She represents clients in a variety of industries, but has particular expertise in the healthcare, aviation and hospitality industries.
Michelle's employment litigation experience includes defending against claims for wrongful termination, retaliation, wage and hour, harassment, discrimination, as well as cases involving business torts, non-compete agreements and misappropriation of trade secrets. In addition, Michelle regularly counsels employers on best practices for privacy and data protections that include employee internet usage and social media activity. Her labor experience includes representing health care and airline clients in grievance resolution, particularly arbitrations, under both the NLRA and the RLA.
Michelle frequently writes and lectures on California and federal employment laws. She recently presented at the Regional Airline Association 2012 Summer Seminar, PIHRA's 2012 annual legal update, FordHarrison's 2012 Airline Symposium in Atlanta, the 2011 Advanced Employment Issues Symposium in Las Vegas, and has presented several webinars on topics such as California's leave laws, FMLA/CFRA abuse, trade secrets, and non-compete agreements. In addition, Michelle counsels employers on employee discipline and termination, and also conducts internal investigations and training sessions.
Before joining FordHarrison, Michelle served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Consuelo B. Marshall in the Central District of California and also worked as an associate for a boutique firm in Los Angeles representing clients in business and entertainment litigation matters.
Michelle worked as a senior media buyer in the advertising industry before she began her legal career. Her significant business experience has proved to be a valuable asset to her practice. Having worked on the client side, she understands how to meet and exceed clients' expectations and also provides practical, real-world employment advice.
- Served as first chair in arbitration and obtained judgment on behalf of a Hospital that upheld termination of a Registered Nurse who committed health and safety violations related to patient care.
- Served as second chair during 18-day jury trial in Orange County Superior Court and obtained defense verdict on behalf of a national fitness franchise on claims for wrongful termination, retaliation, failure to pay overtime wages, and breach of an oral agreement for 10% equity in the company. Successfully defended against the plaintiff's post-trial motions and appeal.
- Obtained summary judgment in Santa Clara Superior Court on behalf of Hospital on claims for retaliation, wrongful termination, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
- Obtained summary judgment in Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of Casino on claims for interfering with CFRA rights, retaliation and wrongful termination for taking CFRA leave, and age discrimination.
- Obtained summary judgment in the Central District of California on behalf of Hospital on a union's petition to compel arbitration related to decision to reorganize its Engineering Department.
- Defeated motion for class certification in Los Angeles Superior Court on rest and meal period claims concerning proposed class of approximately 450 employees on behalf of a franchise owner with 35 locations.