Joseph C. Liburt

Employment Law

Joe Liburt is a Silicon Valley partner in Orrick's Employment Law and Litigation group, which was recently named Labor & Employment Department of the Year in California by The Recorder.  This award by the premier source for legal news was in recognition of the group's significant wins on behalf of leading multinational companies on today’s most complex and challenging employment law matters.

Chambers USA has consistently recognized Joe as a top employment litigator.  Joe has more than 20 years of experience representing standout companies such as Apple, Oracle and Sears in their most challenging and complex employment matters.

Class Actions. Joe has extensive class action expertise, having defeated class certification or obtained dismissal or summary judgment on claims for overtime (exemption, off-the-clock, OT rate calculation), minimum wage, vacation and personal days, meal and rest breaks, wage statements, reporting time and split shift, timeclock rounding, expense reimbursements, waiting-time penalties, Private Attorney General Act penalties, work uniform violations, failure to provide tools, discrimination, harassment and retaliation.

Individual Claims. Joe has successfully defended a variety of individual plaintiff claims, including discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, defamation, interference with contract, infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy and breach of contract. Joe has also successfully defended reductions-in-force from claims of discrimination, retaliation, and retaliation for exercising NLRA organizing rights.

ERISA & Benefits Litigation. Joe has litigated various ERISA and state law benefits claims, including claims for benefits, breach of fiduciary duty, retaliation and interference. These ERISA claims have arisen in various circumstances, including pension benefits, disability benefits, executives seeking severance benefits pursuant to change-in-control agreements after company mergers, and employees claiming wrongful termination to prevent benefits from vesting.

The following are some of Joe’s more notable representations:

Apple. Joe has represented Apple for 20+ years and successfully defended various single-plaintiff and class action cases, including the following:

  • Maria v. Apple (defeated class certification in wage-and-hour class action). 2009.
  • Otten v. Apple (discrimination and breach of contract arising out of reduction in force; summary judgment on all claims, affirmed on appeal, 2006 WL 438660)
  • Levitan v. Apple (breach of contract, fraud and negligence; summary judgment on all claims, affirmed on appeal, 2003 WL 1914274)

Sears. Joe has represented Sears in many wage-and-hour class actions, including:

  • Casida & Galvan v. Sears, 2012 WL 3260423, adopted in full, 2012 WL 3763621 (defeated class certification on all claims -- overtime based on assistant manager exemption misclassification and related claims).
  • Ortega v. Sears (defeated class certification on all claims -- off-the-clock overtime, minimum wage, tools and uniform reimbursement, itemized wage statements and waiting time penalties -- affirmed on appeal, 2011 WL 1991957)
  • Coughlin v. Sears, 2010 WL 4403089 (defeated class certification on all claims -- vacation, personal days and waiting time penalties).
  • Rodriguez v. Sears (obtained early dismissal of assistant manager exemption misclassification class action through purchase of named plaintiff’s claims in bankruptcy court). 2011.

Genentech. Joe represented Genentech in the trial of Cefalu v. Genentech, which resulted in a jury verdict in Genentech’'s favor on all claims, including disability discrimination, reasonable accommodation, interactive process, CFRA retaliation, and bonus wages. 2012.

Oracle. Joe represented Oracle and the Siebel Systems change-in-control severance plans in numerous arbitrations concerning claims for change-in-control benefits under ERISA, including Cleveland et al. v. Oracle et al., 2009 WL 5249825 (summary judgment on senior executive benefit claims).

International Paper. Joe has represented International Paper in several individual plaintiff discrimination and wage-and-hour class action matters, including Borba v. International Paper (discrimination and retaliation, summary judgment on all claims, affirmed on appeal, 217 F.3d 844, 2000 WL 521653).

IBM. Joe obtained summary judgment in Mah v. IBM, defeating numerous discrimination, wrongful termination and ERISA retaliation claims.

L.L. Nunn Trust/Deep Springs College. Joe currently represents the dissenting Trustees of Deep Springs College seeking to protect the donor’s intent set forth in the charitable trust that governs the College.

Joe advises clients on a full range of employment issues, including employee performance and termination, wage-and-hour, privacy, background checks and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), ERISA claims administration, independent contractor, joint employment and numerous other employment issues.

Joe has written articles, spoken and trained on various employment and ERISA topics.

Joseph Liburt
  • "Impact of Bankruptcy on Labor and Employment Law," panel moderator, ABA Section of Labor & Employment Law, 7th Annual Labor & Employment Law Conference, 2013.
  • "Bankruptcy for Employment Lawyers," panelist, ABA National Conference on Equal Employment Opportunity Law, 2013
  • "Top 10 Hidden Wage & Hour Issues," Employers Group webinar, 2013.
  • "Preparing for the Battle of the Experts: A Beginner’s Guide to Expert Discovery," panelist at ABA 6th Annual Labor and Employment Law Conference, 2012.
  • "The Future of Employment Law in Light of Dukes v. Wal-Mart and AT&T v. Concepcion," panelist at 2012 Yosemite Conference of The Labor and Employment Law Section of The Bar Association of San Francisco, 2012.
  • "Title VII Litigation: Persistent Evidentiary Challenges -- Stray Remarks, Similarly Situated Comparators, Better Qualified Candidates and Other Issues," Strafford webinar, 2012.
  • "View From the Bench: Federal and State Judicial Perspectives on Class Certification Issues, Settlement, the Latest Plaintiff Theories & Emerging Defense Strategies," moderator of panel of six federal and state judges, ACI 13th National Forum on Wage & Hour Claims and Class Actions, 2011.
  • "A Focus on Health & Welfare Benefit Claims: Administration of Claims, Strategies for Resolving and Defending Litigation with Plan Participants," panelist at ACI ERISA Litigation Conference, 2011.
  • "The Interpretation, Administration & Litigation of Health and Welfare Benefit Plans," panelist at ACI ERISA Litigation Conference, 2010.
  • "Top Wage & Hour Traps for Employers," 2010.
Select Publications
Admitted In
  • California
Court Admissions
United States Court of Appeals
  • Ninth Circuit
United States District Court
  • Northern District of California
  • Eastern District of California
  • Central District of California
  • Southern District of California

  • J.D., University of California, Berkeley School of Law, 1991
  • B.A., Haverford College, 1987
  • Two-year course, Deep Springs College, 1984
  • Hon. Brook Bartlett, U.S. Western District of Missouri, 1991–1993
  • State Bar of California

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