Gomez & Petitti, PC

Arizona Labor and Employment Law Attorneys

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Firm Overview

Gomez & Petitti, PC is a Phoenix-based law firm serving employees, employers, and employee organizations throughout the State of Arizona in all areas of labor and employment law, from contract disputes, discrimination and wrongful discharge, to wage and hour issues and matters under the auspices of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

The Firm represents a broad range of private and public sector employees in a wide variety of workplace matters. We also provide representation to small to mid-size companies and various employee organizations. The Firm has a particular interest in employment issues which arise among executives and mid-level managers. Most often these executives stand in the shoes of the employer in relationship to other employees who are their subordinates and thus can find themselves in a paradoxical position with their employer. Resolving these issues can be difficult for both employee and employer and requires knowledge and understanding of divergent points of view. Our Firm's attorneys have extensive knowledge and experience in handling these complex and sensitive matters.

At the Firm of Gomez & Petitti, you will find experienced attorneys who are truly interested in helping their clients while remaining committed to the goals of achievement, integrity, and excellence.

The Firm has provided sustained, exceptionally high quality professional services to clients. The Firm as well as both attorneys at Gomez & Petitti have achieved the highest possible peer review rating in legal ability and ethical standards, as submitted by their peers and rated by Martindale-Hubbell. The Firm and both attorneys are also listed in Martindale-Hubbell's Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. David F. Gomez and Michael J. Petitti, Jr. enjoy a strong reputation among their colleagues, including judges before whom they have appeared and attorneys on both sides of the aisle.

Please review our website to learn more about our firm, its attorneys, and the areas in which we concentrate our practice. We have also provided a page of resources which we hope will be informative and helpful to you. For assistance in any Arizona labor and employment law matter, contact Gomez & Petitti, PC.

Ford v. Revlon

The "case that started it all" for Gomez & Petitti was Ford v. Revlon, Inc., a landmark decision in the then-new and still-evolving area of sexual harassment law. In this case, a manager made sexual advances to an employee, who rejected these advances. The employee was told "you will regret this" and was repeatedly subjected to touching, offensive comments, and other sexually harassing behavior in the workplace, including a sexually-charged physical assault at a company picnic. Although the employee complained time and again to different levels of management within the company over a period of many months, no action was ever taken to stop the harassment.

The employee later sued the manager and the company for assault and battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED). The jury found the manager guilty of assault and battery, and the company guilty of intentional infliction of emotional distress. This finding of liability on the company was later reversed by an appeals court, which held on principles of agency law that the company could not be held liable for IIED since the manager had not been held liable.

David Gomez appealed this decision to the Supreme Court of Arizona, which held that in fact the company was liable for IIED. The conduct of the company in failing to take any action after notice of the manager's conduct was "extreme and outrageous" and also "reckless." This conduct did indeed cause severe emotional distress for the employee, who at one point was so distraught she had attempted suicide.

This case established the principle that an employer's failure to take appropriate action in response to an employee's complaints of sexual harassment by a supervisor may constitute intentional infliction of emotional distress.

From Disability Discrimination to Union Trust Funds

The firm has also been involved in other important cases in the area of labor and employment law. Jurgella v. Danielson dealt with the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the precursor to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibited discrimination in federally funded programs against otherwise qualified handicapped individuals on the basis of their handicap. The trial court had dismissed the employee's discrimination claim, but David Gomez obtained a reversal on appeal, convincing the court that the employee had indeed established a claim for unlawful handicap discrimination. The language of the statute at hand, regarding the definition of a qualified handicapped individual, was later incorporated into the ADA's definition of a qualified individual with a disability.
Main Office

Main Office
2525 East Camelback Road, Suite 860
Phoenix  AZ  85016

Phone
  • (602) 957-8686
Employment
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes minimum wage and maximum hour laws.
Wage & Hour

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes minimum wage and maximum hour laws. Generally speaking, any employee who works more than 40 hours in a workweek is entitled to be paid for those extra hours at the overtime rate of one and one-half times the regular rate of pay. It is the employer's responsibility to ensure that an employee does not work overtime if it does not intend to pay the employee for the overtime.

