Michelle is a full-time mediator, handling business, insurance, personal injury, and all aspects of employment including ADA employment/access cases, FMLA/CFRA, ERISA, prevailing wage, labor code issues, PAGA, wage and hour class actions, and more. She received an "AV" rating and "Premier" status from the Martindale-Hubbell Directory of Lawyers. Michelle is a member of ABOTA, a fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, and a Distinguished Fellow of the International Academy of Mediators (IAM).
She is a past President of the Orange County Bar Association (OCBA), past Chair of the California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA), and past Chair and lawyer representative (two terms) of the Central District Delegation to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference. She is a frequent author and speaker on employment, litigation, ADR issues, and on life balance. Michelle is a co-author of the book, “Women Who Empower”, and the author of an upcoming book on balance. She has also received many honors including “Top Gun Trial Lawyer of the Year”, and Orange County Trial Lawyers, in both Employment and Business Litigation. She has also been recognized as one of The Daily Journal’s "Top 100 Most Influential Lawyers in California", "Top Female Litigators", “Top Labor and Employment Lawyers”, as well as one of “California’s Top 50 Neutrals”. She has been named as one of California’s “Super Lawyers,” 2004-2022, and was inducted into the Western State University College of Law Hall of Fame.
Hobbies & Interests
Ms. Reinglass enjoys running, hiking, weightlifting, skiing, theater, reading, traveling and watching movies in her spare time.
"I think you did a very good job with the mediation. This was a difficult case with challenging facts and a "very" disagreeable opposing counsel. You were able to connect with my client on a personal level which I know he appreciated. My client and I were thankful that the case was resolved."
- Attorney on an Employment/Discrimination Dispute
"Michelle has a unique understanding of the issues presented and is very easy to work with."
- Attorney on an Employment Misclassification Dispute
"Michelle always builds great rapport with the clients and takes the time to fully hear them."
- Attorney on a Personal Injury Sexual Assault Dispute
"We all thought Michelle was terrific. Every case is different and has its own nuances, but this one required a good deal of EQ on [her] part, and [she] came through. [She] made my clients feel safe and understood, and at the end we think [her] perspective was helpful for them going forward and facilitated their putting this behind them to the extent possible. "
- Attorney on a Personal Injury Sexual Assault Matter
"Our experience with [her] as the mediator was superb and my client was very satisfied with this mediation and the result therefrom. We felt very positive about your guidance into the settlement of our case."
- Attorney on an Employment Sexual Harassment Dispute
"Understood the legal issues completely. Helped our client understand the legal process + risks."
- Attorney on a Civil Rights Dispute
"Michelle Reinglass did an amazing job mediating our recent employment case. Even though this was not a huge, high-dollar case - she was attentive, detailed, and helped work through every point to ensure that the matter settled for a result that both sides were comfortable with. Our client was appreciative of Ms. Reinglass's hard work and the important role that she played in helping her resolve her case."
- Attorney on an Employment Wrongful Termination/Discrimination Dispute
"We are happy with the outcome obtained at mediation with Michelle."
