Rebecca Peterson-Fisher joined Katz Banks Kumin as a Partner in 2023. Throughout her career, Ms. Peterson-Fisher has focused her practice on litigation that advances social justice, whether by challenging corporate polices, securing justice for victims of wage theft, or holding harassers accountable. Ms. Peterson-Fisher has represented a wide range of employees, from executives at publicly traded companies to fast food workers, and has successfully achieved both seven-figure settlements and substantive changes to policies and practices.
Prior to joining Katz Banks Kumin, Ms. Peterson-Fisher was a Partner with Liu Peterson-Fisher LLP, a Bay Area employment and civil rights law firm that merged with Katz Banks Kumin in 2023. At Liu Peterson-Fisher LLP she handled all forms of employment law, including discrimination, retaliation, and harassment claims as well as wage and hour matters. Previously, Ms. Peterson-Fisher was a senior staff attorney at Equal Rights Advocates focused on Title IX-related policy advocacy and litigation and gender equity in the workplace. Ms. Peterson-Fisher also practiced law with the prominent Los Angeles civil rights law firm Traber & Voorhees, and in New York with Legal Services of New York.
Ms. Peterson-Fisher was named one of the Top 75 Labor and Employment Lawyers in California by the Daily Journal in 2022 and 2023, recognized as a Northern California Super Lawyer from 2020-2022, and included in the Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Employment Lawyers guide, a national list, from 2021-2023. She is the past Chair of the Alameda County Bar Association Labor & Employment Section Executive Committee and currently serves on the Appellate Section Executive Committee, as well as on the California Employment Lawyers Association’s Legislative Committee.
Ms. Peterson-Fisher received her JD from New York University School of Law in 2007 and clerked with Hon. Michael H. Dolinger, a United States Magistrate Judge in the Southern District of New York. She is admitted to practice in the state of California, the Central and Northern Districts of California, and the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Berton v. Aetna Inc. This groundbreaking national class action seeks an injunction to end Aetna’s discriminatory treatment of LGBTQ couples with regard to coverage of fertility treatment, and damages for a California class. Rebecca Peterson-Fisher currently serves as lead counsel with co-lead counsel Altshuler Berzon LLP and National Women’s Law Center. Read about the lawsuit here: https://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/article/fertility-treatments-insurance-lgbtq-17915851.php
Liu Peterson-Fisher LLP (and predecessor firm) cases
Keesing v. Stanford. Five Stanford student-athletes on five different women’s athletic teams slated for elimination filed this lawsuit, seeking reinstatement of their teams and equal treatment under Title IX. Read about the resolution here: https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Stanford-agrees-to-promote-gender-equity-as-part-16417630.php
Doe v. Regents of the University of California (UC Santa Cruz). Jane Doe, a student at the University of Santa Cruz, alleged she was discriminated against because of her disability and retaliated against after filing a discrimination grievance. Rebecca Peterson-Fisher successfully leveraged Jane Doe’s individual case to achieve her goal: significant changes to the resources available to students with disabilities at the University aimed at preventing future discrimination. In addition to a monetary component, the resolution of this case required UCSC to hire a full-time ADA Compliance Officer for the University, to create and post materials regarding the grievance process and related processes, to commit to develop a timely escalation protocol for unresolved accommodation issues, and to audit of the length of grievance investigations relating to discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.
Doe v. Regents of the University of California (UC San Francisco). Dr. Jane Doe, an international postdoctoral researcher, brought claims against the University of California San Francisco arising from sexual harassment by a professor who was globally renowned in his field of medicine. After a Title IX investigation, UCSF concluded that the professor sexually harassed four women and engaged in a pattern of inappropriate touching of female residents and fellows for at least a decade. Ms. Peterson-Fisher and her client filed an administrative charge with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing and ultimately secured a settlement of $250,000.
Teruel v. American Canyon Fire Protection District (filed 2017, settled 2018). Carlo Teruel was a veteran firefighter-paramedic and a father. After several successful years as a Berkeley firefighter regularly working 48-hour shifts, Mr. Teruel took a position with the smaller American Canyon Fire Protection District in order to be able to spend more time with his family. During his probationary period, he took approved time off for the birth of his second son and accrued sick time to take care of his sons and his wife when they suffered from illness. When his probation period was up, he was abruptly terminated despite his excellent performance. Mr. Teruel brought claims for retaliation for taking sick time to take care of family members in violation of the California Kin-Care Act, and for violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, alleging that he was penalized for taking time off from his job to care for his children because of sexist beliefs that women and not men should be responsible for childcare. Mr. Teruel’s case ultimately settled for $312,000.
Traber & Voorhees Cases
Murphy v. CVS Caremark. This class action, filed in 2011, sought unpaid wages and related penalties for approximately 78,000 CVS employees the Plaintiff alleged were subjected to off-the-clock bag checks for security purposes. In 2017, the court granted approval for a settlement of $12,750,000.
Quezada v. Schneider Logistics Transloading and Distribution, Inc. (filed 2012, settled 2014). Employees of a logistics company who worked at a warehouse owned by Wal-Mart filed this wage theft class action in 2012 on behalf of over 500 workers owed unpaid overtime premium pay. The lawsuit challenged an alternative workweek schedule in which employees worked ten-hour shifts four days per week and waived overtime premium pay, alleging its adoption was invalid because the information provided to the employees was in English only and the company failed to provide the employees with a regular schedule as required by law. In 2014, the court granted approval of a $4.7 million settlement.
Garcia v. New Albertson’s Inc. (filed 2013, SJ decision 2014). Reyna Garcia, manager of the general merchandise department at an Albertsons supermarket California, filed this lawsuit alleging that her managers unlawfully refused to grant her requests for reasonable accommodation and transfer during her pregnancy. Ms. Garcia gave birth prematurely, and her infant child died. Prior to the filing of the lawsuit, the grocery store Ms. Garcia worked at was sold from Supervalue Inc. to New Albertson’s Incorporated (“NAI”). NAI moved for summary judgment, arguing it could not be held liable for damages because it was not the employer at the time of the alleged unlawful conduct. The court denied the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, holding that a jury could find that NAI ratified the managers’ conduct because it learned of their alleged misconduct only days after the sale, investigated the alleged conduct, and did not discipline or discharge the managers, nor did it revise its disability accommodation policies.
Hernandez v. Goliath (filed 2011, settled 2013) In the wake of two LAPD raids on Club 907, a hostess or “taxi-dancing” club in downtown Los Angeles, two former employees filed a class action lawsuit alleging that the club violated minimum wage and overtime laws by paying them only for the minutes men elected to dance with them and not for all hours worked. The lawsuit also alleged all dancers at the club were subjected to a hostile work environment in which sexual harassment by managers and customers was rampant. In 2013, the court approved a class action settlement of approximately $1.1 million.
Rebecca B. Fisher, The History of American Bounty Hunting as a Study in Stunted Legal Growth, 33 N.Y.U. REV. L. & SOC. CHANGE 199,204-206 (2009)
National Employment Lawyers’ Association, June 30, 2023
Speaker: Harnessing the Collective Power of Small Firms
Alameda County Bar Association, March 29, 2023
Moderator: Why trial lawyers are also appellate lawyers even if they don’t think they are…
Alameda County Bar Association, January 25, 2023
Speaker/Moderator: Legal Protections, Best Practices, and Emerging Issues for Transgender, Gender Nonconforming, and Nonbinary Employees (also presented on September 28, 2022 at Labor & Employment Law Annual Symposium)
Alameda County Bar Association, April 1, 2021
Speaker: California Wage and Hour Update – A Survey of Important Wage and Hour Decisions