Wage and hour laws also govern meal breaks and rest periods (if offered), expense reimbursements and different types of leaves. Violations of overtime and other laws can be expensive to the employer, who may be required to go back several years and pay the back pay with penalties. Also, overtime violations typically involve more than one employee and can turn into class action lawsuits which can be very expensive to the employer. A recurring issue is whether certain workers are employees or independent contractors not subject to employee protections under the law.

Labor Relations

Gomez & Petitti represents employers and employee organizations in working out aspects of labor-management relations, including individual employee rights, as well as the obligations and responsibilities of both employers and employee organizations. We draft Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs), and represent parties in unfair labor practices and other charges brought under the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
Sexual Harassment
Sexual Harassment
The law regarding sexual harassment has expanded greatly beyond the "quid pro quo" definition of thirty years ago, where it was required that a person in authority condition job treatment on the subordinate's submission to a romantic relationship or sexual favors. Today, sexual harassment can occur when unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature is so severe and pervasive as to create a hostile or abusive work environment. A hostile environment can be created by touching, offensive gestures, demeaning comments or jokes, graffiti and posters, and in many other ways. Moreover, a female can harass a male just as a male can harass a female, and a person can be illegally harassed by a member of the same sex as well.

Gomez & Petitti, PC has been involved in the development of Arizona sexual harassment law since representing the plaintiff in Ford v. Revlon, Inc., a case in which the Supreme Court of Arizona held that an employer's failure to respond to an employee's complaints could make the employer liable for the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Wrongful Termination
Wrongful Discharge
Employees who have been fired have up to one year from their discharge to sue the employer for wrongful termination. Common grounds for such a lawsuit include breach of a written contract, illegal discrimination, or retaliatory discharge for whistle blowing or exercising rights such as voting rights or jury duty, or filing a workers' compensation claim. Public sector employees have additional prerequisites to filing suit, including filing a claim letter within 180 days of discharge.

David F. Gomez

David F. Gomez

Attorney David F. Gomez is President of Gomez & Petitti, PC, a Phoenix-based law firm serving all of Arizona in the areas of labor and employment law.

On May 22, 2010, David was elected as a Fellow of The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, a highly select group of leading lawyers nationwide who have distinguished themselves in the practice of labor and employment law. Membership is by invitation only and there are fewer than 15 Fellows in Arizona.

Mr. Gomez was also honored as the Best Lawyers' 2013 Phoenix Employment Law - Individuals "Lawyers of the Year"

Mr. Gomez has also been listed in
Education
  • University of Southern California School of Law
    Juris Doctorate

Michael J. Petitti, Jr.

Michael J. Petitti, Jr., is a partner with Gomez & Petitti focusing his practice exclusively in the area of labor and employment law. Mr. Petitti earned his Bachelor's Degree from Arizona State University and his Juris Doctorate Degree from Arizona State University College of Law where he was a Willard H. Pedrick Scholar and a member of the Arizona State Law Journal (1985-1986). Mr. Petitti has also been listed in "Best Lawyers in America" (2004-2013); "Who's Who in American Law" (2001-2013); and "Southwest Super Lawyers" (2007-2013).

Education:
-J.D., cum laude, Arizona State University College of Law (1987)
-B.A., Arizona State University (1982)

Admissions:
-Arizona State Courts
-U.S. District Court, District of Arizona
-U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Professional Memberships/Associations:
-Maricopa County Bar Association
-American Bar Association
-State Bar of Arizona (Chair, 2005-2006, and Member, 1997-2007; Executive Council, State Bar Employment and Labor Law)
-National Employment Lawyers Association
-Arizona Employment Lawyers Association

Reported Cases:
-Paul R. Peterson Construction, Inc. vs. Arizona State Carpenters Health and Welfare Trust Fund, 179 Ariz. 474, 880 P.2d 694 (App. 1994)
-Michael J. Petitti, Jr. is listed in Best Lawyers in America.
Education
  • Arizona State University College of Law
    Juris Doctorate
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