Kristin Rizzo is a full-time neutral who believes that parties seeking to resolve a dispute through mediation deserve a partner in resolution – a mediator who is dedicated to the needs and goals of the parties and has a command of the details of the case and the underlying laws involved. Passionate about dispute resolution, Kristin uses her strong work ethic, empathy, and tenacity to help parties resolve their disputes in creative and meaningful ways.
Kristin mediates a variety of civil claims, specializing in employment mediation, from pre-litigated and post-investigative disputes to single-plaintiff, complex multi-party, and representative litigated matters. She also mediates business, contract, housing discrimination, ADA access, personal injury, medical malpractice, and emotionally charged/high-impact matters.
As a mediator, Kristin combines her varied legal background with her extensive leadership and organizational knowledge to bring a multi-faceted approach to every mediation. Kristin’s prior legal experience includes representing individuals, employees, and businesses in a wide range of civil and employment law matters, including giving high-level strategic advice and counsel and performing neutral workplace investigations. Her extensive leadership background includes high-level positions in both the San Diego legal community and the community at large, working collaboratively with boards and professionals of numerous disciplines. Honored multiple times as a San Diego Super Lawyer in Alternative Dispute Resolution, Kristin recognizes that a knowledgeable and collaborative presence can assist the parties in building consensus and feel confident that the correct resolution has been reached.
All types of Employment disputes including Labor Law, PAGA, and Wage and Hour Class Action
Business Litigation and Contract Claims
Fair Housing and Statutory claims
Healthcare and Medical Negligence
Personal Injury including Sexual Assault
Kristin mediates all types of employment matters, including hostile work environment/ harassment, sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation/ whistleblower retaliation, leaves of absence and accommodation, sexual assault/ battery, wrongful termination/ constructive discharge, wage and hour/ labor code, wage and hour class action, representative (Private Attorneys General Act - PAGA), breach of contract and severance, COVID-19, ERISA, workplace disputes (bullying, abusive conduct, preferential treatment) post-investigative disputes, pre-litigation, and post-verdict/ appellate matters. Kristin also mediates business and contractual, disability access (Unruh), statutory housing, personal injury, healthcare and medical malpractice, sexual assault, and emotionally charged/ high impact matters. She has mediated single plaintiff matters with small private companies to complex multi-party matters with Fortune 100 companies.
Kristin is a native of San Diego and lives in Poway with her husband, two daughters, and two dogs. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, paddle boarding and boating at their lake house, coaching youth soccer, and snowboarding. Kristin has lived abroad in Madrid, Spain, and has traveled extensively throughout Europe.
"Kristin Rizzo was a natural choice for our employment law dispute. With her experience on both sides of the aisle, she brought unique insight, knowledge, and practical considerations to help facilitate a settlement where the parties had been at a standstill for over a year. She was prepared on the facts and the law, empathetic to my client, and went the extra mile to ensure her mediator’s proposal addressed potential issues with the settlement terms and payment. She’s a wonderful addition to Judicate West."
- Partner at a Prominent San Diego Employment Law Firm
"Kristin understood the core issues of the case and was able to quickly find the gaps the parties needed to overcome in order to come to a resolution. She carefully listened to our arguments, identified weaknesses in our case, and conveyed our strengths to the other side in a manner that made the client and myself satisfied with the ultimate outcome. "
- Management Side Employment Litigator from one of Orange County’s Largest Law Firms
"Kristin Rizzo is a great addition to your panel of mediators!"
- Partner at a Prestigious Orange County Law FIrm
"Kristin went above and beyond in working with three different defendants, each in a different situation, toward a global settlement. When that wasn't in the cards at that particular time, she pivoted effectively and accomplished what she could in a wise way. She did a great job of quickly learning the relevant facts and being knowledgeable about the law in a way that made settlement possible. I look forward to working with her again and soon."
- Employment and Business Litigation Partner
• Successfully mediated breach of contract claims involving commissions, severance, and other contractual and business disputes.
• Commission claim asserted by a top-level executive of a national company.
• Pregnancy discrimination dispute involving alleged emotional distress and breach of oral contract.
• Dispute involving the breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.
• Successfully mediated various types of constructive discharge claims stemming from harassment, hostile work environment, discrimination, and retaliation matters.
• Successfully mediated a wide range of disability discrimination claims involving various and medical conditions (including physical and mental disabilities, cancer, alcoholism, HIV) and failure to provide reasonable accommodation and to interact in good faith.
• Disability/ medical condition claim involving alleged failure to accommodate remote work request, lack of good faith interactive process, and failure to pay earned commissions.
