Cheryl D. Orr is an elected managing partner of the firm, regional partner in charge of the firm's San Francisco office and chair of the firm’s national Labor and Employment Practice Group. Cheryl concentrates her practice on defending employers nationwide against complex wage and hour class, collective, and representative actions arising in industries including retail, health care, education, insurance, finance, and manufacturing. She also has a long history of resolving wrongful termination, unfair competition and discrimination cases through a winning motion practice. In addition to litigation, she provides a full range of employment law counseling, audit and training services.
Cheryl is often quoted in the media on employment law issues. She is a frequent writer and lecturer on employment law topics and regularly chairs the American Conference Institute's national wage and hour class action conference. Chambers USA consistently ranks Cheryl as one of the top employment lawyers in California, and the Daily Journal has named her as one of California’s Top Employment Lawyers and Top Women Lawyers. She is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America and a member of the American Employment Law Council.
Cheryl is a recognized national leader in defending multi-party wage and hour actions including state and federal class actions, national Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) collective actions, and California Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) representative actions. Recent representative wage and hour litigation accomplishments include:
- Defeating conditional certification of a national FLSA collective action filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California alleging unpaid overtime for all nonexempt employees of a national furniture retailer and getting claims dismissed against the individual defendants;
- Defeating class certification on California statewide claims brought by employees of a Big Box store merchandiser in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California for unpaid minimum and overtime wages, meal and rest period premiums, and waiting time and wage statement penalties;
- Obtaining complete dismissal of a national FLSA collective action filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California involving "on call" pay and overtime issues for drivers of a national respiratory care company;
- Defeating conditional certification for a major clothing retailer in a national collective action brought pursuant to the FLSA in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida wherein the plaintiff alleged wage and hour violations following the reclassification of her position as an Assistant Department Manager from exempt to nonexempt;
- Convincing a plaintiff to voluntarily dismiss her California statewide putative class and PAGA representative action filed against a chain retailer in Riverside Superior Court and brought on behalf of California nonexempt employees of a chain baby retailer based upon a showing of compliant policies and practices;
- Compelling to arbitration—and ultimately obtaining dismissal with prejudice of all claims—a statewide putative class and representative action brought against a craft store chain in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California that involved meal and rest break, failure to pay wages, inaccurate wage statements, unfair business practices, and PAGA claims;
- Striking all state class action claims and limiting conditional certification of an FLSA collective action to three units of a hospital in a class/collective hybrid action brought by a former nurse against a hospital in Wisconsin state court for meal period and overtime claims;
- Settling (while class certification and summary judgment motions were pending) a statewide putative class action filed in San Mateo Superior Court for nuisance value with the named plaintiffs who alleged multiple wage and hour claims (unpaid regular and overtime wages, noncompliant meal and rest periods, untimely payment of final wages, noncompliant itemized wage statements, unpaid/forfeited vacation, and violation of PAGA) against a pharmaceutical supply company’s call center;
- Obtaining summary judgment in (and complete dismissal of) a state wage and hour class action filed in Orange County Superior Court by hourly drivers against a respiratory care company and involving statutory and contractual overtime claims;
- Limiting conditional certification of a national FLSA collective action (overtime, travel pay, donning and doffing, off-the-clock) brought in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas against an international inventory company to one district and then prevailing on both a decertification and summary judgment motion;
- Resolving a statewide putative independent contractor misclassification class action filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against an international packaging company through an individual settlement and dismissal of class claims; and
- Obtaining complete voluntary dismissal of a state wage and hour putative class action filed in Washington Superior court against an international retailer (alleging violations of state wage and hour laws concerning payment for training) upon demonstration of compliant policies and practices.
Cheryl leads a vibrant general employment litigation and counseling practice. Recent representative engagements include:
- Spearheading both national and state audits, in multiple industries, that focused on employment law compliance generally; wage and hour issues only; or on specific issues, such as the proper classification of exempt employees;
- Conducting numerous high-profile investigations regarding employment and regulatory issues;
- Managing reductions in force for employers of all sizes while avoiding subsequent litigation; and
- Supervising the defense of hundreds of single- and multi-plaintiff litigation matters resolved through favorable early settlements, dispositive motions, arbitration, or trial.
Cheryl’s published opinions date back to early in her career. Representative samples include:
- Veronica Foods Co. v. Ecklin, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101325 (N.D. Cal. June 29, 2017).
- Ohlinger v. Marsh USA, Inc., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46543 (D. Nev. Mar. 29, 2017).
- McEarchen v. Urban Outfitters, Inc., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33335 (E.D. N.Y. Mar. 7, 2017).
- Lopez v. Nextera Energy Operating Services, LLC, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60028 (N.D. Cal. May 5, 2016).
- Jackson v. Kaplan Higher Educ., LLC, 2015 WL 2095206 (E.D. Cal. May 5, 2015) (106 F.Supp.3d 1118).
- Ortiz v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., 2014 WL 4961126 (E.D. Cal. Oct 1, 2014) (52 F.Supp.3d 1070).
- Fardig v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., 2014 WL 2810025 (C.D. Cal. June 13, 2014).
- Combs v. Greenfield, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54622 (N.D. Cal. May 11, 2010).
- Wren v. RGIS Inventory Specialists, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74789 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 24, 2009).
- Gomez v. Lincare, Inc., 173 Cal.App.4th 508 (2009).
- Johnson v. RGIS Inventory Specialists, 554 F. Supp.2d 693 (E.D. Tex. 2007).
Chambers USA, California, Labor & Employment (2015–2019)
Daily Journal “Top California Women Lawyers” (2016–2019)
Daily Journal “California’s Top Employment Lawyers” (2015–2018)
Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America
Awards Methodology (www.drinkerbiddle.com/content/awards)
Cheryl Orr leads the firm's national labor and employment department. She represents clients in discrimination, retaliation, and wrongful termination litigation, as well as wage and hour class and representative PAGA actions. Clients say: ‘She's very responsive, smart, personable and prompt.'
Cheryl Orr is well regarded for her wage and hour expertise and demonstrates deep experience in the field, whilst acting for household name retail clients. Clients praise Orr as ‘methodical in her approach,’ and note that she ‘handles opposing counsel well.’Chambers USA
Labor & Employment, California (2015-2019)
Top Women Lawyers (2016-2019)Daily Journal
- Columbia Law School, J.D., 1988
- University of Minnesota, B.A., 1985, magna cum laude
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California
- U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
- Litigation Counsel of America, Fellow
- American Employment Law Council