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Admitted to Practice

  • California, 2006
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of California, 2006
  • U.S. District Court Central District of California, 2006
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of California, 2006
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of California, 2006

Aaron N. Colby

ColbyAaron
Partner
T213.633.6882
F213.633.4282
Aaron Colby represents employers in single-plaintiff, multi-plaintiff, and class action disputes involving allegations of wrongful termination, discrimination, retaliation, harassment, and wage-and-hour issues such as overtime, meal and rest breaks, and off-the-clock work. Aaron does so in state and federal courts and administrative agencies throughout California; and via arbitration, private mediation, judicial settlement conferences, and pre-litigation negotiations.

In his counseling practice, Aaron develops effective employment policies and practices that help management and staff manage risk and avoid litigation. He frequently advises on termination, leaves of absences, workplace investigations, handbooks, and timekeeping and pay practices.

In addition to his employment law practice, Aaron also provides counseling and defends companies against claims of defamation, trademark, and other business-related matters. Aaron also has significant experience representing clients in disputes alleging Americans with Disabilities Act and California Unruh Act claims, including both public accommodation and disability discrimination cases.

Aaron’s clients range from large organizations to midsize and small businesses across all industries, particularly in agriculture, produce, restaurant, banking, health care, manufacturing, and media.

Aaron’s clients include 24 Hour Fitness, Alaska Airlines Inc., Bank of America, Blaze Pizza LLC, Butkus Foundation, Coast Produce Company, Cogent Entertainment Marketing, The Core Group Inc., Del Rey Avocado Company, EMM Group, Fleetwood Aluminum, Golden Road Food Services LLC, Green Farms Inc., Healthcare Services Group Inc., Hillsides Organization, HTI Polymers, Joe & The Juice, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, LC Industries, Leisure Care LLC, Lemonade Restaurant Group, Mariak Industries Inc., Mendocino Farms, Monoprice Inc., Norms Restaurants LLC, Professional Produce, Rumble Fitness LLC, Salt & Straw Holdings LLC, Sechrist Industries Inc., T-Mobile USA Inc., U.S. Security Associates Inc., and Walker Foods.

Representative Experience

Single-Plaintiff Litigation

Wrongful termination case for national bank

Defending major bank in wrongful termination lawsuit brought by former executive alleging claims of religious discrimination, harassment and retaliation. (Ongoing)

Retaliation/whistleblower litigation for large managed care organization

Defended large managed care organization against claims of whistleblowing and wrongful termination, stemming from an employee raising concerns about an incentive program. Disqualified opposing counsel and obtained summary judgment. (2016)

Wrongful termination litigation for large airline

Defended airline in two wrongful termination cases involving gate agents alleging sexual harassment and retaliation. Narrowed the claims on summary adjudication and resolved at private mediation. Successfully defended appeal of one case with the court affirming summary judgment ruling. (2014, 2016)

Unpaid wages and wrongful termination litigation for software company

Defended software company based in Southern California against allegations of unpaid wages and wrongful termination. Resolved case at mediation after several months of direct negotiations. (2013)

Unpaid commissions and breach of contract litigation for national bank

Defended major bank against allegations of unpaid commissions and breach of contract not to terminate employment without good cause. Obtained dismissal of the breach of contract claim on summary judgment and resolved remaining claims at private mediation. (2013)

Wrongful termination litigation for national staffing company

Defended national health care staffing company against allegations of discrimination, harassment, failure to accommodate, and retaliation. After taking the deposition of plaintiff, obtained very favorable settlement through private mediation. (2013)

Retaliation litigation for national bank

Defended major bank against allegations of retaliation brought by two former employees who had previously filed lawsuits against the company. Obtained very favorable settlements within the first 60 days of litigation, through direct negotiations with counsel. (2013)

Harassment litigation for large managed care organization

Defended large managed care organization against allegations of discrimination, harassment, failure to accommodate, and retaliation. Obtained very favorable settlement through direct negotiations with counsel. (2012)

Retaliation/whistleblower litigation for large managed care organization

Defended large managed care organization against claims of whistleblowing and wrongful termination-based allegations that employee was retaliated against for reporting HIPAA-related concerns. Obtained very favorable settlement through private mediation. (2012)

