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Deborah Crandall Saxe, Esq.
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Deborah Crandall Saxe, Esq.

General Biography
Practice Areas
Business Commercial
Class Action & Mass Tort
Employment Law
Health Care
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education

Deborah Crandall Saxe, Esq. has mediated and arbitrated more than 1,000 labor and employment matters. Before becoming a full-time neutral, she practiced labor and employment law at Jones Day, Heller Ehrman, and Seyfarth Shaw for more than 30 years and was widely recognized as one of the best in the business. When she was practicing law, Chambers USA called her “an aggressive and highly capable litigator with a forte in wage and hour and discrimination cases” and “substantial experience in the courtroom as a trial lawyer.” More recently, Chambers USA called her a “talented mediator.”

Ms. Saxe has handled labor and employment disputes involving wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, ERISA, FMLA/CFRA, employment contracts, partnership agreements, independent contractor agreements, and FLSA and California wage and hour issues, including class actions, FLSA collective actions and PAGA actions. Ms. Saxe is one of the few full-time neutrals who has litigated state and federal wage and hour and employment discrimination class actions, collective actions and PAGA actions.

Ms. Saxe is highly regarded as being attentive to detail, prepared, creative and flexible. Her prior experience as a litigator provides her an unparalleled grasp of employment disputes and enables her to offer parties valuable insight as to how a case may appear to a judge and jury. As an arbitrator she is fair and practical, and makes the reasoning for her decisions clear to each side.

Representative Matters

  • Breach of Contract
      • Chair of three-arbitrator panel for dispute relating to partner’s expulsion from law firm
      • Arbitrated claim that employer wrongfully failed to pay discharged executive all severance pay and compensation due
      • Arbitrated claim that chief financial officer was discharged without cause in breach of for-cause employment contract
      • Arbitrated claim that employer breached commission agreement and wrongfully discharged executive in violation of public policy
      • Mediated breach of employment contract claims made by executives and others
  • Discrimination and Harassment
      • Mediated and arbitrated claims arising under Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), California Family Rights Act (CFRA), and California Pregnancy Disability Leave law
      • Mediated and arbitrated single and multiple-plaintiff cases involving alleged discrimination, harassment, failure to accommodate, and/or retaliation in violation of Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other laws
      • Litigated Title VII class actions alleging that employer had pattern or practice of discriminating against women on the basis of gender 
      • Litigated class action alleging employer violated Title VII by providing health benefits for pregnant employees but not pregnant spouses of male employees 
      • Litigated claim for defamation arising from statements made by employer when handling sexual harassment allegation 
      • Litigated claim that Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) should be prohibited from investigating employment practices because EEOC Commissioner’s charge was facially invalid 
      • Litigated claim that employee was constructively discharged because of age 
      • Mediated attorney’s fee dispute involving jury verdict for less than $75,000 and alleged lodestar fees of $1.4M
  • Employment Law
      • Mediated ERISA claims, including claims for severance pay 
      • Litigated ERISA class action alleging partial termination of pension plan 
      • Litigated class actions alleging that employer violated collective bargaining agreements by failing to provide lifetime health benefits for retirees 
      • Litigated class action alleging that major school district violated collective bargaining agreements by making changes to health insurance plans for retired teachers 
      • Litigated class action alleging employer unlawfully failed to “bridge” employment for older workers to make them eligible for early retirement benefits under pension plan 
      • Litigated claim that employer breached contract by failing to honor oral agreement to provide pension benefits to employee after transfer to United States identical to benefits available to employee in the United Kingdom
  • Labor
      • Litigated fraud claims brought by former employees of closed coke plant
      • Litigated claim that employer committed unfair labor practice by complying with collective bargaining agreement requiring employees to use special forms to revoke authorizations for company to deduct union dues from paychecks
      • Litigated claim alleging union representation election was tainted by chain voting
      • Handled appeal of claim that National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) erred when affirming administrative law judge’s decision on grounds that proven violations were neither alleged in NLRB complaint nor properly litigated in ensuing proceeding
  • Other
      • Arbitrated alleged misappropriation of employee’s likeness and voice relating to former employer’s continued use of product-information videos made by employee during employment 
      • Litigated class action alleging pre-employment background check company violated Megan’s Law by providing records identifying registered sex offenders 
      • Litigated anti-SLAPP motion regarding employee’s claims for defamation and invasion of privacy 
      • Litigated issue regarding whether doctrine of res judicata barred PAGA claims made by plaintiff who previously had settled identical non-PAGA commission chargeback claims against same defendant 
      • Handled appeal of workplace injury case involving “point of operation guards” on a power press in which jury awarded the plaintiff more than $1M 
      • Litigated claim that EEOC waived Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) exemption protecting interagency memoranda and investigatory records by reading documents out loud to employer’s counsel 
      • Litigated claim that Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) failed to send requested copies of employers’ affirmative action plans as required under Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
  • Trade Secrets
      • Litigated and arbitrated alleged use of confidential and trade secret information after termination of employment
  • Wage and Hour
      • Arbitrated hybrid nationwide Rule 23 Class Action/Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Section 16(b) collective action alleging employer failed to pay overtime compensation 
      • Arbitrated and mediated California wage and hour class actions with claims for overtime compensation, meal and rest break premiums, and related statutory penalties, plus claims for civil penalties pursuant to California’s Private Attorney General Act (PAGA) and claims for restitution pursuant to California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL) 
      • Arbitrated and mediated single and multi-plaintiff wage and hour matters arising under the California Labor Code, California Wage Orders, and FLSA
      • Litigated California wage and hour class actions and PAGA representative actions involving alleged misclassification of employees as exempt from overtime compensation, off-the-clock work, commission chargebacks, split-shift premiums, reporting pay premiums, failure to provide meal and rest breaks, failure to reimburse employees for business expenses 
      • Litigated FLSA collective actions involving overtime compensation (misclassification of loan officers, loan processors, store managers, and assistant store managers), the FLSA section 7(k) exemption for public-sector fire protection and law enforcement employees, and the alleged need to include certain bonuses when calculating the regular rate of pay
      • Arbitrated and mediated single and multi-plaintiff wage and hour matters arising under the California Labor Code, California Wage Orders, and FLSA 
      • Litigated claim for attorneys’ fees for defendant under California Labor Code §218.5 following summary judgment on split shift premium and reporting pay claims
      • Arbitrated prevailing wage claims
  • Wrongful Terminations
      • Mediated and arbitrated claims of wrongful termination in violation of public policy, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and other common-law claims

