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Katessa M. Charles

Principal
Los Angeles

P 213-337-3836 F 213-689-0430
Katessa.Charles@jacksonlewis.com

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Katessa M. Charles

Biography

Katessa M. Charles is a Principal in the Los Angeles, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. Her practice focuses on representing employers in workplace law matters, including preventive advice and counseling.

Ms. Charles is a legal strategist, problem solver, and committed advocate. Ms. Charles resolves commercial and employment disputes, including unfair competition, trade secret, contract, privacy, discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims. She defends corporate clients against claims brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Family Medical Leave Act, California Fair Employment and Housing Act, California Wage Orders, and other related federal and state statutes and regulations. She has experience in a broad range of industries from manufacturing to entertainment, and has arbitration and jury trial experience in state and federal courts.

Ms. Charles counsels employers in all areas of employment law, including state and federal wage and hour, employee compensation, privacy, employee leaves of absence and performance, employment and service agreements, outside salespersons, independent contractors, unfair competition, and trade secret issues. Ms. Charles represents employers in administrative proceedings, including responding to charges filed with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, California Labor Commissioner, and U.S. Department of Labor.

Ms. Charles assists employers with reducing their workforces, developing personnel handbooks, and training supervisory employees on the prevention of sexual harassment.

Ms. Charles also speaks on a multitude of employment and management related topics, including hiring and firing, leaves of absence, disability accommodation, personnel policies, discrimination laws, trade secrets, unfair business practices and privacy in the workplace.

Trials to Verdict

  • Melissa Ignat v. Yum! Brands, Inc. (Case No. 30-2008-00114748), Orange County Superior Court, 2015 [Lead Attorney/Defense Verdict]
  • Anthony Jackson v. Metal Improvement Co. (Case No. CV12-1755) MWF (CWx), United States District Court, Central District, 2013 [Second Chair/ Defense Verdict on the wrongful termination, race discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing to FAA; Plaintiff’s verdict on whistle blowing to OSHA.  Total award to Plaintiff was $85,000 for back wages.  No award punitive damages and attorney fees]

Professional Associations and Activities

  • American Bar Association, Presidential Advisory Council on Diversity in the Profession (2004-2007)
  • Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, Past President
  • John M. Langston Bar Association
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association, Finance Committee (2007-2009), Trustee (2003-2005)
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section, Mock Trial Participant at Third Annual Trial Skills Academy (2016)
  • Los Angeles County Bar Foundation, Counsel for Justice, President (2007-2008)
  • State Bar of California, California Litigation Review, Editor in Chief (1999)
  • State Bar of California, Executive Committee, Litigation Section (1997-2000)
  • Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, Board of Directors (1996-1998)

Honors and Recognitions

  • Jenesse Center, Inc., Champion of Justice Award (2013)
  • LA Focus Newspaper, Top Black Attorneys (2011)
  • Los Angeles Business Journal, Most Influential Women Lawyers in Los Angeles (2017)
  • Los Angeles Daily Journal, California’s Top Women Lawyers (2018)
  • Public Counsel Pro Bono Award (2012)
  • Super Lawyers, Southern California Employment and Labor (2004 - present)
  • Super Lawyers, Top Women Attorneys in Southern California (2019)

Pro Bono and Community Involvement

  • Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (Life Member; Board of Directors, International Parliamentarian, 2010-2014) First Greek-lettered sorority established and incorporated by African-American college women
  • Crystal Stairs, Inc. (Board of Directors, 2011 to present) Childcare services and advocacy program for low-income families in the communities of South Los Angeles, Compton, Gardena, Hawthorne, Inglewood and Long Beach
  • Jenesse Center, Inc. (Legal Advisory Board, 2007-2013) Domestic violence intervention program located in South Central Los Angeles providing resources and advocacy for victims of domestic violence
  • Member, The Links, Incorporated (2013 to present)

Published Works

  •  “An Overview of New Laws Affecting California Employees,” Bloomberg BNA, (February 2014) [Author]

Speeches

  • “20/20 Vision–A Look Ahead to 2020 and the Top Challenges for In-House Counsel,” Corporate Labor and Employment Counsel Exclusive (New Orleans, LA, November 2019) (presenter)
  • “Powerful Women in the Courtroom,” Los Angeles Daily Journal, Women Leadership in Law Panel Discussion (Beverly Hills, CA, May 2019) (panelist)
  • “Women in the Courtroom,” Los Angeles Daily Journal, Women in Leadership Forum Panel Discussion (Beverly Hills, CA, May 2018) (panelist)
  • You’ve Got a Deal! Perspectives on Successful Negotiation & Mediation Strategies,” Black Women Lawyers Annual Retreat, (La Jolla, CA, June 2016) (panelist)

Upcoming Katessa M. Charles Events

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