O’Melveny Worldwide

Workplace Misconduct

O’Melveny offers diligence, discretion, and sage insight to clients seeking to investigate, resolve, and prevent workplace misconduct allegations

O’Melveny offers diligence, discretion, and sage insight to clients seeking to investigate, resolve, and prevent workplace misconduct allegations

O’Melveny is the gold standard for addressing sensitive workplace issues: from sexual harassment and #MeToo controversies; to employment discrimination and retaliation claims; to trade secret misappropriation, fraud, and embezzlement; to toxic workplace matters involving race, national origin, or political expression. Clients rely on our deep understanding of the legal, reputational, and cultural dimensions of these allegations—and the importance of addressing both the alleged misconduct and deploying appropriate remedial measures.

When allegations of workplace misconduct surface, clients need a trusted adviser to support them through the sensitivities and complexities they will face, including guidance on employment law, investigations, media relations, litigation, and corporate governance.

Our multidisciplinary team of Labor & Employment, Litigation, White Collar Defense & Government Investigations, and Corporate Investigations lawyers draw on decades of experience to collaborate with companies on a comprehensive strategy to resolve potential legal consequences while protecting privacy interests and limiting reputational exposure. 

Described as “really amazing” by Chambers USA, our team is a recognized leader in the field. Clients praise our “fantastic work in high-stakes situations” and endorse us to others, noting: “If you want a team that will pay attention to every detail and make all the right moves, this is the team.”

Areas of Support

  • Internal Investigations. We conduct internal investigations related to sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, and other employee misconduct allegations. Our support includes navigating related litigation, government investigations, governance issues, and claims by respondents related to process and privacy. We also develop responsive policies and changes to procedures in the aftermath of the investigations.
  • Breadth of Federal and State Criminal and Civil Laws. We provide guidance on overlapping federal and state laws prohibiting employment discrimination, regulating whistleblower protections and reporting obligations—including Title VII, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and other major laws and orders affecting this constantly changing area.
  • Civil Litigation. We defend single plaintiff, multi-plaintiff, and class action litigation (employee and shareholder) stemming from allegations of sexual harassment, employee misconduct, pay equity, and gender discrimination. In addition to our trial work, we have significant experience in discrimination appeals, as well as conducting arbitrations and mediations.
  • Crisis Management and Strategic Counseling. We offer guidance on public relations and communications responses, including strategic messaging to the press, the general public, and internal audiences. We recognize that misconduct investigations require more than just sophisticated legal skills, but also a keen overall strategy that shapes and steers narratives in ways that advance our clients’ interests.
  • Workplace Assessments and Recommendations. We conduct privileged and confidential assessments of existing workplace conditions surrounding sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and retaliation, including providing tailored recommendations to improve corporate culture and reduce company liability.
  • Compliance with Securities Regulations. We work closely with corporate counsel to advise boards of directors and senior management on compliance with securities regulations and proper corporate governance practices.
  • Employment Training and Education. We offer training and education for human resources professionals, in-house counsel, C-suite executives, and board members on existing state and federal law, company policies, and required reporting actions. We help companies develop harassment training and policies, working with them to implement preventative measures. We train companies on code of conduct and ethics policies and conducting internal investigations.
American Clothing Brand and Retailer

Advised the apparel brand in connection with the allegations by certain models that the company’s co-founder engaged in sexual misconduct.

Global Media and Entertainment Company

Advised a premier media and entertainment company in connection with allegations of sexual misconduct against a named executive officer.

Harvard University

Secured summary judgment in a high-profile gender discrimination lawsuit filed by a former student who accused the university of ignoring her claims of sexual assault, harassment, and retaliation.

Major Financial Services Company

Defended the company in a lawsuit alleging disability discrimination, harassment, retaliation, failure to investigate or prevent these alleged actions, and failure to adhere to the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.

Major Technology Company

Represented the company in a threatened class action alleging discrimination against women employees in terms of pay and promotions.

Multinational Semiconductor Company

Advised the client on whistleblower allegations related to improper accounting issues.

Portland Trail Blazers

Conducted a neutral review of a sensitive, high-profile matter related to allegations of workplace misconduct at the team’s practice facility. Following the independent investigation, the team announced the termination of the general manager and took remedial measures.

Professional Sports Team

Advised the client in connection with toxic work environment and race discrimination matters concerning current and former staff members.

Riot Games

Advised the company on league-directed review of team workplace environment and behavior of team owner and CEO.

University of Southern California

Conducted a thorough and neutral internal investigation into USC’s handling of sexual abuse allegations against a former USC student health gynecologist and related reporting failures. Following our final report to the Board, USC introduced a variety of remedial measures.

University of Virginia’s Board of Visitors

Served as independent counsel in connection with the review of the University’s response to an allegation of sexual assault as reported in Rolling Stone magazine.


Represented the company and an executive in a same-gender quid pro quo sexual harassment case, which we successfully settled without any payment to the plaintiff.

“If you have an employment claim that may create a risk of significant monetary or reputational harm, this group should be on your speed dial.”

Client Testimonial, The Legal 500 US

“They often get involved in complex, high-stakes, nuanced matters.”

Client Testimonial, Chambers USA

“They are superb lawyers who think carefully about the strategy for resolving a matter, putting the strategy together and then implementing it.”

Client Testimonial, Chambers USA

Repeatedly lauded for our labor and employment work in Chambers USA, The Legal 500, Benchmark Litigation, and U.S. News - Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms”