Amanda Sommerfeld is a partner who heads the labor and employment relations practice in the firm’s Los Angeles office. The focus of her practice is the defense of wage and hour class actions involving claims of employee misclassification, off-the-clock work, meal and rest period violations, and other pay related practices.
Recently, Ms. Sommerfeld defeated four separate putative class actions brought against a national retailer. The first action was brought by janitors who were employed by contractors hired to clean the retail stores. The janitors unsuccessfully claimed that the retailer was their “joint employer.” The other three actions were brought by managers or assistant managers of the retail stores. Ms. Sommerfeld defeated class certification in two of the actions, and successfully moved for summary judgment in the third, before any class was certified. Ms. Sommerfeld recently managed the trial team in the first “suitable seating” class action to proceed to trial in California. In that case, which resulted in a judgment for the defendant retailer, the plaintiff had claimed that the nature of cashier work can reasonably be performed while sitting and that the retailer failed to provide suitable seats for its front end cashiers.
Ms. Sommerfeld also secured a significant summary judgment ruling, affirmed by the Second Circuit, on behalf of Stanley Black & Decker in a nationwide collective action involving claims alleging unpaid travel time pay.
She also secured significant victories for SkyWest Airlines, defeating class certification and winning summary judgment on claims alleging unpaid wages and missed meal periods.
In 2003, Ms. Sommerfeld assisted Black & Decker in obtaining a 9-0 victory in the United States Supreme Court on an ERISA matter. Black & Decker Disability Plan v. Nord, 538 U.S. 822 (2003).
Ms. Sommerfeld also represents private and public employers in all aspects of employer-employee relations, including counseling, training, litigation, trial, and appellate work. Her representations include companies in various industries, including manufacturing, aviation, homebuilding, and retail/service establishments.
In addition, Ms. Sommerfeld conducts employment-related training for management and counsels employers on reductions in force, harassment and discrimination, investigations into employee misconduct, wage and hour audits, hiring and firing, drug testing, and employment policies and handbooks.
Honors and Awards
Law360 named Ms. Sommerfeld as a “Rising Legal Star Under 40” for labor and employment in 2010. She was also named to the 2010 BTI Client Service All-Stars, an elite group of attorneys nominated by clients in an objective, independent study as the very best in client service. In 2008, Ms. Sommerfeld was recognized by the California Daily Journal as one of its 2008 “Top 20 Under 40” attorneys.
Ms. Sommerfeld is a member of the California State Bar Association.
Ms. Sommerfeld received a B.A. in English Literature from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1992 and a J.D. from the University of Southern California in 1996.
Speeches and Publications
Ms. Sommerfeld frequently speaks on a variety of labor and employment topics including:
- “Advanced Wage and Hour Developments in California: Crazy Compensation Complexities,” PIHRA 2013 Annual Update, January 22, 24, 29, and 31, 2013
- “Wage & Hour Update: Class Action Developments and Other Hot Topics,” Winston & Strawn Employment Law Update in Los Angeles on October 25, 2012
- “Wage & Hour War Stories, Cautionary Tales and Practical Tips,” Winston & Strawn Employment Law Update, Los Angeles, October 27; Chicago, November 9, 2011
- “Developments in Wage & Hour Laws,” Winston & Strawn eLunch, September 28, 2011
- “California Wage and Hour Litigation – Finding and Avoiding the Next Class Action Before It's Filed,” PIHRA’s 2011 Conference, August 29, 2011
- “California Wage and Hour Laws and Class Actions Developments,” Practising Law Institute webcast, April 26, 2011
- “Developments in California Wage and Hour Laws and Class Actions,” Winston & Strawn eLunch, March 17, 2011
- “How to Win at Workers’ Comp Roulette?” PIHRA’s 24th Annual Legal Update, January 2011
- “Ethical Issues in Litigating Class Actions,” Bridgeport’s Eighth Annual Wage & Hour Litigation Conference, December 15, 2010
- “Advanced Wage & Hour Update: Understanding, Preparing, and Defending Wage and Hour Audits,” Winston & Strawn 2010 Employment Law Seminar, October 27, 2010
- “Wage and Hour Litigation in California – I’m Getting Sued for What?” Pacific West HR Conference: the 53rd Annual PIHRA Conference & Exhibition, September 21-23, 2010
- “Developments in California Wage-Hour Laws and Class Actions,” Winston & Strawn eLunch, August 26, 2010
- “Wage and Hour Litigation – Beyond Meal and Rest Periods,” PIHRA’s 23rd Annual Legal Updates 2010, January 12-14, 2010
- “PAGA, 17200 and Other Issues Specific to California Wage & Hour Cases,” Bridgeport Continuing Education’s 6th Annual Wage & Hour Litigation Conference, December 10-11, 2009 and September 17-18, 2009
- “The WARN Act in an Era of Large-Scale Layoffs,” West LegalEdcenter Webcast, March 31, 2009
- “The Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009,” “The Employee Free Choice Act,” and “Executive Compensation” Pepperdine University, The Stimulus Package: What HR and Employers Need to Know, March 5, 2009