Mary Dollarhide is listed in Chambers USA and was named a Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers in America in 2021. Recognized for her work by The Legal 500, Mary is also a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and previously served a three-year term as a Lawyer Representative to the Southern District of California. She holds a Judicial AV Preeminent designation from Martindale Hubbell, their highest rating standard based on confidential reviews of both judges and attorneys. She has been named a Top Employment Attorney in California, one of the Top Women Attorneys in San Diego, and is a Senior Fellow of the Litigation Council of America. She is a founding Master of the Clifford Wallace Inn of Court in San Diego and the co-author of the legal treatise Reductions in Force in Employment Law, published by the Bureau of National Affairs.
Mary maintains a nationwide employment law practice, concentrating on wage and hour class actions brought under state and federal wage and hour laws, including the California Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) and the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN). Her single plaintiff cases involve sexual orientation discrimination, sexual and religious harassment, political activity discrimination, disability claims, breach of contract, theft of proprietary information and other employment-related actions. She has argued before the Ninth, Second and Sixth Circuits, as well as the California Supreme Court, and has represented such clients as Morgan Stanley, McKesson Corporation, Teleperformance USA, AMN Healthcare, General Electric, IBM, Aetna, Equinix, Goldman Sachs' Archon Group, American Red Cross, Qualcomm, Trammell Crow, CB Richard Ellis and Sempra Energy Trading. Her pro bono efforts include work for the Nobel Peace Prize winning World Food Programme.
- Donohue v. AMN Healthcare Donohue, et al. v. AMN Healthcare Services (wage and hour class action and PAGA case) (Cal. Supreme Court). Ms. Dollarhide prevailed on all claims in this meal and rest period class action, in both the trial court and the intermediate court of appeal. A single claim was further appealed to the California Supreme Court, resulting in a new burden of proof related to meal period compliance applicable to all employers in the state.
- Lopez, et al. v. PDS Trucking, Los Angeles Super.Ct.; Disus, et al. v. Harbor Rail Transit, Los Angeles Super. Ct.; Contreras, et al. v. Pacer Cartage, Inc. (related worker misclassification cases) (Los Angeles Super. Ct.). Ms. Dollarhide took over these mass PAGA actions involving approximately 210 plaintiffs in January 2018 after the matters had been litigated for four years and multiple mediation attempts had failed. In February of 2018, her team leveraged case law developments to achieve a favorable settlement with 35 of the plaintiffs represented by one law firm. A second law firm representing the balance of the plaintiffs refused to participate. Thereafter, Ms. Dollarhide's team took 96 depositions, issued 998 offers of compromise to nearly all of the plaintiffs, and attacked perjured statements made in plaintiffs' individual discovery responses. All but a handful of individuals agreed to settle their claims. These related cases are among hundreds currently being litigated and which attack the classification of owner operator drivers as independent contractors as opposed to employees. Arguments raised in the defense of this case, including federal preemption of certain state wage laws, are currently proceeding through the courts. Legislative and/or Supreme Court action will likely occur in this space.
- [Doe] v. [International Financial Services Firm] (political discrimination and economic interference case) (9th Cir.) (E.D. CA.). Ninth Circuit upheld summary judgment in case where financial advisor claimed political discrimination after he was elected to political office and was later terminated because his full-time work commitment conflicted with his full-time elected position. In a separate appeal in a related declaratory relief action, the Ninth Circuit also upheld Ms. Dollarhide's successful enjoining of a FINRA arbitration based on waiver-by-litigation.
- [Las Vegas Casino and Resort] (mandatory service fees case) (D. NV). Won complete summary judgment after taking the matter over from predecessor counsel, ending an 11 1/2 year battle for the client. The class of banquet servers claimed they were denied wages in the form of mandatory service fees charged by the resort for hosted events.
- [Doe] v. [Wireless Technology Company] (C-Suite executive claiming breach of change-in-control agreement). Arbitration win in breach of contract case where multiple C-Suite executives and board representatives appeared as witnesses. Monetary sanctions awarded after discovery showed that Claimant took proprietary data, then destroyed it, in violation of arbitrator's order.
