Steven G. Pearl, Esq.

Profile

Steve Pearl is a full-time mediator resolving all types of employment law disputes, including:

  • Discrimination
  • Harassment
  • Retaliation
  • Wrongful Termination
  • Wage & Hour
  • Non-Competition Agreements
  • Trade Secrets

Representative Mediations

  • Wage and hour class actions, FLSA collective actions, and PAGA representative actions involving thousands of putative class members and tens of millions of dollars in alleged liability.
  • Actions alleging discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, and mental and physical disability.
  • Actions alleging retaliation and wrongful termination for protected activity regarding discrimination, harassment, non-payment of wages, workplace safety, and other issues.
  • Actions alleging theft of trade secrets and violation of non-competition agreements.

Recognition

  • “Rising Star” Neutral (One of Ten in California)
      2013 Daily Journal List of Top California Neutrals
  • “Super Lawyer” in Dispute Resolution and Employment & Labor Law
      2011 to 2016 Southern California Super Lawyers Magazine

Education

  • University of California, Hastings College of Law (Juris Doctor, 1992)
      Dean’s Scholar
  • University of California, Berkeley (Bachelor of Arts, 1989)
      Graduated with Honors from the Department of English

Litigation Experience

  • The Pearl Law Firm, A Professional Corporation (1994-2011)
      Founded practice with emphasis in litigating individual and class action wage and hour, employment, unfair competition, and consumer protection actions.
  • Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (1992-1994)
      Litigated complex employment, business, insurance coverage, and entertainment actions.
  • Judicial Extern for Hon. Fern M. Smith (1991-1992)
      United States District Court, Northern District of California

Professional Associations

  • State Bar of California
      Executive Committee, Labor and Employment Law Section
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association
      Executive Committee, Labor and Employment Law Section

Blogs & Newsletters

  • California Employment Law Blog – Current developments in state and federal employment, wage and hour, class action, unfair competition, and arbitration law
  • Mediation and Negotiation Blog – Insights into mediation and negotiation theory and best practices.
  • The Employment Law Update Monthly email – update on employment law developments with more than 2,000 subscribers, including plaintiffs’ attorneys, defense attorneys, and neutrals.

Publications

  • “Anti-SLAPP and Employment in 2015”
      Daily Journal, January 27, 2016
  •  “Don’t Get Carried Away with Your Demands”
      Daily Journal, December 11, 2015
  •  “Pre-Mediation Demands May Anchor Talks”
      Daily Journal, September 25, 2015
  • “Does the Federal Arbitration Act Cover Your Dispute?”
      Daily Journal, August 28, 2015
  • “When Negotiation Becomes Extortion”
      Daily Journal, June 26, 2014
  • “Employment Law Class Actions after Concepcion”
      Los Angeles Lawyer, April 2014
  • “What Are They Thinking?!? Understanding Decision-Making in Mediation”
      Advocate Magazine, September 2012

Speaking Engagements

  • “Practical Skills to Improve Results in Mediation”
      Full Day Conference, November 2016
  • “Improving Your Results in Mediation: Practical Lessons from the Science of Decision-Making”
      One Hour Seminar
  • “Advanced Strategies for Mediating the Employment Law Case”
      One Hour Seminar
  • “Harris v. City of Santa Monica: Causation in Fair Employment and Housing Actions”
      State Bar of California, Watch List Webinar
  • “The Fair Labor Standards Act and California Labor Code”
      Lorman Education Services
  • “Increasing the Chance of Success in Settling Wage and Hour Litigation”
      Bridgeport Continuing Education
  • “Wage and Hour Law for Business Attorneys”
      Continuing Education of the Bar

Pro Bono & Charitable Activities

Mr. Pearl has given his time to numerous pro bono and charitable organizations, including:

  • AYSO
  • The Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging
  • TreePeople.

