Employment attorney Elissa L. Gysi represents and counsels employers in managing their workforces, minimizing litigation risks, and fighting employment claims. Her clients include large, national companies, medium-sized enterprises, and closely held businesses. Elissa builds strategies and options, ranging from severance agreements and early settlement to arbitration and jury trial, to defend employers against such claims as sexual harassment, disability discrimination, and wage and hour violations. In addition to achieving numerous favorable outcomes in arbitration, Elissa offers experience at all court levels, including the California Supreme Court. Elissa guides employers through litigation, and advises on litigation prevention, employment and termination agreements, handbooks, and other policies.
Elissa navigates the complex overlay of regulations and obligations facing national, regional, and local employers in California. Her clients rely on her to be a phone call away, whether for a best practices check-in prior to an employee termination, for guidance on high-stakes employment decisions, or assistance in responding to a formal complaint or lawsuit.
With the rise in Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) lawsuits against California employers, Elissa is positioning clients to prevent and defend against this threat. Her clients span regulated businesses and employers in such sectors as construction, healthcare, retail, hospitality, and banking, among others.
Elissa’s experience extends across federal and state courts, and individual and class action employment claims. She litigates and resolves employment, labor, and contract disputes, including the defense of wage and hour, discrimination, retaliation, harassment, wrongful termination, and disability accommodation claims. Additionally, she appears before federal and state administrative agencies, including the California Civil Rights Department and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
While earning her J.D. from Stanford Law School, Elissa was a member of the Stanford Law Review and a summer extern for the Hon. Alex Kozinski, former chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.
Defense of Disability Discrimination and Failure to Accommodate Claims
Represented a large, national employer in arbitration by terminated employee alleging disability discrimination, failure to accommodate, and wrongful termination; prevailed in arbitration.
Defense of Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Claims
Represented a large, national employer in arbitration by former employee alleging sexual harassment and gender discrimination; prevailed in arbitration.
Arbitration Win on Age Discrimination and Retaliation Claims
Prevailed for a large, national employer in arbitration by former employee alleging age discrimination and retaliation.
Appeal on Employment Arbitration Policy to the California Supreme Court
Represented large employer in an appeal before the California Supreme Court to defend the enforceability of the company’s employment arbitration policy.
Motions to Compel Arbitration
Successfully brought over 75 motions to compel arbitration of pending FEHA, class action, and PAGA claims in state courts.
PAGA Litigation and Mediation
Assisted over 50 employers, including national retail companies, construction companies, healthcare providers, and restaurants in litigating and resolving representative PAGA actions.
Workplace Sexual Harassment Investigation
Assisted a regional Southern California bank with management, investigation, and resulting employee termination relating to sexual harassment and other misconduct allegations.
Employee Handbook Review
Review and revise over 30 handbooks per year for clients ranging from 5 to 5,000 employees, to ensure compliance with California and federal employment laws.