The Regional Solicitor's Office for the Western Region litigates and provides legal support for the U.S. Department of Labor for civil matters arising in the following states and territories:
- America Samoa
- Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
The Regional Solicitor's Office for the Western Region is San Francisco employs approximately 40 attorneys and 8 legal support staff, along with its branch offices.
- Los Angeles, California
- Seattle, Washington
What We Do
The Regional Solicitor's Office for the Western Region:
- Recommends and prosecutes litigation in U.S. District Court and before federal administrative tribunals;
- Supports and assists various DOL enforcement agencies with development of strategic enforcement cases; and
- Prepares legal interpretations and opinions.
While SOL attorneys in the Western Region may be called upon to handle cases arising out of any of the Department of Labor's program areas, nearly half of the work of the region arises from the investigations conducted by the Wage and Hour Division. The region also has a strong focus of litigation supporting the work of the Employee Benefits Security Administration and litigation of discrimination cases arising from investigations conducted by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.
Litigation in the Western frequently concerns violations suffered upon immigrant and/or diverse workforces and often impacts workers in various service industries or in the agricultural sector. In recent years, the Western region has secured impactfull precedents to violations of law suffered by workers in a wide variety or fissured industries.
- Litigation Targeting Retaliation, Intimidation and Wage Theft
- Perez v. I2A: In this enforcement action brought against this Silicon Valley manufacturer, the Secretary secured an injunction barring the shipment of goods in interstate commerce due to repeated underpayment and nonpayment of the federal minimum wage. After the employer refused to comply with several orders of the Court, the employer was ordered [i2A: 40. Order Granting Incarceration.pdf] to surrender to custody if he did not purge himself of civil contempt by making full payment of $56,000 in wages due. Local media coverage of the Secretary's litigation can be found here.
- Perez v. Lake Alhambra: The Secretary secured critical success in this injunction and wage collection action brought to protect low-wage workers at a Bay area nursing home who faced extreme intimidation, threats, and retaliation for speaking to DOL wage and hour investigators regarding the systemic underpayment and nonpayment of wages. The District Court issued a series of ever more restrictive injunctions and ultimately barred the sale of the nursing home until the employer complied with its wage obligations to its workforce. The preliminary injunction and subsequent contempt order of the Court can be found here.
- Perez v. Shippers Transport: In this precedent-setting litigation brought to seek redress for the misclassification of port drivers as independent contractors, the Solicitor's office secured through fierce and contested litigation a consent judgment reclassifying all Shippers' port drivers statewide as employees and securing back wages and liquidated damages for the wage theft suffered by the port drivers through such misclassification. The ground-breaking consent judgment, the first judgment finding port drivers to be employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act, can be found here. [Shippers: Shippers Transport - Dkt146 Consent Judgment and Order.pdf]
- Perez v. NCCI: In this litigation brought to secure redress for the nationwide misclassification of couriers as independent contractors, the Solicitor's office secured, by filing an early injunction to prevent retaliation and secure subpoena enforcement, a consent judgment reclassifying all NCCI couriers as employees and paying $5 million in back wages and liquidated damages owed to the misclassified couriers. The consent judgment secured can be found here. [Robbins-Order.pdf] This judgment was precedent-setting in many ways, including that the judgment held both a trustee and trust counsel liable for violating ERISA because of the termination and suspension of Ms. Robbins and her coworkers' who supported her actions. Media coverage of this ground breaking litigation can be found here.
- [City National: Summary Judgment Order.pdf]. The broad impact of this decision was covered by the Los Angeles Times.
- Litigation Protecting the Safety and Health of Workers and OSHA Whistleblowers
- Perez v. U.S. Postal Services: In this action brought to seek redress for a decade of retaliation and discrimination suffered upon a safety specialist by the U.S. Postal Service because he complained about the unsafe work conditions impacting not himself, but a coworker, the Secretary secured, after a full trial conducted by the Solicitor's office in the Western Region, a damages award of $230,000 for the whistleblower and sweeping injunctive relief protecting whistleblowers in the future. The Department's press release regarding this important vindication of OSHA whistleblowers can be found here: https://www.osha.gov/news/newsreleases/whistleblower/. Media coverage of this critical litigation win across the Pacific Northwest can be found here:
- Perez v. Science Applications Intl. Corp: In this litigation brought to secure redress for the death of a sea lion trainer participating in a nighttime dive for the Navy's marine mammal program, the Secretary secured a decision finding that the program had violated OSHA's "general duty clause." The court ruled that the sea lion training program was rendered impermissibly unsafe by failing to provide divers with a designated watcher to limit the drowning danger inherent in nighttime diving. Local media coverage of the fatality can be found here: https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/diver-dies-in-navy-training-san-diego-marine-mammal-program-saic/71070/. The administrative judge's order in favor of the Secretary can be found here; [Naval Sea Lion: Decision and Order 5-17-2016.pdf]
- Perez v. Hecla Ltd.: In this litigation brought to seek enforcement of MSHA's citations for reckless conduct at the Lucky Friday mine which caused a roof collapse, killing miner Larry Marek, the Secretary secured $280,000 in penalties and persuaded the court to uphold MSHA's citations for flagrant and reckless mining methods, which caused the collapse and the worker fatality. The administrative judge's decision can be found here. [Hecla: Hecla - West 2012 0760A_etal_Decision.pdf]
- Perez v. Clearwater PaperCorp: After a full trial, the district court in Idaho fully vindicated the Secretary's claims of retaliation by Clearwater Paper Corporation against a worker for being perceived as reporting health and safety concerns to OSHA. Calling the employer's defense of its retaliatory act "preposterous," the court granted full relief sought by the Secretary, including ordering the payment of damages exceeding $230,000 to the terminated whistleblower. The Court's order can be found here: http://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/clearwater-paper-ordered-to-pay-235000-to-whistleblower/
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AGENCIES SUPPORTED:
- Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)
- Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA)
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
- Office of Labor-Management and Standards (OLMS)
- Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
CONTACT THE REGIONAL SOLICITOR'S OFFICE FOR THE WESTERN REGION
|90 7th Street, Suite 3-700
San Francisco, CA 94103-1516
(415) 625-7772 (fax)
|ACTING REGIONAL SOLICITOR||Susan Gillet Kumli|
|DEPUTY REGIONAL SOLICITOR||Susan Gillet Kumli|
|Counsel for OSHA||Susan Gillet Kumli|
|Counsel for ERISA||Ian Eliasoph|
|Counsel for Labor Relations and Ethics||David M. Kahn|
|Counsel for Wage and Hour||Andrew Schultz|
|Counsel for Civil Rights||Laura Bremer|
|World Trade Center, Suite 370
350 South Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071-1202
(213) 894-2064 (fax)
|ASSOCIATE REGIONAL SOLICITOR||Daniel J. Chasek|
|Counsel for MSHA||Daniel J. Chasek|
|Management Analyst||Laura Matus|
|300 Fifth Ave., Suite 1120
Seattle, WA 98104-2397
(206) 757-6761 (fax)
|ASSOCIATE REGIONAL SOLICITOR||Bruce L. Brown|
|Whistleblower Counsel||Bruce L. Brown|
|Management Analyst||Claire Barba|