Representative Cases

​Discrimination and Harassment: Age​

  • Action by 56-year-old man, alleging that his former employer, a manufacturer, fired him and another employee over the age of 40 because of their age and replaced them with younger workers. The employer alleged that it terminated plaintiff because its business had slowed, that it did not hire anyone to replace plaintiff, and that remaining workers in his department divided his responsibilities. Resolved at mediation.
  • Action by 53-year-old woman, alleging that her employer in the financial services industry terminated her based on her age and medical condition (cancer). The plaintiff alleged that the employer forced her to train her replacement, a woman under the age of 40, before her termination. The employer alleged that it terminated the plaintiff in a bona fide reduction in force, that the executive who made the termination decision did not know the plaintiff’s medical condition or age, and that the plaintiff and other employees subject to the RIF were not replaced. Resolved at mediation.
  • Action by 76-year-old man, alleging that he was terminated because of his age after more than 40 years of employment as a household employee. The defendants, who were the children of the couple for whom the plaintiff had worked, alleged that they terminated the plaintiff because he provided alcohol to their mother, even though he had been warned that alcohol could cause serious harm to her health. Resolved on a mediator’s proposal.

Discrimination and Harassment: Disability

  • Action by salesperson against automobile dealership alleging disability discrimination, failure to engage in the interactive process, failure to accommodate, and wrongful termination in violation of public policy.
  • Action by warehouse worker alleging disability discrimination, failure to engage in the interactive process, failure to accommodate, and wrongful termination in violation of public policy.
  • Action by long-term employee, alleging that bakery terminated her when she attempted to return to work following cancer surgery and chemotherapy. The defendant alleged that the plaintiff refused to provide it with a doctor’s note clearing her to return to work, with or without accommodation. The defendant also alleged that its financial condition would prevent it from satisfying a judgment for the plaintiff at trial. Resolved at mediation.
  • Action alleging that employer in the hospitality industry terminated employee while he was on leave for mental disability. The defendant alleged: the plaintiff had attendance issues from the start of his employment; HR representative who made termination decision had no knowledge of any disability; the plaintiff failed to deliver doctor’s notes for extended periods of time; and even if the plaintiff were to prevail on liability, he obtained new employment quickly upon being cleared to return to work and suffered little damage. Resolved on a mediator’s proposal.
  • Action by short-term employee alleging that employer in the technology industry terminated her after she requested time off for an inflamed throat and panic attacks. The employer alleged that it terminated the employee because of performance issues and budgetary constraints. The employer also alleged that after termination it discovered that the employee had used company credit card for personal expenses. Resolved at mediation.
  • Action by restaurant employee, alleging that employer failed to provide treatment for work-related injuries, failed to engage in the interactive process with the plaintiff when he became disabled from those injuries, failed to accommodate his disability, and terminated him after he complained regarding the lack of accommodation. The employer alleged that it provided the plaintiff with intermittent leave to accommodate his injuries and that it terminated him when surveillance video caught him consuming alcohol from the employer’s bar on the job. Resolved at mediation.

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Discrimination and Harassment: Gender

  • Action by female trade show brand ambassador, alleging that she was terminated after she complained of sexual harassment and battery by supervisor. Defendant alleged that the plaintiff was an independent contractor, rather than an employee, that the supervisor was employed by a separate entity, and that the plaintiff exaggerated the alleged misconduct. Resolved at mediation.
  • Action by long-term female household employee, alleging that male employer asked her to go on a date with him, offered to pay her for sex, and terminated her when she said no. The plaintiff also alleged that the defendants violated a number of wage and hour laws throughout her employment. The defendants denied the allegations and alleged that they terminated the plaintiff because she had exhibited increasingly odd behavior – including accusing another household employee of sexually harassing her – she repeatedly showed up late for work, and she inappropriately left their small child unattended. Resolved on a mediator’s proposal after mediation.

​Discrimination and Harassment: National Origin

  • Action alleging that employee’s supervisors and co-workers harassed and discriminated against him based on his Iranian national origin, then retaliated against and ultimately terminated him after he reported the harassment and discrimination to human resources. The employer, a technology company, alleged that it terminated the plaintiff because he performed poorly, engaged in disruptive behavior in the workplace, failed to accept responsibility for his poor performance, and rejected the employer’s efforts to help him improve his performance. Resolved at mediation.
  • Action by former employee of company in logistics industry, alleging that co-workers and supervisors of Mexican descent harassed, discriminated against, and ultimately terminated him based on his Salvadoran national origin. The defendant denied the allegations and alleged that any stray comments did not rise to the level of actionable harassment, that plaintiff was terminate due to performance reasons. The defendant also alleged that after-acquired evidence indicated that the plaintiff had lied about his immigration status at the time of his hiring. Resolved on mediator’s proposal after mediation.

