Donna M. Mezias advises employers on a wide range of employment issues, including management of risks associated with employee terminations, sexual harassment and other employee investigations, reductions in force and facility closures, discrimination issues, trade secret and employee mobility issues, disability accommodation, family and medical leave laws, wage and hour compliance, drug testing and employee privacy rights.

Practice & Background

Ms. Mezias represents employers in all types of employment litigation, including class action and individual discrimination cases; wage and hour class actions and Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) collective actions; retaliation, whistleblower, wrongful termination and employment contract cases; and trade secret, employee solicitation, defamation and unfair competition litigation. Ms. Mezias also has defended cases under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and analogous state laws involving accessibility of retail establishments, Internet websites and public transportation. She has tried cases in California and Washington federal and state courts and has argued appeals in the courts of appeal and supreme courts of California and Washington and in the 9th Circuit.

In addition to employment litigation, Ms. Mezias has also litigated a broad range of complex business disputes, including securities class actions, fraud, director and officer liability and intellectual property cases, and commercial contract disputes.

Representative Matters

Ms. Mezias’ recent litigation engagements include:

  • obtaining dismissal and an award of litigation costs for a Fortune 100 technology firm in a statewide class action challenging the exempt status of outside sales representatives
  • defending a leading developer of storage and communication semiconductors in a statewide class action alleging misclassification of engineering employees
  • defending a leading technology and consulting firm in a nationwide class action and FLSA collective action challenging the exempt status of technical services employees and IT specialists
  • representing a national bank in a wage and hour class action challenging the exempt status of mortgage underwriters
  • obtaining dismissal of a statewide wage and hour class action alleging failure to properly credit and pay vacation under California law
  • obtaining dismissal of a citizenship discrimination charge filed with the Office of Special Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice
  • representing the second largest U.S. transportation authority in a class action alleging failure to accommodate visually impaired bus passengers under California disability laws
  • defending a nationwide FLSA action alleging misclassification of sales representatives
  • defending a leading mobile telecommunications provider against sexual harassment and race, gender and age discrimination claims
  • defending a multinational energy corporation against race discrimination and retaliation claims arising out of a reduction in force
  • representing a multinational energy corporation in several lawsuits involving accessibility claims under the Americans With Disabilities Act and the California Unruh Act
  • defending a global media conglomerate in four ADA accessibility cases involving the placement of marketing and promotional materials in retail stores
  • defending a leading data processing services company in a statewide wage and hour class action concerning alleged violations of employee meal and rest break laws.

Awards & Accolades

  • Ms. Mezias was named among the top Labor & Employment Lawyers for 2015, 2016 and 2017 by the California Daily Journal. She is also consistently recognized as one of California’s leading employment lawyers by California Super Lawyers.
  • Akin Gump’s labor and employment practice named as Law360 Employment Practice Group of the Year four times in the past seven years, including in 2009, 2013, 2015 and 2016.