Michael D. Thomas

Of Counsel || Los Angeles

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 also speaks regularly on issues of diversity and unconscious bias.

Learn more about Michael D. Thomas
  • Significant experience with wage and hour class actions in the following industries: trucking, agriculture, restaurants, hospitality, meat processing facilities, retail, manufacturing and production lines, and in health care facilities
  • Significant experience with traditional labor relations in the following areas: union elections, anti-union organizing drives, processing grievances, and processing unfair labor practices
  • Experience in creating and providing workplace training programs to California employers on sexual harassment, workplace violence, corrective action and discipline, workplace investigations, traditional labor matters (handbook policies and social media policies), and workplace abuse and stress reduction

Education

  • J.D., Boston College Law School, 1997
  • B.A., Bucknell University, 1994

Admittance to Practice

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

Professional Activities

  • California Bar (Labor and Employment Section)
  • Charles Houston Bar Association
  • California Black Lawyer Association Judicial Committee
  • Rotary Club of America, Oakland Chapter
  • Bay Area Black MBAs

Speeches

  • California Association of Black Lawyers Conference - "Mindfulness for Lawyers" - Emeryville - April 27, 2018
  • The Knowledge Group Webinar - "Labor & Employment Laws: A Thorough Guide for Employers and Employees" - San Francisco - November 6, 2017
  • PayPal Briefing - "Bias and the Implications of Virtual Reality in the Workplace" - San Jose - November 2, 2017
  • Salesforce Briefing - "Bias and the Implications of Virtual Reality in the Workplace" - San Francisco - November 1, 2017
  • National Black MBA Association, Inc. - "Effective Strategies for Recognizing and Dealing with Unconscious Bias" - San Francisco - September 21, 2017
  • ACC SFBA Compliance Day - "Kickstart Your California Employment Compliance" - San Francisco - June 8, 2017
  • State Bar of California Business Law Section Webinar - "How to Root Out Unconscious Bias in Hiring and Retaining Diverse Attorneys" - April 20, 2017
  • Hastings Employment Labor Law Student Association Panel Discussion - "Employer Side Labor Law" - San Francisco - April 6, 2017
  • Hastings Law School - "Demystifying Restorative Justice" - San Francisco - March 16, 2017
  • Equity by Design [EQxD] (Panelist) - "Disrupting Implicit Bias" - San Franciso - February 8, 2017
  • January CLE Marathon - "Is it Really About the Fit? Looking at Implicit Bias in Hiring and Keeping" - Oakland - January 11, 2017
  • Tech Inclusion Conference - "Awakening to Inclusion" - San Francisco - October 26, 2016
  • National Bar Association Conference - "Workplace Violence: Strategies and Prevention" - New Orleans - October 8, 2016
  • ACC Diversity & Inclusion Committee Event Featuring Equal Rights Advocates - "Best Practices for Promoting Fair Pay" - Mountain View - September 8, 2016
  • Mindfulness Practice Class at Berkeley Law School - "Mindfulness to Disrupt Suffering and Bias" - Berkeley - August 9, 2016
  • Inclusion 2.0 - "Intergenerational Trauma and Mindfulness" - San Francisco - February 18, 2016
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - "Background Checks and the New Wave of Class Action Lawsuits" - San Francisco - October 14, 2015
  • National Business Institute - "The National Labor Relations Board – Obligations and Compliance" - San Francisco - May 6, 2015
  • CELA (Panelist) - "Diversity Leadership Summit" - San Francisco - May 2014
  • HR Hero - "2014 FMLA/CFRA Master Class for California Employers" - San Jose - April 2014
  • California Employment Lawyers Association (Panelist) - "Practical Tips from Seasoned Employment Lawyers" - Santa Clara - October 3, 2013
  • San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, MCLE Roundtable (Moderator) - "Top 5 Discovery Motions" - San Francisco - August 27, 2013
  • Editor in Chief, Boston College Law School Third World Law Journal (1996-1997)

Insights by Michael D. Thomas