Wrongful termination litigation of large managed care organization

Defended large managed care organization 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. Obtained summary judgment. (2011)

Butkus v. Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando*

Won summary judgment on behalf of plaintiff in right-of-publicity infringement case involving defendant's federal registration of "Butkus Award" as mark for annual football award. Court rejected defendant’s argument that it owned the "Butkus Award" mark, although plaintiff had consented to the mark and later revoked. In its published decision, court ruled that a contract without specified duration can be terminated at-will under California law. 2008 WL 2557427 (C.D. Cal. 2008)

Class Action and Multi-Plaintiff Litigation

Meal and rest break class action for assisted living provider

Defending one of the nation’s largest assisted living providers in wage and hour class action of 1000+ non-exempt employees against claims for meal and rest breaks, overtime, pay stub violations. We conducted an individual settlement campaign with part of the class. We stayed discovery, and are sharing information and records in advance of mediation for the remainder of the class. (Ongoing)

ADA class action for large restaurant chain

Defending restaurant chain in class action alleging that all locations in California fail to comply with the California Unruh Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act in not providing equal access to an alleged class of 150,000 disabled customers. (Ongoing)

Wage and hour class action for large manufacturer

Defending large window and door manufacturer in wage and hour class action alleging more than 200 non-exempt employees did not receive timely meal breaks and were shorted overtime because of improper calculation of non-discriminatory bonus payments. We stayed discovery and are sharing information and records in advance of class mediation. (Ongoing)

Wage and hour class action for restaurant

Defending restaurant in wage and hour class action alleging that putative class of more than 600 non-exempt employees were denied meal and rest breaks and not reimbursed expenses. After an individual settlement campaign, records sharing, and two mediations, the case settled on favorable terms, to be approved by the court. (Ongoing)

Wage and hour class action for casual restaurant

Defending restaurant in wage and hour class action alleging that putative class of 80+ non-exempt employees were denied meal and rest breaks, were not reimbursed for uniforms, and rounded time in an impermissible manner. The defendant was initially represented by another firm, but they turned the case over to our team to get it settled. After engaging in an individual settlement campaign, we shared records and are set to mediate. (Ongoing)

Wage and hour class action for restaurant chain

Defended restaurant in wage and hour class action alleging that putative class of more than 100 non-exempt employees were denied meal and rest breaks, split shift pay, pay stub violations, and failure to pay wages owed at termination. Settled case at mediation after narrowing claims and damages at class certification motion, receiving court approval. (2017)

Meal and rest period class action for large telecommunications retailer

Defending a large telecommunications company in a wage and hour class action filed by a class of non-exempt store managers alleging missed meal periods. The client was originally represented by another firm, but they turned to our team to take over in the middle of the case. Our team quickly familiarized itself with the case and developed a strategy, eventually mediating the case and settling the matter on very favorable terms, receiving court approval. (Ongoing)

Meal and rest break class action litigation for major produce distributor

Defending large fruit and vegetable distributor based in Southern California in wage-and-hour class action alleging over 100 employees were not paid overtime and were denied meal and rest breaks. (Ongoing)

Unpaid overtime class action litigation for major electronics distributor

Defending electronics distributor based in Southern California in wage-and-hour class action alleging that putative class of over 200 employees were shorted overtime because of improper calculation of non-discretionary bonus payments. Negotiated settlement at mediation, and awaiting final Court approval. (Ongoing)

Meal break and pay stub class action litigation for national staffing company

Defending very large, national staffing company in wage-and-hour class action brought by transportation and warehouse storage workers. Putative class is alleged to be over 40,000 non-exempt employees. Claims are for meal breaks and pay stub violations. We have engaged in motion practice to limit discovery and the scope of the putative class. (Ongoing)

Meal break class action litigation for large manufacturing company

Defended medical device manufacturing company based in Orange County in wage and hour class action alleging nearly 200 employees were denied meal breaks and were not paid for all time worked. After successful individual settlement campaign and records sharing with counsel on class certification and liability issues, counsel dismissed class allegations. (2016)

