Sylvia J. Kim

She | Her | Hers

Partner

San Francisco
T +1.415.659.2618
F +1.415.659.2601
Los Angeles
T +1.310.979.8457
F +1.310.820.8859

Overview

Sylvia Kim represents businesses of all sizes in all aspects of employment litigation, with an emphasis on wage and hour class, collective and PAGA actions in state and federal court. Her broad experience includes representation of clients in financial services and banking, transportation, grocery and food service manufacturing and distribution, staffing and retail industries. With a client service mindset, Sylvia strives to develop litigation strategies that most effectively and efficiently advance her clients' goals.

Sylvia advises and defends businesses in matters involving claims and allegations related to wage and hour compliance, unlawful harassment, discrimination and retaliation, wrongful termination, leave and accommodation issues, non-competition agreements and contract disputes. Additionally, Sylvia assists her clients in implementing preventive measures to avoid litigation by providing practical advice and representation to identify and manage risk and ensure compliance with local, state and federal laws. She also partners with them to develop policies and handbooks, and conducts training to prevent unlawful employment practices.

Select Experience

  • Obtained an order denying class certification on a motion for reconsideration in two related wage and hour class actions for a leading financial institution, one involving financial center employees and the other involving call center employees, based on findings that there was no evidence of any de facto policies necessitating off-the-clock work or impeding the taking of meal and rest breaks, and that individual issues predominated. The court also denied the plaintiffs’ request for leave to file an amended, consolidated complaint to try to cure their class certification infirmities.
  • Obtained an order dismissing with prejudice at the pleading stage California state law claims for inaccurate wage statements, waiting time penalties and shared labor contractor liability in a proposed class action against a national third-party logistics client.
  • Obtained an order dismissing with prejudice at the pleading stage California state law claims for unpaid wages, meal and rest break violations, inaccurate wage statements, waiting time penalties and unfair competition in a proposed class action against a global private security company.
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Experience

  • Obtained an order denying class certification on a motion for reconsideration in two related wage and hour class actions for a leading financial institution, one involving financial center employees and the other involving call center employees, based on findings that there was no evidence of any de facto policies necessitating off-the-clock work or impeding the taking of meal and rest breaks, and that individual issues predominated. The court also denied the plaintiffs’ request for leave to file an amended, consolidated complaint to try to cure their class certification infirmities.
  • Obtained an order dismissing with prejudice at the pleading stage California state law claims for inaccurate wage statements, waiting time penalties and shared labor contractor liability in a proposed class action against a national third-party logistics client.
  • Obtained an order dismissing with prejudice at the pleading stage California state law claims for unpaid wages, meal and rest break violations, inaccurate wage statements, waiting time penalties and unfair competition in a proposed class action against a global private security company.
  • Obtained an order dismissing with prejudice at the pleading stage a proposed Rule 23 class action alleging claims for minimum wage, overtime pay, meal and rest period, inaccurate wage statements, final pay and unreimbursed business expenses violations against a national transportation company.
  • Obtained an order granting partial summary judgment of putative class representative plaintiff’s individual claim for unpaid overtime based on alleged use of incorrect regular rate of pay on the ground that bonus payments the plaintiff received were in fact discretionary and therefore not includable in her regular rate of pay.
  • Defeated class certification of all claims brought on behalf of a putative class of approximately 5,000 loan collection call center employees alleging failure to pay overtime wages, provide meal and rest breaks, provide accurate itemized wage statements, timely pay final wages and engagement in unfair business practices.
  • Defeated class certification of all California state law wage and hour claims brought on behalf of a putative class of Small Business Bankers allegedly misclassified as overtime exempt outside salespersons.
  • Successfully moved to compel individual arbitration of a proposed Rule 23 wage and hour class action, after twice moving to dismiss plaintiff’s complaints and obtaining dismissal of plaintiff’s meal and rest break and wage statement claims with prejudice, with the court rejecting the plaintiff’s contention that such litigation conduct constituted a waiver of the employer’s right to compel arbitration.
  • Obtained an order granting motion for partial judgment on the pleadings in favor of national temporary staffing services provider on putative wage and hour class action claim for late payment of wages under California Labor Code section 201.3, finding that timely payment of wages occurred upon mailing rather than receipt of paycheck and that waiting time penalties are not recoverable other than for late payment of final wages.
  • Represented national food service and supply companies in wage and hour class action suits filed by truck drivers asserting violations of California meal break laws. Claims were dismissed with prejudice on grounds that they were preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act.
  • Represented financial institution in off-the-clock wage and hour class action. Defense motion to compel individual arbitration of claims was granted.
  • Represented financial institution in putative wage and hour class action alleging unlawful forfeiture of allegedly vested compensation under incentive compensation plans. Successfully obtained judgment on the pleadings on all claims.
  • Represented one of the largest financial institutions in the U.S. in multidistrict wage and hour class and collective action litigation. Defense motion to transfer 12 off-the-clock overtime putative class and collective actions for coordinated or consolidated pretrial proceedings was granted by Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation.
  • Represented financial institution in statewide putative class and collective action alleging off-the-clock overtime and related claims. Successfully opposed plaintiff’s motion to compel production of putative class members’ contact information and obtained order limiting production and then only after utilization of a court-approved Belaire West notice to those putative class members.

Recognitions and Memberships

Recognitions

  • Northern California Super Lawyer "Rising Star" (2019 to 2021)

Memberships

  • Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area
  • California Lawyers Association
  • Korean American Bar Association of Northern California
  • National Asian Pacific American Bar Association
  • National Association of Women Lawyers

Prior Positions

  • The Honorable Stephen R. Reinhardt, U.S. District Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit: Judicial Extern
  • The Honorable Andrew J. Wistrich, U.S. District Court, Los Angeles: Judicial Extern
  • Los Angeles District Attorney's Office: Law Clerk

Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • California

Education

  • J.D., Pepperdine University School of Law, 2008, cum laude; Pepperdine Law Review, Editor (2008)
  • B.A., University of San Diego, 2004

Languages

  • Korean