Gary McLaughlin focuses on the representation and counseling of employers in a wide variety of labor and employment matters, especially class, collective, and representative actions and other complex employment disputes. He represents Fortune 500 companies and other major employers in high stakes litigation and provides strategic counseling to avoid litigation.

Practice & Background

Mr. McLaughlin represents employers in employment and related matters in state and federal courts and before administrative agencies.  His practice includes extensive experience with wage and hour class action litigation, as well as discrimination, harassment, retaliation and wrongful termination claims.  Mr. McLaughlin also frequently counsels employers on labor and employment matters, such as wage and hour matters, terminations, investigations, family and medical leaves, employee handbooks, independent contractor issues, and contracts.  Mr. McLaughlin has represented clients in a variety of industries including retail, food services, insurance, healthcare, and entertainment.

Mr. McLaughlin received his B.A. with distinction in 1996 and his J.D. in 2001 from the University of Virginia, where he served as an editorial board member of the Virginia Law Review and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Representative Matters

Mr. McLaughlin’s recent engagements include:

  • defeated class certification for a national family dining and entertainment chain in a California class action alleging that the company’s general managers were misclassified as exempt employees, and subsequently obtained dismissal of the plaintiff’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) representative action (2016)
  • obtained partial summary judgment against named plaintiff on off-the-clock, overtime, waiting time penalty, and wage statement penalty claims for a national chain of veterinary clinics in a California-wide class action, and defeated plaintiff’s attempt to add new plaintiffs to revive those claims following summary judgment (2014)
  • defeated class certification and obtained partial summary judgment for a major insurance company in a California-wide class action brought by insurance agents alleging misclassification as independent contractors and breach of contract (late 2013, 2014)
  • defeated class certification in a California-wide class action against a national grocery chain alleging that employees were denied reporting time pay and underpaid wages when reporting to work for termination meetings (2014)
  • obtained dismissal of class action against a national arts and crafts retailer and two of its subsidiaries in which the plaintiff claimed that the companies violated California law and common law by misleading employees about their vacation policy (2015)
  • successfully removed and defeated remand of two parallel class actions against a national pharmacy chain which had divided a state-wide class into smaller regional classes in an attempt to avoid CAFA jurisdiction (2014)
  • obtained early individual settlements and dismissal of class allegations in several putative class actions, including cases alleging improper deductions from wages for health plan surcharges, failure to reimburse mileage expenses, and off-the-clock, overtime, and break violations (2013, 2014, 2015).

Awards & Accolades

  • 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
  • Named among the top Labor & Employment Lawyers for 2015, 2016 and 2017 by the California Daily Journal
  • Recognized by The Legal 500 United States 2017 and 2018 as a leader in the category of Labor & Employment

Speaking Engagements

  • “Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017,” Association of Corporate Counsel – Southern California’s Annual In-House Counsel Conference, January 17, 2018