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 persistence and patience was extraordinary, particularly in the face of some difficult personalities (me included). I've already sung your praises in that regard to some of my colleagues here, and I will be glad to keep you in mind for future cases. Thanks again!"
- Attorney on an Employment Wrongful Termination Dispute
"It was a pleasure working with you. You were very knowledgeable in employment laws and had a unique and effective approach. You did not give up and were persistent until you got the case settled. you gained our client's trust quickly and established a positive rapport with her. We look forward to working with you again."
- Attorney on an Employment Wrongful Termination Dispute
"You clearly had not only read the position statements, but had absorbed them. It certainly served you well in dealing with our client and having them understand finding the fault lines of a case is often a murky business. I particularly appreciated the patience and empathy shown with the regional executives who attented the mediation with me. "
- Attorney on a Whistleblower 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
"I really appreciate your hard work on this case. Speculation: I think your expertise and excellent reputation in the trial lawyer community was a driving force in the other room to get them to compromise. Personal Knowledge: Your compassion for the humans involved and analysis of the legal issues made a difference in getting to a compromised resolution. Thanks again. Great work!"
- Attorney on an Employment Wage & Hour Dispute
"I thought Michelle did a great job on this case. The settlement in this case was fair. I thought she did a great job establishing trust and rapport with my client, which,
of course, is very important. I think the most important things in any case are knowing the relevant facts and law, and clearly and simply articulating to the parties the
strengths and weaknesses of their case; that's what I try to do in communicating with my client before a mediation, and she does that very well."
- Attorney on an Employment Sexual Harassment 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
"Determined creative ways to bring the parties closer together, ultimately ending in a settlement."
- Attorney on an Employment Discrimination 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.
Settled complex and emotional case involving allegations of public employer breach of contract, Employment mis-classification & retirement pay.
Case against Federal Government agency involving Disability claims (under Federal Rehabitation 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.