Apalla U. Chopra
is Chair of O’Melveny’s Labor and Employment Practice and a partner in the Firm’s Los Angeles office. She specializes in litigating complex multi-plaintiff and class action discrimination and wage and hour cases. Her experience is broad as she has represented clients in cases regarding employee allegations of invasion of privacy, wrongful discharge, and discrimination based on age, race, sex, national origin, physical handicap, and related matters. Apalla also has represented clients in traditional labor matters under the National Labor Relations Act and Educational Employment Relations Act, and has experience negotiating collective bargaining agreements and executive employment contracts. She has appeared in state and federal courts in the civil and criminal context, as well as before various administrative agencies.
Apalla’s industry experience is likewise broad, as she has represented companies in the biotechnology, manufacturing, utility, health, retail, hospitality, private and public schools, and entertainment sectors.
Apalla has represented both employers and amici in many significant trial court and appellate cases, including Chindarah v. Pick Up Stix, Inc.
, 171 Cal. App. 4th 796 (2009); Alch v. Superior Court
, 122 Cal. App. 4th 339 (2004); Wynn v. NBC
, 234 F. Supp. 2d 1067 (C.D. Cal. 2002); and Fanaka v. Warner Bros.
, 2000 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19078 (2000).
Apalla has repeatedly been recognized by Chambers USA
, and the Daily Journal
as a top woman lawyer and defense-side labor and employment law practitioner. She also has been recognized as “Rainmaker” by Diversity & the Bar
and in “Women Worth Watching” by Diversity Journal.
Illustrative Professional Experience
- Performed an investigation on behalf of the board of trustees for a private college into the misreporting of admissions statistics; aided the College in addressing the employment issues emanating from the investigation, and strategically managing communications to the press, the College’s internal and external community, third-party private rating institutions as well as the College’s government regulators
- Represented one of the largest, private, for-profit universities in North America in a number of cases, including a class action alleging class room facilitators were improperly classified as independent contractors. Secured complete dismissal of the class action through negotiation and settled Plaintiff’s individual claim on favorable terms
- Representing a full-service real estate management and investment firm in two putative wage and hour class action complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court alleging failure to pay minimum wage and overtime wages
- Representing an electric utility in a wage and hour class action brought by a temporary employee assigned to the utility company seeking to represent all nonexempt employees in California and alleging violations of minimum wage, overtime, meal periods, rest breaks, pay stub and waiting time rules
- Representing a leading provider of digital television entertainment in statewide putative class action challenging pay practices under California Labor Code Section 212 as well as a violation of California Business & Professions Code § 17200
- Representing a leading provider of digital television entertainment in a statewide putative class action challenging pay practices for satellite installation technicians
- Representing a major global lodging company in a state court class action seeking recovery for alleged violation of a LA City service charge ordinance, as well as violation of California Business & Professions Code § 17200
- Represented a major global lodging company in federal court in statewide class action challenging exempt status of chefs and seeking recovery for alleged unpaid overtime, lost meal and break periods, improper pay stubs, as well as a violation of California Business & Professions Code § 17200
- Represented a leading content and social media company in conducting a wage and hour audit
- Represented a major Hollywood motion picture and television studio in a class action race discrimination lawsuit brought by an African American director; successfully moved to dismiss lawsuit
- Represented a major Hollywood studio and network in a class action age discrimination claim brought by television writers; successfully moved to dismiss lawsuit multiple times
- Represented a public school district in successfully resolving a discrimination complaint filed against the District by a parent under Title VI. The US Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR), found no violation. Assisted the District in complying with OCR’s training and informational requirements. Provide the District with day-to-day labor and employment counseling on various matters
