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Foster Employment Law

Foster Employment Law
3000 Lakeshore Avenue
Oakland, California 94610
Phone: (510) 763-1900
Fax: (510) 763-5952
Web site:
Firm Size: 9 Lawyers
Primary Contact:
Michael Foster

Firm Description

Foster Employment Law, certified as a minority owned business by the National Minority Supplier Diversity Council (NMSDC) and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), specializes in the defense of corporations, businesses and public employers in labor and employment matters. It’s what we know. It’s what we do every day. Based in Oakland, California, the firm is composed of eight seasoned attorneys, a certified paralegal and support staff. Recently, we opened a second location in Columbia, South Carolina.

Our experience is steeped in a variety of industries, including advertising, banking, food services, manufacturing, defense contracting, municipal, pharmaceutical, retail, logistics, technology, transportation, and utilities.

Our clients comprise a broad spectrum of industry, government, public, private and non-profit organizations.

Our Approach

At Foster Employment Law our first priority is to decrease your litigation risk and increase your effectiveness at handling employment litigation and counseling issues. We have represented employers throughout California and the United States — with high quality labor and employment-related legal and litigation services.

With longevity and consistency rare among its peers, Foster Employment Law has been serving its clients since 1991. We have a proven record of providing our clients with top-quality legal services at reasonable rates. We deliver professional advice and strategic recommendations that produce resolutions and limit disputes.

Our attorneys develop close working relationships with our business clients, who run the gamut from Fortune 500 companies to mid-tier businesses and public agencies. And we assist with a broad array of professional challenges and needs, from full service litigation, to labor arbitrations, to human resource related advice, and wage and hour dispute representation. The result is top-notch service with rates significantly below the large,
institutional firms.

We zealously represent our clients in every aspect of litigation. Our zealousness, however, is always tempered by a practical desire to control the ever-increasing cost of litigation. We combine a highly effective litigation strategy with an extremely reasonable fee structure to maximize positive outcomes while minimizing costs.

For more information please see our website.

Attorney Biographies

Michael W. Foster
Experience: As the firm’s senior attorney, Michael has won numerous jury verdicts for employers and has
prevailed in more than 100 summary judgment motions. In addition to litigating matters to conclusion, Michael has successfully settled innumerable matters using alternative dispute resolution and has himself served as a mediator. His litigation work on behalf of employers in U.S. District Court and California state courts has included wrongful termination, breach of contract and discrimination claims, and wage and hour class action defense. His wide range of experience in labor management relations includes: Union elections, collective bargaining agreement negotiations, Arbitrations involving individual employee terminations, discipline, scope of work and other disputes arising under collective bargaining agreements, National Labor Relations Board proceedings. Michael also advises and counsels numerous large corporations and mid-tier employers on various federal, state and local employment laws. He prepares and reviews employee handbooks and personnel policies for employers and offers seminars and advice regarding employment issues. His experience also includes governmental relations and lobbying.

Admissions: Michael is admitted to practice in the United States Supreme Court, the Supreme Court of California and the U.S. District Court, Northern, Central and Eastern Districts, California.

Education: Stanford University Law School (1986): Harvard University (B.A., 1983)

Michael E. Wilbur
Experience: Michael, located in our South Carolina Office, a former Partner at Cook Roos Wilbur, LLP, has substantial litigation experience, including jury trials and has successfully defended employers in many federal and state court actions involving claims of wrongful termination, employment discrimination and other employment-related issues. Michael has also represented clients in administrative proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board and other state and federal administrative agencies. He also advises and counsels clients on a variety of labor and employment matters, provides advice and training in labor and employment law, and conducts internal investigations. Michael regularly speaks to business groups, and he has also written articles on labor and employment topics. His presentations and publications include "Privacy in the Workplace" (Employer Resource Institute, 2006); "Mind Your Own Business: A Review of Laws Affecting Privacy in the Workplace" (California State Bar Labor and Employment Section Annual Meeting, 2004); "Defending Wrongful Discharge Claims Under California Law" (National Business Institute, 1997, 2000, and 2002); "Basic Wage and Hour Law in California" (National Business Institute, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001); and "Employee Leave Rights Under State and Federal Law: What Every California Employer Needs to Know" (National Business Institute, 1998).

Admissions: Michael is admitted to practice in the States of California, South Carolina, and Georgia, as well as the United States District Courts for the Northern, Eastern and Central Districts of California, the Northern District of Georgia, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Education: Emory University School of Law (1989); University of South Carolina (BA., magna cum laude, 1986, Phi Beta Kappa)

Madelyn G. Jordan-Davis
Experience: In her more than fifteen years of experience as a litigator and trial lawyer, Madelyn has built an extensive litigation practice. She’s proven adept at winning cases or quickly securing a summary judgment, preventing an employer from a costly trial. Madelyn’s experience is comprehensive, having represented national employers and local public agencies in employment matters. Madelyn’s litigation experience includes: Harassment, Discrimination, Retaliation, Wage & Hour claims and Other employment related issues. Madelyn also provides advice and training in employment law, where she is skilled at advising employers how to adopt and implement policies to avoid litigation. She also conducts internal investigations.

