Alison Hightower

Littler Mendelson PC

$ $$$

Bush Street 333
San Francisco 94104 CA US

Alison S. Hightower enjoys helping employers resolve employment disputes using a practical approach that involves early evaluation to determine the most cost-effective strategy. Successful in counseling employers to minimize the risk of litigation and defending employers in lawsuits, Alison litigates before California state and federal courts in individual and class actions. She has obtained summary judgment, injunctions, and reasonable settlements for clients, involving issues arising under :

  • State and federal wage and hour regulation
  • The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act and similar state laws
  • Misclassification of exempt employees
  • Employee and independent contractor classification
  • Regular rate calculation
  • Workplace investigations

Alison has experience litigating large wage and hour class actions and those brought under California’s Private Attorney General Act. She also has prosecuted lawsuits to enjoin competitors who stole customer lists, trade secrets and other confidential information from their former employers. Select examples of Alison’s successes in class actions include :

  • Alison and the Littler team defeated a class action by truck drivers claiming over $6 million for missed meal periods. The trial court agreed the employees voluntarily chose to forego meal periods and rejected the plaintiffs’ expert statistical evidence.
  • As part of the Littler team, Alison reversed certification of a California class of loan officers in the Ninth Circuit, which reversed a line of district court cases certifying classes on an estoppel theory.

Another area of law in which Alison has developed significant experience and skill is background checks. She advises and represents employers to navigate the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and various state and local laws which impose limitations on employers’ ability to screen their workforce.

In addition, Alison has significant knowledge of the evidentiary issues that arise in defending employment-related claims, including the use of computer forensics to recover electronic data. She steers clients through thorny issues to minimize the risk of expensive litigation and provides counseling to effect compliant employment practices, including the use of contingent workers and independent contractors. She counsels clients on employee discipline, termination, harassment and discrimination issues, as well as compliance with leaves of absence and laws protecting the disabled.

Alison is a frequent speaker and author, often teaming up with others to provide a broader perspective. She has conducted series of webinars with a national payroll company to update clients of recent changes in federal employment laws. Prior to Littler, she was a partner at another firm where she was in charge of approving new client matters and the oversight of accounts receivable for the office.

Education :

  • J.D., University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, 1983
  • B.A., Claremont McKenna College, 1980

Courts :

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California

Professional & Community Affiliations :

  • Member, Financial Women of San Francisco
  • Member, Board of Directors
  • Co-Chair, Industry Leadership Programs
  • Former Co-Chair, Legislative and Legal Affairs Committee, Northern California Human Resources Association, East Bay Region
  • Former Member, Board of Directors, Northern California Human Resources Association, East Bay Region
  • Member, Bar Association of San Francisco


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Bush Street 333
San Francisco 94104 CA US
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Lina Stillman

Broadway 42
New York 10006 NY US