Jennifer Palagi

Jennifer Palagi Associate

Jennifer provides representation and counsel to LCW clients in all matters pertaining to employment and labor law with a focus on state and federal wage and hour issues.  Jennifer is a seasoned litigator and has experience in all phases of litigation, from the pleading stage through trial. Her experience involves representing employers in a broad range of disputes involving harassment and discrimination of all types, retaliation, wage and hour claims, the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) class actions, interactive process and reasonable accommodation, and wrongful termination. Jennifer’s successes include achieving summary judgment in numerous cases and defending the decisions on appeal, as well as and decertifying collective actions.

Jennifer vigorously defends her clients in state and federal court as well as administrative agencies, including the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, the federal Department of Labor and Cal/OSHA, among others.

Jennifer is passionate about all aspects of labor and employment law. In addition to litigation, she provides her clients with extensive preventative services, such as advice and counsel, state and federal wage and hour audit services, and management and employee trainings.  Jennifer has provided trainings on numerous employment law issues, including disability and the interactive process, the Fair Labor Standards Act, generational diversity and succession planning, leaves, harassment, discrimination and retaliation. Jennifer also counsels employers on establishing, developing and implementing effective employment policies and practices that help enhance employee relations and minimize the risk of costly lawsuits. 


Jennifer was selected as a Southern California Super Lawyers' Rising Star in 2010.


Deputy Sheriff v. Sheriff's Department (2017) - Deputy Sheriff was terminated based on findings that he did not have the authorization to order and purchase firearms on behalf of certain deputies, utilize the Department logo to create firearm purchase forms and made false statements during the criminal and internal affairs investigations. The Deputy claimed it was reasonable for him to fill out the sham purchase forms for the deputies since they expressed interest or affirmatively told him they wanted to order the guns.  The Civil Service Commission and eventually the trial court rejected the former Deputy’s arguments and upheld the termination.

Employee v. Water District (2017) – The Hearing Officer found that the District’s discipline was appropriate in light of the credible evidence presented by the District at the hearing regarding the supervisor’s repeated and intolerable outbursts with other employees, and further found the employee’s testimony was not credible. The Board eventually upheld the suspension.

Deputy Sheriff v. Sheriff's Department (2015) – Successfully prosecuted the termination of a deputy sheriff who engaged in off-duty conduct with a civilian that violated the Department’s Rules of Professional Conduct and several Department Policies.  The former deputy claimed that he was acting in self-defense when he pulled a gun on a civilian.  The Deputy Civil Service Commission rejected the former Deputy's arguments and upheld the termination.


Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, et al.  v. County of Los Angeles (2018) -  A Sergeant employed by the Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Department worked as a correctional officer.  After a Department administrative investigation into an inmates complaint, and subsequent criminal investigation, the District Attorney’s Office brought criminal misdemeanor charges against the Sergeant alleging cruel punishment or impairing the health of an inmate.  The Department issued the Sergeant notice of its intent to suspend him without pay (consistent with applicable civil service rules), and notified him of his right to respond to the charges.  The Department ultimately imposed the suspension and notified the Sergeant of its decision and his right to request a post-suspension hearing to challenge the decision.  The Sergeant requested and was granted a hearing, but requested that the hearing be held in abeyance until the conclusion of the criminal case.

The Sergeant then filed a petition in state court claiming that the Department violated his due process rights when it failed to provide him with an evidentiary hearing prior to suspending him.  The Department asserted that its pre-suspension Skelly meeting provided the Sergeant with sufficient process and he was not entitled to an evidentiary hearing prior to being suspended.  The trial and appellate courts agreed with the Department.  

Heath v. City of Desert Hot Springs, et al (2013) - Plaintiff, a police officer, brought suit to recover for alleged retaliation arising from her reporting of alleged excessive use of force by fellow police officers.  The United States Central District Court granted defendants' motion to dismiss in its entirety, with prejudice as to the first two claims – the 42 U.S.C. § 1983/First Amendment free speech claims  – and without prejudice as to five remaining state court claims.

Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, et al. v. County of Los Angeles, et al. (2012) - Handled a Fair Labor Standards Act collective/class action case where the U.S. District Court granted a County law enforcement employer's summary judgment motion. The lawsuit involved the "donning and doffing" claims of approximately 3,000 deputy sheriffs in two different, yet consolidated, collective action lawsuits filed against the County and its Sheriff (collectively "the County"). The district court also granted the County's motion to decertify the remaining "off-the-clock" work claims. The district court's rulings effectively ended two large collective/class action lawsuits after several years of litigation.

Jan 29, 2021

Recent California Supreme Court Decision in the Independent Contractor Classification Saga Holds that Dynamex Applies Retroactively

On April 30, 2018, the California Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in the matter of Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles (2018) 4 Cal.5th 903. The California Supreme Court reinterpreted and significantly altered the test for determining whether workers in California were properly classified as independent contractors for the purposes of the wage orders adopted by California’s Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC). The Court established a new test, often referred to as the “ABC” test, which was codified in AB 5 (effective January 1, 2020). 

Jul 8, 2020

The Department Of Labor Issues Final Rule Regarding Joint Employer Status Under The FLSA

The United Stated Department of Labor has issued a final rule updating its regulations regarding joint employer status under the FLSA.  This bulletin will discuss the final rule and how it could affect whether an employee who works for you could be considered an employee who works for joint employers.  This bulletin will also provide you with specific examples of employees who are considered employees of joint employers and those who are not.

Jun 23, 2020

FFCRA Forces Public Agencies to Comply with FLSA ‘Regular Rate of Pay’ Calculations

Partner Elizabeth Tom Arce and Associate Jennifer Palagi authored the Daily Journal article, "FFCRA Forces Public Agencies to Comply with FLSA ‘Regular Rate of Pay’ Calculations," discussing how the Families First Coronavirus Act requires employers to evaluate how they calculate the "regular rate of pay."

Jun 4, 2020

Virus Leave Poses Pay Calculation Issues For Public Agencies

Partner Elizabeth Tom Arce and Associate Jennifer Palagi authored the Law360 article, "Virus Leave Poses Pay Calculation Issues For Public Agencies," discussing how public agencies can properly calculate rate of pay under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Read the full article here

Sep 30, 2019

The Long-Awaited FLSA Salary Basis Update Is Finally Here – Everything California Private Schools Need to Know!

On September 24, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced a final rule modifying the weekly salary and annual compensation threshold levels for white collar exemptions to FLSA overtime requirements. The final rule will become effective on January 1, 2020.  The new FLSA regulations will not have any impact on the overtime-exempt status of teachers at private schools, and/or other overtime exempt positions such as administrators, deans, and managers.  This is because pursuant to California law, private schools already need to pay twice the state’s minimum wage to satisfy the requirements for overtime-exempt status, which is greater than the new FLSA salary threshold.  Thus, while private schools in other states will benefit from the new DOL regulations, private schools in California will not see any benefit or impact from those regulations.

Jan 24, 2019

Now is The Time to Consider an FLSA Audit!

A number of developments – the 2016 decision in Flores v. City of San Gabriel on the intersection of wage and hour law and employer health plans and the U.S. Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) increased scrutiny of employers’ FLSA practices as of several years ago – continue together to provide a resounding “wake-up call” to employers.  It is important to assure FLSA compliance this year.

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