Admissions: Madelyn is admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of California and the U.S. District Court, Northern and Eastern Districts, California.

Education: Hastings College of the Law (1995); University of California, Berkeley (B.S., 1991)

C. Christine Maloney
Experience: Christine, a former Partner at Jackson Lewis LLP brings twenty years of experience representing public and private employers to Foster Employment Law. Her practice includes defending employers in litigation, arbitration and administrative proceedings in a manner that is attentive to client goals and delivers results. She has prevailed in many summary judgment motions relating to claims of discrimination, retaliation, harassment, failure to accommodate and wrongful discharge. She has first-chaired employment lawsuits in state and federal courts and successfully argued cases before California Courts of Appeal and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. As part of
her practice, Christine regularly counsels employers on all aspects of employment law compliance and prevention, provides training to industry groups, and conducts internal investigations.

Admissions: Christine is admitted to practice in the State of California and the U.S. District Court, Northern, Central and Eastern Districts, California, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and in the State of Washington.

Education: University of Oregon School of Law (Order of the Coif) (1991); University of Washington (B.A., 1988)

Susan H. Roos
Experience: Susan, former Managing Partner at Cook Roos Wilbur LLP, has substantial experience in defending employers in wrongful termination, sexual harassment, employment discrimination and trade secret litigation before federal and state courts. Susan's trial experience includes both jury and non-jury trials. Susan also advises and counsels employers in the area of wage and hour issues, labor relations and employment law. She has extensive experience in representing management before federal and state administrative agencies, arbitrators and mediators. Susan also provides advice and training in employment law and conducts internal investigations. Susan has written several articles for labor industry publications, including "The New Reasonable Woman Standard in Sexual Harassment Cases," "Workers Compensation Not a Bar to Physical Handicap Discrimination," and "Reasonable Accommodation -- What Is It?" She has also spoken on labor and employment issues at industry association meetings, including the Merchants and Manufacturers Association, the Council on Education in Management and the North Coast Employer Advisory Group.

Admissions: Susan is admitted to practice in the State of California and the U.S. District Court, Northern District, California, and the United States Supreme Court.

Education: University of Southern California School of Law (1982); Stanford University (A.B., 1978)

Erin L. Winters
Experience: Erin, a former journalist, provides advice and counsel to employers on human resource-related topics, including leaves, terminations of employment, and performance management. In addition, she regularly advises businesses of all sizes on handbook reviews, policy development, training, and RIF planning. Erin has successfully defended employers in California Courts and before the California Labor Commissioner in claims brought under state and federal anti-discrimination and wage laws. She also leads the firm's marketing and client relationship efforts.

Her published articles include:
  • "Indirect Evidence of Bias Enough to Send Sex Discrimination Claim to Trial" (Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Federal Court Report, March 2016)
  • "Evidence of Decision-Maker Bias Supports Age Discrimination Claim" (SHRM Federal Court Report, September 2015);
  •     "Retail Workers Bill of Rights - What Employers Need to Know" (Corporate Counsel Magazine/, July 2015);
  •     "Back to School: Child Labor Laws" (Corporate Counsel Magazine/, August 2014);
  •     "Reformation of Retirement Plan Does Require Showing of Actual Harm" (SHRM Federal Court Report, March 2014);
  •     "California Courts Look to Unconscionability Arguments To Find Employment Arbitration Agreements Unenforceable" (Employment Practices Liability Consultant (EPLiC), Winter 2014);
  •     "When the ICE Man Cometh for Immigration Compliance" (Corporate Counsel Magazine/, November 2013);
  •     "EEOC Identifies Enforcement Priorities" (Alameda County Bar Association, Labor and Employment Section Newsletter, September 2013);
  •     "California Supreme Court Holds Class Action Waivers Are Subject to Scrutiny” (California Labor & Employment Law Review, January 2008); and
  •     “Identity Theft: Is Proof of Actual Damages Necessary to Collect Liquidated or Statutory Damages?” (The Privacy & Data Protection Legal Reporter, 2006).

Admissions: Erin is admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of California and the U.S. District Court, Northern, Eastern, Central and Southern Districts, California.

Education: San Francisco Law School (2008); Barnard College, Columbia University (B.A., 1998)

Andrea Bednarova
Experience: Andrea represents clients in all aspects of labor and employment litigation and defends employers facing claims of discrimination, retaliation, and harassment involving (the):

• Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA);
• Title VII;
• Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA);
• Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); and
• Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Andrea provides employers with management, disability, and harassment training; counseling on California wage and hour matters; and advice regarding personnel policies, leaves of absence, return to work issues, as well as on the hiring, separation, and discipline of employees.

She also represents clients in administrative proceedings before state and federal agencies, including the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE).

Her broad litigation experience also includes insurance coverage and bad faith matters with an emphasis on large and commercial and business interruption losses.

She is the co-author, Chapters 3 and 11, of California Property Insurance: Law and Litigation, CEB 2011.

Andrea is fluent in Czech and Slovak.

Admissions: Andrea is admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of California, the State of California and the U.S. District Courts, Northern, Central and Eastern Districts, California.