- [Doe] v. McKesson (exempt worker misclassification class action) (Orange Cty. Sup. Ct.). Highly favorable settlement in exempt misclassification case with no class-wide discovery taken. Dozens of declarations were collected in a state-wide “blitz,” with putative class members overwhelmingly reporting that they engaged in exempt sales activities.
- [Doe] v. Biagi Bros.(off-the-clock, overtime, meal and rest period class action and PAGA case filed on behalf of all non-exempt workers in California) (Los Angeles Super. Ct.). Obtained denial of certification for truck drivers based on FMCSA preemption, and further limited the class to warehouse workers only and to meal period claims. Matter was then successfully mediated using data which disproved systemic violations.
- [Doe] v. FinishMaster/Uni-Select (meal and rest period class action and related PAGA action) (Contra Costa County and Ventura County Super. Cts.) Two separate cases claimed meal and rest period violations and PAGA penalties. Ms. Dollarhide's team combined the two matters in a single case, and then successfully mediated both cases relying on data which showed labor code compliance and disparities among putative class members.
- [Doe] v. [Payroll Provider to Transportation Company] (exempt worker misclassification class action) (Los Angeles Super. Ct.). Obtained complete dismissal in action by truck drivers claiming misclassification as independent contractors).
- [Doe] v. [Restaurant Supply Company] (meal and rest period class action) (Los Angeles Super. Ct.). Complete walk-away on class claims following threatened petition to arbitrate. Subsequent PAGA-only action resolved in mediation after a showing of no systemic labor code violations.
- Rotherham v. American Red Cross (wrongful termination and breach of contract case) (9th Cir.) (S.D. CA). Ninth Circuit affirmed summary judgment in wrongful termination claim by former Executive Director of San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter of the American Red Cross, following State Attorney General and County Supervisor investigation into allegations of misuse of donor funds. Local media, as well as 60 Minutes, 20/20 and The O'Reilly Factor, ran stories on the alleged misuse of donations by the Executive Director and her staff.
- Hohnbaum v. Brinker International (seminal California meal and rest break case) (San Diego Sup. Ct.). Lead trial counsel in meal and rest break case ultimately decided by the California Supreme Court. In defending the case, Ms. Dollarhide's team amassed approximately 600 declarations from putative class members attesting to lawful meal period policies and the provision of compliant rest periods. Initially certified, the California Supreme Court later decertified the meal period claims and articulated new class action standards. Brinker, which involved approximately 60,000 class members, is widely regarded as the most significant wage and hour class action to be decided in California in the last decade.
- Wood v. Sempra Energy Trading (sexual orientation harassment and breach of contract case) (2d Cir.) (D. Conn.). Trial win on all claims. Initially narrowed claims for trial by winning summary adjudication on breach of contract claims. Remaining for trial were claims of sexual orientation harassment and discrimination where C-Suite executives all appeared as witnesses. After judgment was entered for the defendant, the case was appealed to the Second Circuit where, after oral argument on an underlying discovery issue was heard, the judgment was affirmed.
- Rochford v. Trammell Crow (age discrimination case) (6th Cir.) (N.D. Ohio). Sixth Circuit affirmed summary judgment in action where Plaintiff was let go in a mass layoff and could not overcome the objective bases for her layoff selection.
- Related Confidential Matters involving Fortune 50 Corporation (sexual harassment and race discrimination cases) (D. Conn.; N.Y. Sup. Ct.). Trial of harassment claims in New York Supreme Court following allegations that a Fortune 50 manager attacked a female vendor. The vendor later sued, taking more than 50 depositions, including that of the Fortune 50 CEO. The trial of vendor's claims resulted in a judgment for the defense. Meantime, the manager sued for race discrimination in the District of Connecticut. At that separate trial, the manager was confronted with the testimony of 13 female witness regarding his abusive conduct. The matter was resolved prior to a verdict.
- [Doe] v. Noble Americas (wrongful termination case) (D. Conn.). After a high-level executive was separated for sexually inappropriate conduct, Ms. Dollarhide defended C-Suite executives and two corporations in the wrongful discharge case that followed. She later successfully moved to enforce a settlement agreement in the District of Connecticut, calling as her chief witness the Federal Magistrate who brokered the deal.
