National law firm Polsinelli adds two noted San Francisco labor and employment attorneys to serve clients nationally. Shareholder Charles O. Thompson joins the firm as the Vice Chair of the California Labor & Employment Practice Group and will lead Polsinelli’s West Coast Labor and Employment Practice. Michele Haydel Gehrke also joins as a Shareholder, bringing Polsinelli’s growing, national Labor and Employment Practice to more than 50 attorneys coast to coast. Thompson and Gehrke previously practiced together at the same AmLaw 100 firm in San Francisco. Polsinelli entered the California market nearly four years ago in Los Angeles, and opened a San Francisco office last year with a strategic goal to expand.

“Chuck is a great well-rounded labor and employment lawyer who brings valuable experience advising and representing clients in California,” said Polsinelli’s Labor and Employment Practice Group Chair Nancy Rafuse, from her Atlanta office. “Both he and Michele are highly respected attorneys in the San Francisco-area representing top-tier companies and we are excited to have them on our team and expanding our labor and employment practice in California.”

Thompson represents Fortune 500 companies in all phases of employment litigation. He has handled more than a thousand employment matters and has extensive experience in litigation and all employment-related issues. His practice is a blend of labor and employment and wage and hour class actions. In addition to his practice, Thompson is deeply involved in his area of law as a member of the Executive Committee for the Labor and Employment Section of the California State Bar and the Grant and Education Committees.

“When Michele and I met Nancy, we knew we were like-minded in our approach to serving clients. Understanding their needs, being proactive and a strong advocate in and out of the courtroom creates solutions to our client’s business and legal needs,” said Thompson. “We are very excited about joining a firm that’s so dynamic in the market and expanding the firm’s West Coast presence in offering clients labor and employment services.”

Gehrke represents employers on a wide variety of labor and employment matters, including litigation before California state and federal courts, and administrative agencies including the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, the EEOC, and the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Gehrke also counsels clients on all aspects of employment law compliance, and drafts employment documents such as employee handbooks and employment agreements. Gehrke’s practice also includes handling traditional labor matters under both the National Labor Relations Act and the Railway Labor Act, and she has years of experience representing airlines. She speaks and writes frequently on many aspects of labor and employment law.

“We are really excited to be at Polsinelli,” said Gehrke. “We see this as an entrepreneurial opportunity to expand our practice with a growing national firm.”


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