- Attorney on an Employment Wrongful Termination Matter
- Full Time Mediator (2010-Present)
- Full Time Arbitrator (2010-2015)
- Trial Attorney, Law Offices of Michelle A. Reinglass, Specialized in all areas of Employment, Civil, and Business litigation (1979-2010)
- Part Time Mediator and Arbitrator (2001-2010)
- Instructor, Professional Responsibility, Western State College of Law (1991)
Education & Professional Affiliations
- J.D., Western State University College of Law (1979)
- B.S.L , Western State University (1978)
- Distinguished Fellow, International Academy of Mediators (2013-Present)
- College of Labor & Employment Lawyers, Fellow (2006-Present)
- California Employment Lawyers Association Board Member (1998-2009); Chair (2005-2007)
- American Board of Trial Advocates, Orange County Chapter, Member (1997-Present)
- Orange County Bar Association (1979-Present); Member of Board, Member (1983-94); President (1993)
- Orange County Trial Lawyers Association, Former Board Member, Member (1987-Present)
- Federal Bar Association, Orange County Chapter, Member for over 20 years
- Association of Business Trial Lawyers, Orange County Chapter Member for over 20 years, Former Board Member,
- State Bar of California, Member
- Los Angeles County Bar Association, Member
- Southern California Mediation Association, Member
- Judicial Council's Committee on Access and Fairness,Committee Member
- Federal Court Civil Justice Reform Act Advisory Committee, Committee Member
- Federal Court Magistrate Judge Evaluation Committee, Committee Member and Chair
- California Association of Large Local Bar (CALB) and Chair of Bench Bar Coalition, Past President
- 9th Circuit Judicial Conference, C.D. Cal., Past Lawyer Representative (2 terms) and Chair (1994-1995),
- Michelle was appointed by a U.S. Senate member to serve as Chairperson of the Judicial Advisory Committee for the Federal courts, and appointed by the Governor of California to serve as Chairperson of the Judicial Advisory Committee for Orange County Superior Court.
Achievements & Awards
- Ms. Reinglass was named by Los Angeles Magazine as one of California's "Super Lawyers", 2013-2015, in the field of Alternative Dispute Resolution.
- Michelle has received many honors and much recognition including admission to ABOTA, and in 2006 was inducted as a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.
- She was inducted into the Western State University College of Law, Hall of Fame in 1993.
- She received the Anti-Defamation League "ADL" Jurisprudence Award, 1997
- She has been named Business Trial Lawyer of the Year, Orange County Trial Lawyers Association, October 1995, "Lawyer of the Year", Orange County Women Lawyers, 1996, and "Employment Trial Lawyer of the Year", Orange County Trial Lawyers, 2004.
- She received the "Women of Achievement" Award from the American Association of University Women ("AAUW"), 2005
- She was recognized by The Daily Journal as one of the "Top 100 Most Influential Lawyers in California" in 2001, one of the "Top Female Litigators" in 2002-2005 and 2009, one of the "Top Labor and Employment Lawyers", 2009-2010, as well as one of California's Top 50 Neutrals, 2012-2013.
- Michelle has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America®, since 2001, including being named the Best Lawyers® 2020 Mediation “Lawyer of the Year”, the Best Lawyers® 2019 Arbitration “Lawyer of the Year”, as well as the Best Lawyers® 2012, 2016, and 2018 Employment Law - Individuals “Lawyer of the Year”, in Orange County, California.
- She has been named as one of Southern California's "Super Lawyers", 2004-2022, including top 100 lawyers in Southern California, top 50 Women Lawyers and top 50 from Orange County.
- All types of disputes related to Employment Law, including but not limited to Sexual, Racial and other forms of Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation, Wage and Hour, Wrongful Termination, ERISA, Prevailing Wage
- Class Actions
- Breach of Contract
- Housing Discrimination
- Civil Rights
- UNRUH Act
- Serious injury matters with high emotional content
- Real Estate and Business Commercial Disputes, including non-compete and unfair business practices.
Representative Case Information
Recent Representative Cases
- Employment case brought by very short term employee, with allegations of disability discrimination, Failure to engage in the interactive process, failure to provide reasonable accommodations and Wrongful termination in violation of public policy.
- Settled Disability & Wrongful termination case involving employee on lengthy medical leave of absence. Raised legal issues relating to what is reasonable accommodation in lengthy leaves.
- Settled complex Employment Property Manager case involving disability discrimination, retaliation, and wage & hour claims, plus handling of lease benefits.
- Buyers of a manufacturing business claimed misrepresentations in disclosures at time of sale, and withheld information. Pre litigation settlement, resulted in deal for seller to buy back the business, including compensation for additional manufacturing eqpt.
Breach of Contract
- Business & employment: Breach of contract; employment contract; Wage & Hour; and related business claims.