- Tanner v. Teleperformance USA (FLSA call center collective action) (M.D. GA). Ms. Dollarhide's team won decertification for Teleperformance, the largest call center operator in the world. At its high water mark, the case involved 535 customer service representatives claiming off-the-clock work at the Company's Augusta and Albany, Georgia locations. Discovery included 60+ party plaintiff depositions and written discovery that ultimately established that no uniform proof could be used to try the collective action. The Middle District of Georgia decertified the class, and the named plaintiffs settled their individual claims on a nuisance basis.
- Holley v. Teleperformance USA (WARN Act class action) (E.D. Mich.). Plaintiffs claimed WARN Act violation following site closure when a major contract was lost. Ms. Dollarhide deposed the named plaintiffs, established that they had received pay in lieu of notice, and further showed that exceptional business circumstances applied such that WARN's 60 day notice requirement did not apply. Class claims were dismissed without major briefing and the named plaintiffs' claims resolved for nuisance amounts.
- [Doe] v. Teleperformance USA (nationwide call-center case involving 75,000+ putative plaintiffs) (D. Utah). Plaintiffs claimed uncompensated time associated with booting up computers. Favorable settlement resolved all claims after a limited exchange of data and production of hundreds of declarations from class members showing no uniform policy requiring off-the-clock work.
- Ross v. Trammell Crow (whistleblower case following reduction in force) (St. Louis Sup. Ct.; Mo. Cir. Ct.). Trial win in whistleblower case. Ms. Dollarhide's team proved that plaintiff was selected for layoff months in advance of reporting supposed unlawful activities. The jury returned a defense verdict that was affirmed by the Missouri appellate court.
- Nguyen v. Qualcomm (exempt worker misclassification class action) (San Diego Sup. Ct.). Complete walk-away on class action allegations following filing of demurrer. Ms. Dollarhide's team argued that 500+ IT workers could not form an ascertainable class given their disparate work assignments.
- Hauser v. McKesson (wage and hour class action alleging unpaid overtime based on regular rate errors and meal and rest period violations) (C.D. CA.). Complete walk-away on class claims following limited discovery and plaintiff's deposition which revealed he was an inadequate class representative.
- Welch v. Remedy Staffing (uncompensated training time case involving 300,000+ class members) (San Diego Sup. Ct.). Plaintiff claimed that she and other applicants at this staffing company were improperly denied compensation for the time spent filling out application materials and watching a prospective hire video. The case was initially handled by another firm and the class certified. Ms. Dollarhide's team was retained and succeeded in having the case dismissed on summary judgment, and thus decertified.
- [Doe] v. Archon (off-the-clock and meal and rest period case) (Monterey Cty. Sup. Ct.). 500+ hotel workers claimed off-the-clock work and meal and rest period violations across all hotel sites in California. Case resolved in low six figures with one-third reverting back to company for wage and hour compliance efforts.
- [Doe] v. McKesson Corp. (wage and hour “suitable seats” and meal period class action) (L.A. Sup. Ct.). Through limited discovery, Ms. Dollarhide was able to undermine the other side's ability to certify a class where the named plaintiff admitted to the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement that he had testified untruthfully regarding theft of time after his actions were caught on videotape, and provided damaging admissions in deposition that undermined the class claims on the merits. Class counsel walked away from the class claims. Plaintiff's individual claims were settled for a nuisance amount after briefing established the arms-length nature of negotiations and the basis for the nominal monies paid.
- [Doe] v. United Parcel Service (“UPS”) (multi-plaintiff race discrimination case) (San Diego Sup. Ct.). Three-week jury trial involving allegations of race discrimination and retaliation. Ms. Dollarhide's team presented evidence that Plaintiff himself used racial epithets at work and engaged in abusive conduct toward women. The case resulted in a hung jury, after which the Plaintiff fired his counsel and asked to settle for a nominal sum.
