Dedicated to the Resolution of Labor and Employment Matters.

With an impeccable track record spanning 36 years, Dave Carothers, Esq. is a trusted and experienced trial lawyer who has successfully litigated cases throughout California. He has expertly litigated claims related to wrongful termination, sexual harassment, breach of contract, ADA, wage and hour claims, and discrimination, in addition to negotiating settlements in many of these cases on behalf of employers and employees alike – deftly avoiding the heavy costs associated with jury trials. Additionally, Mr. Carothers has served as lead trial counsel in large complex actions involving representative actions, class actions and coordinated actions involving hundreds of claimants across various sectors and industries.

In 2008, Governor Schwarzenegger tapped Mr. Carothers to join the California Fair Employment and Housing Commission – a prestigious position that enabled him to be instrumental in reworking the State’s pregnancy discrimination statutes over his three-year tenure. During this time, Mr. Carothers also used his expertise as a mediator to resolve adjudicated claims submitted by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).

With an impressive background of nearly 100 jury trials, Mr. Carothers is a sought-after advisor to senior management teams on proactively executing preventive strategies and cultivating positive workplace environments. His expertise has spanned industries from educational institutions, national retail chains and hospitality firms to banking technology companies as well as religious organizations. In addition, Mr. Carothers is frequently invited to speak to various groups on issues related to employment, including diversity in the workplace – all underpinned by his expansive knowledge of labor and employment law.

Mr. Carothers has a long history of giving back to the community through his involvement with Mercy Hospital’s Finance Committee, the African-American Managing Partners Network, the San Diego Foundation, San Diego Inner City Games, and the San Diego Citizens Review Board on Police Practices, as well as serving as a board member for organizations such as Neighborhood House Association, CSU Dominguez Hills Philanthropic Board, and United Way of San Diego.


  • Retaliation Claims
  • Private Attorney General Act (PAGA)
  • Wage & Hour Class Actions
  • Age, Sex, Gender, Race Discrimination
  • Church Law
  • Whistleblower Claims
  • Wrongful Termination
  • Unruh Act Claims
  • Unfair Competition, Non-Compete
  • Misclassification Claims
  • ADA / Disability Discrimination
  • Malicious Prosecution
  • Leaves of Absence
  • FMLA and CFRABreach of Contract
  • Workers’ Compensation Retaliation


Partner and Senior Trial Counsel, Carothers, Disante & Freudenberger LLP, 2000-2020

  • Managing Partner of San Diego Office, 2000-2015
  • Member of Executive Committee, 2001-2018
  • Co-Chair of Diversity and Inclusion Committee

Commissioner, Fair Employment and Housing Commission, 2008-2011

  • Appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

Partner, Chapin Shea Fleming & Winet, 1997-2000

  • Chair of the Employment Practices Group
  • Served as General Counsel

Associate and Partner, McInnis Fitzgerald Rees Sharkey & McIntyre, 1985-1997

  • Member of the Recruiting Committee
  • Member of the Employment Practices Group

Law Clerk to the Director, National Labor Relations Board, Region 31, 1984


  • Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent Rated
  • Listed, Best Lawyers®, Litigation – Labor and Employment, San Diego, 2013-2022
  • Listed, Best Lawyers®, Employment Law – Management, San Diego, 2020
  • Listed, Best Lawyers®, Class Action – Defense, San Diego, 2015-2020
  • Listed, San Diego Super Lawyers, 2012-2019
  • Selected as one of San Diego’s Top Attorneys by The Daily Transcript, 2013-2016
  • American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), 2005-Present
  • Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel, 1999-Present
  • San Diego County Bar Association, Diversity Fellowship Program
  • Continuing Education of the Bar’s CEB Annual Employment Law Update


  • Juris Doctor, University of Southern California, Gould School of Law, 1985
  • Bachelor of Arts, California State University, Dominguez Hills, 1982


  • United States Navy, 1975-1981
  • Awarded the Navy/Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal for services related to Iran


  • “6 Calif. Employment Bills Employers Should Track”, Law360, May 2017
  • “A Legal Roadmap for Wellness Programs,” Today’s General Counsel, August/September 2016
  • “Avoiding Legal Traps Involving Employment References,” San Diego Commerce, 1997

Representative Cases


  • United States District Court, Central District matter involving a plaintiff who was initially part of a class action case against a national pizza chain and later opted out. The case settled post defense verdict.
  • Orange County Superior Court matter involving a technology company being sued by an IT employee contracted to municipal division.
  • San Diego Superior Court case involving a woman-owned company sued by Sales Manager for reverse gender discrimination.
  • Orange County Superior Court matter involving a national bank being sued for age discrimination.
  • Los Angeles Superior Court matter against transport company alleging wrongful termination and racial discrimination.
  • San Diego Superior Court action against religious organization for negligent training, assault and battery.
  • Los Angeles Superior Court matter alleging sexual harassment by 19-year-old against supervisor.
  • San Diego Superior Court malicious prosecution matter attorney being sued by former client/defendant.
  • San Diego Superior Court matter involving executive who was recruited in violation of Labor Code section 971.
  • San Diego Superior Court matter against university’s coaching staff alleging negligence for severe injury ending Plaintiff’s professional career.
  • Orange County Superior Court action involving Plaintiff alleging religious discrimination for not being allowed to attend noon time prayer services.

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