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Gayle M. Athanacio


Executive Summary

Ms. Athanacio is co-chair of the firm's Labor & Employment Practice Group and is a member of the firm's Complex Commercial Litigation 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 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

Extern, California Supreme Court
Associate Justice Allen Broussard

Bar Admissions


San Francisco, CA
  • Robert Dollar Building
    311 California Street, 10th Floor
    San Francisco, CA 94104-2695
  • Phone: 415.956.2828
  • Fax: 415.956.6457
Washington, DC
  • 1500 K Street, NW, Suite 800
    Washington DC 20005-1227
  • Phone: 202.777.8950
  • Fax: 202.347.8429