Jody I. LeWitterPartner
"I just believe there ought to be a way to achieve justice in the workplace, and I don't mind fighting for it!"
Jody LeWitter is a partner at Siegel, LeWitter & Malkani and has been an attorney in private practice for 30 years. She is passionate about representing employees in discrimination and wrongful termination cases and is known for her vigorous advocacy of employees. She has had great success in court, negotiations/mediations and in arbitrations, and has been recognized by other lawyers as a "go to" employment lawyer for her determination and innovative strategies.
Jody has represented employees from all walks of life including high level executives, sales managers, corporate executive officers, factory workers, blue collar workers, high tech and white collar employees. She has represented employees in hostile environment/sexual harassment/racial harassment, disability, sex, race, national origin, sexual orientation, age and pregnancy discrimination cases, as well as wrongful termination, breach of contract, misrepresentation or fraud, public policy and other cases. She primarily represents individual employees or small groups of employees.
Jody has a passion for pushing the envelope in litigation. She knows that not all employment discrimination cases involve overt discrimination, and that bringing the more difficult double standard cases is necessary to protect employees' rights in the workplace. She has used her passion for justice to prove that employees deserve protection from unlawful termination in the guise of layoffs, or firings, when comparative coworkers are not terminated. She has also used her passion for pushing the envelope to advocate for employees in the new area of family responsibilities discrimination, and has parlayed her expertise of sexual harassment in employment law to representing victims of sexual harassment in other contexts, such as protecting student victims of harassment.
Jody is also a Mediator and Evaluator and serves on the Northern District of California's Employment Law Panel.
Jody's victories include Behne v. MicroTouch Inc., an employment fraud case in which her client was awarded what was then believed to be the largest employment fraud verdict in California at the time. The $2.64 million dollar award, which included punitive damages, was upheld by the Ninth Circuit.
Despite the fact that arbitrations are not considered the friendliest forums for employees, she has successfully arbitrated a number of employment cases and convinced arbitrators to make significant awards including rare findings that the employer acted with malice, oppression and fraud, required in order to obtain an award of punitive damages. For example, she represented 3 African American employees in a race discrimination arbitration in which the employees were awarded significant compensatory damages and a finding of malice, oppression and fraud, as required for an award of punitive damages. The total recovery exceeded $3.6 million dollars. She also represented the employee in Miceli v Flowserve, an age discrimination/retaliation case, in which the Arbitrator awarded compensatory damages of $1.09 million dollars, plus interest and attorneys fees, and a finding of malice, oppression and fraud.
Jody has received numerous awards and recognition. In 2011, she and the firm were listed in The Recorder as one of the ten top employee side practices in the Bay Area. Similarly, both Jody and her partner, Jonathan Siegel, were singled out by The Recorder, as Top Employment Attorneys, Honorable Mentions in the last Recorder survey. She has been named as a Best Lawyers in America for Labor & Employment (2006-2012) and a California Super Lawyer for Employment Litigation (2007-2012). She was one of six lawyers named by Oakland Magazine in the category of Oakland Labor & Employment, in its issue entitled "East Bay Best Lawyers in America." She received the highest rating (AV) by Martindale Hubbell, which ranks lawyers around the country.
Jody has lectured at various seminars and schools on aspects of employment discrimination and wrongful termination law including at the California Employment Lawyers Association, Practicing Law Institute, State Bar of California, Labor & Employment Section, the Northern District of California and the Contra Costa Bar Association on topics such as Jury Selection in Employment Cases, Developing and Presenting Emotional Distress Damages, Selecting Employment Cases, Deposition Techniques in Employment Cases, The Psychology of Negotiations, Misrepresentations in Employment Law, Employment Law for Immigration Lawyers, and The Essential Terms of Settlement Agreements. She has been an instructor at the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, the Stanford Law School Intensive Advocacy Program and the USF Intensive Advocacy Program.
She is a member of the Equal Rights Advocates Litigation Committee, California Employment Lawyers Association, Plaintiffs Employment Lawyers Association, the Alameda County Bar Association and the National Lawyers Guild. She has volunteered with the Workers Rights Clinic, Legal Aid Society of San Francisco and the Asian Law Caucus.
Jody also volunteers in her community in various capacities. She currently serves on two Boards, the Nicaraguan Children's Friendship Committee and Amigos de las Americas, San Francisco chapter.
Education and Background
Jody was born in Detroit, Michigan. She graduated from Barnard College, Columbia University, magna cum laude, in 1978. She received her law degree from the University of Michigan Law School, cum laude, in 1982. She practiced law in Michigan from 1982 through 1986. She moved to California in 1986 where she has practiced employment law since 1986.