Alison S. Hightower helps employers resolve numerous employment disputes using a practical approach that involves early evaluation to determine the most cost-effective strategy.
Successful in both counseling employers to minimize the risk of litigation and defending employers if a lawsuit ensues, Alison litigates before California state and federal courts in individual and class actions and has obtained summary judgment, injunctions, and reasonable settlements for clients, representing them in a myriad of issues arising under:
- State and federal wage and hour regulation
- Misclassification of exempt employees
- Employee/independent contractor classification
- Meal and rest breaks
- Off-the-clock work
- Regular rate calculation
- Rounding of time
- Protection of trade secrets
- Workplace investigations
- Disability discrimination and the Americans with Disabilities Act
- Sexual harassment
- Family and Medical Leave Act compliance
A Littler team including Alison also won a trial in which our client defeated a class action claiming over $6 million for meal periods truck drivers chose not to take. The trial court agreed with Littler that the employees voluntarily chose to forego meal periods and also rejected the expert statistical evidence plaintiffs offered to justify the monies they sought.
Notably, Alison was part of the Littler Mendelson team that reversed certification of a California class of loan officers in the Ninth Circuit, which reversed a line of district court cases certifying classes on an estoppel theory. She has experience litigating large wage and hour class actions and those brought under California's Private Attorney General Act. She also has prosecuted lawsuits to enjoin competitors who stole customer lists, trade secrets and other confidential information from their former employers.
In addition, Alison has significant knowledge of the evidentiary issues that arise in defending employment-related claims, including the use of computer forensics to recover electronic data.
Alison also steers clients through thorny issues to minimize the risk of expensive litigation and provides counseling to effect compliant employment practices, including the use of contingent workers and independent contractors. She counsels clients on employee discipline, termination, harassment and discrimination issues, as well as compliance with leaves of absence and laws protecting the disabled. She frequently works with:
- Financial institutions
- National banks and lenders
- Public entities
- Service providers
Alison is a frequent speaker and author, often teaming up with others to provide a broader perspective. Recently, Alison conducted a series of webinars with a national payroll company to inform clients of recent changes in employment laws. Previously, Alison was a partner at another firm where she was in charge of approval of new client matters and the oversight of accounts receivable for the office.
PROFESSIONAL AND COMMUNITY AFFILIATIONS
- Chair, Diversity Committee - The Financial Women's Association of San Francisco
- Member, Board of Directors - The Financial Women's Association of San Francisco
- Former co-chair, Lifestyles Committee - The Financial Women's Association of San Francisco
- Member, Bar Association of San Francisco
- Co-chair, Legislative and Legal Affairs Committee - Northern California Human Resources Association, East Bay Region
- Member, Board of Directors - Northern California Human Resources Association, East Bay Region
- Volunteer, Head-Royce School Auction Committee, 2009-2011