Split shift and unreimbursed expenses class action litigation for pizza chain

Defended pizza chain based in Southern California in wage-and-hour class action alleging nearly 1,500 employees were denied meal and rest breaks, split shift pay, pay stub violations and were not reimbursed for business expenses. Settled case at mediation after narrowing claims, receiving court approval. (2017)

Meal break class action litigation for fast-casual restaurant

Defending fast-casual restaurant based in Southern California in wage-and-hour class action alleging nonexempt employees were denied meal breaks. (Ongoing)

Off-the-clock and multi-plaintiff litigation for national staffing company

Successfully settled multi-plaintiff case against national health care staffing company involving allegations of meal and rest break violations, off-the-clock work, and related penalties. (2012)

Meal break class action litigation for major produce distributor

Defended fruit and vegetable distributor based in Southern California in wage and hour class action alleging putative class of over 200 non-exempt employees missed meal breaks, rounding of time, and related penalties. After negotiating the terms of discovery stay and pre-mediation sharing of information, obtained a very favorable settlement on a class basis at mediation, receiving court approval. (2012)

Administrative Agency Charges and Audits

Nationwide agency charges for national health club chain

Representing national health club chain in all Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and corresponding state agency charges of discrimination. (Ongoing)

Department of Labor audit for garment company

Represented mid-sized garment company based in Southern California in a Department of Labor (DOL) audit regarding unpaid overtime. After meeting with the DOL investigator on-site, obtained a negotiated settlement. (2013)

Discrimination charge for foster care agency

Defended foster care agency based in Southern California in charge of discrimination before California Department of Fair Employment & Housing (DFEH). Resolved charge in confidential mediation before litigation (2013)

ICE audit for major produce distributor

Advised on responding to audit of I-9 documentation and practices conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customers Enforcement (ICE). Resolved audit and negotiated fine amount to amount consistent with audit findings. (2013)

Labor Commissioner charge for major produce distributor

Defended fruit distributor based in Southern California in three separate charges before the California Labor Commissioner (DLSE) alleging misclassification of exempt workers and unpaid overtime. Claims resolved at fraction of potential liability before the hearings. (2012)

Advice and Counsel

Advise on employee leaves of absences

Advising on employee leaves-of-absence issues under California and federal law, including FMLA, CFRA, workers’ compensation, pregnancy, ADA/FEHA, and non-medical protected leaves of absences. (Ongoing)

Advise on exemption and misclassification issues

Advising large and small companies on issues related to classification of employees as exempt from overtime and other wage-hour requirements, and on classification of independent contractors. (Ongoing)

Advise on employment and due diligence for mergers and acquisitions

Advising on due diligence issues related to potential employment-related liabilities and risks, including successor liability, in connection with various corporate transactions, including asset-purchase deals. (Ongoing)

Advise on investigations, discipline/separation, and wage-hour issues

Advising wide range of companies on workplace investigations related to misconduct, policy violations, and workplace harassment; employee discipline arising from policy violations; wage-hour policies and practices, including meal and rest break and overtime issues; and on issues related to separation of employment, including final pay, layoffs, and terminations. (Ongoing)

Draft/revise employee handbooks and related workplace policies

Prepares and reviews employee handbooks compliant with California and federal law, including on wage-hour policies and anti-harassment policies. (Ongoing)
* Denotes experience completed at a prior firm

Additional Qualifications

  • Associate, Sedgwick, Detert, Moran & Arnold, LLP, Los Angeles, 2006-2010
  • Legal Department Extern, Screen Actors Guild, Los Angeles, 2004
  • Extern, Hon. Susan Bryant-Deason, Los Angeles Superior Court, 2004
  • Legal Department Intern, Mattel, Inc., El Segundo, Calif., 2003

Professional & Community Activities

  • Los Angeles Superior Court CRASH Volunteer Settlement Program Officer, 2014-present
  • Co-founder of Jeffery A. Colby Cancer Research Fund -- http://www.jeffsfund.org -- which promotes colon cancer research and awareness, 2003-present

Professional Recognition

  • Selected to "Southern California Rising Stars," Thomson Reuters, 2013-2017
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