Proskauer on Class and Collective Actions
Laura Reathaford

Laura Reathaford

Laura Reathaford is a Special Employment Law Counsel in the Labor & Employment Law Department of Proskauer's Los Angeles office. Laura's practice focuses on management-side employment litigation, with a particular emphasis on wage and hour collective and class actions, including representative actions under the Private Attorney General Act (PAG).

Prior to joining Proskauer, Laura practiced in the Wage and Hour Practice Group at Seyfarth Shaw.

For the past five years Laura has served as an Adjunct Professor at Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business and Management, helping to educate business students on the impact the law has on everyday business and business management decisions.

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Lawful Shmawful: Ninth Circuit Ignores Lawful Written Policy and Uses Statistical Sampling to Certify Class Based on Alleged “Unofficial Policy”

On September 3, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld certification of a class of approximately 800 nonexempt insurance claims adjusters who claimed they worked overtime without compensation despite the employer’s lawful written policy to pay nonexempt employees for all hours worked.… Continue Reading

Employers Should Now Run – Not Walk – Toward Adopting Arbitration Agreements in California

Today, the California Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in Iskanian v. CLS Transp. Los Angeles, LLC, Case No. S204032, upholding class action waivers in employment arbitration agreements.  This means that the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2011 opinion in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion is to be given full force and effect in the employment setting … Continue Reading

California Courts May No Longer Be Able to Certify a Ham Sandwich

Commentators have quipped that class certification is so easy in California that with little effort a group of plaintiffs could certify even a ham sandwich.  In fact, as we have discussed here, we have seen a proliferation of recent appellate decisions hinging class certification on the mere existence of an employer’s uniform policy – no … Continue Reading

Rebuking “Trial by Formula,” Federal Court Decertifies Rule 23(b)(3) Class Action

In Stiller v. Costco Wholesale Corp., No. 3:09-cv-2473-GPC-BGS, Plaintiffs Eric Stiller and Joseph Moro alleged that Costco’s loss-prevention closing procedures effectively “forced” employees to work off-the clock without getting paid because they were required to remain on-site after they had clocked out of their shifts to go through security screenings.  In December 2010, the district … Continue Reading

American Conference International (ACI)

American Conference International (ACI) 21st National Forum on Wage and Hour Claims and Class Actions May 29-30, 2014 New York Marriott East Side Hotel * New York, NY Laura Reathaford has been invited to speak on a panel titled “Donning and Doffing & Walking Time Allegations, and the Latest Claims Arising from Meal and Rest … Continue Reading

California Appellate Court Affirms Denial Of Class Certification

As we recently reported here, there have been a number of appellate decisions ordering class certification based on the existence of an employer’s companywide policy – all while overlooking numerous individualized questions that would undoubtedly create manageability problems during trial.  On December 30, 2013, the California Court of Appeal in Johnson v. California Pizza Kitchen, … Continue Reading

Court Holds Arbitration Agreement Requiring Employee to Pay Half of Arbitration Costs is Unconscionable

In Chavarria v. Ralphs Grocery Co., No. 11-56673, 2013 WL 5779332 (9th Cir. Oct. 28, 2013), the plaintiff, a former deli clerk, brought a class action against Ralphs for various alleged wage and hour violations of the California Labor Code.  As a condition of employment, Chavarria signed an arbitration agreement containing a class action waiver.  … Continue Reading

CA Supreme Court Holds That Employees Are Bound By Arbitration Agreements Waiving Right To A Labor Comm’r Hearing

Frank Moreno agreed, as a condition of his employment with Sonic-Calabasas A, Inc., to arbitrate all of this employment disputes with his employer.  After terminating his employment with Sonic, Moreno filed an administrative wage claim with the Labor Commissioner for unpaid vacation pay.  Filing such a claim is the first step toward obtaining a “Berman” … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Invalidates Attempt To Plead Around CAFA’s Jurisdictional Amount In Controversy

In 2005, Congress passed the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), which creates federal jurisdiction over class actions involving more than 100 class members and $5 million in controversy.  Plaintiffs have long attempted to avoid CAFA’s invocation of federal jurisdiction by stipulating to no more than $5 million in classwide damages.  In Standard Fire Ins. Co. … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Reaffirms Enforceability of Arbitration Agreements Containing Collective Action Waivers In Two FLSA Cases

Two recent decisions from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit have reaffirmed the enforceability of employment-related arbitration agreements containing class action waivers.  In Sutherland v. Ernst & Young and Raniere v. Citigroup, Inc. the Second Circuit held that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) requires courts to enforce a valid agreement to arbitrate … Continue Reading