Mario Ortega is a seasoned litigator with over a decade of experience defending employers in state and federal courts throughout California. Mario’s practice focuses on wage-and-hour class and representative actions, and single-plaintiff matters alleging claims for discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and disability accommodation and interactive process violations. He has handled cases from inception through appeal, and has a proven track record in the employment law arena, having secured numerous victories for his clients at the pleadings, class certification, and summary judgment stages.
Prior to joining GBG, Mario was an associate in the employment law department of Paul Hastings LLP. He received his J.D. from New York University School of Law, where he served as an editor for the NYU Journal of Law and Business.
- New York University School of Law, J.D., 2010
- California State University Fullerton, B.A., Political Science, 2006, magna cum laude
Key Practice Experience
- Defense of wage-and-hour class actions and representative actions under the California Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA).
- Defense of single-plaintiff actions alleging claims for discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and disability accommodation and interactive process violations.
- Investigation and defense of administrative charges, including proceedings before the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) and U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
- Advising employers on matters relating to disability accommodations, leaves of absence, and attendance procedures.
- Life Sciences / Biotechnology
- Advised clients on a variety of questions relating to state and federal anti-discrimination and disability accommodation laws, including compliance issues regarding leaves of absence, attendance, and disability accommodation procedures.
- Wage-and-hour audits, including exemption misclassification audits.
- Coordinated communications and training following reclassification of employees and implementation of updated wage-and-hour policies.
- Numerous summary judgment wins for clients in a variety of industries, including banking, insurance, and food processing companies.
- Secured summary judgment in a high stakes breach of contract and tortious interference action filed by a client’s former president.
- Secured complete dismissals of administrative charges filed with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) and U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
- Coordinated a declaration gathering campaign and successfully opposed a motion for class certification, defeating plaintiffs’ bid to certify a statewide class of store managers in an overtime exemption misclassification action.
- Prevailed in a motion for judgment on the pleadings resulting in dismissal of plaintiffs’ representative claims for civil penalties under the California Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA).
- Prevailed in an appeal before the Ninth Circuit and secured a published decision announcing a new evidentiary standard for evaluating removals under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA).
- Obtained favorable rulings on a variety of other motions and oppositions, including motions to compel arbitration, an opposition to a plaintiff’s motion to remand a wage-and-hour class action from federal court to state court, an opposition to a motion for leave to intervene filed by settlement objectors in a putative wage-and-hour class action, and an opposition to a plaintiff’s motion to quash a client’s subpoenas.