Michael has litigated more than 50 state and federal class and collective actions and PAGA representative actions brought against employers in a wide variety of industries, including manufacturing, retail, restaurants, hospitality, transportation, janitorial services, staffing, security services, agriculture and the gig economy. Michael represents employers in both class action lawsuits and single-plaintiff litigation. He has substantial experience, and a track record of success in terms of pre-trial dismissal, successful settlements, and defense verdicts. Michael’s class and collective action and PAGA action experience includes:
- Class action on behalf of over 19,000 employees. Defeated class certification (on all but one minor claim for mileage reimbursement for a sub class of 275 employees) involving unpaid minimum wage claims; unpaid overtime; meal and rest period; reporting time pay; regular rate; and wage statements.
- Class action of potentially 250 restaurant employees resulted in an individual settlement with Plaintiff and voluntary dismissal of class claims for unpaid overtime; missed meal and rest periods; inaccurate wage statements; waiting time penalties; and business and profession code claims.
- PAGA representative action on behalf of approximately 200 limousine drivers settled for an individual settlement in the amount of $15,000.
- Successfully settled a PAGA representative action and class action on behalf of a trucking company involving piece rate payments; off the clock time; unpaid rest periods; and waiting time penalties.
- Successfully settled a PAGA representative action and class action involving over 15,000 janitors alleging unpaid minimum wages; unpaid overtime; expense reimbursement for uniforms, safety shoes, and cell phone use.
- Successfully settled a complex piece rate class action involving 77 drivers.
- Successfully settled a PAGA representative action and class action involving over 5,000 independent contractors in the gig economy claiming they were misclassified.
- Successfully settled a class action alleging donning and doffing claims at a manufacturing facility brought on behalf of over 250 production workers.
Michael also aggressively litigates issues involving arbitration agreements. Most recently, Michael won a trial involving the enforcement of an electronic signature on an arbitration agreement.
Mr. Thomas is admitted to practice in all California state and federal courts, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Michael is also a member of Ogletree’s Diversity and Inclusion practice group. Michael advises a wide range of employers in their efforts to provide legally-compliant, effective, and organizationally-integrative diversity and inclusion plans. Michael also conducts 1 hour to all day trainings on diversity and inclusion, unconscious bias, harassment, discrimination and belonging. Michael also conducts one on one trainings and coaching for senior executives when necessary. Michael’s trainings and coaching sessions blend a combination of the law, emotional intelligence, mindfulness and restorative justice. Michael has a yoga certification from the Niroga Center in Berkeley, California where he studied a combination of yoga, mindfulness and mediation designed to increase focus, increase emotional regulation and reduce trauma. He also speaks and publishes regularly on the same topics.