Tyson Arbuthnot
David E. Aron
Gayle M. Athanacio
Stephen L. Bacon
Merri A. Baldwin
Robert J. Breakstone
Dennis J. Callahan
Thomas H. Carlson
Jeffery M. Chiow
Alecia E. Cotton
Joshua M. Deitz
Robert C. Goodman
Lucas T. Hanback
John G. Heller
Dennis C. Huie
Suhani Kamdar
Lauren B. Kramer
S. Amber Lee
Mark J. Linderman
E. Jacob Lubarsky
James Robert Maxwell
Joseph C. McGowan
Patricia A. Meagher
Robert S. Metzger
Brian D. Miller
Alexis J. Morris
Nicholas T. Niiro
Roland Nikles
Neil H. O'Donnell
Dean D. Paik
Sharon Ongerth Rossi
Aaron M. Scolari
Aaron P. Silberman
Katherine M. Svinarich
Renée D. Wasserman
Alan J. Wilhelmy
Paul M. Zieff

Gayle M. Athanacio
Download vCard

Areas of Practice

Ms. Athanacio is co-chair of the firm's Labor & Employment Practice Group and is a member of the firm's Complex Commercial Litigation, Construction Law and Government Contracts Practice Groups.

Professional Qualifications

Ms. Athanacio has practiced for more than 25 years, concentrating on employment matters, complex commercial litigation, class actions, and insurance, government contracts and construction law. She has successfully defended and counseled various entities, including national retailers, service providers, construction companies and insurers, regarding compliance with local, state and federal law.

In the area of labor and employment law, Ms. Athanacio has handled a variety of matters in state and federal courts, including wage/hour class and collective actions, misappropriation of trade secrets cases, public works controversies, and claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act and Fair Employment and Housing Act. Additionally, Ms. Athanacio has represented clients in dealing with various governmental entities, including the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, California Labor Commission and the San Francisco Office of Labor Standards Enforcement.

Ms. Athanacio has a Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review rating of AV Preeminent Lawyer. She has been recognized by Bay Area Lawyer magazine as one of the best employment law attorneys. Ms. Athanacio has been a presenter for the Practising Law Institute on topics relating to class actions and negotiations, was a presenter at the ACIC General Counsel Seminar, speaking on Unfair Competition Law Claims and the Class Action Fairness Act, and has presented on various topics relating to the NLRB for the Northern California Human Resources Association.

Selected Representations

Successful writ proceeding to set aside award of $150 million contract for the “people mover system” at the San Francisco International Airport. Later successfully represented client in multi-party litigation raising multi-million dollar claims

First chair trial attorney, successfully defended company’s designation of store manager and assistant manager positions as exempt from California’s overtime requirements; national coordinating counsel in a series of “late fee” class actions attacking company’s extended rental programs. Successfully resolved three separate but overlapping class actions filed in three different venues asserting claims of missed rest/meal breaks and unpaid “off-the-clock” work

Putative class action asserting claims of unfair and unlawful business practices in violation of California Business & Professions Code section 17200, violation of California antitrust law and unjust enrichment. Obtained judgment in favor of client on all counts and defeated plaintiff's class certification efforts; judgment affirmed on appeal

Successfully defeated certification of purported a nation-wide collective action asserting field service specialists were misclassified as exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act

Procured a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction prohibiting client’s former employees and their competing business from soliciting or doing business with client’s existing and prospective customers and employees


J.D., Hastings College of the Law, University of California
Cum Laude
Hastings Law Journal
American Jurisprudence Award (Civil Procedure & Criminal Law)
Thurston Honor Society

B.A., University of California, Los Angeles
History, Political Science

Bar Admissions

Complex Commercial Litigation
Government Contracts
Labor & Employment

Recent Publications and Public Speaking

Setting the Climate and Flexing Your Communication and Negotiation Style, Practising Law Institute (PLI) Negotiation Skills, Jan. 9, 2017

Blacklisting Provisions and Arbitration Restrictions of “Fair Payand Safe Workplaces” Rules On Hold … For Now; Paycheck Transparency Provisions Go Into Effect January 1, 2017, RJO Update, Oct. 2016 (co-authored)

Fair Pay-Safe Workplaces: The “On-Hold” Rules and Guidance, RJO Update, Oct. 2016 (co-authored)

All Employers, Including California Employers, Should Review their Compensation Practices for White Collar Employees, RJO Update, May 2016 (co-authored)

California Employers: New Harassment and Discrimination Regulations Go Into Effect April 1, 2016, RJO Update, Mar. 2016 (co-authored)

Negotiating Class Action Settlements, PLI’s Negotiation Skills 2.0: Moving Beyond the Basics, January 11, 2016

Key Changes to California Employment Law in 2015, RJO Update, January 2015 (PDF) (co-authored)

Employers Must Reimburse California Employees Required To Use Their Personal Cell Phones For Work Related Calls Even If The Employees Incur No Expense, RJO Update, September 2014 (PDF) (co-authored)

San Francisco’s Fair Chance Ordinance Takes Effect August 13, 2014: San Francisco Private Employers and City Contractors and Subcontractors Face Significant New Restrictions on Inquiries and Use of Criminal History, RJO Update, July 2014 (PDF) (co-authored)

Key Changes to Employment Law in 2013, December 2012 (PDF) (co-authored)

Labor and Employment New
Laws Alert: California Supreme Court Issues its Long Awaited Decision in Brinker
, April 12, 2012

Labor and Employment New
Laws Alert -- Significant Changes to California Employment Laws for 2012
, December 27, 2011



Robert Dollar Building
311 California Street, 10th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94104
Phone: 415.956.2828
Fax: 415.956.6457
Download vCard