Seth L. Neulight - Labor & Employment lawyer - Nixon Peabody LLP

Seth L. Neulight



Seth Neulight is a dedicated labor and employment attorney with over 25 years of experience serving employers and executives. Seth represents clients in disputes before state and federal courts, government agencies, and in arbitrations, with an emphasis on complex class and representative actions. He provides practical, business-oriented advice on matters such as workforce restructurings, layoffs, restrictive covenants, wage-hour law compliance, leaves of absence, and corporate mergers and acquisitions. Seth serves clients in industries including technology, food and beverage, higher education, healthcare, banking, and retail.

What do you focus on?

Employment Litigation

I defend employers in complex wage-hour and discrimination class, collective, and representative actions. I have served as lead defense counsel in hundreds of single- and multi-plaintiff lawsuits in California state and federal courts. I have significant experience with claims of employment discrimination, whistleblower retaliation, and harassment, wrongful discharge, and wage and hour violations under Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and California laws including the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), Labor Code, and Unfair Competition Law (UCL). 

Labor Relations

My practice also includes labor relations. I help clients respond to union organizing campaigns, provide union avoidance training, and negotiate collective bargaining agreements. I defend clients in grievance arbitrations and unfair labor practice charges before the National Labor Relations Board.

Employment Advice

I help clients navigate difficult employment issues such as leave obligations, disability accommodation, employment terminations, and reductions-in-force. I negotiate and draft executive employment contracts, incentive compensation plans, nondisclosure and invention assignment agreements, and separation agreements. I regularly speak on employment law developments, trends, and best practices for workforce management.

What do you see on the horizon?

The COVID-19 pandemic shifted expectations for many employers and their employees in terms of where and how work gets done. The traditional boundaries between work and personal lives have blurred. Companies have mandated that employees get COVID-19 vaccinations. Employees have had to juggle their job duties and family obligations, often while working from home. Remote or “hybrid” work arrangements have become a new normal. For better or worse, some of these changes are likely to remain with us for years to come. They also pose evolving legal risks in areas such as cybersecurity, wage and hour compliance, employment discrimination, and occupational health and safety. Employers should carefully manage these risks and monitor legal developments as they unfold.

Representative Experience

  • Obtained denial of motion for preliminary injunction, and grant of motion to dismiss, on client competitor’s claims of alleged trade secret misappropriation under the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) of 2016, violation of the California Unfair Competition Law, and common law breach of contract and tort claims
  • Won defense verdict as co-lead counsel in jury trial on disability discrimination and wrongful termination claims. Lauren Lord v. The Permanente Medical Group, et al., California Superior Court, Alameda County (2015)
  • Defended university in mandamus action by graduate student challenging dismissal from program. Won denial of writ petition, affirmed on appeal. Animesh Patel v. Touro University, 2015 WL 8827888 (Cal. App. 1 Dist. 2015)
  • Won dispositive motions on claims by union-represented employee of race discrimination, retaliation, and wrongful termination. Mayes v. Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, 917 F.Supp.2d 1074 (E.D. Cal. 2013)(motion to dismiss); 2014 WL 2506195 (E.D. Cal. June 3, 2014) (summary judgment)
  • Obtained summary judgment on disability discrimination, wrongful termination, and retaliation claims by former manager. Affirmed on appeal. Robert Weiss v. Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, 2008 WL 2445084 (Cal. App. 1 Dist. 2008)
  • Obtained summary judgment on FEHA age discrimination claim. Judgment affirmed on appeal. Reeves v. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., 2007 WL 1032306 (Cal. App. 1 Dist. 2007)
  • Defended wage-hour class action alleging exempt status misclassification of employees. Obtained precedential Court of Appeal decision allowing deductions from vacation banks of exempt employees for partial-day absences. Conley v. Pacific Gas & Electric Co., 131 Cal. App. 4th 260 (2005)
  • Defended global consumer products company in class action alleging misclassification of truck drivers under federal Motor Carrier Act exemption and related wage and hour claims
  • Represented employer and CEO in multi-state litigation of unfair competition claims based on hiring of employees from competitor
  • Defended healthcare organization in action by U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging Title VII pattern and practice discrimination. Negotiated settlement and consent decree with EEOC
  • Advised fruit company on response to Teamsters organizing campaign. Represented company in NLRB bargaining unit proceeding, and defended company against union unfair labor practice charge

