Betsy Johnson

Shareholder || Los Angeles

Betsy Johnson has represented employers in California since 1985. Ms. Johnson actively partners with her clients to seek innovative and practical ways to best meet their unique needs. Ms. Johnson works with California-based small and medium employers, as well as large multi-state employers. Ms. Johnson provides day-to-day advice on employment matters and “best practices.” She believes in taking a proactive approach to developing, drafting and implementing personnel and pay practice policies and procedures, employee compensation, managing employee performance, creating strategies for managing disability and leave of absence issues, and assisting in corporate reorganizations.

Ms. Johnson is an experienced advocate. She aggressively and cost-effectively represents employers in negotiating early case resolutions and defends her clients against claims brought in state and federal courts, and before government agencies. Ms. Johnson assists and represents employers in traditional labor relations, including negotiating collective bargaining agreements, handling grievance and arbitration proceedings and defending against unfair labor practices charges.

Ms. Johnson’s areas of expertise include: state and federal wage and hour, employee compensation, employee leaves of absence, discrimination and harassment, performance management, discipline and termination, restrictive covenants and RIFs and reorganizations.

Ms. Johnson is a member of the Firm’s Management Committee, the California Advice Group, the Leadership Challenge, the Wage and Hour Practice Group, the Retail Practice, and the Sports and Entertainment Practice Group. She also served on the Firm’s Professional Development Steering Committee.

Prior to moving to Los Angeles, Ms. Johnson practiced in New York and represented the NYC Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA) in labor relations matters, including representing the PBA as Special Counsel at the NYC Pension Trust Fund.

In college, Ms. Johnson played basketball for the University of South Carolina Lady Gamecocks. She also played basketball for Warwick University, winners of the English Inter-Collegiate Basketball Championship, the Coventry Cougars and on the English National All-Star Team.

Learn more about Betsy Johnson

Employment Advice & Counseling

  • Provide day-to-day advice to employers in a variety of industries including retail, hospitality, transportation/logistics, health care, construction and manufacturing on issues relating to wage and hour,  employee performance, discipline, termination, leaves of absence, the interactive process and reasonable accommodation, layoffs and reorganizations, employee compensation plans, restrictive covenants and compliance programs
  • Create and revise personnel and payroll policies, procedures and forms, commission, bonus and incentive plans, HR checklists, for California and multi-state employers
  • Conduct compliance audits of employer wage and hour, payroll, personnel, and EEO processes
  • Conduct investigations of employee complaints of harassment, discrimination, retaliation and failure to reasonably accommodate disabilities
  • Negotiate collective bargaining agreements and memoranda of understanding
  • Assist unionized employers in employee relations matters

Training & Seminars

  • Develop customized supervisory training modules for employers of all sizes
  • Conduct training for Legal Departments, Human Resources professionals and supervisory employees on topics including: California AB 1875 Mandatory Harassment Training, Effective Hiring and Interviewing, Proactive Performance Management, Avoiding Discrimination, Harassment and Wrongful Termination Claims, Employee Time off & Leaves of Absence, and Managing Disability and Reasonable Accommodation
  • Present seminars for professional, trade and industry associations on California Employment Law, Avoiding the Most Common Wage and Hour Mistakes, Avoiding Discrimination, Harassment and Wrongful Termination Litigation, and How to Proactively Manage Sick and Disabled Employees


  • Prepare position statements in response to DFEH/EEOC complaints and charges
  • Represent employers in matters before the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE)
  • Represent employers in audits by the Department of Labor (DOL) and state agencies such as the DLSE and the Employment Development Department (EDD)
  • Obtain favorable settlements of administrative charges and complaints.
  • Prepare separation and severance agreements for terminations and layoffs
  • Negotiate settlement of pre-litigation claims


  • Successfully defend employers in cases involving claims of discrimination, harassment and retaliation under FEHA and Title VII, claims of wrongful termination in violation of public policy, claims of “whistleblower” retaliation, claims of breach of contract/restrictive covenants, and claims of defamation and tortious interference
  • Defend and obtain favorable settlements for Fortune 500 companies in multimillion dollar wage-hour class actions under the FLSA and state law involving claims for misclassification of employees and independent contractors, failure to pay overtime, failure to provide meal periods and rest breaks, failure to pay vacation, failure to reimburse expenses, PAGA penalties, and unfair competition


  • J.D., University of South Carolina School of Law, 1982
  • B.A., magna cum laude, History, University of South Carolina, 1980
  • Warwick University, 1979-1980

Admittance to Practice

  • California
  • New York
  • South Carolina
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second and Ninth Circuits
  • U.S. District Court, Central, Eastern, Northern and Southern Districts of California
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern, Southern and Western Districts of New York
  • U.S. Tax Court