- Represented a public school district in a putative class action filed on behalf of a class of all students attending the District, claiming they were charged fees for curricular programs in violation of the California Constitution; the action was settled pre-class certification
- Represented a public school district in a high-profile, multi-plaintiff federal lawsuit alleging peer-to-peer racial harassment
- Representing an international entertainment/media company in nationwide labor relations strategy as well as labor disputes before the National Labor Relations Board
- Represented Los Angeles area public district hospital in union negotiations, unfair labor practice charges, and other labor and employment matters
Judicial Extern, Honorable Charles Legge, US District Court, Northern District of California
Admitted to Practice, US District Court, Central, Northern, and Southern Districts of California
Member, American Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section; American Employment Law Counsel; California Bar Association; California Employment Law Counsel; Institute for Corporate Counsel, Board of Governors (President 2008, Secretary 2007)
Honors, Selected by the Daily Journal as a Top Woman Lawyer (2012, 2013); ranked by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (2011, 2012); ranked by Legal500 (2011, 2012); selected by the Daily Journal as a leading (defense-side) Employment Attorney (2010, 2011, 2012); recognized by The Best Lawyers in America for her Labor and Employment work (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013); named a “Super Lawyer” in a survey conducted by Law & Politics Media Inc. and published in Los Angeles magazine (2004-2013); recognized as "Women Worth Watching" by Diversity Journal (2011); Recognized as a "Rainmaker" by Diversity & the Bar (2011); Ranked by PLC's Which Lawyer? (2011); selected as one of California’s leading lawyers in the area of Management Labor & Employment by Who’s Who Legal (2008)
Recent Speaking Engagements/Papers, "7th Annual Section of Labor and Employment Law Conference" (ABA, June 2013); “Cutting Edge Class Action Defense Tactics” (California Employment Law Council Annual Meeting, November 2012); "Emerging Issues in Pattern and Class Actions" (Practising Law Institute, September 2012); “Company & Employee Use of Social Media: Using Social Media to Your Advantage While Maintaining Privacy and Protection,” (ACI ’s 12th National Privacy & Security of Consumer and Employee Information Conference, July 2012); “Company & Employee Usage of Social Media” (ACI’s 11th Annual Legal and Compliance Forum on Privacy & Security of Consumer and Employee Information, February 2012); “Precedents and Predictions: A Review of 2011's Significant Labor and Employment Law Developments and What to Expect in 2012” (O'Melveny Seminar, January 2012); “Non-Exempt Employee Compensation: Traps For The Unwary”, (Bloomberg Labor & Employment Reports, December 2011); “Class Action Litigation and Arbitration After Wal-Mart v. Dukes and AT&T v. Concepcion,” (California Employment Law Update 2011, November 2011); “California Employment Law Update 2011” (PLI, November 2011); “13th National Wage & Hour Conference” (ACI, September 2011); “Strategic Issues Related to Employee Exemption Review,” (Bloomberg Labor & Employment Reports, August 2011); “Navigating the New Federal Regulations under the Americans with Disabilities Act” (O'Melveny Seminar, June 2011); “Getting Choosy: How to find (and Be) the Right Neutral for the Job” (Los Angeles County Bar Association's 30th Annual Labor and Employment Law Symposium, March 2010); “Regular Rate, Donning & Doffing and Audits: Missing the Basics Can Cost Dearly” (38th Annual Institute on Employment Law, Practising Law Institute, October 2009); “Strategically Managing Your Workforce—Adjusting to Changes on Wall Street and in Washington” (California Employment Law Council Conference, June 2009; “Employment Law in a New Business Era” (Los Angeles County Bar Association, Corporate Law Roundtable, March 2009); Four-part O'Melveny & Myers Labor and Employment Seminar (January and February 2009); “Tips and Tactics for Responding to Threatened or Suspected Employee Theft of Trade Secrets,” (O’Melveny Seminar, May 2009); “Ethical Issues in Class Action and Other Settlement Negotiations” (LACBA’s 29th Annual Labor and Employment Law Symposium, March 2009); Master of Ceremonies (Institute for Corporate Counsel, December 2008); “Applicant Screening: Legal Issues and Practical Solutions to Vetting Applicants in the Brave New World of Google, Facebook, and You Tube” (American Employment Law Council Conference, October 2008); “The Viability of Non-Compete Clauses Post Edwards v. Arthur Andersen LLP” (California Employment Law Council Conference, September 2008); “How to Conduct Internal Investigations: Lessons Learned From Recent Corporate Scandals” (California Employment Law Council Conference, June 2007); “Recent Developments in California and Federal Employment Law” (Los Angeles County Bar Association Symposium, March 2007)