Beth A. Gunn
Beth Gunn defends employers in all types of employment litigation, with a focus on high-stakes wage and hour class actions.
Beth’s litigation-heavy practice focuses on obtaining excellent results for clients, designing the most effective litigation strategy for each individual set of circumstances. She prides herself on learning her clients’ businesses and helping them to navigate California’s employer-unfriendly landscape.
Wage and Hour Class Action Litigation
Beth specializes in defending California and federal wage and hour class actions, and especially enjoys handling cutting-edge issues in the developing law.
Beth has handled over twenty class actions, representing clients in a wide range of industries, including clients engaged in the businesses of automobile parts, banking, construction, entertainment concessions, health care, industrial equipment servicing, music festival production, payroll processing, packaging, retail, restaurant, roadside travel, satellite installation, and security services.
Some recent victories include:
- Establishing federal jurisdiction pursuant to the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”), including:
- Prevailing in two Ninth Circuit appeals regarding the amount in controversy required to pursue CAFA removals to federal court – one for a national beauty products retailer with a substantial number of stores in California, and another for a nationwide chain of banks with a significant California presence
- Obtaining a favorable ruling on a novel issue related to inclusion of penalties sought pursuant to the California Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”) in the CAFA amount in controversy for a national security service provider operating in California
- Achieving dismissal of claims representing significant potential exposure through aggressive motion practice, including:
- Obtaining summary judgment of Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) claims asserted against a producer of music festivals by arguing that the employer was exempt pursuant to the “amusement and recreational establishment” exemption of the FLSA
- Securing dismissal of claim seeking reporting time pay based on the call-in scheduling practice of a national clothing retailer with a substantial presence in California
- Opposing class certification with favorable results, including:
- Obtaining denial of class certification of claims based on alleged unpaid overtime, meal breaks and rest breaks for a national provider of technical industrial services with several California branches
- Convincing class counsel to dismiss class business expense reimbursement claims and settle the individual claim for a nominal amount minutes before the court issued its class certification ruling for a security services provider
In addition, Beth works diligently to achieve favorable settlements, including both class-wide settlements and individual settlements following dismissal of class claims. She uses her significant experience in working with economic experts and background in data analysis to accurately assess the risks and potential exposure at issue in each class action litigation. As her clients will tell you, Beth is a common-sense advocate who works with them to establish goals in line with their business needs and designs a successful strategy accordingly.
Single Plaintiff Employment Litigation
For cases involving single plaintiffs alleging violations of federal and state employment laws, Beth applies the same practical principles of evaluating the circumstances and creating a defense that achieves results for her clients. She has handled all types of employment litigation, including individual wage-and-hour claims, claims for discrimination and harassment based on race, age, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, and other protected classes, as well as claims of wrongful termination, retaliation, failure to provide medical leaves, failure to provide reasonable accommodations, and failure to engage in the interactive process.
Employment Advice and Counsel
Beth also advises employers to help solve problems before they turn into litigation. She provides advice regarding employee handbooks, personnel policies, wage and hour compliance, disability accommodations, leave issues, employee discipline matters, and other employment issues. Beth also conducts training seminars for prevention of harassment in the workplace as required for managers under California law.
Education and Honors
J.D., Columbia University School of Law, 2000
B.A., College of the Holy Cross, 1991
- Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar
- Senior Editor, Columbia Law Review
- Los Angeles County Bar Association
- Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles
- Ogletree Deakins Seminar - "Hiring and Firing the Top Brass" - Los Angeles - October 2014
- Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Workplace Harassment Workshop: From Prevention to Litigation Defense" - Las Vegas - May 2014
- The Seminar Group - "What’s Hot and What’s Not in Discrimination Law" - Santa Monica - November 2013
- Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "California Focus: Wage and Hour Claims and Class Action Suits" - Phoenix - May 2012
- Ogletree Deakins Briefing - "Employee Handbooks" - Los Angeles - April 2012
- Ogletree Deakins Briefing - "Guarding the Gates: Prevent Your Data From Walking Out the Door With Your Employees" - Los Angeles - June 2011
- Ogletree Deakins Seminar - "E-Discovery: Who Wants to Cyber-Litigate?" - Los Angeles - October 2010