Robert Baines

Hon. Robert A. Baines (Ret.)

JAMS Mediator, Arbitrator and Referee/Special Master

Case Manager
Cynthia Victory
T: 408-346-0736
F: 408-295-5267
160 W. Santa Clara St., Suite 1600, San Jose, CA 95113


With over 40 years of experience, Judge Baines has significant experience in the many facets of employment law, including employment discrimination cases under both Title VII and FEHA (age, gender, race, national origin, handicap, sexual orientation, and sexual harassment claims), wage and hour claims, wrongful termination claims, control disputes among co-founders of hi-tech start-up companies, and the due process rights of public employees working in civil service positions.

During his 22 years on the bench in Silicon Valley, he successfully settled numerous employment law matters. Additionally, he presided over a number of significant employment discrimination trials, including a highly publicized sexual discrimination case (with claims of the employer’s failure to remedy the wrongful workplace environment) that resulted in a multi-million dollar jury verdict against a large parcel delivery company. He also presided over a significant toxic tort case brought by workers allegedly injured by exposure to work place toxins allegedly known to the employer but not disclosed to the employees (and thus giving rise to claims in civil court, rather than under workers compensation).

Representative Mediations

  • At JAMS, Judge Baines has successfully mediated cases across the full “landscape” of employment law, including:
    • Sexual harassment claims (both cross-gender and same-gender harassment claims) against a wide variety of employers (e.g., restaurants, retail electronics stores, and real estate offices)
    • Racial discrimination claims (brought by Hispanic, African-American, and Asian employees)
    • Disability discrimination (including against the Federal Transportation Security Administration)
    • Gender discrimination, including “failure-to-promote” claims
    • Age discrimination (including against Silicon Valley businesses)
    • Sexual orientation discrimination (including against Silicon Valley businesses)
    • Wrongful termination claims (including for alleged “whistle-blower” conduct), as well as wrongful termination claims that essentially involved power struggles among co-founders of various start-up companies
  • He has also mediated various “traditional” labor law claims at JAMS, including:
    • Wage and hour claims including claims brought under the Private Attorney General Act (PAGA)
    • Failure to provide or to reimburse employees for required company uniforms
    • Allegedly improper “tip pooling” arrangements required by employer
  • Judge Baines' approach in every case involves a full assessment of the interests and goals of the parties, not just an evaluation of their legal claims.

Representative Arbitrations

  • While at JAMS, Judge Baines has formally arbitrated employment law cases including an employee’s claim of handicapped discrimination brought against a large HMO that allegedly failed to reasonably accommodate that employee’s disabilities.
Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS.

  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers, Association, 2006
  • Trial Judge of the Year, Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers Association, 2000
  • Founders Award, Law Foundation of the Silicon Valley, 1999
  • Executive Committees, Municipal and Superior Courts, 1985-2005
  • Court representative, SCCBA's Civil Practice Committee, 1996-2000
  • Civil Law and Procedure Committee, California Judges Association, 1984-1985
  • Board of Directors, Conflicts Administration Program, 1984-1990 (Chair 1990)
  • Board of Directors, SCCBA Law Foundation, 1980-1982
  • Advisory Board Member, Santa Clara County Justice System, 1978-1980
  • Commissioner, California State Bar Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation, 1977 and 1978
  • Board of Trustees, SCCBA, (several terms) 1977-1983
  • Arbitrator, Judicial Arbitration Program, 1975-1983
  • Board of Directors, SCCBA Barristers Club, 1973-1976
  • Member, California Judges Association
  • Member, Santa Clara County Bar Association
  • Visiting Lecturer in Law (Federal Courts and Jurisdiction), Santa Clara University School of Law, 1979-1980
  • Moderator/Panelist before various bar and professional organizations
  • "Managing People: Mediator Robert Baines wins praise for his low-key style," ADR Profile, Daily Journal, January 29, 2016
  • Judge, Santa Clara County Superior Court, 1997-2005
  • Judge, Santa Clara County Municipal Court, 1983-1997
  • Assistant City Attorney/Head of the Litigation Division, San Jose City Attorney's Office, 1980-1983
  • Directing Attorney, Head of Litigation, Public Interest Law Firm of the Santa Clara County Bar Association Law Foundation (now the Law Foundation of the Silicon Valley), 1975-1980
  • Staff Attorney and Senior Staff Attorney, Legal Aid Society of Santa Clara County, 1970-1975
  • J.D., University of California, Berkeley School of Law (formerly Boalt Hall School of Law), 1969
  • B.A., (Phi Beta Kappa and with Highest Honors) University of California, Riverside, 1966

Counsel Comments

    • “[Judge Baines] made a very contentious and difficult case manageable. He was one of the most prepared and attentive of all arbitrators I’ve encountered.”

      – In-house counsel
    • “He's brilliant. He is pro-active, kind, and a pleasure to work with." 

      –  Plaintiff’s Counsel 
    • "He had done his homework. When he came in, he was conversant on the technicalities of the contract but also the technology. You could tell by the questions he asked that he had cut to the heart of the case.” 

      –  Attorney




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