Joel M. Grossman, Esq. has been exclusively devoted to mediation and arbitration since 2004, following his 25-year legal career as a litigator, labor negotiator, and in-house counsel overseeing complex entertainment disputes.
Mr. Grossman has presided over hundreds of mediations and arbitrations and developed a stellar reputation for fairness. Sought after by both plaintiffs’ and defense counsel, he has resolved extremely complex disputes with a combination of excellent problem-solving skills and a wonderful sense of humor.
Mr. Grossman has been a full-time neutral since January 2004 and has mediated or arbitrated over 500 cases. Drawing on his nearly thirty years of practice in the employment area, he has mediated all manner of employment cases including claims of discrimination based on race, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, and medical condition; claims of sexual harassment; wage-and-hour claims, both individual and class actions; trade secret claims arising out of an employee leaving a company and allegedly appropriating trade secrets; and claims arising under collective bargaining agreements.
After serving as head of the Litigation Department of a major motion picture studio, Mr. Grossman has used his broad experience in entertainment-related claims (including copyright infringement, trademark infringement, idea submission, and profit participation claims), to build a strong mediation practice in this area. Additionally, he has mediated and arbitrated a wide variety of general business disputes, such as commercial landlord-tenant matters, business valuations, and breach of contract.
He has been named to the Daily Journal’s list of the top neutrals in California for three consecutive years.
Representative Employment Matters
- Wage-and-Hour Class Action Mediations: Successfully mediated over 500 wage-and-hour class actions, with class sizes ranging from 100 or less to 22,000 class members. Issues resolved include:
- Meal breaks, including claims related to “on-duty” meals
- Rest breaks
- Overtime, including but not limited to “off-the-clock work”
- Minimum wage violations
- Claims for reimbursement of mileage, tools, uniforms, and other expenses
- Claims that class members were misclassified as exempt
- Claims that class members were misclassified as independent contractors
- Claims for pay stub violations
- Claims under out-of-state check provisions of Labor Code
- Claims brought under Private Attorney General Act of 2004 (PAGA)
- Wage-and-Hour Arbitrations
- Arbitrated claim by several employees that they were improperly classified as independent contractors when they were employees
- Arbitrated claim that restaurant manager had been misclassified as exempt when most of her time was spent performing rank-and-file duties
- Arbitrated wage-and-hour class action concerning on-duty meal periods
- Arbitrated claim by truck driver that he was misclassified as an independent contractor
- Discrimination claims based on race, age, gender, disability, medical condition, religion, sexual origin, etc.: Successfully mediated many cases raising one or more discrimination claims including:
- Claim by female worker that she was not permitted to perform a traditional "man's job”
- Claim by African-American worker that he was harassed by co-workers who left crude drawing of lynching on his desk
- Claim by worker with cancer that he was terminated to avoid necessary leaves of absence
- Claim by disabled worker who was denied a leave of absence allegedly because her position was crucial, and leave would cause undue hardship
- Claim by disabled worker that the company failed to engage in interactive process and search for jobs which she could do with her medical restrictions
- Claim by Orthodox Jewish worker that he was terminated because he wore a yarmulke during work hours
- Claim by older worker who claimed he was selected for layoff due to his age
- Sex Harassment Claims: Successfully mediated many claims alleging sexual harassment, including claims for hostile work environment, claims of quid pro quo harassment, and claims of unwelcome touching including the following:
- Claim by three employees that manager continually ogled them and made suggestive comments
- Claim by worker that manager, during out-of-town business trip, came to her hotel room and insisted on a sexual liaison
- Claim that manager, after consensual relationship was over, continually called employee demanding that they renew relationship
- Claim that manager texted a photo of his private parts to employee during work hours
- Claim that female writer was told she could return for another season only if she consented to producer's demand for sex
- Recognized as one of California’s Top Neutrals, Daily Journal, 2007-2009 and 2012
- Selected as a Southern California Super Lawyer in the field of Alternative Dispute Resolution, 2007-2011, 2013, 2019-2021
- Selected as entertainment law “Power Mediator,” Hollywood Reporter Esq.
- Member, Los Angeles County and Beverly Hills Bar Associations Labor and Employment Law Executive Committee
- Associate Member, California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA)
- Contributing Writer, Alternative Dispute Resolution for the California Labor and Employment Law Review, published by the State Bar of California Labor and Employment Law Section
- Co-author, Modern Law of Employment Contracts, a leading treatise on the law of wrongful termination and other aspects of employment law
- Received comprehensive training in JAMS in-house Entertainment Law workshops including, but not limited to:
- "Net Profits and New Media: The Future of Entertainment Litigation"
- "Legal Issues and Developments in Video Game Law"
- Full-time Mediator and Arbitrator, 2004-present
- Senior Vice President, Head of Labor And Litigation Divisions, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 1989-2003
- Partner, Selvin and Weiner, 1985-1989
- Associate, O’Melveny & Myers, 1980-1984
- Law Clerk, Hon. Eugene A. Wright, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, 1979-1980
- J.D., UCLA School of Law, 1979, Order of the Coif
- M.A., University of California Santa Barbara, 1976
- B.A., with honors, University of Pennsylvania, 1972
- “Joel is one of our top choices to mediate wage and hour class actions in Los Angeles. Although he comes out of the defense world, he is able to see the case law for what it says, help the parties to evaluate their risks, and he is a consummate professional. Great mediator.”
- “This was an unusual and challenging mediation and Mr. Grossman was tireless and diligent in trying to see a way forward. I am still astonished that he was able to resolve my case and its corresponding class action!”
- In a breach of contract matter, “[Joel] took time to understand and communicate the respective positions of the parties and provided a realistic framework for settlement discussions.”
- “[Joel] did a good job of highlighted the risks to each side and settled a potentially difficult case in a half day.”
- “Joel did an unbelievable job. I don't know how he worked his magic, but he delivered.”
- “Joel is an experienced neutral who thinks outside of the box.”
- “Joel was completely prepared, incredibly effective, and managed the opposing party and her counsel very well.”
- “Arbitrator Grossman digested an extremely voluminous arbitration record in the time he promised and delivered a well-reasoned and thorough written award. His interim decisions on motions and the like were timely and thorough and he gave all parties an opportunity to present their positions and advocate for their interests. His decisions always were based on the facts presented to him and the law governing the case.”
- “Persistent, very knowledgeable about labor code issues and potential damages, adept with difficult personalities, personable, useful sense of humor, principled and made clients feel understood and good about the result. He was also very helpful with the insurance counsel. Everyone on our side left thankful and impressed. Joel Grossman did an amazing job in a complicated two stage negotiation.”
- “Mr. Grossman is a highly knowledgeable arbitrator who was also always courteous and professional.”
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