Publications and Presentations

  • “Labor and Employment Spotlight Address,” 2019 Food & Beverage Exchange, Chicago, October 3, 2019
  • “Mergers & Acquisitions Employment Issues,” Nixon Peabody Annual MCLE Seminar, San Francisco, January 2019
  • “Managing Employment Issues in Mergers & Acquisitions,” 30th Annual SVAGC All Hands meeting, October 16, 2018
  • “Labor Department withdraws Obama-era guidance on independent contractors and joint employers,” Employment Law Alert, June 8, 2017
  • “EEOC issues proposed rule to collect pay data from employers” Employment Law Alert, February 5, 2016
  • “California enacts major overhaul of equal pay law” Employment Law Alert, October 7, 2015
  • “BYOD: The Evolving Risks (and Solutions) of Bring Your Own Device Programs,” 2014 NCHRA Legal and Legislative Conference, January 2014
  • “Workplace Agencies Tighten Belts for Sequestration” Law360, May 24, 2013
  • “Ethics in the Workplace: What You Need to Know,” BASIC HR Solutions, Webinar, November 2013
  • “California Employment Law: Latest Developments & Trends,” Thomson Reuters WestLegalEd Center, Webinar, September 2012
  • “California Employment Legislation: What’s New for 2013?” Employment Law Alert, October 2012
  • “Tips for Avoiding the Increased Enforcement Trap,” California Employer Resources (BLR), November 2012

Seven wage and hour cases to watch in 2022

Law360 | January 03, 2022

The following article quotes San Francisco Labor & Employment partner Seth Neulight for his outlook on key wage and hour SCOTUS petitions and cases to watch in 2022. Seth comments on People v. Handy Technologies Inc. et. al. and how the case illustrates worker classification and further considerations service gig companies should take into account. He also discusses PAGA suits, and how several pending Supreme Court cases present the question of whether its 2018 decision that condoned businesses requiring workers to resolve disputes in arbitration nullified an earlier California Supreme Court decision.

Seven Supreme Court wage and hour petitions to watch in 2022

Law360 | January 03, 2022

The following article quotes San Francisco Labor & Employment partner Seth Neulight for his outlook on key wage and hour SCOTUS petitions and cases to watch in 2022. Seth comments on People v. Handy Technologies Inc. et. al. and how the case illustrates worker classification and further considerations service gig companies should take into account. He also discusses PAGA suits, and how several pending Supreme Court cases present the question of whether its 2018 decision that condoned businesses requiring workers to resolve disputes in arbitration nullified an earlier California Supreme Court decision.

Ninth Circuit won't jump-start Hertz age bias suit

Law360 | March 12, 2021

This article covers the recent Ninth Circuit judgement that affirmed a summary judgement win for Hertz in a suit involving a fired payroll worker’s allegations of age bias and defamation against the car rental company. San Francisco Labor & Employment partner Seth Neulight is mentioned for advising Hertz.

Contact

Seth L. Neulight

Partner

San Francisco

Phone: 415-984-8377


Fax: 866-294-4276

DePaul University College of Law, J.D., (Editor, DePaul Law Review)

Northwestern University, B.A.

California

U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

U.S. District Court, Central District of California

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California

U.S. District Court, Northern District of California

U.S. District Court, Southern District of California

  • Selected, through a peer-review survey, for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2022 in the field of Employment Law - Management
  • Recognized as a “Super Lawyer” from 2011 to 2022 by Northern California Super Lawyers magazine based on a peer-review survey
  • Received the Bill Brockett Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award in 2017 from Swords to Plowshares, a veteran services organization
  • American Bar Association, Labor and Employment Section
  • State Bar of California, Labor and Employment Section
  • Bar Association of San Francisco
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