Fred M. Plevin

Partner

Fred Plevin is a founder of Paul, Plevin, Sullivan & Connaughton.  Throughout his 33 year career, he has advised and defended California employers in a wide variety of industries, including higher education, banking, technology, communications, and manufacturing.  Fred is an experienced trial lawyer, with an excellent record in jury trials in cases involving allegations of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and fraud.  He also has extensive experience in other employment-related claims, including wage and hour class actions and trade secret disputes.  Fred uses his experience litigating cases to provide employers with advice and counsel on a broad range of employment issues.  In addition, Fred served as Paul Plevin’s Managing Partner for 21 years, from the firm’s inception in 1998 until January 1, 2020.

Fred has been selected by his peers to be included in The Best Lawyers in America® since 2005, and in Southern California Super Lawyers and The Best of the U.S. attorney listings since 2007.  He holds Martindale Hubbell's highest peer rating ("AV Preeminent") for Legal Ability and General-Ethical Standards.  Best Lawyers has twice named Fred the “Lawyer of the Year” for Litigation - Labor and Employment in San Diego (2012 and 2018).   Fred has been ranked by Martindale-Hubbell as a Top Lawyer in the Labor & Employment category several times, as published in San Diego Magazine.

Fred is a member of several invitation-only national groups.  He is an elected Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.  He is also a Senior Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, and a member of the Management Labor Employment Roundtable and American Employment Law Council, both organizations of leading management-side labor and employment lawyers from across the United States.  In addition, Fred serves as Vice Chair of the Wage & Hour Defense Institute, a nationwide organization consisting of top wage and hour litigators from all 12 federal circuits.  He has also served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at California Western School of Law.

In 2019, Fred was selected by California’s Chief Justice to serve on the newly created Legislative Workplace Conduct Panel, a five-member panel that reviews investigations of alleged workplace misconduct involving the California legislative branch, makes factual findings, and proposes corrective actions.

Education

  • Boston University School of Law J.D. 1986, magna cum laude
  • State University of New York, Albany B.S., Biology, 1983, cum laude

Professional Experience

  • Paul, Plevin, Sullivan & Connaughton LLP, Founder and Partner; Managing Partner, August 1998 – December 2019
  • Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich, Associate, 1986-1992; Partner, 1993-1998; Chair, Gray Cary Employment Services Practice Group, 1998

Admissions

  • All California State Courts
  • United States District Court; Northern, Eastern, Central and Southern Districts
  • United States Courts of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and District of Columbia Circuit
  • United States Supreme Court

Recognitions

  • Best Lawyers in America (since 2005)
  • Best Lawyers San Diego Lawyer of the Year— Litigation—Labor & Employment (2012, 2018)
  • San Diego Super Lawyers—Employment Litigation (since 2007)
  • Martindale Hubbell AV Preeminent Attorney (Highest rating)
  • San Diego’s Top Lawyers—San Diego Magazine
  • Martindale-Hubbell Labor & Employment Top Rated Lawyer
  • Top Attorneys in Southern California—Los Angeles Magazine
  • Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers
  • America’s Most Honored Professionals—Top 1%

 

Professional Activities

  • Panelist, California Legislature Workplace Conduct Panel (appointed by the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court)
  • Fellow, College of Labor & Employment Lawyers (elected)
  • Senior Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America (invited) 
  • Vice Chair, Wage & Hour Defense Institute (invited)
  • Member, American Employment Law Council (invited)
  • Member, Management Labor Employment Roundtable (invited)
  • Member, American Bar Association, Labor & Employment Law Section (Fair Labor Standards Legislation and Employment Rights & Responsibilities sub-sections)
  • Member, State Bar of California, Labor and Employment Law Section
  • Member, San Diego County Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section (Former Chair)
  • Member, Board of Visitors, UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center
  • Adjunct Professor of Law, California Western School of Law (2011-2013)

Speaking Engagements

Fred is a popular public speaker on employment-related issues. Recent speaking engagements include:

  • An Employer’s Tool Kit for COVID-19, PPSC webinar, April 2020
  • California Employment Law Update, Business Management Daily national webinar, April 2020
  • Four Years After the Fair Pay Act, PPSC Annual Employment Law Update Seminar, November 2019
  • New Developments in Pay Equity and California Employment Law Update, 15th Annual Labor & Employment Advanced Program (LEAP), Las Vegas, April 2019
  • California Employment Law Update: Key HR Compliance Issues for Multi-State Employers, Business Management Daily national webinar, Spring 2016, 2018, 2019
  • When #MeToo Comes for You:  Investigations in the Post-Weinstein Era, ACCA San Diego, April 2018
  • California Employment Law Update, 14th Annual Labor & Employment Advanced Program (LEAP), Las Vegas, April 2018
  • Wage-ing War:  What You Need to Know and Do About Pay Equity, 14th Annual Labor & Employment Advanced Program (LEAP), Las Vegas, April 2018
  • Taking Your Investigations to the Next Level: Going Beyond the Basics, SHRM San Diego Law Day, January 2018 (12th consecutive SHRM Law Day presentation)
  • The First 290 Days of the Trump Administration, PPSC Annual Employment Law Update Seminar, October 2017
  • Advanced Master Class on Workplace Investigations, American Employment Law Council national conference, Dana Point, CA, October 2017
  • Demystifying the California Fair Pay Act, National Human Resources Association (Silicon Valley Chapter), Palo Alto, April 2017
  • Wage-ing War: Developments in Overtime and Pay Equity, 13th Annual Labor & Employment Advanced Program (LEAP), Las Vegas, March 2017
  • California: Litigation Here We Come!, 13th Annual Labor & Employment Advanced Program (LEAP), Las Vegas, March 2017
  • It’s a New World in Washington, DC: What California Employers Need to Know, Quarterly HR Leaders Symposium, San Diego, March 2017
  • Conducting a Gender Equity Compensation Audit, SHRM Law Day, January 2017 (11th consecutive SHRM Law Day presentation)
  • Top 10 Labor and Employment Mistakes, CALPELRA Annual Conference, November 2016
  • How To Conduct A Gender Equity Audit, PPSC Annual Employment Law Update Seminar, October 2016 
  • The California Fair Pay Act, PPSC Annual Employment Law Update Seminar, October 2016