Professional Activities

  • California State Bar (Employment Law Section)
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association (Employment Law Section)
  • National Association of Women Lawyers
  • SHRM Southern California Chapter
  • PHIRA Los Angeles Chapter
  • Culver City, CA Chamber of Commerce


  • Corporate Labor and Employment Counsel Exclusive - "Employment Trials in a "Post-Truth" Age: What's Changed?" - La Quinta - November 9, 2018
  • Ogletree Deakins Navigating California Employment Law Seminar - "BREAKING NEWS: Employer Harassment Policies and Investigations Under Fire!" - Napa - March 3, 2018
  • Ogletree Deakins Navigating California Employment Law Seminar - "Successfully Navigating California's Challenges - A Group Endeavor" - Napa - March 2, 2018
  • Ogletree Deakins Navigating California Employment Law Seminar - "It Never Rains in California . . . Man, It Pours!" - Napa - February 28, 2018
  • Ogletree Deakins Corporate Labor and Employment Counsel Exclusive - "Twists and Turns: Legal Strategies for the Most Complex Leave Issues Under the FMLA and ADA" - Boca Raton - November 10, 2017
  • Ogletree Deakins Navigating California Employment Law Seminar - "Successfully Navigating California's Challenges - A Group Endeavor" - Napa - March 3, 2017
  • Ogletree Deakins Navigating California Employment Law Seminar - "California, Here I Come!" - Napa - March 1, 2017
  • National Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Annual Conference - "Successful Screening of Cases & Responding to a Demand Letter" - New Orleans - October 2016
  • Culver City Chamber of Commerce - "2015 Employment Law Update" - Culver City - January 2015
  • Precept Group Seminar - "2015 California Employment Law Update" - Irvine - January 2015
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - "Accommodating Religious Practices in the Workplace" - Los Angeles - October 2014
  • Ogletree Deakins Corporate Labor and Employment Counsel Exclusive Seminar - "Human Trafficking in the Supply Change" - Dana Point - September 2014
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association - "Not Your Father’s (or Mother’s) Investigation - How Workplace Investigations Have Changed" - Los Angeles - March 1, 2014
  • Ogletree Deakins Navigating California Employment Law - "There’s Employment Law and There’s California Employment Law" - Napa - March 2014
  • Precept Group Seminar - "2014 California Employment Law Update" - Irvine and San Jose - March 2014
  • Culver City Chamber of Commerce - "2014 Employment Law Update" - Culver City - January 2014
  • BLR Seminar - "FMLA/CFRA Master Class" - Los Angeles - December 2013
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - "New York Employers Doing Business in California" - New York - November 2013
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - "Non-Union Employers-Preparing for the New NLRB" - Los Angeles and Costa Mesa - October 2013
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Managing Immigration-Related Employment Issues" - New Orleans - May 2013
  • Ogletree Deakins Navigating California Employment Law - "Employee Privacy in California - Social Media and More" - Napa - March 2013
  • Culver City Chamber of Commerce - "2013 Employment Law Update" - Culver City - January 2013
  • Precept Group Seminar - "2013 California Employment Law Update" - Irvine and San Jose - January 2013
  • Lorman Education Services - "Best Practices in ADA, FMLA and Workers’ Compensation" - Los Angeles - December 2012
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - "Where Immigration and Employment Law Collide" - Los Angeles - October 2012
  • Culver City Chamber of Commerce - "2012 Employment Law Update" - Culver City - January 2012
  • Precept Group Seminar - "2012 California Employment Law Update" - Irvine and San Jose - January 2012
  • Association for Conflict Resolution's 2011 Annual Conference - "Social Media Issues in the Workplace" - San Diego - October 12, 2011
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - "Recordkeeping Realities" - Los Angeles - October 2011
  • ALI-ABA Telephone Seminar and Audio Webcast - "Doing Business in California: How to Decipher California Labor and Employment Law" - September 13, 2011
  • July 27, 2015 - Los Angeles Times - "Why union leaders want L.A. to give them a minimum wage loophole"
  • January 1, 2015 - HR Gazette - "Best Practices to Avoid Legal Issues with Temps, Subs & Leased Employees"
  • August 28, 2014 - Ogletree Deakins Publication - "California Court Interprets Vague Language in Arbitration Agreement in Favor of Employee"
  • March 12, 2013 - Human Resource Executive - "Dealing with Workers' Panic Attacks"
  • August 30, 2011 - Law360 - "Ogletree Deakins Nabs Epstein Employment Atty In LA"
  • Fellow, College of Labor and Employment Lawyers
  • Southern California Super Lawyers (2019)

Insights by Betsy Johnson