Tierra D. Piens

Managing Associate

San Francisco


Read full biography at www.orrick.com

Tierra D. Piens, a lawyer in Orrick’s San Francisco office, represents large corporations in high stakes and complex litigation.

Tierra has experience litigating a variety of class action and complex single-plaintiff employment law disputes, including cases alleging violations of wage-and-hours laws, discrimination, harassment, and wrongful termination.

Embodying her drive to find solutions to her clients' legal concerns, Tierra has quickly gained an expertise in advising employers of their rights, duties, and obligations as it pertains to conducting business during and after the global COVID-19 pandemic.

While her practice focuses primarily on the representation of large corporate clients and emerging companies, Tierra also devotes a portion of her practice to providing pro bono services to nonprofit organizations and low income individuals.

Tierra received her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, where she also earned a Law & Technology Certificate of Specialization as recognition for her extensive coursework in technology law. While attending law school, Tierra was a member of the Berkeley Technology and Law Journal, and an editor of the Berkeley Journal of African American Law and Policy.

A former judicial extern on the Northern District of California, Tierra has experience navigating both the federal and state court systems.

Posts by: Tierra Piens

Six Bay Area Counties Issue Revised Shelter-In-Place Orders Requiring Essential Businesses to Develop and Post Social Distancing Protocols

On March 31, 2020, the six Bay Area counties that previously issued the nation’s first Covid-19 shelter-in-place orders, amended and extended their prior orders to include stricter controls aimed to slow the spread of COVID-19. The new orders, which are now in effect in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties (as well as the City of Berkeley) have a new end date of May 3, 2020 – a change from the prior end date of April 7, 2020. They also revise and narrow the scope of businesses deemed essential, and expressly require any employer with employees who are working on-site to develop a “Social Distancing Protocol” that must be posted in the form required by the orders. The new orders also acknowledge Governor Newsom’s statewide March 19, 2020 Executive Order N-33-20, but explain they are, “in certain respects more stringent” than the statewide order in order to address “the particular facts and circumstances” in the county and in the Bay Area. Accordingly, they explicitly state, “Where a conflict exists between this Order and any state public health order related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the most restrictive provision controls.” READ MORE

Does Title VII Protect Gay & Transgender Employees? The Supreme Court May Soon Decide.

As early as November 30, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether to hear three high profile employment cases that question whether Title VII’s ban on sex discrimination protects gay and transgender employees.  These cases have significant implications on the proper scope of Title VII and the rights of the LGBT community in the workplace.

Under Title VII, an employer has engaged in “‘impermissible consideration of … sex … in employment practices’ when ‘sex … was a motivating factor for any employment practice,’ irrespective of whether the employer was also motivated by ‘other factors’.”

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Are Franchisees Employees? California Court Says No

In October 2017, four franchisees filed a federal complaint against the global convenience store chain, 7-Eleven, seeking to represent a purported class of over 1,000 similarly situated 7-Eleven franchisees in California. The franchisees alleged 7-Eleven’s corporate entity violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, California Labor Code, California Code of Regulations, and California Business and Professions Code. The central issue in the case was whether 7-Eleven misclassified franchisees as independent contractors instead of employees. READ MORE

“#MeToo”: Fostering A Harassment-Free Workplace

In the last several weeks, allegations of rampant sexual harassment have shocked the collective conscience. With the assistance of social media, what started as an allegation against a Hollywood mogul snowballed into a nation-wide conversation about sexual harassment in the workplace and elsewhere. According to the Washington Post, hundreds of thousands of men and women took to Twitter and Facebook to express they had been victims of sexual harassment, many of them using the hashtag “MeToo” to show solidarity with other victims. READ MORE