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS. 

  • Fellow, College of Labor & Employment Lawyers, 2001-2023
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America, 2005-2024
  • Recognized as a Southern California Super Lawyer, Alternative Dispute Resolution category, 2019-2023
  • Recognized by peers as one of the Top 50 Women Super Lawyers, 2019 
  • Recognized by peers as one of the Top 50 Women Super Lawyers in L.A. and Orange Counties for 10 consecutive years, 2004-2013 
  • Recognized by peers as one of the Top 100 Super Lawyers in L.A. and Orange Counties, 2010 
  • Fellow, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, 2014-2020
  • Fellow, International Academy of Mediators, 2015-2020 
  • Ranked by Chambers USA as a “leading lawyer” in employment law, 2004-2012 
  • Identified as one of the 100 Most Powerful Labor & Employment Lawyers in the Nation, 2010, 2011, 2012 
  • Member, American Bar Association, Labor & Employment Law Section, 39 years 
  • Member, American Bar Association, Dispute Resolution Section, 6 years 
  • Member, California Bar Association, Labor & Employment Law Section, 32 years 
  • Trustee, Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA), 2005-2008 and 2010-2013; Member, 32 years 
  • Chair, LACBA Labor & Employment Law Section, 2002-2003; Member 32 years 
  • Associate (neutral) Member, California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA), 2012-2020
  • Member, Board of Governors, Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles (WLALA), 2012-2013 
  • Lifetime Member, WLALA 
  • Listed in Marquis’ Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who of American Women, and Who’s Who in the World

ADR Profile

Background and Education

  • Full-time neutral since July 2012 (part-time since January 2007 - July 2012)
  • Partner, Jones Day, 1988-1996 and 2006-2012
  • Shareholder, Heller Ehrman, 1997-2005
  • Associate, Jones Day, 1983-1987
  • Associate, Seyfarth Shaw, 1978-1983
  • J.D., UCLA School of Law, 1978 (Member, UCLA Law Review)
  • M.A., Comparative Literature, UCLA, 1973
  • B.A., English Language & Literature, magna cum laude, Penn State, 1971
  • B.A., Russian Language & Literature, cum laude, Penn State, 1971


This page is for general information purposes.  JAMS makes no representations or warranties regarding its accuracy or completeness.  Interested persons should conduct their own research regarding information on this website before deciding to use JAMS, including investigation and research of JAMS neutrals. See More

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