- Driscoll v. CB Richard Ellis (age discrimination and defamation case) (San Diego Sup. Ct.; 4th App. Dist.). Driscoll was a renowned "Top Gun" pilot who claimed he was discriminated against on the basis of age in the assignment of real estate deals. Ms. Dollarhide defended the Company and three individually named defendants, obtaining summary judgment for all. The decision was upheld on appeal.
- [Doe] v. Financial Management Advisors (breach of contract claim) (JAMS Arbitration, Los Angeles). Arbitration win in breach of contract claim, based on unclean hands defense. Claimant asserted that he was denied stock option benefits under employment agreement. Though breach was found, Claimant took nothing because Ms. Dollarhide proved he had engaged in misconduct, effectively voiding the contract.
- [Doe] v. Casa Cornelia Law Center (religious discrimination case) (San Diego Sup. Ct.). A Somali interpreter brought legal action against Casa Cornelia Law Center for religious discrimination and hate crimes. Through an inspection of police records and a detailed investigation, Ms. Dollarhide's team established that offensive materials were likely planted by plaintiff. Her deposition established that there was no severe and pervasive conduct attributable to her religion. She also could not dispute that she was a "serial litigant" and had filed nearly identical claims against at least two other employers. All discrimination, harassment and wrongful termination claims were summarily dismissed by the court.
- [Doe] v. Aperio Technologies, Inc. (sex harassment claims) (San Diego Sup. Ct.). Plaintiff claimed sex harassment and discrimination by a senior executive. In a forensic review of her computer and the company's server, Ms. Dollarhide's team located “sexting” messages between Plaintiff and her direct supervisor, including evidence that the plaintiff had borne the supervisor's child. Both plaintiff and the supervisor were married to others. All of the above information surfaced at deposition. The matter then quickly resolved for a nuisance value amount.
- [Doe] v. DS Waters of America, LP (reverse discrimination case) (San Diego Sup. Ct.). Plaintiff claimed he was terminated in response to his report of workplace violence, and further because of his race (white). Ms. Dollarhide's team established that plaintiff was, in fact, the aggressor, and further demonstrated that he previously engaged in violent conduct with a co-worker. At deposition, Plaintiff could not establish any causal nexus between his discharge and either his report of workplace violence or his race. Summary judgment granted.
- J.D., University of Southern California Gould School of Law
Editor-in-Chief, Southern California Law Review
- B.A., Occidental College
- Chambers USA
- Band 4, California Labor & Employment (2021-2022)
- The Legal 500 United States
- Recommended, Labor and Employment Disputes (Including Collective Actions): Defense (2018-2022)
- Recommended, Labor-Management Relations (2018)
- Named an Attorney of the Year by Best Lawyers in America (2021)
- College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, Fellow
- Top 75 Employment Lawyers in California
- Lawyer Representative to the United States District Court for the Southern District of California
- Top 25 Women Lawyers in San Diego — Super Lawyers
- Litigation Council of America, Senior Fellow
- Martindale Hubbell Judicial AV Preeminent Rating
- California State Bar — Wiley W. Manuel Pro Bono Award
- ABTL Board of Governors (2003-2005, 2014-2016)
- J. Clifford Wallace Inn of Court: Founding Master (2003), Executive Committee and Secretary (2003-2005)
- San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program — Distinguished Service Award
- ABA — Labor and Employment Law Section (previously served as EEO Basics Nationwide Program Coordinator)
- Served as Global Recruiting Chair, where she established scholarships and education programs working with Harvard Deans Robert Clark and Elena Kagan, as well as Stanford's Kathleen Sullivan and USC's Matthew Spitzer
Ms. Dollarhide has supervised multiple asylum petitions for detainees fleeing religious and political persecution in South America and Africa. She also provided employment law training to Pro Bono Immigration Law Firm Casa Cornelia Law Center in connection with their Human Trafficking project funded by the U.S. Department of Justice. Through another agency in Los Angeles, she has overseen guardianship matters involving incarcerated and abandoned minors. She has also assisted the World Food Programme in its employment disputes.
