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 author of the book California Employment Law: An Employer’s Guide, published by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in 2016. He is also 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 organizations on issues such as religion in the workplace, mental disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the defense of psychological injury claims in employment litigation, 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 Human Resources Certification Institute and he holds the SHRM-SCP certification as well. He also teaches labor and 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
Eighty-Four Fisher & Phillips Attorneys Selected to The Best Lawyers in America 2016
August 17, 2015
Fisher & Phillips Attorney Selected For Inclusion in 2015 Southern California Super Lawyers
January 21, 2015
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.