Michelle was admitted to the California Bar in June, 1979. She is a full time mediator following a 30-year litigation career, 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 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 and ADR issues. Michelle has also received many honors including “Top Gun Trial Lawyer of the Year”, Orange County Trial Lawyers, in both Employment and Business Litigation. She has also been recognized as one of The Daily Journal "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,” 2004-2019, and was inducted into the Western State University College of Law Hall of Fame.
Your mediation services in this case were invaluable. One of the primary factors that I believe made you so effective with this case is that you thoroughly familiarized yourself with the facts and law related to this litigation. Your attention to detail challenged both parties to explore the strengths and weaknesses of our respective cases. You prepared myself and my client to take a sober, honest look at the situation. You consistently exemplify qualities that are the most important in any mediation, with this mediation being no different. You exhibited integrity, genuine interest in a fair resolution based upon the actual situation, and an ability to earn the trust of my client during the mediation and the following months. You are a very valuable gift the both the plaintiff's and the defense bar as a mediator, and you facilitated my client finding a practical and emotional resolution to this litigation. Thank you.
- Attorney on an Employment Sexual Harassment Dispute
It was a pleasure working with Michelle. I was very pleased with the way she handled my client.
Most times the mediators are very accusatory towards the defendants, which makes them angry
and defensive, however Michelle treated my client with respect and care.
- Attorney, Long Beach, CA
This was the second difficult case that we brought to you this year, and again we want to thank you for your continued efforts to get this matter resolved. I know you worked late on a Friday at the mediation, and then managed phone calls the following Friday night to get the matter resolved. We felt like you went above and beyond in that case, working on the matter after the mediation session. With the other case, you went so far beyond the mediation that we will never be able to thank you enough. Knowing the structure of your mediation week, I cannot imagine how you found the time to continue on the case. But we are grateful for your tenacity to stick with us and get this extremely difficult case resolved.
- Attorney on an Employment Wrongful Termination/Discrimination 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
I appreciate all her help in getting our matter resolved. I truly believe that both parties are better off. We really appreciated her diligence, flexibility and patience with us! She had a tough job and we have nothing but good things to say about her performance as our mediator.
- Attorney on a Personal Injury Assault & Battery Matter
Michelle was great at making my client at ease which helped open the door to understanding the downside of our case. She was
also tenacious in getting a settlement and when her mediator’s proposal failed she dived into the problem and saved the settlement.
- Attorney on an Employment Wrongful Termination Dispute
Ms. Reinglass was particularly helpful by calculating damages and presenting to opponent. I believe that helped close the deal.
- Attorney on an Employment/Discrimination/Wage & Hour Dispute
Michelle was very respectful in working with our clients.
- Attorney on a Warranty of Habitability Matter
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)
Fellow, College of Labor & Employment Lawyers, (2006-Present)
Board Member, California Employment Lawyers Association (1998-2009, Chair 2005-07)
Member, American Board of Trial Advocates, Orange County Chapter (1997-Present)
Member, Orange County Bar Association (1979-Present); Member of Board (1983-94), President (1993)
Member, Orange County Trial Lawyers (1987-Present)
Member, Federal Bar Association, Orange County Chapter (member for over 20 years)
Member, former board member, Association of Business Trial Lawyers, Orange County Chapter (member for over 20 years)
Member, State Bar of California
Member, Los Angeles County Bar Association
Member, Southern California Mediation Association
Committee Member, Judicial Council's Committee on Access and Fairness
Committee Member, Federal Court Civil Justice Reform Act Advisory Committee
Committee Member and Chair, Federal Court Magistrate Judge Evaluation Committee
Past President, California Association of Large Local Bar (CALB) and Chair of Bench Bar Coalition
Past Lawyer Representative (2 terms) and Chair (1994-1995), 9th Circuit Judicial Conference, C.D. Cal.
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.
She has been named as one of Southern California's "Super Lawyers", 2004-2019, 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
Breach of Contract
Serious injury matters with high emotional content
Real Estate and Business Commercial Disputes, including non-compete and unfair business practices.
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.
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.
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.
EWT and 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.