Recent Publications

California Employers Face Expanded Obligation to Reimburse Employee Personal Cell Phone Use

A recent California Court of Appeal decision exposes employers to liability for failing to reimburse their employees for work-related personal cell phone use, but the lack of a bright line rule for determining the required reimbursement amount creates more questions than answers. >>



Tamara I. Devitt

Partner

Orange County


600 Anton Boulevard
Suite 700
Costa Mesa, California 92626
T +1 949.202.3060
F +1 949.202.3160

Silicon Valley


525 University Avenue
Suite 400
Palo Alto, California 94301-1918
T +1 650.687.8874
F +1 650.687.8774

Areas of Practice

Education

  • J.D., DePaul University College of Law, 2000
  • B.S.C., Marketing, DePaul University, 1993

Bar Admissions

  • California

Court Admissions

  • 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
Tamara I. Devitt

Tamara Devitt is experienced in counseling and representing employers in all aspects of labor and employment law. She regularly defends employers against claims of discrimination, unlawful harassment, wrongful termination, unfair business practices and wage and hour claims, including class actions and complex litigation.

She advocates for employers in all aspects of employment litigation, including jury and bench trials, arbitration and pre-litigation negotiations, and in administrative tribunals, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, Department of Labor and California Labor Commissioner.

Tamara also advises and counsels employers on compliance, including hiring, discipline and termination practices, wage and hour issues, misconduct investigations (i.e., harassment, workplace violence, embezzlement), leaves of absence, reasonable accommodation of employees with disabilities, policies and procedures and employment agreements.

She regularly conducts management training and lectures on labor and employment issues.

Tamara joined the firm from a national labor and employment boutique, where she exclusively represented management and also served as a regional managing partner. Before becoming an employment lawyer, Tamara worked for nine years in human resources, where she handled employee relations, leaves of absence and benefits.

Selected Client Representations

  • Obtained a complete defense award in arbitration on behalf of an oil well services company in disability discrimination case where the plaintiff sought over a million dollars in damages. The plaintiff alleged wrongful termination because of his alleged disability, failure to provide reasonable accommodation and retaliation.
  • Represented company in wage and hour class action of putative class of education coaches who alleged they were misclassified under the administrative exemption and sought unpaid overtime wages, meal and rest period penalties. Successfully objected to the plaintiff’s pre-certification motion for summary judgment as premature and postured the case for reasonable settlement.
  • Awarded complete summary judgment by a Ventura County Superior Court judge in wrongful termination case, where the plaintiff alleged the defendant failed to hire him because of an alleged disability.
  • Convinced a California state court to dismiss with prejudice the plaintiff’s wrongful termination lawsuit for his delay in participating in arbitration and failure to prosecute his case.
  • Represented an oil well services company in a wage and hour class action in all aspects of litigation through arbitration. The putative class consisted of more than 2500 former and current employees alleging unpaid travel time, overtime wages and denial of meal and rest breaks.
  • Successfully defended maintenance and landscaping company in wage and hour class action where the putative class of more than 2000 current and former employees sought unpaid wages, and meal and rest period penalties. The matter settled favorably after the plaintiff’s deposition revealed the likelihood of individualized issues and significant risk that certification would be denied.
  • Represented company in action under the Fair Credit Reporting Act and California Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act.
  • Obtained workplace violence temporary restraining order and permanent injunction against former customer where the defendant threatened harm to a company employee.
  • Represented landscaping design company in sexual harassment action brought by current employee.
  • Represented various clients before DFEH and EEOC and achieved no cause findings against employees who brought state and federal discrimination charges.
  • Convinced federal district court to dismiss a 20-year employee’s wrongful termination lawsuit against municipality on grounds that the plaintiff failed to exhaust his internal administrative remedies.

Selected Publications and Speeches

  • "Mid-Year Review of Wage and Hour Trends in 2013," guest author, Daily Journal, July 17, 2013.
  • "New Law Prohibits Discrimination against Breastfeeding in the Workplace," quoted in SHRM Magazine, December 8, 2012.
  • "Top 5 Hot Topics for HR Professionals," presentation to Professionals in Human Resources Association D1, October 16, 2012.
  • "Make Job Descriptions ADA-Ready: California HR’s How-To for Defining Essential Functions," Business & Legal Reports, Inc., HRHero, webinar presentation, July 30-31, 2012.
  • "Hollywood Drama Should Remind Employers of Importance of Maintaining A Well-Drafted Arbitration Agreement," quoted in Walters Kluwer Law and Business, May 16, 2011.

News and Media

  • Fox 11 LA News – television interview by legal analyst Robin Sax on New Breastfeeding Law in California, December 8, 2012.
  • "Free Speech in the Private Workplace?" Daily Journal, May 23, 2012.
  • "Getting Baby Time When You're a Working Mom," quoted in Bankrate.com, May 2012.
  • "From Chalkboard to ‘Wall’ - Managing the Benefits of School-Sanctioned Social Media Use," Education World, October 18, 2010.
  • "Can Twitter, Facebook hurt a business?" quoted in Orange County Business Journal, September 18, 2009.
  • "Social Media and the Workplace," Executive Counsel, December 2010.

Professional Recognition

  • Recognized as a Best Lawyer in America in Labor and Employment, 2015
  • 2010 Nominee for Women in Business Orange County Business Journal

Professional Leadership

  • Chairman of the Board of Directors for Professionals in Human Resources Association (PIHRA) District One (2013 – present)
  • Legal Chair, PIHRA District 1 (2011 – present)
  • Member of Legislative Affairs Committee, PIHRA (2011 – present)
  • Founder and Member, Women’s Business Development Initiative, Orange County (2009 – 2012)

Memberships

  • Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • Orange County Bar Association
  • General Counsel and Member, Board of Directors, Huntington Beach Chamber of Commerce 2005-2006; 2007-2010
  • Member, National Association of Women Business Owners (2010- 2012)

Online Publications

09/11/2014 - California Employers Face Expanded Obligation to Reimburse Employee Personal Cell Phone Use
A recent California Court of Appeal decision exposes employers to liability for failing to reimburse their employees for work-related personal cell phone use, but the lack of a bright line rule for determining the required reimbursement amount creates more questions than answers.

07/17/2013 - Daily Journal Guest Article: Mid-Year Review of Wage and Hour Trends in 2013
The U.S. Supreme Court just finished its term issuing several decisions that seemingly settle significant questions impacting the wage and hour landscape nationwide. Yet, there are no signs of slowdown of wage and hour litigation in the California courts. Here's a snapshot review of five hot-button wage and hour topics.

04/24/2013 - U.S. Supreme Court Validates Offers of Judgment as a Defense to FLSA Collective Actions but Leaves More Uncertainty in its Wake
On April 16, 2013, in a 5-4 opinion, the United States Supreme Court decided whether an offer of judgment that fully satisfies the named plaintiff’s individual claim in a Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) action moots the plaintiff’s collective action claim.