Discrimination and Harassment: Pregnancy

  • Action alleging that restaurant employer forced pregnant employee to work shifts of up to 13 hours, failed to provide meal and rest periods, failed to accommodate the plaintiff’s request for shorter shifts due to pregnancy-related health concerns, and terminated the plaintiff when she complained about long shifts and failure to accommodate. The employer admitted that an assistant manager did let the plaintiff go, but alleged that its general counsel called the plaintiff the next day and made an unconditional offer of reinstatement, with shorter hours, and offered to allow her to work at any of the employer’s locations if she did not wish to return to her previous location. Employer alleged that the plaintiff at first accepted the offer of reinstatement, but did not return to work or respond to subsequent communications. Resolved at mediation.
  • Action by former employee, alleging that employer terminated her due to pregnancy-related work restrictions. The plaintiff, a receiving clerk at a distribution center, alleged that the defendant refused to engage in an interactive process with her or accommodate her restrictions on lifting, pushing, and pulling. The defendant alleged that it engaged in the interactive process with the plaintiff, but was not able to accommodate her restrictions in the receiving clerk position. The defendant alleged further that it offered her an accommodation in the form of pregnancy leave and offered to return her to the receiving clerk position following the pregnancy, but the plaintiff refused to return to work. Resolved at mediation.

Discrimination and Harassment: Sexual Orientation

  • Action by bartender, alleging that private club constructively terminated him by failing to take action against club member who made repeated disparaging comments regarding plaintiff’s perceived sexual orientation. The defendant denied that the club member made disparaging comments and alleged that the plaintiff quit (1) because he had another job lined up, and (2) to avoid having his wages garnished to satisfy child support obligations. Resolved at mediation.

Retaliation

  • Action by executive in automobile industry alleging retaliatory termination after disclosure of unlawful activity.
  • Action by bartender, alleging that private club constructively terminated by failing to take action against club member who made repeated disparaging comments regarding plaintiff’s perceived sexual orientation. Defendant denied that club member made disparaging comments and alleged that plaintiff quit (1) because he had another job lined up, and (2) to avoid having his wages garnished to satisfy child support obligations. Resolved at mediation.
  • ​Action by Vice President of Marketing and Development, alleging that former employer, a start-up in the technology industry, failed to pay him all earned commissions, terminated him in retaliation for complaints regarding unpaid commissions and alleged corporate governance issues, and failed to allow him to exercise stock options post-termination. The defendant alleged that: it paid all earned commissions; alleged corporate governance issues did not exist; it terminated the plaintiff for performance issues; and plaintiff failed to exercise options in a timely manner. Resolved at mediation.
  • Action by former employee of auto dealership, alleging that the dealership terminated her after she complained – internally and to Cal/OSHA – about allegedly unsafe conditions at the employer’s facility. The employer alleged that the plaintiff did not complain internally regarding such conditions, that it did not know that she had complained to Cal/OSHA because the complaint was anonymous, and that it terminated the plaintiff because of documented poor performance and repeated violations of the employer’s policies. Resolved at mediation.
  • Action by a management-level car dealership employee, alleging that ownership falsified sales and expense data to deprive him of incentive compensation tied to the dealership’s profitability. The plaintiff also alleged that the dealership terminated him after he complained that the data appeared to be falsified. The defendant denied that the plaintiff complained regarding its financial reporting and alleged that it did not earn profits during the plaintiff’s employment and did not owe the plaintiff any incentive compensation. The defendant also alleged that it terminated the plaintiff because the dealership was performing poorly, and the defendant needed to cut costs. Resolved on a mediator’s proposal after mediation.

