Hon. Irma E. Gonzalez (Ret.) joined JAMS following a judicial career spanning nearly 30 years. She was appointed to the United States District Court for the Southern District of California in 1992, serving as Chief Judge from 2005 to 2012. Prior to her appointment to the federal bench, Judge Gonzalez also worked as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of Arizona and the Central District of California, as well as an attorney in private practice. She later served as a U.S. Magistrate judge and a San Diego County Superior Court judge.
Judge Gonzalez has handled a variety of labor and employment disputes, including but not limited to wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, and breach of contract matters. Highly regarded among counsel for her fairness and deep knowledge of legal issues, Judge Gonzalez brings an experienced approach to resolving even the most complex and contentious disputes. Her background makes her an ideal arbitrator, mediator, and special master for employment cases involving a wide range of issues. Judge Gonzalez is also fluent in Spanish.
- Former employee’s suit alleging disability discrimination under Americans with Disabilities Act.
- Action brought by plaintiff under California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) for unlawful termination on basis of mental disability and failure to accommodate.
- Multiple claims involving violations of the ADA and failure to accommodate.
- Multiple claims alleging discrimination and harassment in the workplace based on race, ethnic origin and sexual orientation.
- Actions alleging unequal pay based on gender discrimination.
- Employee action alleging violations under Title VII for hostile work environment and discrimination stemming from retaliation for filing EEO complaints.
- Employee action alleging claims for discrimination based on a disability, retaliation for requesting an accommodation, denial of family care or medical leave, denial of reasonable accommodation and retaliation for engagement in protected activity.
- Breach of Contract/Wrongful Termination
- Multiple claims alleging wrongful termination and failure to promote.
- Case where employee claimed unlawful termination based on retaliation and law firm claimed termination because of downsizing efforts.
- Action brought by company executive who claimed her termination was in breach of her employment contract.
- Arbitrator in a case where plaintiff brought claim for constructive termination and breach of contract.
- Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award, 2021
- Lifetime Achievement Award, Hispanic National Bar Association, 2013
- Honored at Sixth Annual Judiciary Reception, San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association, 2013
- Joan Dempsey Klein Distinguished Jurist Award, California Women Lawyers, 2011
- Outstanding Jurist Award, San Diego County Bar Association, 2008
- Member, Lawyers Club of San Diego
- Advisory Board, San Diego La Raza Lawyers
- Board of Visitors, University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law
- Board of Trustees, California Western School of Law
- Member, California Women Lawyers
- Member, National Association of Women Judges
- Judicial Advisory Board, Association of Business Trial Lawyers of San Diego
- Master, William B. Enright Inn of Court
- Advisory Board, Federal Bar Association, San Diego Chapter
- Co-Chair, Federal Practice Task Force of the American Bar Association Section of Litigation, 2011-2013
- Member, Supreme Court Fellows Program Commission, 2011-present
- Appointed as chair in 2012
- Chair, Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, 2010
- President, Ninth Circuit District Judges Association, 2009-2011
- Member, Judicial Conference Committee on Judicial Security, 2008-2013
- Member, Ninth Circuit Judicial Council, 2007-2010
- Member, Ninth Circuit Space and Security Committee, 2006-2013
- Member, Federal Judicial Center Benchbook Committee, 2003-2009
- Appointed as chair in 2009
- Member, Judicial Conference Committee on the Administration of the Magistrate Judge System, 1998-2005
- Founding Member, Latinas in the Law
- Participant, Children at Risk
- "Enterprising Evaluator," Daily Journal, ADR Profile, July 17, 2015
- Honoree, San Diego County Women's Hall of Fame, 2017
- United States District Court Judge, Southern District of California, 1992-2013
- Chief, 2005-2012
- Senior Status, 2013
- Judge, San Diego County Superior Court, 1991-1992
- U.S. Magistrate Judge, Southern District of California, 1984-1990
- Associate, Seltzer, Caplan, Wilkins, & McMahon, 1981-1984
- Assistant United States Attorney, Criminal Prosecution Division, District of Arizona and Central District of California, 1975-1981
- Law Clerk, Hon. William C. Frey, United States District Court for the District of Arizona, 1973-1975
- J.D., University of Arizona
- B.A., Stanford University
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