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Gigi O'Hara

Partner

As a seasoned litigator, Gigi helps her clients achieve creative and practical solutions to seemingly intractable problems.

As the head of the firm’s national Wage and Hour Defense Group, Gigi regularly defends clients in FLSA litigation and wage and hour class actions across the United States. She has defended several significant, large-dollar wage and hour lawsuits brought under various theories, including exemption misclassification, independent contractor misclassification, unpaid overtime, unpaid minimum wage, unlawful deductions, improper calculation of the regular rate, off-the-clock work, missed meal and rest breaks, among other alleged violations. She also regularly defends clients against individual wage claims and wage and hour audits initiated by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Gigi also leads the firm’s national OSHA Defense Group and assists clients responding to OSHA inquiries following complaints of retaliation or alleged unsafe workplace conditions, as well as investigations following injuries, accidents or fatalities. She has significant experience in this area and enjoys an exemplary track record achieving favorable results for her clients.

Gigi is an experienced trial attorney who has litigated and tried cases to verdict before a jury in state and federal court under a variety of employment laws, including Title VII, the ADA, the ADEA, the Equal Pay Act, the FMLA, constructive discharge and retaliation, among others. Her successes include achieving a defense verdict in under an hour from a 12-person jury in federal court. She also helps clients navigate and litigate various business disputes over proprietary trade secrets, non-competes and other restrictive covenants, tortious interference, and breaches of contracts or fiduciary duties by employees. 

She defends lawsuits filed under the ADA Title III based upon public accommodation, whether such claims are rooted in claims of denied accessibility to brick and mortar establishments or national websites. In addition, she successfully handles charges of discrimination with the EEOC and other administrative agencies. She has defended employment arbitrations pending before AAA, FINRA and JAMS, and defended management in discharge grievances and labor arbitrations before the FMCS. In one such arbitration, she secured an arbitration award in favor of a new client who had never before successfully defended a grievance.   

 
She is a frequent presenter for in-house counsel, SHRM members and other HR professionals, and regularly trains managers and employees on compliance with employment laws in the areas of sexual harassment and wage and hour. One client described Gigi’s training style as follows: “Gigi recently developed and facilitated an FLSA training for my team, focusing on exemption statuses. This can be a very dry topic, but Gigi made the training so relatable and engaging! Everyone enjoyed the training and benefited from it. Gigi was such a delight to work with!” Click here to see Gigi's LinkedIn page.

Other clients have described Gigi’s experience and abilities as follows:

  • “Gigi is a smart and reliable advisor on employment matters . . . Our confidence in her judgement also expanded the relationship to include representation in general litigation. Her advice is sound and she can see around corners. Moreover, her expertise is national, and not limited to local law. Best of all, she is always highly responsive--if you call with an issue, she makes you feel like you are her only client.”
  • “I have had the pleasure of working with Gigi for the past few years as our company corporate attorney. Her  knowledge on employment law and human resource practices are excellent. She is very professional and personable.”
  • “Not only is she skilled in the courtroom, but she also has a very down to earth manner of communicating with clients and business associates alike that makes her an excellent trainer and team member.”
  • “Gigi is wonderful to work with. She's incredibly knowledgeable and professional, and she’s also patient and  compassionate--important assets in a sensitive field. We are very fortunate to have her counsel.”
  • “Gigi is knowledgeable, diligent, zealous, listens intently and she has a high degree of integrity and initiative. She is a hard worker and is upfront and honest. Gigi holds all of the characteristics that make her a successful and approachable individual and legal counsel. I certainly recommend Gigi for any employment consult or representation.”
  • “Gigi is truly a life saver when it comes to advising on Employment Law. She is always responsive even when we reach out during non-business hours (which is often regrettably.) Her advice and counsel is always spot-on. We really could not do without her.” 
  • “She is extremely knowledgeable in employment law!! I would highly recommend her!!!” 
  • “While her strong track record speaks for itself, it is worth noting that she listens exceptionally well and offers clients thoughtful advice and customized solutions based upon their individualized needs. Her zealous advocacy is driven by how much she cares for her clients.”