- Settled complex and emotional case involving allegations of public employer breach of contract, Employment mis-classification & retirement pay.
- Settled a complex, multi-faceted dispute between religious congregants.
- Settled Employment Disability (FTE, FTA) case that pitted Company hardship against Employee medical needs. The employer accommodated the absences, then terminated the employee. A "Needs against Needs against Laws" human dynamic case.
- Case against Federal Government agency involving Disability claims (under Federal Rehabilitation Act), ADA. Unique because of the laws and legal exceptions.
- 10-year employee alleged disability discrimination when terminated upon return to work following surgery/medical leave. Employer accused Plaintiff of altering time records, which Plaintiff disputes, and alleges off the clock time.
- Multi-party, joint employer/employment discrimination case. Disparate financial status of each defendant with facts disputed, credibility issues, and strong emotions. Mediation went until early hours of the night before settling.
- Employment claims of Race, Disability, Gender Discrimination and Retaliation, Equal Pay Act claims plus Wrongful Termination, brought by African American woman.
- Employment disability and race/ethnicity discrimination claims plus wrongful termination claims.
- Complex employment disability discrimination case with failure to engage in interactive process and failure to provide reasonable accommodations claims to long term employee injured on the job. Entailed analysis of ability to perform essential functions of jobs and employer's obligations when dealing with union employees and seniority rights.
- Woman claiming gender discrimination due to lack of facilities for women in an industrial worksite.
- Employment case involving disability discrimination, plus failure to engage in the interactive process and failure to accommodate, and wrongful termination case involving long term employee who took a medical leave of absence.
- Employment Contract involving sports athlete with issues of wrongful termination, contract breach, business, discrimination, fraud.
- Settled employment case involving long term employee's claims of discrimination, harassment based on age and gender, plus 1102.5 retaliation for testimony given.
- Settled 3 Plaintiffs' cases over two days of mediation. Allegations of race discrimination, retaliation and wrongful termination. Very challenging facts, emotions, lengthy negotiations.
- Settled challenging employment race discrimination case involving termination of long term employee who previously complained about discrimination and retaliation. Termination hotly contested.
- Race Discrimination claims brought by a long term employee against a public entity. A complex dispute with multiple investigations and high emotions.
- Employment race/origin discrimination and harassment, constructive discharge, and wage and hour allegations. Boundary issues regarding friendship and employment relationship led to problems.
- Settled a challenging employment sex/race harassment/discrimination matter involving a constructive discharge case with mixed friendship and employment relationships; included wage & hour allegations.
- Settled challenging Associational Discrimination case, with limited case law and its varied interpretations, plus sensitive subject matter.
- Settled a challenging sexual orientation case with highly disputed facts, some complaints documented, and a termination. High emotions on both sides.
- Settled challenging sexual & gender orientation/identity discrimination case.
- Settled a challenging and very emotional case involving claims of sexual orientation discrimination, harassment & retaliation, and wrongful termination.
- Complex, multi-year employment litigation involving failure to promote of law enforcement officers, allegations of discrimination; pension/retirement issues. Settled after multiple mediation sessions.
- Wage and hour violations in an individual, putative class, and PAGA case with allegations of misclassification. Company got releases from many of the employees but not all of them. Numerous legal issues raised.
- Settled W&H individual and PAGA case for small group of members.
- Mediated challenging Retaliation/Labor Code 1102.5 case with Gender Discrimination and Wrongful termination claims. The work location was remote with limited access, creating its own issues, plus going through COVID challenges.
- Settled challenging and emotional male/male Sex Orientation Discrimination and Harassment case.
- Settled a Disability Discrimination case with allegations of Failure to Engage in IAP and Reasonably Accommodate. Differing interpretations of restrictions, not being allowed to work, and a claim of Constructive Termination were also involved. This case demonstrated challenges in decisions about what restrictions can be worked through vs. prevent work.
- Challenging sexual assault and battery, sexual harassment allegations against Doctor by employee assistant. Numerous disputes of legal issues and arguments, credibility contest and cultural issues.
