Jim McDonald is managing partner of the Irvine office and a partner in the Los Angeles office. He is also the firm's marketing partner and chair of the firm's Development Committee. Jim tries employment cases before juries, judges and arbitrators.
His practice especially focuses on executive terminations, workplace harassment and discrimination claims, the Americans with Disabilities Act, mental health issues in the workplace, and trade secrets and unfair competition matters.
Jim also advises employers on how to prevent employment disputes from arising, on how to manage union strikes and picketing, and on the labor and employment aspects of mergers and acquisitions. Jim is editor of the second edition of the treatise, Mental and Emotional Injuries in Employment Litigation published by BNA Books in 2001 and author of more than 50 published articles.
He has spoken before many national organizations on issues such as the defense of psychological injury claims in employment litigation, mental disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act, new theories of harassment and discrimination, and the use of expert witnesses.
Jim serves as Vice Chair and General Counsel of the Irvine Chamber of Commerce, and he is a past Chair of the Chamber's Board of Directors.
Jim is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) by the Society for Human Resource Management, and he teaches employment law in the Human Resources Management Program at the University of California, Irvine.
Class Action Defeated with Arbitration Agreement. Jim led a team of attorneys who defeated a putative class action alleging race and national origin discrimination against a Southern California employer. A judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court held that the twelve year old arbitration agreement signed by the plaintiff and putative class representative, which did not contain an express class action waiver, nonetheless barred a class action because the parties agreed only to arbitrate with one another and not with a class.
Appellate Court Affirms Summary Judgment for Employer in Disabilities Case. Jim successfully argued before a California Court of Appeal in favor of a trial court's award of summary judgment to a national manufacturing company against a former manager who was terminated after he failed to return to work after 14 months of medical leave.
Arbitration Victory in Defamation, Tortious Interference Case. Jim tried and won a case in arbitration before a retired judge in which the plaintiff claimed her former employer defamed her and interfered with her business following her termination for misrepresenting to an unemployment appeals judge the reason for her missing an appeal hearing.
Strike Victory Against Carpenters Union. Jim led a team of attorneys that assisted a national construction contractor in winning a strike by the Carpenters Union on all counts. The strike against three large construction projects in Southern California ended after less than a month, the strikers were replaced, and no delays occurred. Jim obtained two injunctions against violent and mass picketing and filed a section 303 lawsuit against the Carpenters that resulted in a six-figure settlement for the employer. The team also pursued unfair labor practice charges before the National Labor Relations Board which issued a complaint.
Georgia Supreme Court
Supreme Court of California
U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh 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
Member, Editorial Board, Employee Relations Law Journal
Member, Labor and Employment Law Section, American Bar Association
Member, Society for Human Resource Management
Fisher & Phillips Attorney Selected For Inclusion In 2012 Southern California Super Lawyers
January 24, 2012
Listed in The Best Lawyers in America
Listed in Southern California Super Lawyers
Recipient of Burton Award for Legal Writing, 2006.
"AV" rated by Martindale-Hubbell.
Ten Great Ways to Lose A Lawsuit in California - Anaheim, CA
August 26, 2013
New California Employment Laws for 2013 – Palm Desert, CA
December 11, 2012
You're Gonna Miss Me: Managing FMLA, CFRA and PDL Leaves - Irvine, CA
September 11, 2012
Reasonable Accommodation: When Are You Done? – Anaheim, CA
August 28, 2012
I'm Too Sexy for My Job! - Appearance Bias in the Workplace – Atlanta, GA
June 25, 2012
My Disability Made Me Do It! – San Francisco, CA
April 24, 2012
"Is Lookism Illegal? Appearance Discrimination at Work" - Webinar
April 3, 2012
My Disability Made Me Do It – Las Vegas, NV
June 28, 2011
Ten Good Ways to Get Your Company Sued By An Employee – Reno, NV
May 13, 2011
“Employment Law for the Solo or Small Firm: Ten Mistakes to Avoid.”
Orange County Specialty Lawyers Guild
April 9, 2014
"The Fine Line Between Diversity and Just Not Fitting In,"
2010 Professionals in Human Resources Annual Conference, Pasadena, CA.