Jennifer L. Santa Maria

Shareholder || San Diego

Jennifer Santa Maria is a Shareholder in the San Diego office.

Ms. Santa Maria represents employers of all sizes in all aspects of labor and employment law, including employment litigation and advice and counseling. She also regularly conducts workplace investigations. She advises and defends clients in federal and state employment-related lawsuits and agency claims, including actions alleging discrimination, harassment, retaliation, disability, leave of absence, breach of contract, and wrongful termination claims. Ms. Santa Maria has also litigated numerous class and representative actions concerning wage and hour claims involving meal and rest periods, overtime, prevailing wage, paycheck deductions, and misclassification of employees.

In addition to litigation, Ms. Santa Maria regularly provides advice to employers regarding litigation avoidance and compliance with federal and state laws and administrative regulations on matters such as employee discipline, hiring and termination issues; leaves of absence; wage and hour issues; internal investigations; workplace accommodations; and other issues arising in the human resources context.

Ms. Santa Maria also frequently conducts workplace investigations involving allegations of discrimination, retaliation, harassment, and whistleblower claims.

Ms. Santa Maria also has extensive experience defending employers before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement and various other federal and state agencies.

Ms. Santa Maria received her J.D. in 2002 from California Western School of Law. In 2000, Ms. Santa Maria earned a B.A. in social relations from Michigan State University where she graduated with honors.

Ms. Santa Maria also competed on the Michigan State University varsity cross country and track & field teams from 1996 to 2000, and earned NCAA All-American honors in the 10,000 meters event in 2000. She also qualified for and competed in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials for the women’s marathon.

Learn more about Jennifer L. Santa Maria

Employment Discrimination/Wrongful Termination/Retaliation

    • Obtained summary judgment for international hotel on age and disability discrimination case
    • Obtained summary judgment and confirmation of order by Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal for national defense contractor on disability discrimination case
    • Obtained summary judgment in federal court on race discrimination case for national tax preparation company
    • Obtained partial summary judgment for national paycheck advance company on claims of wrongful termination and retaliation, resulting in significantly reduced settlement amount
    • Obtained dismissal of matter alleging age and disability discrimination claims brought against data storage company

Workplace Investigations

    • Regularly conducts workplace investigations, including allegations of age, race, or gender discrimination, retaliation, and harassment

Wage and Hour Class Action

    • Defeated class certification and obtained summary judgment in matter brought against national construction company
    • Defeated class certification against government contractor
    • Obtained decertification of class action against regional auto parts company


    • Assisted with defending and obtaining summary judgment for Fortune 100 insurance company in federal ERISA class action matter
    • Defended numerous Labor Code Section 132a claims
    • Obtained dismissal of federal ERISA matter regarding FSA dispute


    • Obtained defense verdict on a sexual harassment case against a Five Star, Five Diamond Resort
    • Tried to verdict a sexual harassment case against insurance company


    • Defended over 20 matters in arbitration for national department store retailer involving wage and hour claims
    • Defended national fitness chain in arbitration on race discrimination matter


  • Conducts AB 1825 sexual harassment trainings
  • Conducts seminars providing updates on California employment laws for employers


  • J.D., California Western School of Law, 2002
  • B.A., with honors, Michigan State University, 2000

Admittance to Practice

  • California
  • U.S. District Court, Central, Northern and Southern Districts of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Professional Activities

  • San Diego County Bar Association (Labor and Employment)
  • San Diego Society of Human Resource Management
  • Association of Workplace Investigators


  • Corporate Labor and Employment Counsel Exclusive - "The Landscape for Class Action Waivers After Epic Systems" - La Quinta - November 9, 2018
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - "Common California Leave of Absence Dilemmas and How to Solve Them" - La Jolla - October 30, 2018
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Employment Arbitration Agreements: New Strategies After the Supreme Court Speaks" - Phoenix - May 10, 2018
  • Ogletree Deakins Briefing - "Best Practices for Conducting Internal Workplace Investigations in California - Tips from the Trenches" - La Jolla - April 11, 2018
  • Ogletree Deakins Navigating California Employment Law Seminar - "Best Practices for Conducting Internal Workplace Investigations in California - Tips from the Trenches" - Napa - March 1, 2018
  • NRA's Human Resources & Risk and Safety Executive Study Group - "Preventing Harassment in Your Restaurant" - Las Vegas - February 22, 2018
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - "From Watercoolers to Snapchat: Preventing and Investigating Sexual Harassment in a Modern Workplace" - San Diego - October 24, 2017
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Dude, Those California Laws Are Gnarly!" - San Diego - May 3, 2017
  • Ogletree Deakins Briefing - "Disability Leaves and Accommodation—What is Reasonable, What is Hardship, and How to Effectively Manage Leave" - San Diego - April 13, 2017
  • Ogletree Deakins Navigating California Employment Law Seminar - "What Are They Smoking? Cheech and Chong's "Nice Dreams" Come True . . . Perhaps in Your Workplace" - Napa - March 2, 2017
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - "Social Media Horror Stories and Hot to Avoid Them" - San Diego - October 25, 2016
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - "New Laws, New Regulations, and Key Issues for 2016" - San Diego - April 2016
  • San Diego HR Forum - "Annual California Employment Law Update" - San Diego - January 2016
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - "Advanced Workplace Investigations” and “Employment Law Changes in 2016 and Beyond" - San Diego - October 2015
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - "Employment Law Update and Trends" - San Diego - April 2015
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - "Staying Out of State Court – Litigation Avoidance Strategies From California Litigators" - Napa - February 2015
  • San Diego HR Forum - "Annual California Employment Law Update" - San Diego - January 13, 2015
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - "The Interactive Process Under the ADA and FEHA" - San Diego - October 23, 2014

Insights by Jennifer L. Santa Maria