Thomas M. McInerney


Thomas (“Tom”) McInerney, the Managing Shareholder of the San Francisco office of Ogletree Deakins, has extensive employment litigation experience in complex litigation matters, with an emphasis on class actions, multi-plaintiff cases, and trade secret and other complex business disputes. He has tried to verdict several cases in both state and federal courts, and represents clients in a wide-range of fields, including technology, financial services, insurance, construction, energy/utility, healthcare, transportation and logistics, and personal services.

Tom’s expertise is in dealing with complex or novel issues, including sex and race discrimination and harassment, wage and hour class actions, alleged theft of trade secrets, and breach of contract. Tom also has significant experience in appellate matters, including litigating cases in the California Court of Appeal, the California Supreme Court, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Arbitrations and mediations are also a large part of Tom’s practice. Tom has assisted clients in developing arbitration and mediation programs, and he has represented a wide variety of clients in these alternative dispute resolution proceedings.

Tom brings a practical business perspective to his practice, formed in part by his experience working with large, medium-size, and small business clients throughout California and elsewhere. Tom also serves on the Ogletree Deakins Management and Pro Bono Committees. Prior to joining the firm he was a labor and employment partner with another national law firm. Tom is also very active in the local San Francisco Bay Area community, and is an elected official in Marin County, California.

AV Rated Martindale Hubbell



Tom has experience in jury and bench trial on behalf of employers in sex harassment, age discrimination, and complex contract dispute cases.  He also has directed all aspects of litigation, including pre-trial discovery and law and motion practice, involving claims of discrimination (sex, race, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, disability, and others), tort (defamation, assault, battery, infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment, and others), and breach of contract. 

Tom has also developed an expertise in wage and hour defense, including in class actions asserting failure to pay overtime, failure to provide meal breaks, and other alleged violations of California and federal law. 

Tom has led the defense in arbitrations involving a wide range of claims, including for breach of contract, discrimination, and violations of the California Labor Code. 

Tom has also argued a large number of appellate matters, including briefing and arguing cases before the California Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit, and other state and federal courts in California and elsewhere.  Examples of Tom’s published cases include:

  • Guz v. Bechtel National, Inc., 24 Cal. 4th 317 (2000), a landmark Supreme Court decision addressing California state law for claims of discrimination, breach of employment contract, and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing
  • Greene v. Marin County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, 49 Cal.4th 277 (2010), a unanimous California Supreme Court decision upholding the legality of a flood fee election raising millions of dollars for flood protection in Marin County.
  • Stiefel v. Bechtel Corp., 624 F.3d 1240 (9th Cir. 2010), a Ninth Circuit decision involving novel substantive and procedural issues for disability discrimination claims.
  • Conley v. Pacific Gas & Electric Co., 131 Cal. App. 4th 260 (2005), a Court of Appeal decision rejecting opinion letters from the California Labor Commissioner involving class certification and vacation pay.
  • West v. Bechtel Corporation, 96 Cal. App. 4th 966 (2002), a decision overturning a jury verdict in which the plaintiff had asserted state discrimination laws applied to employment overseas.
  • Application Group, Inc. v. The Hunter Group, 61 Cal. App. 4th 881 (1998), a landmark decision addressing conflicts of law as applied to noncompetition clauses.

Education and Honors


J.D., Santa Clara University School of Law, 1992
B.A., University of California, Berkeley, 1986

Honors and Awards: 
  • Super Lawyers of Northern California

Professional Activities

Professional Activities: 
  • Member of the Town Council of the Town of San Anselmo, California (Mayor in 2012 and 2014)
  • Chair, Central Marin Police Council
  • Chair, Marin County Flood Control District 9 Advisory Board
  • Ross Valley Fire District Board Member
  • State Bar of California (Labor and Employment Section)
  • Federal Bar Association, Northern District of California
  • American Bar Association
  • Bar Association of San Francisco
  • Barack Obama Delegate, 2008 Democratic National Convention, Denver, CO
  • John Kerry Delegate to the Rules Committee, 2004 Democratic Convention, Boston, MA
  • Campaign Field Director – Dukakis for President Campaign (1987-1988)
  • Campaign Organizer – Clinton/Gore Campaign, Los Angeles, CA (1992)
  • Ogletree Deakins Corporate Labor and Employment Counsel Exclusive Seminar - "In-House Pressure Points: Top 10 High Intensity Issues" - Dana Point - September 2014
  • Ogletree Deakins Webinar - "The San Francisco Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance and San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance (Ban the Box)" - June 2014
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "No Hire Agreements—Are They Worth the Risk?" - Las Vegas - May 2014
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Striking Gold—Wage and Hour Issues in California" - Las Vegas - May 2014
  • Ogletree Deakins Navigating California Employment Law - "No Need to Hit the Panic Button—Best Practices and Strategies for Managing Litigation in California" - Silverado - March 1, 2014
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Wage and Hour Litigation—California Style!" - New Orleans - May 2013
  • Ogletree Deakins Webinar - "Protecting Trade Secrets and Balancing Employee Rights in California" - San Francisco - November 15, 2011
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Cyber Sabotage by Employees: Practical Prevention and Legal Strategies" - Chicago - May 2011
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Portable Devices Freeze Employers in their Tracks" - Las Vegas - May 6, 2010

In The News

Media Quotes:
  • February 27, 2015 - Ogletree Deakins Publications - "California Court Rules on Whether to Compel Arbitration Where Employer Could Not Authenticate Employee’s Electronic Signature"
  • August 28, 2014 - Ogletree Deakins Publication - "California Supreme Court: Holding Franchisor Liable as Employer Depends on Level of Control Over Day-to-Day Employment Decisions"
  • August 8, 2014 - Daily Journal - "Employment Case Claims Against Lyft Tossed"
  • August 7, 2014 - The Recorder - "Lyft Licks Nationwide Employment Class Action"
  • July 30, 2014 - Ogletree Deakins Publication - "Ninth Circuit Allows Deputies to Proceed with Sex Discrimination Suit"
  • April 30, 2014 - Ogletree Deakins Publication - "California Court Finds Employers Can Seek Evaluation After Employee Returns From FMLA"
  • February 28, 2014 - Ogletree Deakins Publication - "California Appellate Court Holds Substantial Motivating Factor Required in Wrongful Termination Case"
  • May 15, 2012 - - "Protecting Confidential Information in California"
  • December 27, 2011 - KQED Radio - "Who Owns Your Tweets?"
  • December 22, 2011 - San Francisco Business Times - "Labor Lawyers Brace for Sweep of Changes Coming in New Year"
  • April 1, 2011 - Inside Counsel - "Court Denies Privacy Rights in Company E-mail System"
  • October 12, 2010 - Marin Independent Journal - "Ross Valley’s Measure Needed to Address Overcrowded Schools"
  • August 28, 2010 - Marin Independent Journal - "San Anselmo Councilman Pushes for Campaign Reform"
  • June 7, 2010 - Marin Independent Journal - "California Supreme Court Upholds Ross Valley Flood Fee"
Published Works: