As chair of the firm's labor and employment practice, Sabrina represents employers in all aspects of employment-related litigation and traditional labor law. Her broad practice consists of representing employers in wage and hour class, collective and representative actions and state and federal litigation of wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, FMLA/CFRA, ERISA, Unruh Act and unfair competition/trade secret claims.
She has extensive experience and has obtained favorable results representing clients in mediations, arbitrations, administrative proceedings, and at trial, and she regularly provides advice and counsel on discipline, discharge, reduction in force, leave and accommodation issues. Sabrina also conducts management training on the prevention of unlawful employment practices and drafts and advises employers on employee handbooks, employment policies, and employment agreements.
In unionized settings, Sabrina has obtained favorable results representing management in collective-bargaining negotiations, labor arbitrations and in unfair labor practice proceedings before the Region and at trial before the National Labor Relations Board. She also works with and advises management on union avoidance, union campaigns and collective-bargaining issues.
Sabrina is also the chair of McGuireWoods’ LGBTQ+ Lawyers Network and serves on the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee. Sabrina is an active LCLD mentor, and her past community involvement has included volunteering for numerous LGBTQ+ organizations, including the LA Gay & Lesbian Center and The Trevor Project.
Obtained the full dismissal, without leave to amend, of a truck driver putative wage and hour class action alleging wage claims, meal, and rest break violations and other derivative violations of the California Labor Code through successive Rule 12 motions.
Obtained the full dismissal, without leave to amend, of a warehouse employee putative wage and hour class and PAGA action alleging wage claims, meal and rest break violations and other derivative violations, including a claim for labor contractor liability under Labor Code Section 2810.3.
Eliminated plaintiff’s putative meal and rest break and wage statement claims through motion to dismiss practice, and then successfully moved to compel individual arbitration after obtaining a stay on an intended order to deny the motion pending a U.S. Supreme Court arbitration decision. The Supreme Court decision on the issue led to the district court reversing its intended denial of the motion, and a finding that plaintiff’s class action waiver was lawful. We ultimately reached a favorable individual settlement for our client.
Through Rule 12 motion practice, significantly narrowed a wage-and-hour class action by: (1) obtaining the dismissal, without leave to amend, of plaintiff’s claims for wage statement penalties and for waiting time penalties; and (2) obtaining the partial dismissal of meal and rest break premium payments in plaintiff’s UCL claim, thus reducing the limitations period for such recovery to three years instead of four years. The matter ultimately settled on an individual basis for a nominal sum without providing class discovery or contact information, producing a single witness for deposition, or opposing a motion for class certification.
Obtained orders compelling individual arbitration of putative wage and hour claims in state court, federal court and in arbitration proceedings on behalf of multiple clients whose employment arbitration agreements either contained a class action waiver or were silent on the issue.
In ongoing class action litigation, obtained the dismissal at the pleadings stage of California overtime and meal break claims of union-represented security guard employees based on state law exemptions that apply to collectively bargained employees.
Represent, defend and resolve numerous putative wage and hour class and PAGA representative action cases on behalf of employers in a wide variety of industries, including manufacturing, energy, financial services, transportation, healthcare and defense contractors.
Represented staffing agency employer and obtained summary judgment in putative wage and hour class action on grounds that proposed class representative was judicially estopped from pursuing claims against defendants; concurrent motion by plaintiff to intervene new proposed class representatives denied by court.
Represented a healthcare client during a two-year Division of Labor Standards Enforcement investigation into its meal and rest break practices in which employer responded to multiple DLSE subpoenas and produced more than 22,000 pages of employee records and data; the DLSE closed its case without issuing a citation against or finding a single Labor Code violation by the client.
Defended ERISA putative class action brought on behalf of striking employees whose health insurance coverage was terminated when they stopped working.
In two separate state and federal court actions, state court motion for judgment on the pleadings and Rule 12 motion to dismiss were granted as to putative wage and hour class actions brought by truck drivers alleging violation of California meal and rest break laws on ground that all claims preempted by Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act.Single-Plaintiff
Obtained defense verdict in five-day jury trial on sexual harassment claim on behalf of employer and individual supervisor. Prior to trial, obtained full summary judgment on behalf of three different individual managers and summary adjudication on nine of the plaintiff’s 10 causes of action and her prayer for punitive damages.
Obtained bench decision following seven-day trial on pregnancy/gender discrimination, wrongful termination, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and CFRA claims.
Obtained full defense verdict in favor of beverage manufacturer/distributor and individual manager following six-day AAA arbitration on employee’s claims of sexual harassment and retaliation.
Obtained defense judgment following three-day JAMS arbitration of former employee's Title VII claims for discrimination, harassment and retaliation.
Obtained judgment on the pleadings without leave to amend on plaintiff’s discrimination and wrongful termination claims based on judicial estoppel where plaintiff failed to disclose her claims against employer in previously-discharged bankruptcy proceedings.
Obtained dismissal without leave to amend of initial complaint filed by former employee; subsequent Ninth Circuit appeal by employee was dismissed as frivolous.
