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Jessica Perry Describes the Latest Developments in Wage-and-Hour Litigation

​Orrick employment law partner Jessica Perry recently spoke to the Daily Journal about the latest trend in wage-and-hour litigation. Plaintiffs’ lawyers have been focusing on a reduced number of class actions, resulting in an increase in situations where several suits with similar claims are filed ...

Jessica R. Perry leads Orrick’s Litigation practices worldwide. As an employment partner, she represents tech, retail and financial industry leaders in their most significant class, collective, representative and multi-plaintiff actions.

Jessica defends employers from discrimination and harassment claims on the basis of gender, race, religion, disability, age and other protected categories. She recently defeated class certification in cases alleging discrimination against women in technical roles for Microsoft and Twitter, earning her The American Lawyer’s "Litigator of the Week” award. She also won a complete defense verdict for Kleiner Perkins in the highly publicized gender discrimination and retaliation case Pao v. Kleiner Perkins, which the Daily Journal named the year’s ‘Top Verdict.’ Her trial victories also include winning defense judgments in cases involving claims of religious discrimination, retaliation and wrongful termination. Jessica also specializes in pay equity matters, including in designing analyses and advising on compliance and risk mitigation. Clients interviewed by Chambers note, “She's very thorough and knows the details and procedure, without allowing anything to fall through the cracks."

Jessica has a winning record in beating back class certification in high stakes wage-and-hour actions in federal and state court, including those brought under the Private Attorney General Act. Having led over 150 high-stakes wage-and-hour class action matters, Jessica has broad experience on virtually every theory of relief. She also offers strategic guidance to help businesses avoid wage-and-hour litigation, particularly companies in the gig economy industry which can be significantly impacted by such matters.

In addition to litigation and counseling, Jessica has successfully guided clients through investigations and audits by the Department of Labor, California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement and California Employment Development Department, and helped develop compensation policies and measures to reduce potential exposure.

Jessica is also an expert in generational workplace issues and frequently speaks on employment engagement in a multi-generational workforce.

  • Representative Matters:

    Discrimination, harassment and retaliation claims

    • AMD. Won a complete defense verdict at trial in Maghribi v. AMD, a high-profile case alleging that AMD’s president and chairman engaged in discrimination on the basis of race and religion in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
    • Microsoft. Obtained summary judgment on claims of gender discrimination and harassment, disability discrimination and harassment, and retaliation brought by a senior female sales manager.
    • Fortune 10 Technology Company. Obtained summary judgment and sanctions under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11 on discrimination, harassment, Equal Pay Act and other tort claims.

    Wage-and-hour

    • Chico’s. Defeated class certification in wage-and-hour class action alleging off-the-clock and meal break violations.
    • Morgan Stanley. Defeated class and collective certification in multidistrict litigation alleging misclassification of financial advisors; obtained summary judgment and defeated class certification in wage-and-hour class action alleging compelled patronage in violation of California law and various Labor Code claims; defeated class certification in wage-and-hour class action challenging the exempt status of financial advisors, business expenses reimbursement practices, and sign on payment practices and certain non-solicit provisions.
    • Roche Laboratories. Obtained summary judgment and defeated class certification in a wage-and-hour class action challenging the exempt status of pharmaceutical representatives.
    • Fortune 10 Technology Company. Defeated class certification in a wage-and-hour class action alleging off-the-clock work by customer support agents; defeated class certification and won motion to deny certification in a wage-and-hour class action alleging rest break violations in retail stores.
    • Electronic Arts. Defended California class actions and Florida collective action challenging the exempt status of computer graphic artists and engineers.
    • Williams-Sonoma. Defended class certification in wage-and-hour class action challenging the exempt status of retail managers; won dismissal of alleged class action challenging "on-call" shift scheduling, upheld on appeal.
    • Gap. Defeated class certification in a wage-and-hour class action alleging compelled patronage and wage deductions under New York law.
    • Old Navy. Defeated class certification in a wage-and-hour class action challenging the exempt status of managers.
    • Banana Republic. Defeated class certification in a wage-and-hour class action challenging the exempt status of managers.
    • Pottery Barn Kids. Defeated class certification in a wage-and-hour class action challenging the exempt status of managers, meal and rest break violations, and waiting time penalties.
    • Gymboree. Defeated collective certification in FLSA case in Florida challenging the exempt status of managers; obtained summary judgment on the exempt status of a retail manager.

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