Effective, creative, and equally adept at defending employers ranging from mom-and-pop sole proprietors to public entity employers and Fortune 100 companies, Alison L. Tsao resolves disputes involving all forms of discrimination and harassment, wrongful termination, unfair competition and employment-related tort claims.
She also has more than a decade of experience successfully defending management in wage and hour class actions, and remains in the forefront of this evolving area by advancing new legal theories. Tsao is one of a few California attorneys who has taken this type of complex case all the way to trial and through various levels of appeals. Tsao is on the trial and appellate team that secured the seminal California Supreme Court decision in Duran v. U.S. Bank, 59 Cal.4th 1 (2014), which helped shape class certification and trial management principles in exemption cases, particularly in the areas of statistical sampling and representative testimony.
Tsao successfully represents employers before administrative agencies, California state and federal courts, at both the trial and appellate levels, and in arbitrations. She aggressively pursues early resolution on favorable terms whenever possible, whether through ADR or by dispositive motions, and is known for her tough negotiation skills.
In addition, Tsao regularly provides training and advice to clients in the areas of risk management and litigation avoidance, keeping them informed of changing laws and best practices in the challenging California legal climate.
Areas of Practice
Wage and Hour Issues
Wrongful Termination and Workplace Tort Litigation
Workplace Solutions, Advice and Training
University of California, Hastings College of the Law, J.D., magna cum laude, 1998
- Order of the Coif, Thurston Society, 1998
- Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly, Associate Editor, 1997
University of California, Berkeley, B.A., Political Science, with honors, 1995
"Trends In PAGA Claims & What It Mean For California Employers," Inside Counsel, Contributing Author, March 2015
Duran v. U.S. Bank Nat. Ass'n, 59 Cal. 4th 1 (2014)
Trahan v. U.S. Bank Nat'l Ass'n, 2015 WL 75139 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 6, 2015)
Wells v. Board of Trustees, 2006 U.S. Dist. Lexis Unpub. 68260 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 7, 2006)
Wells v. Board of Trustees of California State University, 393 F.Supp.2d 990 (N.D. Cal. 2005)
- Public employer’s immunity and right to terminate employee based on contract for specified term
"Full-Time Employee vs. Contractor," Hire Smart Seminar hosted by Intuit Inc. and LinkedIn, April 2013
"Wage & Hour Class Actions: What Companies Doing Business in California Need to Know," CDF Webinar Series, September 2012
“Digital Dilemmas: The Price & Perils of e-Discovery,” California Minority Counsel Program, Annual Conference, 2010
“Taking Your Legal Vitamins: Best Practices for California Employers,” Asian American Bar Association of Greater Bay Area, 2008
Received CLAY Award for being recognized as one of the Attorneys of the Year, Class Actions, California Lawyer, 2015
California Minority Counsel Program, 2008-present
- 2010 Annual Conference Committee Member
Asian American Bar Association, Greater Bay Area, 2005-present
San Francisco Bar Association
- Bay Area Minority Summer Clerkship Program Participant, 2010
Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger LLP
- San Francisco Office Managing Partner since 2007