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Gigi O'Hara

Partner

Gigi devotes her practice to defending employers in a broad range of employment-related matters, with particular emphasis on FLSA litigation and wage and hour class action defense.

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.

In addition to her wage and hour experience, Gigi is a practiced trial attorney who has litigated and tried cases to verdict before a jury in state and federal court under a variety of employment claims, including Title VII, the ADA, the ADEA, the Equal Pay Act, the FMLA, constructive discharge, and state-specific domestic violence leave laws, among others. She has also helped 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. Her experience also includes the defense of clients in employment and labor arbitrations, in lawsuits filed under the ADA Title III based upon public accommodation, as well as before administrative agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. 

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.”

Since 2016, Benchmark Litigation has ranked Gigi as a leading female litigator on its national list of “Top 250 Women in Litigation” and selected her as a “Litigation Star” from 2017-2019 and "Labor and Employment Star - Midwest" from 2018-2019.

Chambers USA® also recognized Gigi as a “Notable Practitioner” in Labor & Employment in 2018 and ranked her among the leading practitioners in Labor & Employment in 2019 “following warm praise for her employment litigation practice.” Chambers USA® further notes, “She particularly impresses in connection with discrimination and wage and hour litigation.” One client was quoted as reporting, “She provided stellar work and is very responsive to our needs.” 

She was selected as a Fellow of the Nebraska State Bar Foundation, 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 earned Martindale-Hubbell’s highest peer rating of AV® Preeminent™ and served as Chair of the Labor Relations & Employment Law Section of the Nebraska State Bar Association from 2017-2019. She is currently the Issue Editor for the Nebraska State Bar Association's Labor and Employment 2020 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 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

Chambers USA®
Recognized Labor & Employment Practitioner
 Nebraska, 2018

Benchmark Litigation®
Top 250 Women in Litigation
2016-2019

Benchmark Litigation®
Labor & Employment Star,
Midwest

2018, 2019


Benchmark Litigation®
Local Litigation Star
2017-2019

Nebraska State Bar Foundation®
Fellow
2019

Martindale-Hubbell®
“AV Preeminent” Rating
2014-present