• Disability discrimination claim involving alleged failure to accommodate and lack of good faith interactive process during COVID-19 lay-offs.
• Successfully mediated a wide variety of discrimination matters on the basis of age, race, color, sex/ gender, pregnancy/ childbirth/breastfeeding, gender identity/ gender expression, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, national orientation, disability, medical condition, from single plaintiff to multi-plaintiff and multi-defendant matters involving complex settlements.
• Pregnancy discrimination dispute involving wrongful termination allegation and work performance defense.
• Multi-defendant gender and sexual orientation harassment and discrimination claim involving alleged intentional infliction of emotional distress.
• Sexual orientation discrimination dispute involving a mutually beneficial joint session with an exchange of perspectives, discussion of impact, and clarity of intentions.
• Disputes involving retirement and health plans under Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).
FAMILY LEAVE ACT
• Successfully mediated various types of leave of absence and accommodation matters involving the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), and other federal and state leave laws.
• Discrimination and retaliation claim alleging denial of CFRA leave and termination for asserting leave rights.
• Disputes between employees and school districts regarding accommodation.
• Successfully mediated various types of hostile work environment/harassment matters on the basis of age, race, color, sex/ gender, gender identity/ gender expression, sexual orientation, religion, and disability.
• National origin harassment, discrimination, and retaliation claim involving alleged high-impact language.
• Hostile environment claims alleging sexual orientation harassment against straight and LQBTQ supervisors.
• Successfully mediated a wide range of Labor Code violation claims, including minimum wage and overtime, off-the-clock-time, business expense reimbursement, meal period and rest break, wage statement, and waiting time claims involving small (private companies) to large (national) corporations.
• Successfully mediated a wide-range of Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) disputes, including minimum wage and overtime, off-the-clock-time, business expense reimbursement, meal period and rest break, wage statement, and waiting time claims involving small (private companies) to large (national) corporations.
• Successfully mediated various types of pregnancy discrimination matters, often including other claims.
• Pregnancy discrimination and denial of safe work environment claim alleged during COVID-19 pandemic.
• Pregnancy discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claim against public entity involving limited term (contractual) employment.
• Successfully mediated a wide variety of retaliation matters, including FEHA retaliation and whistleblower retaliation.
• Retaliation dispute involving disability-related accommodation and termination claim.
• Retaliation dispute involving reasonable accommodation request, failure to accommodate, and job suspension, resulting in a settlement with job restoration and grant of requested accommodation.
• Successfully mediated a wide variety of sexual harassment matters, from single plaintiff to multi-plaintiff and multi-defendant matters involving complex settlements.
• Multi-plaintiff sexual harassment dispute involving alleged retaliation claims post-reporting.
• Multi-defendant sexual harassment dispute involving allegations of CFRA interference and retaliation and a workplace investigation.
• Sexual orientation harassment and discrimination claim by a bisexual plaintiff against a national company.
• Sexual harassment and sexual assault claim against public entity involving a mutually beneficial joint session with a discussion of impact and significant settlement.
WAGE AND HOUR
• Successfully mediated a wide range of wage and hour claims, including misclassification, minimum wage and overtime, off-the-clock-time, business expense reimbursement, meal period and rest break, wage statement, and waiting time claims involving small (private companies) to large (national) corporations.
WAGE AND HOUR CLASS ACTION
• Successfully mediated a wide range of wage-and-hour class action disputes, including misclassification, minimum wage and overtime, off-the-clock-time, business expense reimbursement, meal period and rest break, unfair competition (Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200), wage statement, and waiting time claims involving small (private companies) to large (national) corporations.
WHISTLEBLOWER WRONGFUL TERMINATION
• Successfully mediated a wide variety of whistleblower retaliation matters.
• Whistleblower retaliation dispute involving wrongful termination claim after questioning the availability and requirement to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE).
• Whistleblower retaliation dispute involving wrongful termination claim after reporting alleged product defects to management.
• Internal workplace disputes, including matters involving alleged bullying, abusive conduct, preferential treatment, and post-investigative disputes between co-workers and/or supervisor and subordinates at every level.
• Co-worker dispute involving the inability to work together at a large institution, yielding an exchange of apologies and written memorandum of understanding for moving forward together productively.
• Successfully mediated a wide range of wrongful termination claims.
• Wrongful termination dispute involving allegations of pregnancy and gender discrimination claims, progressive discipline, and workplace performance issues.
