Damon M. Ott represents and counsels companies in connection with all types of employment and labor law matters. Damon focuses on defending clients in class, collective, representative and other large-scale civil and government actions involving wage and hour claims, independent contractor status and payroll tax issues. He has served as trial counsel in three wage and hour class actions (involving independent contractor misclassification, compensability of travel/commute time, and compensability of non-productive time), all resulting in complete defense verdicts, with one being upheld in a published appellate court decision clarifying the legal standard for independent contractor cases brought under California law. (Cristler v. Express Messenger Systems, Inc., 171 Cal. App. 4th 72 (2009).)
Damon has negotiated favorable class and collective action settlements, and routinely assists clients with tax audits and government investigations. In particular, he has successfully litigated multiple tax cases against the California Employment Development Department in court and before the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board resulting in decisions finding thousands of workers to be properly classified independent contractors and canceling millions of dollars in tax assessments.
Damon represents clients in a wide range of industries and has considerable experience assisting companies in the transportation, energy generation, technology, and “sharing economy” sectors. He also provides advice to multiple industry associations and their members, including the California Delivery Association and the California Trucking Association.
He is a member of the firm’s Class Action Avoidance and Defense Practice Group, Wage and Hour Practice Group, Technology Practice Group, and the Transportation and Trucking Practice Groups. Damon is also involved in firm management, including as an active member of Littler’s Associate Committee since 2008, and the San Francisco office’s Hiring Committee since 2004, and is a former member of the San Francisco office’s Summer Associate Committee (2003 to 2008). Damon received an offer to join Littler during his third year in law school and began his legal career in Littler’s San Francisco office, where he has remained since starting in 2001, and has worked as a shareholder since being elevated in 2008.