Cathy L. Arias

Partner

Direct Dial (510) 835-6806

carias@burnhambrown.com

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Education

  • University of California at Davis (J.D., 1989)
  • University of California at Davis (B.A. in Economics)

Bar Admissions

  • California

Cathy L. Arias

Practice Expertise

  • Represents employers in a full range of employment-related matters, including discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, civil rights lawsuits, unfair competition proceedings, state and federal wage and hour litigation, and other related claims
  • Practices before all state and federal courts, as well as before the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Office of the State Labor Commissioner, the Worker’s Compensation Appeals Board and the National Labor Relations Board

Litigation

  • Experienced in public access litigation, civil rights actions, business and other complex litigation
  • Represented the target defendant in six coordinated products liability class actions and was appointed liaison counsel by the court
  • Served as local counsel for a major oil company in a nationwide disability access class action settlement

Advice & Counsel

  • Counsels employers on the Americans with Disabilities Act, the California Business & Professions Code, the Family and Medical Leave Act, employee terminations, workplace violence, pre-employment screening, employment agreements, drug and alcohol testing, restrictive covenants, and trade secrets
  • Drafts employee handbooks, including anti-discrimination policies, and conducts in-house training programs

Professional Associations

  • Member Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW)
  • Frequently speaks to contractors’ groups, public entities, risk management associations, and private corporations on legal topics including litigation management, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and prevention of retaliation and sexual harassment claims
  • Member of State Bar of California, American Bar Association, Alameda County Bar Association, Executive Women's Golf Association and the East Bay La Raza Lawyers Association

Successes

  • Obtained a defense verdict after a six-week trial where four plaintiffs claimed they were subjected to race and disability discrimination.  After the jury unanimously rejected plaintiffs' claims, obtained an award of attorney's fees and costs on behalf of our client in excess of $500,000.  Activities Club, et al v. Jones Management, Los Angeles County, case number BC 305608
  • Obtained a unanimous defense verdict where two plaintiffs claimed they were subjected to race discrimination in violation of civil rights laws.  Joe Dean and Yusef Mustafa v. R&J Foods, Inc., San Diego County, case number GIC875740
  • Successfully drafted briefs and argued the application of California Labor Code section 514 that resulted in a dismissal, with prejudice, of class members' claim for overtime compensation, which was estimated at over $5 million dollars.  The Court determined that Labor Code section 514 applied and thus, the class members were not entitled to overtime pursuant to Labor Code section 510 or the IWC Wage Orders.
  • Obtained a unanimous defense verdict in binding arbitration before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA") after an employee complained of discrimination.  The plaintiff-employee contended that the defendant terminated him based on his age, disability, and sexual orientation.  Prior to the arbitration, the employee demanded $12.5 million, which was reduced to $2.5 million during closing argument.  The arbitration award was confirmed by the Superior Court.
  • Obtained a unanimous defense verdict after a client was sued by two African-American customers who claimed they were victims of race discrimination after a Latina employee allegedly refused them service.
  • Defeated certification of a purported wage and hour class action involving allegations that over 100 fast food restaurant managers were misclassified as exempt and owed unpaid overtime and meal/rest break penalties.
  • Obtained defense verdict in employment wage and hour case.
  • Appellate Court upholds jury's unanimous defense verdict in a civil right discrimination matter involving service animals.
  • Plaintiff in disability discrimination case scrambles to settle case for less than the original offer following opening statements.
  • Resolved discrimination and negligence action against HOA board members and property manager following successful motions limiting claimed damages

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