Trish Higgins is an employment attorney with a California practice focused on complex employment litigation and counseling.
Trish has extensive experience successfully defending class actions and individual employment claims, including claims of discrimination, wage-and-hour, sexual harassment, disability, retaliation and WARN Act claims. She has particular expertise representing companies in the financial services industry. Trish handles employment matters in federal and state courts, as well as arbitrations and administrative proceedings. She also counsels and trains employers on employment issues.
Some of Trish’s recent notable representations include:
Drake v. Morgan Stanley: A wage-and-hour class action asserting misclassification and business expenses claims on behalf of financial advisors. Trish defeated class certification.
SEIU v. Medical Properties Trust: A representative WARN action based on a hospital’s change of ownership. Trish obtained summary judgment, which was affirmed by the Ninth Circuit.
Mass v. Thomas Weisel Partners: A wage-and-hour class action asserting claims that banking analysts were misclassified as exempt. Trish obtained summary judgment.
Bloemendaal v. Morgan Stanley: A class action asserting claims of “compelled patronage” based on application of an employee trading policy. Trish obtained summary judgment on federal preemption grounds.
California Assembly: Trish provides sexual harassment training for the Members and employees of the California Assembly.
Trish is a frequent lecturer and author on employment law issues, including defending class actions, preventing discrimination claims and sexual harassment prevention training.
Effective February 28, 2013, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) rescinded two 2006 guidance documents concerning how the OFCCP and federal contractors analyze potential pay discrimination. This change came as a response to President Obama’s Equal Pay Task Force, which brought together the federal agencies charged with addressing pay discrimination.
The OFCCP, which is charged with ensuring federal contractors and subcontractors provide equal employment opportunity, concluded that the previous guidance was too rigid and undermining the agency’s efforts to combat discrimination. Several aspects of the now-rescinded guidance fell into disfavor with the OFCCP in its efforts to carry out President Obama’s mandate to step up investigation of systemic compensation discrimination. First, it was required to compare “similarly situated workers,” defined narrowly to include only employees with the same position. Second, it was required to use multiple regression analysis to test for pay disparities, failing to address situations where analysis of a smaller sample size might be more appropriate. Finally, it required anecdotal evidence to establish a systemic compensation violation in addition to statistical evidence. Reasoning that “employment discrimination comes in many forms,” OFCCP found that this specific method of analyzing compensation would not allow OFCCP to detect all forms of pay discrimination. Read More
Orrick, on behalf of its client, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (“SIFMA”), recently filed an amicus brief in support of a petition for writ of mandamus filed by Wells Fargo in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Wells Fargo requests vacatur of a federal district court’s order granting conditional certification of FLSA claims filed by home mortgage consultant plaintiffs seeking unpaid overtime. In its amicus brief, SIFMA argues that the court should reject the two-step certification standard applied by most district courts in FLSA actions and instead adopt a procedure that calls for meaningful certification review at the earliest feasible opportunity. Read More
Brinker continues to impact meal and rest period and off-the-clock cases as lower courts continue to grapple with the contours of its application. Several cases at the appellate level were remanded after the California Supreme Court’s Brinker decision, and those cases are now working their way through the lower courts. On our July 6, 2012 blog post, we identified three post-Brinker decisions denying class certification in meal period cases. Below is a brief summary of post-Brinker decisions issued since our last update. Read More
In Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC, (Cal. Ct. App. June 4, 2012), the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District affirmed a decision to compel individual arbitration of wage-and-hour claims pursuant to an employment agreement that contained class and representative action waivers, holding that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion was controlling. Read More
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