Joanne Alnajjar Buser

Partner

Joanne Alnajjar Buser works in the area of labor and employment law.  Her experience includes the representation of employers in state and federal courts, arbitration, and administrative agencies.  Joanne defends against charges of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and wage and hour violations.  In addition, she counsels clients about their employment practices, drafts severance and settlement agreements, and drafts employee handbooks to ensure compliance with federal and state laws.

Joanne has experience litigating in both the single plaintiff and class action context.  Joanne regularly argues motions in court and takes and defends depositions.  She has first-chaired a bench trial, and has second-chaired jury trials, arbitrations, and administrative agency hearings.

Joanne was named a "Rising Star" in the 2015, 2016 and 2017 Southern California Super Lawyers lists as well as the 2012 and 2013 New York Metro Super Lawyers lists.  She was also named to the San Diego Business Journal’s Best of the Bar for 2016. For 2017, Joanne serves as the Chair of the Labor & Employment Law Section for the San Diego County Bar Association.

Education

  • University of Michigan Law School, J.D., 2006
  • University of Michigan, B.A. in History, 2001

Professional Experience

  • Paul, Plevin, Sullivan & Connaughton LLP, Partner, January 2017 – present; Associate, January 2014 – December 2016
  • Jones Day, New York, Associate, September 2009 - December 2013
  • McDermott Will & Emery, New York Associate, September 2006 - September 2009; Summer Associate, May - August 2005
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Legal Unit Intern, June - August 2004

Admissions

  • All California state courts
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of California
  • All New York state courts
  • United States District Courts for the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York

Professional Activities

  • Chair, San Diego County Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section
  • Member, San Diego County Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section
  • Member, State Bar of California, Labor and Employment Law Section
  • Volunteer, Dress for Success

Publications

  • Declawing the Cat’s Paw Doctrine in Discrimination Cases, Law 360, February 2016
  • Reading Between The Lines Of San Francisco's Retail Rules, Law360, July 2015
  • How To Terminate Employees You're '“Just Not That Into”, Law360, July 2014
  • Systemic Discrimination: Responding to EEOC Investigations and Litigation, Practical Law - The Journal, February 2013

 

Speaking Engagements

  • Moderator, Employment Arbitration: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, San Diego County Bar Association, December 2016
  • Wage and Hour Developments, PPSC Annual Update Seminar, October 2016
  • Panel Speaker, Transgender Litigation, SDHR, January 2016
  • A Deep Dive Into California’s New Fair Pay Act – Key Issues, What to Expect, How to Prepare, Association of Corporate Counsel, March 2016
  • Gender and Beyond, PPSC Annual Employment Law Seminar, October 2015
  • Panel Speaker, Career Panel Discussion Regarding Hiring, Interviewing and Roles in the Law, Dress for Success, September 2015
  • Invited Instructor, Transferrable Job Skills, Dress for SuccessAugust 2015
  • Performance Management & Agreeable Exits, PPSC Seminar, November 2014

Representative Matters

  • Successfully argued multiple motions in limine that substantially limited the scope of trial
  • Obtained nonsuit of failure to engage in the interactive process claim at trial
  • Obtained defense verdict in jury trial for public university on claims of harassment and failure to prevent harassment
  • Investigative report of a disability accommodation and harassment claim as independent counsel for city council
  • Obtained summary judgment for a university on claims of breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, defamation, breach of contract, negligence, and negligent infliction of emotional distress
  • Demurrer sustained for public entity employer resulting in narrowing of case issues
  • Petition to compel arbitration granted for employer in harassment and discrimination case
  • Bench trial to defense verdict with fees awarded for employer regarding a Labor Commissioner decision
  • Authored significant sexual assault investigation report as independent counsel for employer
  • Granted monetary sanctions in discovery motion practice for public and private universities