Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

07/10/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/11/2019 18:47

by Gary M. McLaughlin, Chris Petersen

Key Experience

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


Gary 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 and other representative litigation, including California Private Attorneys General Act ('PAGA') actions, as well as discrimination, harassment, retaliation and wrongful termination claims. Gary also 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, and he frequently advises employers on California non-compete and restrictive covenant issues. He has represented clients in a variety of industries including retail, food services, insurance, financial services, healthcare and entertainment.

Representative Work

  • 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.
  • Obtained partial summary judgment against named plaintiffs on off-the-clock, overtime, waiting time penalty, wage statement penalty, and expense reimbursement claims for a national chain of veterinary clinics in consolidated California-wide class actions.
  • Obtained 'walk away' settlement and voluntary dismissal of PAGA action alleging overtime and rest break violations after taking the plaintiff's deposition and filing for summary judgment.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


  • 'Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017,' Association of Corporate Counsel - Southern California's Annual In-House Counsel Conference, Universal City, January 17, 2018.

Public Service and Affiliations

  • Member of the board of directors of the Friends of the Los Angeles County Law Library.


  • Akin Gump's labor and employment practice named as the Law360 Employment Practice Group of the Year four times in seven years, including in 2009, 2013, 2015 and 2016.
  • Named one of Daily Journal's Top Labor & Employment Lawyers in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
  • The Legal 500 US - Labor & Employment, 2017 and 2018.