• Successfully mediated various types of COVID-19 claims, including but not limited to disability discrimination and/or medical condition discrimination during the pandemic, failure to accommodate remote work requests related to COVID-19, failure to provide PPE and/or reimbursement of expenses related to PPE during the pandemic, failure to accommodate religious beliefs related to the COVID vaccine, and wrongful termination/ pandemic lay-offs.
• Religious discrimination claim by an executive against a national company involving alleged failure to accommodate sincerely held religious belief as exemption to COVID-vaccine mandate.
• Successfully mediated various types of business dissolution, breach of contract, and disability access (Unruh) matters.
• Unruh Civil Rights action alleging failure to accommodate disability by a nation-wide store.
REAL ESTATE/STATUTORY HOUSING
• Successfully mediated various types of statutory housing matters involving alleged discrimination/retaliation on the basis of age, race, color, sex/ gender, gender identity/ gender expression, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, national orientation, disability, citizenship, marital status/ familial status, and source of income.
• Residential habitability and disability discrimination dispute involving multiple parties and insurance issues.
• Race discrimination dispute between landlord and tenant involving high impact language yielding a monetary settlement and a significant apology.
• Age discrimination dispute between landlord and tenant.
PERSONAL INJURY/SEXUAL ASSAULT
• Successfully mediated various personal injury matters, including sexual assault/ sexual battery disputes.
• Sexual assault and battery claim against a male superior and company by a female subordinate regarding the inappropriate touching of her breasts and other body parts.
• Successfully mediated various types of employment, labor, and contract disputes involving physicians and other medical and healthcare professionals and providers.
• Disputes involving allegations of a physician, nursing, and hospital negligence.
• Disputes between physicians and medical providers regarding disciplinary proceedings.
• Disputes between healthcare professionals, employers, and/or medical groups regarding accommodation.
Full-time Neutral, Judicate West (2022-Present)
Mediator, West Coast Resolution Group (2019-2022)
Mediator and Workplace Investigator, Rizzo Resolution (2019-2022)
Founding Attorney, Rizzo Law; representing individuals and companies in harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination, wage and hour, PAGA and class action, separation, severance, and contract matters (2011-2018)
Mediator, Civil Court Mediator Panel for the San Diego Superior Court (2019-2021)
Mediator, Small Claims Mediator Panel for the San Diego Superior Court (2018-2019)
Mediator, Paid and Pro Bono Panel for the State of California, Department of Fair Employment and Housing, San Diego and Los Angeles (2018-2022)
Mediator, Pro Bono Panel for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, San Diego (2018-2019)
Litigation Attorney, Higgs, Fletcher & Mack; Specializing in General Civil Litigation with an emphasis on Personal Injury, Medical Negligence, and Employment Defense (2008-2011)
Litigation Attorney, Hosey & Bahrambeygui; Specializing in General Civil Litigation with an emphasis on Plaintiff Personal Injury and Employment (2006-2008)
Education & Professional Affiliations
J.D., University of San Diego, School of Law (2006)
B.A., University of California, San Diego; Political Science and Spanish Literature, Cum Laude (2001)
Pepperdine University School of Law, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution,
Mediating the Litigated Case and Advanced Mediation Training (2017; 2021)
National Conflict Resolution Center, Mediation Skills Training (2012)
University of San Diego School of Law, Part-time Adjunct Professor (2022-Present)
City of San Diego Human Relations Commission, Commissioner and Chair (2020-Present)
Lawyers Club of San Diego, Mediator Taskforce Co-Chair (2020-Present)
San Diego County Bar Association; President (2018); Treasurer (2015), Labor & Employment Section Chair (2012), New Lawyer Division President (2010)
University of San Diego, School of Law, Board of Visitors Trustee, Past Alumni Board Director, and Executive Committee Member (2012-Present)
Achievements & Awards
Author, speaker, and presenter on a variety of topics, including mediation techniques, online dispute resolution, employment law, and current legal issues
Super Lawyers, Alternative Dispute Resolution, San Diego (2020, 2021, 2022)
Super Lawyers, Employment Attorney, San Diego (2019)
San Diego Metro, 40 Under 40 (2018)
San Diego County Bar Foundation, Service Award (2018)
Super Lawyers, Employment Attorney Rising Star, San Diego (2015 – 2018)
Daily Transcript, Top Employment Law Attorney, San Diego (2013)
Red Boudreau Trial Lawyers Judge David R. Thompson Recognition (2012)
University of San Diego, School of Law, Distinguished Recent Alumni (2011)
Daily Transcript, Top Employment Law Young Attorney, San Diego (2009, 2011)
Avvo, Super Rated Attorney, Highest Rating, 10.0
All types of Employment disputes including Labor Law, PAGA, and Wage and Hour Class Action