Wage and Hour Class and PAGA Actions

  • PAGA and putative class action by permanent, supervisory employees of temporary staffing agency, alleging misclassification as exempt employees, failure to pay overtime, failure to provide meal periods, and failure to authorize and permit rest periods.
  • PAGA and putative class action by employees in the personal care industry alleging failure to pay for off-the-clock work, failure to include commissions and non-discretionary bonuses in regular rate of pay, failure to provide meal periods, failure to authorize and permit rest periods, and failure to reimburse for necessary business expenses.
  • PAGA and putative class action by employees of large restaurant chain alleging failure to pay for off-the-clock work, failure to provide meal periods, and failure to authorize and permit rest periods.
  • Putative class and PAGA action by salesperson against group of automobile dealerships alleging failure to include commissions in regular rate of pay and failure to provide timely and accurate wage statements.
  • AGA and putative class action by intermodal truck drivers alleging misclassification as independent contractors.
  • Putative class action and PAGA action against trucking company that compensated drivers on a percentage-of-the-load basis. Plaintiff’s alleged that defendant’s pay practices failed to compensate them for non-productive time, including rest periods, resulting in numerous wage and hour violations. Defendant alleged that non-productive time was “directly related” to the driving activity and was thus covered by the piece rate compensation. Resolved at mediation.
  • Putative class action involving more than 1,000 employees, alleging that Las Vegas employer in hospitality industry failed to comply with Minimum Wage Amendment to Nevada Constitution. Resolved at mediation.
  • Certified class action involving more than 4,000 employees of franchisee of national restaurant chain for alleged wage and hour violations. Defendant was experiencing severe financial distress, complicating efforts to resolve the case. Resolved after two full-day sessions and extensive follow-up by Mr. Pearl.
  • Putative class action involving approximately 1,700 employees of grocery store chain, alleging that employer failed to provide meal periods and failed to pay employees for all hours worked. Resolved at mediation.
  • Putative class action involving approximately 5,000 hourly employees of national restaurant chain franschisee. Allegations included failure to provide meal and rest periods and failure to pay employees for all hours worked. Defendant alleged compliance with all requirements and that it was suffering severe financial distress. Resolved at second mediation session.
  • Putative class action and PAGA representative action involving approximately 200 limousine drivers, alleging that defendant company mis-classified them as independent contractors, rather than employees. Plaintiffs sued both limousine company and individual principal. Resolved after mediation, with extensive follow-up by Mr. Pearl.
  • Putative class action and PAGA representative action by approximately 200 restaurant employees, alleging various wage and hour violations. Resolved at mediation.
  • Putative class action and PAGA representative action by approximately 500 employees against hostess dance club and individual shareholders and officers for minimum wage, overtime, and other wage and hour violations. Resolved at mediation.
  • PAGA-only action on behalf of approximately 100 employees of petroleum company for alleged failure to provide timely and accurate wage and hour statements. Resolved at mediation.
  • Putative class action involving more than 400 beauty salon employees, alleging various wage and hour violations. Resolved at mediation.
  • Putative class action and PAGA representative action involving approximately 1,600 employees of financially distressed national painting contractor, alleging failure to pay overtime compensation and other wage and hour violations. Resolved at mediation.
  • Putative class action and PAGA action alleging that global consulting firm failed to pay certain of its California employees daily overtime. Resolved at mediation.
  • PAGA-only action alleging that non-profit organization providing services to disabled adults failed to provide off-duty meal and rest periods to its hourly employees. Defendant alleged that the hourly employees signed valid on-duty meal period agreements and received compliant rest periods. Resolved at mediation.
  • Putative class action and PAGA action alleging that American subsidiary of international manufacturer improperly classified certain “marketing specialists” as exempt, resulting in a number of alleged wage and hour violations. Resolved at mediation.

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Individual Wage and Hour Actions

  • Action by individual factory worker, alleging that he was terminated after complaining about various wage and hour violations: paying overtime hours at regular rate, rather than overtime rate; failing to provide meal and rest periods; and failing to provide wage statements showing hours worked. Resolved at mediation.
  • Action by long-term employee, alleging that company improperly classified her as exempt, failed to pay her for overtime hours worked, and terminated her in an effort to avoid paying past due wages. Defendant alleged that plaintiff typically worked well under forty hours per week, was properly classified as an exempt employee, and was terminated for performance issues. Defendant cross-complained against plaintiff for attempting to sabotage the business. Resolved at mediation.
  • ction by former resident apartment manager, alleging that employer failed to compensate him for all hours worked, including overtime hours, failed to provide him with meal and rest periods, failed to provide him with accurate wage statements, and failed to pay him all earned wages on termination. The employer alleged that the plaintiff worked less than four hours per day, that he had a second job at which he worked more than 30 hours per week, preventing him from working overtime at the premises, and that it paid him for all hours worked and provided compliant meal and rest periods. Resolved at mediation.