Gigi has received notable praise and recognition from national ranking organizations and esteemed peer reviews that highlight the top legal talent in the country, including the following:

  • Best Lawyers®, rated by national peer review in Employment Law-Management; 
  • Chambers USA®, nationally ranked in Labor & Employment;
  • Benchmark Litigation®, nationally ranked as Top 250 Women in Litigation;
  • Benchmark Litigation®, nationally ranked as Litigation Star;
  • Benchmark Litigation®, nationally ranked as Labor and Employment Star;  
  • Martindale-Hubbell®, rated by national peer review at the highest “AV Preeminent.”

Gigi was selected as a Fellow of the Nebraska State Bar Foundation in 2019, which honors attorneys and judges who demonstrate integrity and character, contribute to charitable works and community education, and are dedicated to improving the administration of justice. 

She was elected by her peers to serve as the Chair of the Nebraska State Bar Association’s (“NSBA”) Labor & Employment Section from 2017-2019. She is currently the Issue Editor for the NSBA’s annual Labor & Employment publication.

  • Lead trial counsel in Title VII lawsuit in Nebraska federal court; secured defense verdict from 12-person jury in under an hour. 
  • Lead trial counsel in successful defense of logistics company client in labor arbitration filed by former employee driver and union alleging wrongful discharge in violation of Collective Bargaining Agreement. 
  • Lead trial counsel in successful defense and dismissal of FLSA collective action pending in Florida federal court brought by workers claiming exemption misclassification and unpaid overtime.
  • Lead trial counsel in successful defense of wage and hour class action in California state court brought by retail workers claiming unpaid overtime, wage statement violations, untimely wage payments, PAGA violations and unlawful business practices.
  • Lead trial counsel in wage and hour lawsuit in Nebraska state court; secured dismissal and created new law regarding proper classification of independent contractor satellite installers. 
  • Lead trial counsel in successful defense of financial services client in FINRA arbitration filed by former employee for breach of employment contract and violation of New Jersey wage payment law. 
  • Lead trial counsel in in securing favorable resolution for client in JAMS arbitration filed against former employee who breached post-employment obligations to client in Michigan. 
  • Achieved denial of class certification of class of bank tellers claiming unpaid overtime in Arkansas federal court. 
  • Achieved decertification of class of drivers claiming misclassification as independent contractors in wage and hour collective action in Pennsylvania state court. 
  • Achieved decertification of class of hourly employees claiming unpaid overtime for off-the-clock hours in wage and hour collective action in Arkansas state court. 
  • Lead trial counsel in successful defense of banking and insurance client in Nebraska federal court filed by former employee under the ADA, ADEA and FMLA. 
  • Lead trial counsel achieving dismissals in state and federal courts across the United States on various employment claims, such as, for example, Title VII, the ADA, the FLMA, § 1981 and the ADEA, outrage/IIED, breach of contract, ERISA, negligence, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and tortious interference with business relationship or expectancy. 
  • Co-trial counsel in negligence lawsuit in Nebraska state court; secured favorable verdict from 12-person jury; successfully defended before Nebraska Supreme Court on appeal; created new law regarding application of OSHA regulations.
  • Lead trial counsel in successful defense of OSHA inspection and investigation, which included, but was not limited to, the downward reclassification of perceived violations and significant reduction of overall proposed penalties.
  • Co-trial counsel in defense of constructive discharge, retaliation, and domestic violence leave act lawsuit in Washington state court before 12-person jury.

Chambers USA®
Leading Labor & Employment Attorney
Nebraska, 2019-2020

Chambers USA®
Recognized Labor & Employment Practitioner
 Nebraska, 2018

Best Lawyers®
The Best Lawyers in America
2021

Benchmark Litigation®
Top 250 Women in Litigation
2016-2020

Benchmark Litigation®
Labor & Employment Star
2018-2019


Benchmark Litigation®
Local Litigation Star
2017-2019

Nebraska State Bar Foundation®
Fellow

Martindale-Hubbell®
“AV Preeminent” Rating