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Admitted to Practice

  • California, 1998
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of California


  • Spanish

Emilio G. Gonzalez

Emilio Gonzalez is an experienced trial attorney who has won jury verdicts on behalf of employers in state and federal courts involving civil rights, discrimination and wrongful termination claims. He also represents clients in wage and hour disputes and has prosecuted and defended trade secret and unfair competition actions dealing with data breaches, employee raiding, and misappropriation of proprietary business records.

Emilio provides preventive counseling on hiring and managing employees, as well as compliance with state and federal wage and hour laws, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), Title VII, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), and other employment laws.

Emilio has received many accolades for his work, including recognition by Law 360 as a "legal lion" after his trial team successfully obtained a post-trial order reversing a $7.1 million verdict in 2016. He was also named "Litigation Trailblazer" by the National Law Journal in 2015 and one of "California’s Top 75 Labor and Employment Lawyers" by the Daily Journal in 2014.

Emilio's clients include major film and media companies, theme parks and resorts, national retail companies, international technology and software companies, national and international banks and investment firms, hospitals, medical groups, telecommunication companies, and restaurants.

Following a life-long dedication to contributing to the improvement of public education, Emilio serves as chair of the Board of Directors of Endeavor College Prep, a public charter school serving students in East Los Angeles. He also serves on the firm’s Executive Committee.

Representative Experience


Henard v. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S., Inc.

Won summary judgment in wrongful termination case involving, among others, claims of race, age, and disability discrimination; retaliation; failure to accommodate; and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Employee-plaintiff was let go after he exhibited poor judgment and misused confidential guest information, both of which violated the company’s written policies. The court found that all 15 of the employee-plaintiff’s claims failed as a matter of law. (2018)

Abad v. The Walt Disney Company

Defended Disney in a case alleging gender and pregnancy discrimination by a former marketing employee who resigned her employment and alleged constructive termination. Obtained summary judgment on behalf of the client. (2017)

Zuniga v. The Walt Disney Company

Defended Disney in a case alleging disability discrimination. A former employee alleged that she could no longer report to her supervisor due to stress and anxiety and requested a new position. Although she was given paid time to find a new job, she filed a lawsuit alleging failure to accommodate. Obtained summary judgment. (2017)

Arave v. Merrill Lynch

Represented employer against a former high-level executive claiming constructive discharge due to harassment based on his religion. Obtained a unanimous defense verdict after six-week jury trial. (Riv. Cnty. (Cal.) Sup. Ct. 2013)

Giron v. Walt Disney Pictures

Obtained unanimous defense verdict in a sexual harassment case after eight-day jury trial. Prior to trial, the Davis Wright Tremaine team secured summary judgment as to the corporate defendants as to all discrimination claims. (L.A. Cnty. (Cal.) Sup. Ct. 2012, 2013)

Jimenez v. Franklin

Obtained a verdict in favor of our pro bono client, a detainee who was beaten by deputies in the Los Angeles County Jail, after an 11-day jury trial. Subsequently represented Mr. Jimenez in a successful appeal regarding adjudication of disputed outstanding judgment amount, resulting in published opinion. 680 F.3d 1096 (9th Cir. 2012)

Campbell v. Southern California Permanente Medical Group, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc.

Represented defendants through trial in this single-plaintiff case initially asserting 10 causes of action related to alleged discrimination and retaliation on account of her sexual orientation, disability, gender, and having filed a workers' compensation claim. Prior to trial, the Davis Wright Tremaine team secured summary judgment on behalf of one of two defendants and summary adjudication on five of the 10 causes of action. After a 10-day trial, secured a complete defense verdict on all remaining causes of action. (2011)

Matters Resolved Before Trial

Astle v. Merrill Lynch

Female financial advisor claimed that her business practices were targeted for heightened scrutiny because of her gender and religion and that she was constructively discharged. Plaintiff dismissed her claims with prejudice following our motion for summary judgment. (2015)

Torres v. Cedars Sinai Medical Center

Lead defense counsel in action alleging race and national origin discrimination and harassment, wrongful discharge, and defamation. Obtained summary judgment as to all claims. (2014)

Cobilla v. Disney Worldwide Services, Inc. and Disneyland International

Obtained summary judgment in an age discrimination case. (2012)

Farmer v. Searles Valley Minerals Operations

Defense counsel in action alleging disability discrimination, failure to accommodate, and interference with alleged union-organizing. Obtained summary judgment on all claims; summary judgment was affirmed on appeal. (2011)

Porteous, Teri v. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, Southern California Permanente Medical Group

Obtained summary judgment on behalf of various Kaiser entities and an individual defendant in a wrongful termination case alleging claims for age discrimination, retaliation, defamation, violation of Business and Professions Code § 17200, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. (2011)

Additional Qualifications

  • Litigation Associate, Fenwick & West LLP, Palo Alto, Calif.
  • Legal Writing Instructor, Hastings College of Law, University of California
  • Teacher, Teach for America, Los Angeles Unified School District

Professional & Community Activities

  • Executive Committee, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
  • Board of Governors, Association of Business Trial Lawyers
  • Board Chair, Endeavor College Prep Public Charter School, Boyle Heights
  • Hispanic National Bar Association

Professional Recognition

  • Selected to "Top Labor & Employment Lawyers," Los Angeles Daily Journal, 2018
  • "Litigation Trailblazer," National Law Journal, 2015
  • Selected to "California’s 75 Top Labor and Employment Lawyers," Daily Journal, 2014
  • Davis Wright Tremaine Heart of Justice Award, 2008
  • Selected to "Super Lawyers - Rising Stars," Thomson Reuters, 2004-2007
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