- Multiple plaintiff case involving same sex harassment, delving into legal issues analyzing "horseplay" and harassment.
- Employment Sexual Harassment and retaliation claims by an employee against a manager in a restaurant/bar.
- Multi-plaintiff sexual harassment & retaliation case with high emotions.
- Caretaker alleged sexual assault and harassment, wage and hour labor violations, and wrongful termination, in case where every single fact was disputed.
- Settled Pre-litigation Employment Sexual Harassment case including allegations of wage and hour violations and constructive discharge.
- Settled employment same-sex workplace hostile work environment, sexual harassment and failure to prevent claims.
- Settled difficult multi-faceted and multi-cultural employment case; Sexual harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, plus wage and hour claims; also fraud counter claims.
- Settled a pre-lit employment case involving sexual harassment, retaliation, disability and wage and hour claims.
- Settled Employment sexual harassment claims brought by employee against manager.
- Mediated a highly emotional and challenging employment sexual harassment/constructive discharge case with a Plaintiff in Pro Per
- Settled a unique sexual harassment case with allegations that the harasser was a guest of the employer, and the employer failed to protect employee.
- Settled challenging multi-party Employment sexual harassment & termination case involving media talent.
- Settled a complex multi-issue, multi-party sexual harassment, retaliation and wrongful termination case that was close to trial. Highly emotional, with legal and financial issues involved.
- Settled a complex multi-issue, multi-party Sexual Harassment, Retaliation, and Wrongful Termination case with text evidence, but also emotions and legal & financial issues.
- Settled challenging employment case involving claims of Gender Pay inequity, Sexual Harassment, Violation of Lactation rights in the workplace, & Fraud.
- Settled "male on male" sexual harassment case with additional claims of Labor Code 1102.5 whistleblower retaliation allegations.
Wage and Hour
- Multi- Plaintiff case - women raised gender bias and retaliation claims arising out of dress/grooming policy, and also W&H claims that they were denied meal and rest breaks. Company strongly denied and cited to legal precedent for their policy.
- Residential live-in housekeeping employee brought Wage & Hour claims (factually disputed) involving unpaid overtime, minimum wage violations, missed meal and rest breaks, and related penalties, plus wrongful termination.
- Case settled in mediation after 13+ hours. A multi-party joint employer (employment Wage & Hour) case involving 24-hour residential caretaker, with complex issues, unique facts, and high emotions.
- A multi-plaintiff employment case involving whistle blowing regarding high profile issues with a financial business. Case was previously mediated by a different mediator.
- Settled challenging multi-plaintiff Caretaker Wage & Hour case involving residential care employees, w/ Labor Code violations on one hand, and challenging financial situation on the other hand. Emotions very high, negotiations intense with many unique obstacles to overcome.
- Settled Employment Wage & Hour case with challenging emotional issues between family members.
- Settled a pre-litigation employment wrongful termination/retaliation/wage & hour dispute.
- Settled emotional employment wage and hour claims for multiple plaintiffs who were long-term employees.
- Settled a highly emotional employment case, with a residence as the workplace. Alleged Wage and hour, hostile work environment, and defamation claims were involved.
Wage and Hour Class Action
- Putative Class action (Wage & Hour) with over 500 employees. Allegations of violations regarding meal and rest breaks; failure to pay wages; wage statements; 203 penalties; off the clock work, and more.
- Settled individual portion of a PAGA/Class action, where insolvency was involved.
- Settled a challenging, years-pending Wage and Hour Class Action & PAGA case after the third mediation session, through professionalism, communication, and perseverance from all involved.
Whistleblower Wrongful Term
- Whistleblower retaliation and wrongful termination claims under Labor Code Section 1102.5. A teacher was terminated from a nonprofit special school after reporting what was believed to be illegal activity.
- Whistleblower, Labor Code 1102.5 wrongful term/retaliation claims from an employee of over 3 years.