Education: University of California, Hastings College of the Law (2006); University of California, Berkeley (B.A., 2003)

Tammy A. Brown
Experience: Tammy has twenty years of experience as a civil litigator as well as two years of investigating HR matters for an international defense contractor. Her practice emphasizes the defense of employment-related claims in federal and state courts and administrative agencies, including defending class action claims for failure to provide breaks and to pay proper overtime rates; defending race, gender, and disability discrimination cases; arguing cases before the California Courts of Appeal on the enforceability of arbitration agreements; and representing clients in matters before the Labor Commissioner and defending Labor Code section 132a claims. In addition to her active labor and employment litigation practice, Tammy has litigated a range of business disputes involving general business contracts, construction contract disputes, claims brought by government agencies, and fraud disputes. She has represented both private and public employers in a broad array of local and national industries. Tammy’s employment litigation experience includes:

• Harassment
• Discrimination
• Retaliation
• Wage & Hour claims
• Other employment-related issues

Tammy also provides advice and training in employment law and conducts internal investigations.

Admissions: Tammy is admitted to practice in the State of California and the U.S. District Court, Northern, Eastern and Central Districts, California.

Education: Santa Clara University School of Law (1994), University of California, Berkeley (B.A., 1987)

Jesper I. Rasmussen
Jesper is a trial attorney who has practiced law in California for over 30 years. While Jesper has in-depth knowledge and experience in many areas of the law, he concentrates on cases involving employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation and wrongful termination, public entity defense, civil rights, commercial and business litigation, defamation and anti-SLAPP litigation.
Jesper has successfully tried employment cases to verdict in both state and federal courts, including a three week jury trial for FEHA retaliation (client awarded $110,000 in costs) and a two week jury trial in U.S. District Court for alleged violations of the ADA and rights of privacy. He has a strong track record of resolving cases at their early stages, including having won more than 40 motions for summary judgment. He has successfully tried several cases to verdict. He also worked on the appeal in a case that resulted in a precedent-setting Internet libel opinion by the California Supreme Court and has extensive experience both preparing and successfully defending writs and appeals in state and federal courts. Jesper has appeared and argued before the California Supreme Court. Besides employment cases, he has also litigated products liability, consumer protection, premises liability, toxic torts, insurance coverage, insurance bad faith and personal injury cases.
Jesper graduated from Santa Clara University School of Law, where he was an Associate Editor for the Santa Clara Law Review. He earned an M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Toronto, and a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of California at Berkeley. Prior to joining the Foster Employment Law firm, Jesper worked at Lafayette & Kumagai LLC in San Francisco, where he focused on employment litigation and trials.
Admissions: Jesper is admitted to practice before all courts of the State of California, the United States District Court for the Northern, Southern and Eastern Districts of California and the United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

Education: Santa Clara University School of Law; University of Toronto (M.A., Philosophy); University of California, Berkeley (B.A.)

Kristin A. Smith
Experience: Kristin has more than ten years of litigation experience representing public entities and private employers.  She has litigated in state and federal court,  including claims involving wrongful termination, wage and hour disputes, misappropriation of trade secrets, discrimination claims under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, the Family Medical Leave Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title VII and the Age Discrimination and Employment Act.  Kristin’s practice has included class and collective actions as well as single-plaintiff wage and hour claims under the California Fair Labor Standards Act and the California Labor Code.  She has spent considerable time working with electronic discovery and related issues.  Kristin also advises employers on contract disputes, drafting employee handbooks and workplace harassment.  In sum, she brings a unique appreciation for the challenges that small and large employers face in the workplace.
Kristin has also authored articles and appeared for speaking engagements on labor and employment issues including:
-Co-Author, “What Every California Employer Should Know” (PWC Client Update), October 2013
-Moderator, Criminals in Our Workplace?! The Impact of Ban-the-Box, California Minority Counsel Program Annual Business Conference, October 2014
-Panelist, Sliding Doors: How Bias Impacts Careers in the Legal Profession (Elimination of Bias), California Minority Counsel Program-Kaiser Permanente CLE Marathon, January 2016

Admissions: Kristin is admitted to practice in the State of California and the United States District Court for the Northern, Southern, Central and Eastern Districts of California.

Education: University of California, Hastings College of the Law; University of California at Los Angeles

Kate S.M. Pitzak
Kate has more than ten years of litigation experience and has practiced in four states handling civil and commercial litigation. She has represented municipalities, Homeowner and Condo Associations and small businesses on a variety of employment-related, business, and tort claims, including litigating cases in state and federal court. Kate has trial experience on claims involving civil rights, personal injury, and contract disputes.

Kate has also defended clients before the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission and the EEOC. She is also a former certified court appointed arbitrator.

Kate currently represents clients in all aspects of labor and employment litigation.

Kate is admitted to the California Bar, Washington State Bar, Hawaii Bar and Texas Bar. She is also licensed in the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, United States District Court, Western District of Texas, United States District Court, District of Hawaii, U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit.

Solano County Bar Association
Texas Association of Defense Counsel
Alternative Dispute Resolution, State of Hawai

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