Keith A. Watts

Office Managing Shareholder Orange County

Keith Watts is a managing and a founding shareholder of the firm's Orange County office.  Keith practices exclusively labor and employment law and has handled a wide variety of matters, including sexual harassment, age discrimination, disability and wrongful termination claims. Keith’s employment law practice focuses heavily on the “prevention side” of employment claims and positioning problem employment situations for the best possible defense, including complicated reductions-in-force terminations.  He regularly advises employers regarding methods to avoid employment-related claims, including the use of effective employment contracts and severance agreements, implementation of up-to-date company policies and procedures, providing manager training on “best practices,” and giving day-to-day, practical advice on pressing employment issues, such as wage-hour compliance and the management and termination of “problem employees.”

His practice has also involved advising employers on strategies for remaining union-free, as well as successfully representing employers in union organizing campaigns, collective bargaining negotiations and state court strike injunction litigation.  Keith also represents employers in agency proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board, including union representation and unfair labor practice cases.

Keith also has extensive experience defending employers before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement and various other federal and state agencies.  He is also a frequent guest lecturer on labor and employment issues for businesses, employers, and Human Resources groups around the country.  Over the years, he has conducted scores of workshops and seminars and spoken to numerous national conventions as well as state and local meetings.

Keith represents or works with employers in a wide ranging, diverse group of industries, including automobile dealerships, advertising agencies, security and alarm companies, computer technology companies, equipment and food manufacturers, non-profit organizations, physicians, retailers and wholesalers, interstate transportation and wind energy companies.

Prior to attending law school, Keith worked as an actor in New York and Los Angeles.


Keith has successfully handled scores of EEOC and Department of Fair Employment and Housing discrimination charges for large automotive dealership groups in California, Arizona and Nevada.  In addition to handling harassment and discrimination charges, Keith has also successfully defended numerous claims for wage and hour, meal and rest period violations. 

Keith is also a frequent speaker and guest lecturer before human resources personnel and employers as well as a frequent presenter on employment “Best Practices” at seminars and programs held across the country.  Keith also frequently conducts on-site compliance training for employers, including not only California harassment compliance training, but also workplace violence, wage and hour training as well as seminars training supervisors and managers concerning the interaction between the Americans With Disabilities Act, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (and its California equivalent) and Workers’ Compensation compliance.

Finally, Keith also has extensive experience in advising employers on union organizing campaigns as well as successfully defending against unfair labor practice charges before the National Labor Relations Board. 

Professional Activities and Speeches

Professional Activities:

  • American Bar Association
  • Orange County Bar Association


  • 33rd Annual Labor and Employment Law Conference - ''Hot Topics in the Workplace'' - Anaheim - July 22, 2015
  • IBA Annual Employment and Discrimination Law Conference - ''A regional look at religious discrimination in the workplace: is it getting better or worse and what can be done to stop it?'' - Rome - April 9 - April 10, 2015
  • Ultimate Software HR Webcast - ''Eye on Employment Law 2015: A Review of Legal Developments for HR and Payroll Professionals'' - December 11, 2014
  • National Employment Law Institute's 38th Annual Employment Discrimination Law Update - ''Terminations and Severance Agreements'' - July 17, 2014
  • Employment Law Update in California - ''Ten Unlucky Issues That May Have to Be Addressed in 2013'' - Santa Ana - June 13, 2013
  • Orange County Employer's Advisory Council - ''In-House Investigations - What You Don't Know or Don't Do - Can Hurt You!'' - Orange County - April 2013
  • Ultimate Software Interactive HR Webinar - ''What's New And What To Watch For In The Coming Year'' - Costa Mesa - December 08, 2011
  • Lorman Education Services - ''Employment Law From A to Z'' - Santa Ana - July 14, 2011
  • Ultimate Software Interactive HR Workshop, Essential Strategies From Industry Leaders In An Era of Change - ''Managing the Legal Impact of Social Media in Employment Decisions'' - Anaheim - May 05, 2011
  • ExecSense Webinar - ''Hiring For Dentists: How to Legally Attract & Select Top Candidates'' - Costa Mesa - April 20, 2011
  • ERE Media Podcast - ''What’s Worrying Recruiters About Social Media'' - Costa Mesa - April 05, 2011
  • ERE Expo 2011 Spring - ''One-on-One Legal Information Sessions'' - San Diego - March 24, 2011
  • California Staffing Professionals, Orange County Chapter - ''Legal Updates for a New Decade'' - Tustin - February 16, 2011
  • Strafford Publications - ''Employee Hiring and Firing: Legal and Practical Guidance for Employment Counsel CLE'' - webinar - November 02, 2010
  • Lorman Education Services - ''Employment Law From A to Z'' - Santa Ana - July 14, 2010
  • Employer's Advisory Council Orange County - EAC OC - ''A.B. 1825 Compliance Training'' - Anaheim - April 15, 2010
  • National Auto Dealers Association (NADA) National Convention - ''HR Problems? - Rules of the Road to Avoid Liability'' - Orlando - February 2010
  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) National Convention - ''Dealership Survivor: Don’t Get Thrown Off Your Own Island!'' - New Orleans - October 23, 2009
  • State Compensation Insurance Fund, Loss Control - ''Fundamentals of Employment Law'' - Sacramento - June 26, 2009
  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) - ''What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You'' - Las Vegas - May 2009
  • Sterling Education Services - ''Fundamentals of Employment Law'' - Pasadena - March 26, 2009
  • Sterling Educational Services - ''2009 Employment Law Update'' - San Diego - February 26, 2009
  • Bridgeport Continuing Education - ''Bridgeport Wage & Hour Conference – Overtime & Misclassification – Getting Your House In Order'' - Los Angeles - December 02, 2008
  • Bridgeport Continuing Education, California Wage & Hour Litigation Conference - ''Overtime & Misclassification – Getting Your House In Order'' - Los Angeles - December 07, 2007
  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) National Convention - ''HR Survival – 10 Ways To Keep From Getting Sued!'' - Orlando - October 26, 2007
  • Bridgeport Continuing Education - ''Bridgeport Wage & Hour Conference – Meal & Break Periods'' - Costa Mesa - June 20, 2007
  • Disaster Kleen-up International, National Convention - ''Reaching For The Stars" -- "Practical Advice Concerning One of Your Most Valuable Assets -- Your Employees'' - San Antonio - January 18, 2007
  • Hit the Road for the 2006 – Auto Dealership Seminar - ''Privacy Issues -- Safeguarding Customer Information'' - Seattle - November 09, 2006
  • State Compensation Insurance Fund Seminar - ''10 Steps to Avoid Becoming a Statistic'' - Santa Ana - October 20, 2006
  • Orange County Business Service Center - ''Legal Issues In The Business World – Workman’s Compensation'' - Newport Beach - September 20, 2006
  • General Manager CPAs - ''HR Survival & Management Training: Ten Ways To Keep From Getting Sued!'' - Carmel - September 15, 2006
  • American Agents Alliance - ''The Top Ten Landmines To Avoid Liability'' - Downey - July 06, 2006
  • NCM Associates - ''General Manager’s Bootcamp'' - San Diego - August 15, 2005

Our Insights


Media Quotes

October 08, 2015 - Ogletree Deakins Blog - "California’s Gender Identity Legislation: New Protections for Transgender Employees Working with State Agencies"
March 09, 2015 - Employment Law Daily - "DOL’s interpretive rule reversal on loan officers’ exempt status OK without notice and comment"
March 04, 2015 - SHRM Online - "In 50th Year, EEOC Pushes Enforcement Limits"

Published Works