"Political Discrimination: Worker Protests and the Limits of Employer Control Under California Labor Code Sections 1101-02" (Los Angeles Daily Journal)
"Effective and Compliant Employee Monitoring" (Cybersecurity Law Report)
"Employee Classifications: Getting the C-Suite's Ear" (Inside Counsel)
"Vendor Control in the Age of Outsourcing" (The Recorder)
"Employment Law Moves from Discrimination, Harassment to Wage and Hour Issues" (Daily Business Review)
"From the Experts: Wage and Hour Issues, Under the Covers" (Corporate Counsel)
"Congratulations, You're Hiring Again! (Now Proceed with Caution)" (Los Angeles Daily Journal)
"Joe Paterno: Legal Requirements Versus Moral Imperatives" (Los Angeles Daily Journal)
"Preview of Coming Attractions: Recent Cases Impose New Discovery Burdens on Inside and Outside Counsel" (Los Angeles Daily Journal)
"Workers and the Web: Employment Pitfalls Related to E-Mail and the
Internet" (California Law Business)
"ADA – Accommodation and Mental Disability Issues" (ABA EEO Committee Newsletter)
"Before You Downsize … 12 Steps for Minimizing Legal Risks" (BNA Employment Discrimination Reporter)
"Reductions in Force: The Duty to Bargain" (South Texas Law Review)
"The Americans With Disabilities Act: Implications for Employers" (American Corporate Counsel Association)
"The Americans with Disabilities Act: A Guide for Employers" (Business Laws, Inc.)
Treatises and Books
- REDUCTIONS IN FORCE IN EMPLOYMENT LAW, Lipsig, Dollarhide & Seifert, Bureau of National Affairs Books (BNA) (2007) (2d ed. 2011). Co-author. Treatise covering the law of layoffs, including discrimination, contract, WARN Act and benefits issues.
- EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION LAW, Schlei & Grossman, BNA Books (4th ed. 2007). Contributor. Treatise covering Title VII and other federal discrimination laws, prosecution of claims before administrative agencies and courts, and disparate treatment and adverse impact analysis.
- AGE DISCRIMINATION LAW, Schlei, BNA Books (approximately 2000). Contributor. Treatise focusing on age discrimination law and analysis.
- EMPLOYMENT TERMINATION RIGHTS AND REMEDIES, Holloway and Leech, BNA Books (approximately 2000). Co-author of layoff chapter in employment law treatise.
- INTERNATIONAL LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT LAWS, Keller, BNA Books (approximately 2000). Co-author of U.S. layoff section of international law treatise.
- DOWNSIZING, LAW AND PRACTICE, Lipsig, BNA (1996). Editor and Contributor. Treatise covering the law of layoffs.
- WHAT BUSINESS MUST KNOW ABOUT THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT, with Z. Fasman, United States Chamber of Commerce (1991). Co-author. Primer on then newly enacted ADA for employers in the U.S. and suggestions for compliance.
- Ms. D .
Venues where she has presented include:
The American Bar Association (ABA) Annual Meeting
- The ABA Labor & Employment Law Committee EEO Meeting
- Georgetown University
- The National Employment Law Institute
- BlueCross BlueShield Annual Employment Law Conference
- DLA Piper Vancouver and Toronto Employment Law Symposia
- Practicing Law Institute
- Cybersecurity Law Report Webinar
- Law and Technology Seminar of the Connecticut Corporate Bar Association
- The Los Angeles Unified School District
- Southern California Personnel Testing Council
- DLA Piper’s Napa Valley Women in the C-Suite Conference
- Bridgeport Wage & Hour Litigation and Management Update
- Society for Organizational Psychology
- Consumer Attorneys Class Action Symposium
- Chatsworth Chamber of Commerce
- Western Regional Intergovernmental Personnel Assessment Council
- Inc. Magazine Employment Conference
- Council on Education in Management
- Southern California Personnel Management Association
- Connecticut Southwestern Area Commerce and Industry Association
- The Society for Human Resources (SHRM)
- Bridgeport Wage & Hour Conference
- "Employment Law Has a New Emphasis in the Era of COVID-19," San Diego Business Journal, July 19, 2020
- Quoted, "Effective and Compliant Employee Monitoring (Part One of Two)," The CyberSecurity Law Report, April 5, 2017
Special Federal and State Admissions
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina