Overview

As the National Co-Chair of Littler’s Leaves of Absence and Disability Accommodation Practice Group, Michelle Barrett Falconer regularly advises management clients on disability accommodation issues, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and similar state laws, and other leaves of absence. In that capacity, she has helped national and global clients, as well as clients with operations based solely in California, to develop leaves of absence and disability accommodation policies, procedures, forms, as well as to create process-oriented solutions to comply with local laws. She regularly assists clients with benchmarking and best practices to achieve their diversity and inclusion objectives, as well as to facilitate effective change management surrounding such initiatives.

She also advises, represents, and trains management clients in various other areas of employment and labor law, including:

  • Discrimination, harassment, and retaliation
  • Wrongful termination
  • Employee handbooks and related personnel policies
  • Policy and various paid time off benefits changes and related strategy issues
  • Class action litigation involving complex wage and hour issues
  • Union representation elections and decertifications
  • Collective bargaining

She has represented a variety of employers in federal and state court litigation, in employment arbitrations, before the National Labor Relations Board, and before other state and federal agencies. Her clients include many large tech industry corporations.

Michelle is also a founding member of Littler’s COVID-19 Task Force. Using her prior (pre-pandemic) advice and counsel experience to leverage “common sense” solutions, she regularly advises clients on navigating federal, state and local COVID-19 related restrictions and reopening requirements.

Prior to law school, Michelle worked as a Human Resources Representative for one of the largest privately held agri-business firms in the United States, where she developed training programs and dual language tests for employers and evaluated internal human resources and employee relations practices. This experience helps her partner closely with HR teams to solve complex problems, which often present multidimensional issues.

Professional & Community Affiliations

Member

American Bar Association

Member

State Bar of California

Member

Bar Association of San Francisco

Member

National Hispanic Bar Association

Member

San Francisco La Raza Lawyers Association

Former Member

Committee to revise interrogatories for use in employment litigation cases, Labor and Employment Section

State Bar of California

Recognition

Named, Client Service All-Star

BTI Consulting

2020

News, Analysis & Press

How the Pandemic Changed Federal Paid Leave Reform Talks

Law360 Employment Authority

July 15, 2021

Rulings Illuminate Intersection Of COVID-19, Disability Law

Law360 Employment Authority

May 25, 2021

Will the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Get to Biden’s Desk?

Law360 Employment Authority

May 21, 2021

The Littler Annual Employer Survey 2021

Littler Report

May 12, 2021

Employers’ Top Return-to-Work Concerns

The Wall Street Journal

October 4, 2020

WPI Labor Day Report 2020

WPI Report

September 8, 2020

Employers’ Top Return-to-Work Concerns

Financial Advisor IQ

June 22, 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Employer FAQs

Insight

March 24, 2020

San Francisco Amends Paid Parental Leave Law

Bloomberg BNA Daily Labor Report

September 6, 2016

Lost In Translation: California’s New Pregnancy Disability Leave Regulations and Their New, Contradictory Obligations

Committee News

American Bar Association (ABA)

Spring 2013

State rule changes broaden rights on pregnancy disability

Sacramento Business Journal

January 11, 2013

Speaking Engagements

Can’t Leave This Behind: Reviewing the Fallout from a Year of Novel Leave Issues and Strategizing for the Future

The 2021 Executive Employer Conference, Phoenix, AZ

May 12, 2021

Changes to Family Medical and Sick Leave Obligations in the Time of COVID-19

The 2020 Executive Employer Conference, Phoenix, AZ

May 7, 2020

Happy (Paper) Trails: Creating Effective FMLA and ADA Policies, Templates and Practices that Won’t Go Off the (Legal) Rails

The 2019 Executive Employer Conference, Phoenix, AZ

May 9, 2019

Prescription for a Solution: Critical Issues in Paid Sick Leave Compliance

The 2018 Executive Employer Conference, Phoenix, AZ

May 3, 2018

Paid Sick Time: Compliance Solutions for Multi-Jurisdictional Requirements

The 2017 Executive Employer® Conference

May 11, 2017

Littler’s 6th Annual Brewers Briefing 2016

Milwaukee, WI

September 7, 2016

Paid Sick Time: Local Legislation Creates a Big Problem for Employers

The 2016 Executive Employer® Conference, Scottsdale, AZ

May 5, 2016

Labor & Employment Law Developments: Looking Back at 2015 and Ahead to 2016 - San Francisco

San Francisco, CA

January 28, 2016

New Employment and Labor Laws for 2015

San Francisco, CA

January 20, 2015

The Changing Rules of the Road Dealing with Pregnancy Discrimination

August 13, 2014

Disability Discrimination and Reasonable Accommodation in Real Life: An Interactive Program

San Francisco, CA

June 24, 2014

Disability Discrimination and Reasonable Accommodation in Real Life: An Interactive Program

San Jose, CA

June 19, 2014

Getting it Right in the Golden State - Practical Thoughts for Complying with California's New Pregnancy Disability Leave and Disability Discrimination Regulations

March 14, 2013

FMLA Strategy Session – How Retailers Can Curb Intermittent and Reduced Schedule Leave Abuse

November 1, 2012

Leave Me Alone

San Francisco, CASan Jose, CAWalnut Creek, CASacramento, CA

April 3, 2012

Education

  • J.D., Georgetown University Law Center, 1998
  • A.B., Stanford University, 1994

Bar Admission

California

Courts

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit
  • California Supreme Court
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California