Michele Haydel Gehrke Photo

Michele focuses her practice on labor and employment matters on behalf of management, and takes time to understand the client’s objectives and crafts employment counseling, litigation or traditional labor legal strategies that align to the desired outcome. She has successfully defended employers in numerous single-plaintiff and class-action cases involving allegations of harassment, retaliation, and discrimination under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and similar federal laws, as well as wage and hour and California Labor Code violations in both state and federal courts, as well as administrative agencies. She also defends clients against allegations of whistleblower retaliation, trade secret misappropriation, and breach of contract violations.


  • University of California, Hastings College of the Law, 2001, J.D., cum laude, Order of the Coif;  Thurston Honor Society
  • University of California, Los Angeles, 1998, B.A., cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society

  • California

  • U.S. Court of Appeals - Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals - Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court - Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court - Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court - Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court - Southern District of California
  • U.S. District Court - District of Colorado
  • N.D. Illinois
  • U.S. District Court - Southern District of Texas

  • American Bar Association, Labor and Employment Section;  Railway Labor Act Committee (2018-2024 Contributing Editor); Developing Labor Law (2017 and 2018 Contributing Editor); Practice & Procedure under the NLRA 
  • Bar Association of San Francisco, Labor and Employment Law Section 
  • State Bar of California, Labor and Employment Law Section 
  • Vice Chair and Member of the Labor Relations Advisory Committee of labor law professionals

Premios y reconocimientos

  • Selected through peer review for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© for Employment Law - Management, 2022-2024
  • Ranked in Chambers USA for California Labor & Employment, 2020-2023
  • Named by the National Law Journal in 2019 to its inaugural “Employment Law Trailblazers” list 
  • Named by the Daily Journal as one of California’s Top Labor & Employment Lawyers for 2018-2023
  • Selected as one of the Daily Journal’s 2017 Top Women Lawyers in California
  • Recognized as a Top Labor & Employment Litigator - Benchmark Litigation, Labor and Employment Edition, 2018-2023
  • Recognized as a Labor and Employment Star - Benchmark Litigation, 2022 
  • Recognized as a Top Litigator - Benchmark Litigation, 2017
  • Recognized as a “Top Litigator Under 40” - Benchmark Litigation, 2016-2017

In the News

  • 4 January 2021 “Top Employee Handbook Updates for 2021” Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) 
  • 14 May 2020 "Lawyers Predict Fight as Employers End Hazard Pay" The Daily Journal
  • 10 July 2019 “Daily Journal Names Michele Haydel Gehrke a ‘2019 Top Labor & Employment Lawyer’” The Daily Journal 
  • 10 April 2019 “New state law could raise burden for employers, attorneys say” The Daily Journal
  • 2 April 2019 “Can Employees Decline FMLA Leave While Using Paid Time Off?” Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
  • March 2019 “Balancing BYOD: risks and rewards” Financier Worldwide
  • 31 December 2018 “#MeToo Rules Among 2019 Issues for Calif. Employers” Bloomberg Law
  • 13 August 2018 “High Court’s OK of Class Action Waivers Spur New Plaintiff Tactics” The Daily Journal 
  • 9 August 2018 “Social Media Screening of Potential Hires Can Cause Employers Even More Problems," The Daily Journal
  • 20 July 2018 “Bill Forbidding Use of Prior Pay to Justify Wage Gaps Signed into Law,” The Daily Journal 
  • 24 May 2018 “What Does High Court’s Arbitration Ruling Mean for California?,” Society for Human Resource Management: State & Local Updates
  • 21 May 2018 “High court upholds class action waivers,” The Daily Journal
  • 21 May 2018 “5 Takeaways From Employers' Win On Class Waivers,” Law360, Vin Gurrieri
  • 21 May 2018 “Supreme Court OKs Arbitration Agreements Waiving Employees' Right to Join a Class Action,” Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
  • 13 February 2018 “Airports Offer New Frontier in Union Fights,” Bloomberg Law
  • 8 August 2017 “Breast-Feeding Moms Get Support from San Francisco Ordinance,” Society for Human Resource Management: State & Local Updates