Employment laws are complex, notoriously friendly to employees, and challenging for businesses to navigate in full compliance. Michele Collender has a successful record vigorously defending private entities in a spectrum of industries from allegations of discrimination, harassment, wrongful and constructive termination, and wage & hour violations. Ms. Collender is also adept in handling class actions and representative actions under the Private Attorneys General Act. When your business receives an unexpected and unwarranted lawsuit, Ms. Collender will provide the best defense and advocacy.

The first step to minimizing risk for any business is to implement compliant written policies & procedures, proper classification of workers, and well-drafted agreements with reliable legal advice and counsel. Ms. Collender advises clients and provides practical business solutions in all of aspects of employment law from hiring to management. Establishing and integrating best operational practices with the proper guidance reduces the risk of costly litigation and bolsters strong defenses when problems arise.

Representative Matters

  • Secured a $1.9 million dollar judgment for plaintiff in shareholder and breach of fiduciary duty action.
  • Defense judgment on all fourteen causes of action and request for punitive damages in a highly contested pregnancy discrimination and wrongful termination lawsuit with a multi-million dollar settlement demand; established plaintiff did not suffer a disability and abandoned her job after failing to return from her leave of absence. Prevailed on the plaintiff’s subsequent motion for a new trial.
  • Defense judgment on plaintiff’s claims of disability discrimination, failure to reasonably accommodate and failure to engage in the interactive process for major metropolitan transportation agency; established that plaintiff failed to establish she could return to work with restrictions.
  • Leveraged a persuasive motion for summary judgment on plaintiff’s race discrimination and wrongful termination case to pressure settlement; reduced plaintiff’s demand from $1.5 million dollars before filing to plaintiff accepting $150,000 offer after filing.
  • Defense judgment on plaintiff’s misclassification claim wherein plaintiff alleged over $200,000.00 in unpaid wages, unpaid overtime, meal and rest period premiums, wage statement violations, and reimbursement of business expenses.
  • Defense verdict for property owner accused of fraud and intentional misrepresentation in transfer of residential real estate.

Practice Areas

News & Publications


Coauthor, “California Shifts Courier Wage Claim Evaluations to the ABC Test,” Courier Magazine (August 2018).

Community Involvement

Community & Professional

  • American Red Cross, Long Beach Chapter, Board Member
  • Long Beach Chamber of Commerce, Young Professionals, Former Founding Board Member
  • Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Orange County Bar Associations, Member


J.D., University of California, Hastings College of the Law
B.A., University of California, Berkeley


  • 2011, California
    U.S. District Court, Central District of California
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