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Seth L. Neulight



Seth Neulight is a dedicated labor and employment attorney with over 20 years of experience serving employers and senior executives.  Seth represents clients in disputes before state and federal courts, administrative agencies, and arbitrations, with an emphasis on complex class actions, multi-plaintiff cases, trade secret theft and related business contract disputes.   He provides clients with practical, business-oriented advice  on key employment matters such as workforce restructuring, wage and hour compliance, collective bargaining, and labor issues in corporate transactions.  Seth serves clients in a broad range of industries, including healthcare, technology, food and beverage, higher education, construction, retail, financial services, and distribution.

What do you focus on?

I defend employers in complex wage-hour and discrimination class and collective actions. I have served as lead defense counsel in hundreds of single- and multi-plaintiff lawsuits filed in state and federal courts throughout California. I have significant experience with claims of employment discrimination, 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). I help clients navigate through difficult employment issues such as leave obligations, disability accommodation, wage and hour compliance, employment terminations, and layoffs. I provide counsel on labor and employment matters arising from corporate mergers and acquisitions.

I negotiate and prepare executive employment contracts, commission and bonus compensation plans, and confidentiality and invention assignment agreements. I help clients develop personnel policies, guidelines and forms. I regularly speak on employment law compliance and developments, and best practices for workforce management.

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

What do you see on the horizon?

Advances in technology and automation will continue to blur workplace boundaries and require employers to adapt to new challenges in areas such as privacy, data storage and security, and wage and hour compliance. The gig economy is transforming traditional work relationships. Courts and legislatures will have to adjust in grappling with status issues such as independent contractor and joint employment.

Representative Experience

  • 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

  • “Managing Employment Issues in Mergers & Acquisitions,” 30th Annual SVAGC All Hand 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

Must California employers pay for every second worked?

SHRM.com (Society of Human Resource Management) | May 08, 2018

San Francisco labor and employment partner Seth Neulight is quoted in this article analyzing a California Supreme Court case, Troester v. Starbucks, that could decide whether employers there must pay employees for ‘de minimis’ time—amounts of working time that are hard to track.

5 Ways to Avoid Legal Heartache from Office Romance

Law360 | February 16, 2018

San Francisco labor and employment partner Seth Neulight is quoted in this article discussing why employers have an interest in regulating or managing workplace romances, and examining the pitfalls of so-called “love contracts” governing relationships between colleagues.

Seth Neulight shining moment for a disabled veteran

Bloomberg BNA | October 26, 2017

This feature highlights San Francisco labor and employment partner Seth Neulight’s pro bono work with Swords to Plowshares, a nonprofit organization serving veterans in Northern California.

San Francisco bans salary history questions

Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) | July 21, 2017

San Francisco labor and employment partner Seth Neulight is quoted in this article about San Francisco’s Parity Pay Ordinance, which blocks all employers from asking applicants about their salaries.

Tell employees what not to wear this summer

SHRM | June 12, 2017

San Francisco labor and employment partner Seth Neulight is quoted in this article about summer dress code policies.

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

Seth Neulight was recognized as a “Super Lawyer” from 2011 to 2017 by Northern California Super Lawyers magazine based on a peer-review survey.

American Bar Association, Labor and Employment Section
State Bar of California, Labor and Employment Section
Bar Association of San Francisco

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