Overview

Sayaka works together with employers and management on all aspects of labor and employment law and litigation in state and federal courts.  A significant portion of her practice focuses on complex wage and hour class, collective and PAGA actions.  Her practice also encompasses various other types of employment litigation, including discrimination, wrongful termination, retaliation, misappropriation of trade secrets, and unfair competition. 

Throughout her career, she has advised and counseled employers on personnel policies and procedures, employee handbooks, employee discipline matters, and wage and hour compliance.  She has conducted and prepared workplace investigation reports and wage and hour compliance audits.  Sayaka has represented employers in a wide range of industries, including telecommunications, oil & gas, health care, higher education, construction, manufacturing, technology & entrepreneurial ventures, transportation, and hospitality.

Honors & Recognitions

  • Southern California Super Lawyers® (2016-2017)
  • Rising Star, Southern California Super Lawyers® (2013-2015)

Professional & Civic Associations

  • American Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association, Section on Labor and Employment Law
  • Open Paths Counseling Center Board Member (2010-2012)
  • Cornell Alumni Ambassadors Network Member (2005-present)
  • El Marino Language School ALLEM, Parliamentarian and VP of Adjuncts (2017-present)

About Me

Sayaka grew up in Alabama, went to college in the Northeast, and moved out to California when her husband got into graduate school for film at UCLA. She has a black belt in TaeKwonDo (but is a non-practicing martial artist), a 11.5 year-old pit bull, and a six-year old first grader.

Representative Matters

Representative Matters

  • Successfully defeated class certification of a group of banquet servers for a five-star resort involving service charges
  • Successfully co-chaired a four-day private arbitration of breach of contract, fraud-in-the- inducement, and promissory estoppel claims on behalf of a mortgage banker employer
  • Successfully second-chaired a trial of a wrongful termination in violation of public policy and national origin and age discrimination case to a jury in the Los Angeles County Superior Court on behalf of a community-based elementary school
  • Successfully moved to dismiss a class action involving an action brought against a satellite dish carrier by a group of landlords claiming trespass
  • Obtained several summary judgments involving disability, age, gender and/or race discrimination claims on behalf of defendant employers including a major oil company and a major wireless carrier
  • Successfully second-chaired a union grievance arbitration involving issues of employment termination in Northern California (a typically pro-union jurisdiction) on behalf of a national trucking company
  • Successfully defended before the California Labor Commissioner wage and hour claims including alleged missed meal and rest break, waiting time penalties, and overtime claims
  • Successfully defended a major manufacturing company in a DLSE investigation involving age discrimination and retaliation claims

News & Analysis

Speaking Engagements & Industry Publications

  • “Another Great Unknown: the Future of LGBT Protections Under President Trump,” Hirschfeld Kraemer LLP Blog, January 23, 2017
  • “Are Restrictive Covenants Meaningful Protection or Not?,” Corporate Counsel, November 4, 2013 (co-author)
  • “Tax Breaks for Hiring Expire at Year End: HIRE Act exempts certain payroll taxes,” Workplace HR & Safety, October 26, 2010 (co-author)
  • Tax Breaks for Hiring Expire at Year End: HIRE Act exempts certain payroll taxes (webinar for Workplace HR & Safety), October 2010
  • “Lessons From a California Discrimination and Harassment Case,” Workforce Magazine, February 23, 2010
  • “Non-Competes In California?: Only If You Know the Difference Between ‘Announcements’ and ‘Solicitation’,” Weston Benshoof Litigation Newsletter, Winter 2008
  • “Court Enforces Property Sale Despite Agent Forging Signatures,” Weston Benshoof Litigation Newsletter, Spring 2006

Practice Emphasis

  • Class Actions & PAGA Claims 
  • Employment Litigation (Discrimination/Harassment) 
  • Human Resources Counseling 
  • Labor & Employment Arbitration 
  • Neutral Investigations Services 
  • Wage & Hour Counseling

Education

  • Loyola Law School of Los Angeles
    • J.D., 2005
    • Scott Moot Court Honors Board
    • Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review, Articles Editor 2004-2005
  • New York University
    • Candidate for M.P.A. degree in Health Policy & Financial Management upon completion of thesis
  • Cornell University
    • A.B., Biological Sciences, 1995

Bar & Court Admissions

  • California, 2005
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California

Languages

  • Japanese
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