Lauri A. Damrell

Senior Associate
Employment Law
Read full biography at www.orrick.com

Lauri Damrell, a senior associate in the Sacramento office, is a member of the employment law group.

Ms. Damrell’s practice focuses on employment litigation and counseling. Orrick’s Employment Law and Litigation group was recently named Labor & Employment Department of the Year in California by The Recorder, the premier source for legal news, in recognition of their significant wins on behalf of leading multinational companies on today’s most complex and challenging employment law matters.

Ms. Damrell has extensive experience in complex litigation and counseling involving wage-and-hour laws, independent contractors, exempt/non-exempt classifications, discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination and other employment regulations.  She has also represented several clients before the EEOC, OFCCP, U.S. Dept. of Labor, IRS, California Dept. of Fair Employment & Housing, Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, and the Employment Development Department.  Her clients have included major retailers such as CVS, Crate and Barrel, Williams Sonoma, Levi Strauss & Co., Luxottica, Sears, Ace Hardware, and Hallmark.  She has also represented many other Fortune 500 companies, including Health Net, Inc., Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, and US Bank.

Ms. Damrell is a thought leader on diversity in the workforce.  California Governor Jerry Brown recently appointed her to serve as a Commissioner for the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls.  She has published articles on diversity in the National Law Journal, the American Bar Association Journal on Labor and Employment Law, Corporate Counsel, Law360, Bloomberg BNA, and others.  She also presents frequently on these issues and was recently invited to speak at the U.S. Capitol regarding the Paycheck Fairness Act. 

Within her community, Ms. Damrell has been featured by the Sacramento Business Journal for co-founding the Mother Attorneys Mentoring Association of Sacramento (MAMAS).  She is an active member of the National Association of Women Lawyers, which recently awarded her the Virginia S. Mueller Outstanding Member award for her contributions to the organization.  She is also an active member of the American Bar Association Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity Law and serves as the Chapter Update Co-Chair for the Compensation chapter of its Employment Discrimination Law treatise.  She has also served on the Executive Committee of Operation Protect and Defend, an organization of judges and attorneys supported by the Sacramento Bar Association to bring civic education to local high schools. 

Within Orrick, Ms. Damrell serves on the planning committee for the firm's Women in Employment Law Network, which is aimed at connecting women employment lawyers and HR professionals from the nation's most successful companies, educational institutions and law firms.  She also recently ran for Orrick's team in the Golden Gate Relay, a 191 mile relay run from Calistoga to Santa Cruz, California, to raise funds for OrgansRUs.

Lauri Damrell

Three Key EEO Cases to Watch on the SCOTUS Docket This Term

The Supreme Court is set to weigh in on several key questions for employers this term related to employee discrimination.  When does an employer have to accommodate a pregnant employee?  How about a job applicant who wears a head scarf in an interview but does not make it clear she is doing so for religious reasons and needs an accommodation?  Can a court decide whether the EEOC has done enough to resolve your case?  Here are three key EEO cases to keep your eye on in the coming months. Read More

An Attorney is an Attorney is an Attorney? Not So Fast Says Second Circuit, Shutting Down EEOC Equal Pay Act Claim

The EEOC suffered another fatal blow to its systemic discrimination initiative on Monday when the Second Circuit held that the Commission’s Equal Pay Act (EPA) complaint against the New York Port Authority was too barebones to survive.

Read More

Doctor Doctor Give Me the News, Is My Employee Fit for Duty After FMLA Leave?

On April 15, 2014, a California appeals court ruled that after an employee returns to work from leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), an employer can require a medical reevaluation related to the health condition for which the employee was granted FMLA leave, so long as it is job related and consistent with business necessity. Read More

“I Did It…But Don’t Tell!” Rejected Job Applicant Says Background Report Should Have Excluded his Admission of Fraud against Former Employer

Last week, a plaintiff sued the creator and the operator of the Esteem criminal background database—LexisNexis and First Advantage—alleging that they gave prohibited information to potential employers, which ultimately barred him from getting a job. Tsang v. LexisNexis Risk Solutions, Inc., No. CV-14-0493 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 31, 2014). Read More

California Employers: Test Yourself – Are You Ready for 2014?

If you have employees in California, you are, no doubt, aware that California laws are constantly changing and have a tendency to sneak up on even the best companies. To help prepare you for the year ahead, here are five important questions employers should ask themselves to test whether they are ready for the key changes in 2014: Read More

EEOC Cut Short for Shortcutting Path to Court – Again

Last week, the EEOC suffered another major loss when a New York district court found that the EEOC once again shirked its pre-litigation obligations under Title VII. Read More

Supreme Court Votes Pro-Arbitration Once Again and Upholds Class Arbitration Waiver

Lest there be any lingering confusion, the U.S. Supreme Court has once again reminded us that arbitration agreements are to be “rigorously enforced.” In this latest installment of pro-arbitration decisions from the high court, a majority of the justices (5-3) upheld a class arbitration waiver as enforceable even when the cost of individually arbitrating a federal statutory claim exceeds the potential recovery. Although the decision arose in the antitrust context, the broad language in the opinion opens the door for enforcement of class action waivers in wage-and-hour class and collective actions where employers have included such waivers in their arbitration agreements with their employees. Read More

Department of Labor Clarifies When an Employee May Take FMLA Leave to Care for Adult Children

The ADA Amendments Act (“ADAAA”) expanded more than just employer liability for disability claims; it also broadened the scope of FMLA leave that employees may take to care for their adult children. On January 14, 2013, the Department of Labor clarified that the age of the onset of a disability is irrelevant to determining whether an individual is considered a “son or daughter” under the FMLA. See Dept. of Labor Wage and Hour Div., Administrator’s Interpretation No. 2013-1. Read More

California Supreme Court Allows See’s Candy Time Rounding Decision to Stand

Earlier last month, the California Supreme Court denied petitions to review and depublish the California Court of Appeal for the Fourth District’s decision in See’s Candy Shops, Inc. v. Superior Court, 210 Cal. App. 4th 889 (2012), a case of first impression on whether an employer can round an employee’s clocked time under California law. As a result, the Court of Appeal’s decision on the topic of employers’ rounding of employee time entries remains the law of the land in California.

On October 29, 2012, the California Court of Appeal confirmed that California law—like federal law—permits an employer to implement a policy rounding its employees’ recorded time so long as the policy is neutrally applied and does not systematically under-compensate employees for time worked.

The plaintiff in See’s Candy hoped to blunt this helpful precedent by asking the California Supreme Court to depublish the Court of Appeal’s ruling. However, thanks to the Supreme Court’s denial of the plaintiff’s petitions, employers and courts may continue to look to See’s Candy for guidance in the implementation of their timekeeping policies.

EEOC’s Plan May Mean Narrower, More Aggressive Oversight

As we currently reported on our January 9 blog, on Dec. 17, 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released its strategic enforcement plan (SEP). The SEP resulted from the broader strategic plan unveiled by the EEOC earlier this year, outlining the commission’s activities for 2012-2016. The SEP confirms that combating systemic discrimination will be one of the EEOC’s primary objectives. Read Orrick’s “EEOC’s Plan May Mean Narrower, More Aggressive Oversight” on Law360.