Representative Matters

  • Lead counsel in the trial court and on appeal for Orange County Superior Court in Wills v. Superior Court, 195 Cal.App.4th 143 (2011), a highly publicized opinion which affirmed summary judgment for our client, and established that the California Fair Employment and Housing Act does not prohibit an employer from discharging an employee for making threats, even if the employee’s conduct is caused by a disability (bipolar disorder)
  • Defense verdicts in jury trial of claims by two laid off employees of a public entity who claimed age discrimination and retaliation (San Diego Superior Court)
  • Defense verdict in jury trial of court interpreter’s claim of age discrimination and fraud; upheld on appeal (Orange County Superior Court)
  • Defense verdict in jury trial of research scientist’s claim of national origin discrimination (San Diego Superior Court)
  • Defense verdict in jury trial of "hiring fraud" and Labor Code section 970 claims by a bank executive (San Diego Superior Court)
  • Defense verdict in jury trial of claims of hostile environment, sexual harassment, and gender discrimination by retail employee (Orange County Superior Court)
  • Partial defense verdict in jury trial of claims of gender and age discrimination and retaliation in tenure denial of university professor (Orange County Superior Court)
  • Defense judgment in bench trial of claims by pharmaceutical area business manager of claims for violation of the California Family Rights Act, failure to accommodate, and wrongful termination (Orange County Superior Court)
  • Defense judgment in bench trial of race and discrimination claims by Employee Relations Manager of a superior court (Los Angeles Superior Court)
  • Served as Administrative Officer to investigate and prosecute allegations of misconduct by tenured faculty of a public university
  • Obtained Civil Service Commission decision upholding discharge of public employee who claimed he was fired for “whistleblowing;” then obtained dismissal of related federal court civil rights claim and attorneys’ fee award against plaintiff (U.S. District Court, Southern District of California)
  • Successful trial of scientific misconduct charges to University Privilege and Tenure Committee and successful defense of related writ proceeding and appeal (Los Angeles)
  • Defense arbitration award in age discrimination claim by employee terminated for misconduct (Tucson, AZ)
  • Defense arbitration award in breach of contract claim by terminated executive (San Diego)
  • Summary judgment on declaratory relief claim by public employee seeking to rescind resignation (Riverside Superior Court)
  • Summary judgment on claim by public entity supervisor of age discrimination and retaliation for taking medical leave; obtained anti-SLAPP dismissal and attorneys’ fees on employee’s defamation claim (San Diego Superior Court) 
  • Summary judgment on claim by university student of wrongful dismissal from graduate program (San Diego Superior Court)
  • Summary judgment for public entity in disability discrimination claim by clerk who claimed she was denied promotion based on disability (Los Angeles Superior Court)
  • Summary judgment for university in gender discrimination claim by laid off program manager (Orange County Superior Court)
  • Summary judgment for university in a claim of race discrimination based on denial of tenure brought by the EEOC (U.S. District Court, Central District of California)
  • Summary judgment for university in a claim of disability discrimination and failure to accommodate (Orange County Superior Court)
  • Summary judgment for university in highly publicized qui tam action under the federal False Claims Act alleging fraudulent receipt of student aid funding; obtained dismissal of appeal and denial of certiorari after filing brief in opposition requested by U.S. Supreme Court (U.S. District Court, Central District of California)
  • Summary judgment for public entity employer on Labor Code section 1102.5 retaliation claim (Los Angeles Superior Court)
  • Dismissal of retaliation claim against a law firm by discharged attorney who claimed protections of Fair Housing Act, dismissal upheld by Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (U.S. District Court, Northern District of California; Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals)
  • Dismissal of wage and hour class action against public entity employer based on Constitutional immunity (U.S. District Court, Southern District of California)
  • Successfully opposed class certification in overtime class action involving software engineers
  • Obtained a $600,000 writ of attachment against former executive based on travel and expense abuses
  • Defense counsel in several statewide class actions based on alleged violations of California Labor Code and Private Attorneys’ General Act 
  • Numerous favorable settlements of wage and hour class actions involving misclassification and/or meal and rest breaks
  • Expert witnesses on employment litigation issues