipient of the Second Annual Hazelden Excellence in Community Leadership Award for his dedicated and passionate advocacy for the triumph of recovery over addiction. Jerry will share his odyssey to and through the ravages of alcoholism and his journey in recovery.

Jessica Stender joined Equal Rights Advocates (ERA) in 2015. As Senior Counsel for Workplace Justice & Public Policy, Jessica is responsible for leading ERA’s Women at Work Initiative by supporting and developing litigation and leading ERA’s policy advocacy with a focus on employment discrimination, including sexual harassment, pay and pregnancy discrimination. Jessica coordinates the Stronger California Advocates Network, a statewide network of organizations and coalitions promoting policy reform to improve the economic security of women and families in California. She serves as Vice Chair of the Women’s Rights Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section on Civil Rights and Social Justice, Co-Chair of the Policy Committee of the National Taskforce on Tradeswomen Issues, and is a member of the Policy Committee of the national Equal Pay Today! campaign.

Prior to joining ERA, Jessica served as Legal Director of Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc. (Center for Migrants Rights), a transnational migrant workers’ rights organization based in Mexico. There, Jessica advocated on behalf of low-wage migrant workers in U.S. courts and before U.S. government agencies and worked with advocates in the U.S. to facilitate representation of migrant worker clients in Mexico.

Prior to joining CDM, Jessica was a Civil Rights Fellow at the public interest class action firm Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho, where she represented workers in civil rights and employment class action cases. Jessica graduated from U.C. Berkeley School of Law in 2009, where she served as Senior Executive Editor of the Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law and Co-Chair of the Boalt Hall Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild.  Before law school, Jessica worked as a paralegal at Friends of Farmworkers in Philadelphia, providing legal assistance to migrant farmworkers throughout Pennsylvania.

Laura L. Ho joined Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho in 1998 and has been a partner since 2005. Her current practice focuses on California and federal wage and hour class and collective actions. Ms. Ho has also represented non-profit organizations as amici curiae in a number of cases affecting California employees in the California Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  She also regularly gives presentations on the subjects of California and federal wage and hour class and collective actions. Ms. Ho speaks Mandarin Chinese.

Ms. Ho received California Lawyer magazine’s California Lawyer of the Year Award (CLAY) in 2009 for her achievements in employment law, was named Best Lawyer’s 2014 Lawyer of the Year for Oakland in Litigation—Labor and Employment, and is regularly recognized as a Northern California Super Lawyer.

Leila Sokkar Narvid is the managing partner of the San Francisco office and a partner in the Employment Law Group of Payne & Fears LLP. Leila represents employers in various employment and business litigation matters, including wage and hour violations, discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination, retaliation, defamation, disability accommodation, contract disputes, employment and business torts, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, partnership and LLC disputes, trade secret misappropriation, and unfair competition/unfair business practices. 

Leila has substantial class and collective action experience and has successfully defended national employers in actions involving allegations of wage and hour violations under federal and state law. Her practice includes representing clients in California and New York state and federal courts, as well as in alternative dispute resolution process. Clients come to Leila for her courtroom experience and her practical, creative and efficient resolution of all types of business disputes.

In 2012, The Recorder named Leila as one of fifty "Fast Track" lawyers, recognizing California attorneys whose early accomplishments indicate they will be tomorrow's top lawyers and leaders. Leila is the Chair of the Firm's Diversity & Inclusion Committee.

Bar Admissions: State of California, State of New York, District of Columbia, U.S. District Court for the Northern, Southern, Eastern and Central Districts of California

Professional Memberships and Activities: Bar Association of San Francisco, Labor and Employment Law Section, California Minority Counsel Program (CMCP), Defense Research Institute, National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL), and National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA)

Community Involvement: Board of Directors, Behavioral Intervention Association; Chair, Board of Directors, Achenbach Graphic Arts Council; Member, Yale University Alumni Association; Guest Instructor, Trial Advocacy, University of California, Hastings College of Law; Guest Lecturer, Golden Gate University School of Law


  • J.D., George Washington University Law School, 2003
B.A., Comparative Literature, with Distinction, Yale University, 2000

Mr. Pyle graduated from Boalt Hall School of Law (now called Berkeley Law) in 1997. In 2007 he was named “one to watch” in the Daily Journal’s “Top Northern California Law Firms.” In 2009 and 2010, he was recognized as a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers. This award is limited to the top 2.5 percent of lawyers under 40 in California. Every year since 2011 he has been recognized as a “Super Lawyer.” This designation is limited to the top 5 percent of attorneys in California. In 2014, Mr. Pyle joined both the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum of the Top Trial Lawyers in America. Membership in those organizations is limited to attorneys who have won million and multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. There are over 4000 members throughout the country. Fewer than 1% of U.S. lawyers are members.

