Who's an employer? That is one of the most significant questions to emerge in the past year. Whether in the context of franchised operations, independent contractors or staffing agencies, businesses across the country are puzzling over how regulators and courts will draw the line amid tectonic shifts in the global economy. The Daily Journal honored the 39 attorneys who are tackling this critical issue, and whose work is having a broad impact on the legal community, the nation and society.
Top Labor & Employment Attorney: Rachael Meny
While some shy away from tricky situations, Meny embraces the challenge.
“What I enjoy about what I do is that it involves a combination of counseling the client and learning about their business in situations that are often difficult,” she said.
Meny's labor and employment work includes both litigation and pre-litigation negotiation and advice, with the latter including significant work on employee non-compete agreements and trade secret theft issues. Her public litigation cases have included class actions, labor code claims, employee non-compete and trade secret claims and employment discrimination claims.
She recently represented Money Network Financial in a class action filed against it and Red Robin International Inc. alleging violation of the labor code. She managed to get her client dismissed at the demurrer stage.
“The thing that was interesting about that case was it was a question of whether the labor code claims and PAGA claims can be applied to a non-employer,” Meny said. “And the order that we got from Money Network helped make clear that ... non-employers can't be dragged into labor code claims because of that.”
Another case Meny described as “particularly exciting” to work on was her recent defense of Netflix Inc. and several senior executives against a former employee's allegations, which included allegations of defamation and intentional interference with an employment relationship.
“Essentially his allegations were that he had left Netflix for a new job and Netflix publicly accused him of taking confidential information,” said Meny, who worked alongside Michael Proctor of Caldwell Leslie & Proctor PC on the case.
But Meny was able to get “a very early victory for Netflix” and its named executives with a successful anti-SLAPP motion.
“The court found that all of his allegations against Netflix and its senior executives were protected by the anti-SLAPP statute and the court struck his complaint in its entirety,” Meny said.
The court also awarded Netflix its attorney's fees for the anti-SLAPP motion.