Wrongful Term & Discrimination
- 3 sides including a nurse vs. a medical company which terminated her, allegedly on pretextual grounds, and a doctor alleged to have made discriminatory race/origin comments, plus allegations of retaliation for her complaint about discriminatory racial/origin comments with counter accusations against each other. Additionally, a regulatory agency complaint was filed involving medical licenses. This was a case with a complaint and cross complaint against several different companies. Highly emotional matter.
- Employment disability discrimination (failure to engage in interactive process; failure to accommodate) and wrongful constructive termination case involving a veterinarian.
- Employment disability discrimination and wrongful termination case involving employee with serious medical diagnosis, yet terminated for alleged performance issues.
- Mediated case involving plaintiff's claims of sexual orientation discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, plus failure to prevent, wage & hour.
- Settled complex and emotional case involving termination of Company's long term Founder. Allegations of age discrimination, wrongful termination against public policy, and retaliation.
- Joint Employer (staffing agency and assigned employer) case. Complex issues regarding each "employer's" legal obligations. Mediated between the plaintiff and defendants, as well as among the defendants. Have mediated many such cases.
- Case with multiple plaintiffs with disparate claims including wage and hour, wrongful termination & constructive term, plus FEHA claims.
- Employment Contract Breach and Wrongful Termination case. Nuanced disagreements over pay obligations and termination grounds.
- Settled pre-lit Employment whistleblower retaliation, Wrongful Termination and FEHA disability discrimination case.
- Settled unusual employment case involving very short-term employee claiming Wrongful termination and disability discrimination and related subclaims.
- Settled Employment sex harassment case heavy on texts and emails, and strongly disputed legal liability.
- Settled challenging multi-plaintiff case with claims of age discrimination, retaliation, Wrongful termination, violation of statutory leaves (CFRA/FMLA), etc. Included Bankruptcy proceedings.
- Settled emotional (both sides) Employment Whistleblower/retaliation case with allegations of constructive wrongful termination
- Settled challenging, emotionally charged case with health care professionals suing each other, claims of breach of contract, and wrongful employment termination.
- After two mediation sessions, settled a complex 1102.5 retaliation case against a public entity. There were challenging facts with allegations against each other.
- Employment/Workplace Safety allegations during early COVID, Retaliation/1102.5 claims from Plaintiff's complaints, and Wrongful termination.
- Settled challenging multi-party product liability case with subrogation claims, disputes over liability and offsets.
Breach Of Contract
- Mediated highly emotional real property/landlord-tenant action involving damage, wrongful eviction, negligence, & intentional tort allegations.
- Mediated an emotionally charged Real Property case including a personal injury claim stemming from mold. The plaintiff was the defendant's tenant.
- Settled an emotional, hotly disputed 2-party residential property damage claims among neighbors.
- Residential property damage claim between neighbors, involving allegations of damage by water. This was an emotional and contentious dispute over causation and coverage.
- Settled a highly emotional complex, multi-party, multi-carrier case with allegations of defamation, intentional and negligent tort claims, included breach of contract, and numerous employment issues.
- Catastrophic personal injury case where a brain injury was suffered on a construction site. Liability was acknowledged, but disputes over the extent of damage arose.
- Personal Injury, car/truck accident with disputed injuries and treatment.
- Non-standard personal injury case with additional new and rare medical conditions alleged, years after accident. Complex matter with multiple doctors, hundreds of medical reports and documents.
- Personal Injury/Truck vs Car multi-party Auto accident, Catastrophic injuries; Insurance and Subrogation issues
PI Sexual Molestation
- Allegations of sexual assault of customer at an international luxury hotel by an employee.
- Sexual assault by a transportation company of a young woman passenger.
- Part of several sexual assault cases involving passengers in vehicles.
- Mediation of several separate cases involving sexual assault on a passenger.
- Serious injury case resulting in a broken femur and hip, with intramedullary rod fixation after being knocked down by a heavy door in a food establishment.