Brigham Cheney represents employers in all aspects of labor and employment law, including employee class action lawsuits; traditional labor law; discrimination, harassment, and wrongful termination litigation; breach of contract claims; trade secret matters; and executive employment agreements. His wide range of litigation experience encompasses all phases of law and motion practice, discovery, mediation, arbitration, and trial.
Mr. Cheney has unique experience in wage-and-hour class action law, having successfully tried two such class actions. He has also obtained denials of class certification and dismissals of class and representative claims in numerous complex actions alleging a variety of wage-and-hour claims at both the trial and appellate court levels. In addition, he has obtained victories for his clients in claims under the California Private Attorney General Act and various “living wage” and “worker retention” laws.
Mr. Cheney’s traditional labor practice includes representing employers in collective bargaining negotiations, critical work stoppage scenarios, organization campaigns, cutting-edge employment policy development, grievance arbitrations, contract administration, business transactions, jurisdictional disputes, technology implementation, and litigation of unfair labor practice charges before the National Labor Relations Board.
In connection with his practice, Mr. Cheney has gained extensive experience in the international shipping industry, representing international container shipping lines, marine terminal operators, and major transportation and logistics companies with operations throughout the United States and worldwide. Mr. Cheney’s work has provided him with a multi-layered understanding of his transportation-related clients’ business operations and needs, enabling him to provide counsel on diverse issues involving government regulation, e-commerce, customer and vendor relationships, independent contractor classification, intermodal operations, technology processes and implementation, labor relations, and policy development.
Mr. Cheney also has broad experience representing companies in a variety of other industries, including telecommunications, life sciences, warehousing, food manufacturing and services, insurance, and others.
Honors & Recognitions
Mr. Cheney was selected by Southern California Super Lawyers as a Rising Star in the field of Employment & Labor Law for eight years (2009-2011 and 2013-2017). Rising Stars are exceptional Southern California attorneys who are 40 years old or younger or who have been practicing law for ten years or less. They are selected based on peer evaluations and independent research regarding the attorneys’ professional achievements. Only 2.5 percent of attorneys are recognized as Rising Stars.
- Mr. Cheney represents several of the U.S. West Coast’s largest marine terminals, container shipping lines, and marine container shipping agencies responsible for millions of container moves per year, in commercial and labor matters.
- Represented a leading U.S. West Coast marine terminal operator in a labor relations action brought by a union representing mechanics previously employed at the terminal, obtaining dismissal of the lawsuit and award of costs.
- Lead counsel in collective bargaining negotiations with the ILWU, resulting in favorable long-term contracts to ensure continuity of operations at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
- Won jury and bench trials of wage-and-hour class actions alleging off-the-clock work, failure to pay overtime, and failure to provide meal and rest breaks.
- Won complete defense judgment after a year-long bench trial of a wage-and-hour class action alleging millions of dollars in damages for off-the-clock work and failure to pay overtime.
- Defeated class certification in numerous wage-and-hour class actions alleging exempt misclassification, off-the-clock work, failure to provide meal and rest breaks, paystub violations, and failure to reimburse.
- Successfully defended warehousing and logistics companies in employment-related claims under the Los Angeles Living Wage Ordinance and other wage-and-hour laws
- Negotiated for the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Employers’ Association (formed by 14 of the largest container shipping companies and terminal operators in the world) in its collective bargaining negotiations with the ILWU, resulting in a favorable contract after a seven-day strike that shut down the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
- In March 2017, defeated the National Labor Relations Board’s request for a section 10(j) injunction—an exceedingly rare feat, given that only one other 10(j) injunction request in the country has been denied during the year, while eleven other requests were granted in full or in part.
- Persuaded the National Labor Relations Board to close investigations or dismiss unfair labor practice charges in numerous actions involving shipping, maintenance, and trucking companies.
- Successfully defended employer in discrimination and wrongful termination lawsuit, winning a judgment against the plaintiff on the employer’s counterclaim for nearly $150,000 in damages for violation of California’s Invasion of Privacy Act.
- Obtained complete defense awards in the arbitration of claims alleging discrimination, retaliation, and wrongful termination.
- Obtained favorable mediation and/or settlement of numerous class and individual employment actions alleging wage-and-hour claims, discrimination, harassment, and wrongful termination.
News & Publications
Events & Speaking Engagements
Mr. Cheney speaks regularly to management and human resource groups regarding a variety of employment law topics, including wage and hour compliance, employment discrimination and harassment prevention, health care legislation, disability and accessibility issues, and traditional labor law. He has given presentations at the annual conferences of OC LERA (Orange County Labor and Employment Relations Association) and PIHRA (Professionals in Human Resources Association).
Representative speaking engagements include:
- “Guarding Against Employment Litigation: 10 Facts California Plaintiffs Don’t Want You to Know,” 2017 Professionals in Human Resources Association Legal Update, January 10, 12, and 17, 2017.
- “Guarding Against Employment Litigation: 10 Facts U.S. Plaintiffs Don’t Want You to Know,” 2016 Container Shipping Industry Conference, September 12, 2016.
- “Labor Law in the Union and Non-Union Workplace,” Institute for Applied Management and Learning Certificate in Employee Relations Law, July 12, 2016.
Alerts & Articles
Mr. Cheney has published numerous articles concerning cutting-edge labor and employment law issues, including the May 2017 cover article for the official journal of the State Bar of California Labor and Employment Law Section.
Representative articles and speaking engagements include:
- “Hungry for Clarification: Does the Absence of a Recorded Meal Period Give Rise to a Rebuttable Presumption That the Period Was Not Provided?” California Labor & Employment Law Review: Official Publication of the State Bar of California Labor and Employment Law Section, May 2017
- “California Labor Laws Governing Warehouse Workers Expand,” JOC.com (Journal of Commerce site), March 3, 2017
- “Employers Must Protect Themselves against Supervisor Unionization,” JOC.com (Journal of Commerce site), November 29, 2016
- “New California Law Protects Workers from Indoor Heat Exposure,” Lexology, October 20, 2016
- “Making Sense of Uncertainty in the Wake of Noel Canning,” ABA Labor and Employment Law FLASH, August 2013
- “Are Your Standard Employment Policies Safe from NLRB Scrutiny?,” O.C. Business Journal, March 18, 2013
- “Recent Developments in Traditional Labor Law,” Practicing Law Institute, January 2013
- “Cal-WARN’s Many Pitfalls,” The Recorder, September 12, 2012
- Labor & Employment Law Blog, 10.24.2019
- Labor Relations Law Blog, 03.16.2018
- Labor Relations Law Blog, 05.10.2016
Community & Professional
Mr. Cheney has done a great deal of pro bono work. He represented the Hailey Mayz Foundation, a nonprofit pediatric therapy clinic, for employment-related legal issues. He has also worked on adoption and guardianship cases through the Public Law Center, an Orange County organization that provides pro bono legal services to low-income and vulnerable residents. In addition, he has assisted numerous small businesses with various employment law transactions on a pro bono basis, with a particular focus on businesses operated by immigrant and first-generation American owners.
He is a member of the following organizations:
- American Bar Association, Labor & Employment Law Section, Practice and Procedures under the NLRA
- Orange County Labor and Employment Relations Association
- Orange County Bar Association, Labor and Employment Division
- J. Reuben Clark Law Society, Orange County Chapter