Mr. Morris is a well-known employment lawyer. He has been selected repeatedly for inclusion in the prestigious publication Best Lawyers in America in labor and employment categories. He has also been chosen for many years as a Southern California “Super Lawyer” for employment and labor law.
Mr. Morris has extensive employment and labor law litigation experience, including state and federal court defense of cases alleging wrongful termination, sexual harassment, individual and class action employment discrimination, class action wage-hour violations, and unfair competition claims, as well as work in the “traditional” labor law areas of unfair labor practice charges, union organizing campaigns, collective bargaining negotiations and arbitrations.
Having specialized throughout his career in representing management in all facets of labor and employment law, Mr. Morris has represented a wide variety of public companies and privately-held clients in many different employment sectors, including retailing, manufacturing, hospitality, entertainment, construction, service industry, real estate, technology, transportation (airline, trucking and shipping) and higher education.
In addition to the litigation component of his practice, Mr. Morris also counsels employers on employee discipline matters, internal investigations, government agency investigations, personnel policies, employment and separation agreements, workforce restructuring, wage-hour issues, and unfair competition matters related to employment. Mr. Morris has also represented senior executives of large companies in connection with employment contract negotiations and change of control rights in corporate acquisitions.
Mr. Morris is the senior partner in the Employment and Labor Law Department at Rutan & Tucker, and previously served as Chair of the Department for seven years. He also has served on the Firm’s Executive Committee.
Mr. Morris graduated magna cum laude and with Class Honors from Duke University in 1974, and received his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 1977, where he was a staff member and editor of the American Criminal Law Review. He grew up in South Carolina and practiced with a large firm in Dallas before relocating to Orange County in 1983.
Mr. Morris is a member of the State Bars of California and Texas (inactive), and the American and Orange County Bar Associations. Mr. Morris also is admitted to practice in a number of federal courts around the country. He is a past Chairperson of the Orange County Bar Association Labor & Employment Law Section, and has written and lectured on a broad range of employment law topics.
Area of Expertise
- Employment and Labor Law (Litigation and Counseling)
Recent Representative Matters:
- Lead counsel in successfully defending wage-hour class action lawsuit. Class claims dismissed by court order (no settlement paid); class representative plaintiff’s claims dismissed with prejudice (no settlement paid).
- Lead counsel in obtaining employer’s dismissal of class action wage-hour lawsuit after negotiating individual settlements with most putative class members; class representative plaintiff’s claims dismissed with prejudice on eve of trial for partial reimbursement of $6500 of court costs (no payment to plaintiff; no confidentiality).
- Lead counsel in obtaining dismissal of individual plaintiff’s California Family Rights Act and disability discrimination lawsuit for $1,500 settlement (no confidentiality).
- Lead counsel in successfully directing representation of employer through union organizing campaign and election. Employer won election by 2-to-1 margin, defeated related unfair labor practice charges, and successfully challenged ballots cast by ineligible voters.
- Lead counsel in obtaining court-approved dismissal of wage-hour class action claims (no settlement), and court-approved settlement with putative class representative for less than $10,000.
- Lead counsel in matter brought by our employer client against three former executives and their new employers for misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of fiduciary duties, breach of contract, interference with contract, and multiple other claims. The defendants paid our client $5,000,000 in a pre-trial settlement and consented to additional injunctive relief.
- Lead counsel for employer in class action arbitration brought by union on behalf of over 200 employees terminated in connection with having furnished invalid social security numbers to employer. The arbitrator granted our client’s motion to dismiss the arbitration due to the union having failed to process the underlying grievance properly. The union petitioned in federal court to vacate the arbitration award, but the court upheld the arbitration award, resulting in complete victory for our client.
- Lead counsel in defense of gender discrimination and wage-hour lawsuit brought against our employer client, along with a senior executive and a third party. We successfully brought a motion to compel arbitration. Case alleged gender stereotyping, public policy-based wrongful termination, and misclassification as an exempt employee. Following a lengthy arbitration, the arbitrator issued a detailed written opinion finding in favor of our client on all claims. (The individual defendants also had won pre-trial dismissals of the claims against them.)
- Lead counsel in successful resolution of statewide wage-hour class action against our national retailer client. Claims were brought by former cleaning service workers, who alleged joint employer liability against our client, two other national retailers, and the workers’ direct employer, which had gone bankrupt.
- Lead counsel in defeating attempt by New York theatrical unions to organize performers at client’s entertainment industry facility in the Meadowlands, N.J. area. Client won union election and prevailed in published NLRB decision rejecting unions’ election objections. Medieval Knights LLC, 350 NLRB No. 17, 182 LRRM 1139 (2007).
- "2013 Roundtable Series - Labor & Employment," California Lawyer Publication, October 2013
- "2012 Roundtable Series - Labor & Employment," California Lawyer Publication, October 2012
- Published articles on labor law and civil rights issues for the American Bar Association and the Texas Bar Association, and has lectured on a variety of employment law issues for the California CEB (Continuing Education of the Bar), the Orange County Bar Association, client management and personnel officials, and other employers and trade associations.