In addition to practicing law full time, Mr. Pyle is a Lecturer at Berkeley Law School, where he has taught the Employment Law course to second and third year law students. In 2018, he designed and taught an advanced seminar at Berkeley Law covering California Wage and Hour Law. He has also been a faculty member of the Stanford Law School Trial Advocacy Workshop for several years.

Mr. Pyle is also the primary contributor to Additionally, he is a co-author along with Catha Worthman of “Civil Penalties Under the California Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA),” Employment Damages and Remedies (CEB 2014). Mr. Pyle is also the updating editor for the Employee and Union Member Guide to Labor Law (West), Chapter 2 (“Opposing Discriminatory Discharges”).

Mr. Pyle handles all types of employment litigation, including class actions, jury trials, wage claims, and unemployment insurance hearings. He has represented clients in wrongful termination/discrimination cases against such entities as Chevron, Georgia-Pacific, and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).

Mr. Pyle has served as the Chair of the Alameda County Bar Association Labor and Employment Committee. He has also served as the President of the Bay Area Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild; and the Vice-Chair of the Alameda County Bar Association Trial Practice section. In 2002, in his spare time, Mr. Pyle was the Outreach Director for Just Cause Oakland, which successfully passed Measure EE (providing that tenants may not be evicted without just cause). He is a member or past member of the National Lawyers Guild, the California Employment Lawyers Association, the Consumer Attorneys of California, the American Association for Justice, and the American Inn of Court.

Mr. Pyle regularly speaks at and organizes seminars for other attorneys. In recent years, these seminars have included jury selection, trial victories, and cross examination; as well as advanced seminars regarding class actions featuring the judges and research attorneys from Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

Timothy Long has deep experience litigating complex labor and employment issues, having served as lead counsel in multiple class, collective, and representative actions and advising on dozens more. Tim litigates wage-and-hour matters, including exemption, incentive compensation, independent contractor, off-the-clock, and pay practice claims. He also has defeated class and collective certification (including at Stage One) in exemption, off-the-clock, and pay practice cases.

Tim advises businesses on employment litigation and other types of claims. He litigates employment discrimination and wrongful termination claims, as well as matters involving trade secrets. Tim provides counsel on many corporate matters and often advises entertainment industry employers on emerging issues. Tim has both prosecuted and defended employers in trade secret and unfair business practices litigation. He has also resisted competitor efforts to enjoin the lawful practices of his clients.

Tim represents employers before state and federal administrative agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the California Department of Fair Employment & Housing (DFEH), Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), and Employment Development Department (EDD). He also conducts workplace investigations and audits.

Tim has wide-ranging experience handling traditional labor relations matters, including advising on certification and decertification elections. Throughout his career, he has litigated dozens of traditional labor disputes, representing clients in courts, before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), and in private arbitration. Tim also advises clients on labor relations issues that arise in mergers and acquisitions.

Hillary Benham-Baker is the Principal Attorney at Benham-Baker Legal. Hillary is proud to have dedicated her career to representing employees and civil rights litigants.  

Hillary is a frequent speaker on employment law topics and has recently spoken on California disability accommodation law, equal pay litigation, employee leave laws, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and pre-litigation strategies.  She is also the author of the "Damages for Wrongful Termination and Other Tort Claims" chapter in Employment Damages and Remedies (CEB 2019) and co-author (with Julia Campins) of the Alternative Dispute Resolution chapter in Employee Leave Laws: Compliance and Litigation (CEB 2021). 

Super Lawyers magazine has named Hillary a "Rising Star" among Northern California attorneys every year since 2011. 

In 2008, Hillary served as an Extern to the Honorable Claudia Wilken in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.  As a student at the University of California Hastings College of Law, Hillary was awarded the Tony Patiño Fellowship.