Obtained dismissal of former employee’s lawsuit alleging slander of title, quiet title, fraud and conspiracy and declaratory relief pursuant to Anti-SLAPP statute and obtained award against former employee plaintiff of more than $17,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs.
Obtained summary judgment (later affirmed by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals) for port terminal operator on ADEA claim filed by former employee on grounds that employee lacked standing due to failure to exhaust grievance and arbitration procedures under collective bargaining agreement (Savant v. APM Terminals, 776 F.3d 285).
Obtained full summary judgment on discrimination, harassment and wrongful termination claims.Traditional Labor and Union Avoidance
BCI Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Los Angeles, 361 NLRB 839. NLRB denied General Counsel’s exceptions and adopted ALJ deferring to a prior settlement agreement between the employer and the union regarding an unfair labor practice; NLRB also dismissed Section 8(a)(1) allegations as inextricably bound and resolved through the parties’ settlement.
Starwood Resorts & Hotels Worldwide, Inc., d/b/a W San Diego, 348 NLRB 372. Affirmed ALJ finding that employer did not violate the NLRA by prohibiting employees in public areas from wearing union pins and reversed ALJ finding that prohibition on wearing of union pins by kitchen staff violated the Act; NLRB held that employer’s public image and food safety were special circumstances warranting the prohibition on insignia.
Conduct union avoidance and positive employee relations training and conduct workforce assessments.
Represented employers in the negotiation of collective-bargaining agreements for units in multiple states including California, Washington and New Mexico.
Successfully represented employers in in upwards of 25 labor arbitrations. Examples include:
Arbitration decision denying seven grievances and finding that employer did not violate the CBA by utilizing less senior employees to work on the grievant’s preferred work shift.
Arbitration decision upholding termination of employee for cursing at supervisor over safety concerns in pre-shift meeting.
Arbitration decision upholding three-day suspension of employee involved in forklift accident.
Arbitration decision upholding termination of employee for using cell phone while operating heavy equipment.
Arbitration decision upholding termination of employee with clean work record for single instance of cursing at supervisor.
Arbitration decision upholding termination of commercial driver with 23 years of service and clean work record for driving Company vehicle with expired license.
Arbitration decision upholding termination of employee for theft of time.
Arbitration decision upholding termination of employee with no prior discipline for sleeping on the job.
Arbitration decision upholding termination of employee who was terminated for striking employee in the workplace, despite employee having been acquitted on criminal assault and battery charges.
Arbitration decision upholding termination of delivery driver who was terminated for excessive on the job accidents.
Arbitration decision upholding termination for attendance/tardiness violations.
Defend employers in numerous unfair labor practice charges on a variety of allegations such as bad faith/surface bargaining, refusal to provide information, allegations of threats, unlawful surveillance and direct dealing, unilateral changes, union access and insignia issues and claims of retaliatory terminations. Examples include:
Obtained dismissal of unfair labor practice charge claiming employer harassed, threatened and interrogated the Union President and refused to meet and bargain with the Union and provide information in response to a Union information request.
Obtained dismissal of two unfair labor practice charges alleging retaliatory layoff less than one week prior to union filing its representation petition at employer's facility.
Obtained union withdrawal of unfair labor practice charge claiming that the employer unilaterally deleted contracting/subcontracting provisions during bargaining for a successor agreement; Region indicated it would dismiss charge if not withdrawn.
Obtained full dismissal and/or withdrawal of eight unfair labor practice charges filed by the union during multi-facility contract negotiations with the employer.Advice and Counsel
Regularly conducts management training on the prevention of unlawful employment practices, including harassment, discrimination and retaliation.
Conducts workplace investigations into allegations of misconduct, harassment and other issues.
Drafts and advises employers on employee handbooks, employment policies, and employment agreements.
Provides regular advice and counsel on discipline, discharge, reduction in force, and leave and accommodation and wage and hour issues and practices.
Member, Labor & Employment Section, California State Bar
Member, Labor & Employment Section, Los Angeles County Bar Association
Member, Association of Southern California Defense Counsel
Former Member/Membership Chair, Young Professionals Council, The Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center
Former Member/Membership Chair, Development Committee, The Trevor Project
Named to "Top Labor and Employment Lawyers," Daily Journal, 2021
Named to “Lawdragon 500 Leading U.S. Corporate Employment Lawyers," 2020
Named to "Women of Influence" list, L.A. Biz, 2019
Named to "Most Influential Minority Lawyers," Los Angeles Business Journal, 2019
Recognized as top “Up and Comer”, Lawdragon’s “100 Most Powerful Employment Attorneys”, Human Resources Executive, 2018, 2019
Named to "Southern California Rising Stars," Employment Litigation: Defense, Employment & Labor, 2007, 2010-2018, "Top 50 Women," 2015, Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters
Named to "Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40," National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Bar Association, 2010
Sabrina A. Beldner Named a Top Labor & Employment Lawyer By the Daily Journal
June 30, 2021
Jason Huebinger Joins McGuireWoods’ Labor & Employment Team as Partner in Houston
March 22, 2021
McGuireWoods’ Sabrina Beldner, Matthew Kane Among ‘Leading Corporate Employment Lawyers’
December 11, 2020