Sandra L. McDonough

Partner

Sandy McDonough specializes in representing employers in all aspects of employment litigation, including wrongful termination, harassment, discrimination, class action suits and union matters. She also regularly advises clients with regard to employment issues, including employee discipline, terminations, leaves of absence, and wage and hour violations.

Prior to joining Paul, Plevin, Sullivan & Connaughton, Ms. McDonough represented public entities in litigation involving the Government Tort Claims Act, civil rights actions, constitutional violations and contract disputes. She also represented insurance carriers with regard to coverage opinions, bad faith actions and declaratory relief actions.

At Paul, Plevin, Sullivan & Connaughton, Ms. McDonough has focused her practice in both the private and public sector, representing, among others, The Regents of the University of California, Bridgepoint Education, Rubio’s Restaurants, National University, the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, HSBC Bank, and the Trustees of the California State University.

Ms. McDonough has a favorable history of obtaining dismissals at the initial pleading stage and through summary judgment, and has also obtained advantageous settlements in numerous matters, both within and outside the mediation process. She also has a favorable record in the appellate courts and significant experience representing large entities in matters brought to arbitration.

Ms. McDonough has served as an adjunct professor of the Pre-Trial Advocacy class at USC Law School, and was previously an assistant instructor for that course for seven years. In the course, Ms. McDonough taught law students such skills as successfully drafting and arguing motions, effective settlement techniques, and the art of depositions. In addition, Ms. McDonough has regularly taught masters-level students the legal aspects of human resources management at Webster University. She is also a frequent lecturer on employment law issues for industry and human resources groups. Finally, Ms. McDonough was a regular contributor to Matthew Bender’s publication entitled “California Labor and Employment Bulletin” for several years.

Education

  • University of Southern California Law School, J.D., 1997
  • University of California, San Diego, B.A., 1994

Professional Experience

  • Paul, Plevin, Sullivan & Connaughton LLP Associate, 2000 – 2005; Partner 2006 – Present
  • Richards, Watson & Gershon, Associate

Admissions

  • All California state courts
  • All United States District courts in California
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Professional Activities

  • Member, California Public Employers Labor Relations Association (CALPELRA)
  • Member, San Diego County Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section
  • Member, State Bar of California, Labor and Employment Law Section
  • Board Member, YMCA, Youth and Family Services
  • Board Vice-Chair, Feeding America San Diego
  • Member, WISH Circle, Make-A-Wish San Diego
  • LEAD San Diego, IMPACT San Diego Class of 2016
  • Member, Todd Inn of Court



Speaking Engagements

  • Understanding The Gig Economy, PPSC Annual Employment Law Seminar, October 2016
  • Conducting Workplace Investigations, CALPELRA Annual Training Conference, Monterey, California, October 2015
  • Disability Dilemma: Handling Difficult Workplace Accommodation Issues, CALPELRA Annual Training Conference, Monterey, California, October 2015
  • Disability Dilemma: Handling Difficult Workplace Accommodation Issues, PPSC Summer Seminar Series, La Jolla, California, August 2015
  • The General Counsel’s Employment Law Tool Kit, ACCA Presentation, San Diego, California, March 2013
  • Legal Pitfalls for Department Chairs Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology (COGDOP), San Antonio, Texas, February 2015
  • Superintendent’s Executive Board Training, San Bernardino, California, December 2014
  • When Customer Information Winds Up in the Wrong Hands, ACCA Panel Discussion (Orange County and Los Angeles Chapters), March 2014
  • The General Counsel’s Employment Law Tool Kit, ACCA Presentation, San Diego, California, March 2013
  • Legal Pitfalls for Department Chairs Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology (COGDOP), San Antonio, Texas, February 2015
  • Avoiding Legal Pitfalls in Academic Administration, Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology (COGDOP), Atlanta, Georgia, February 2014
  • Working Together Toward Compliance, JFK University, Seattle, Washington, January 2014
  • What You Need to Know about PAGA Claims, San Diego County Bar Association, December 2013
  • Disability Dilemma: Handling Difficult Workplace Accommodation Issues, PPSC, November 2013
  • Disability Accommodation and Leave Management, CALPELRA Annual Training Conference, Monterey, California, November 2013
  • Defending Against PERB Unfair Practice Charges, CALPELRA Annual Training Conference, Monterey, California, November 2013
  • Special Issues in Public Sector Investigations, Association of Workplace Investigators (AOWI), October 2013
  • University of California Liability Programs & Defense Counsel Conference, Oakland, California, September 2013
  • Private Attorney General Act, JAMS Panel Discussion, San Diego, California, June 2013
  • Sex, Lies and Videotape: How Private is Your Life?, Todd Inn of Court, San Diego, California, March 2013
  • Avoiding Legal Pitfalls in Academic Administration, Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology (COGDOP), San Diego, California, February 2013
  • Defending Against PERB Unfair Practice Charges, CALPELRA Annual Training Conference, Monterey, California, December 2012
  • Disability Accommodation and Leave Management, CALPELRA Annual Training Conference, Monterey, California, December 2012
  • Avoiding Legal Pitfalls in Academic Administration, Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology (COGDOP), Austin, Texas, February 2012
  • Best Practices for Investigations Training, San Diego County Bar Association, San Diego, California, December 2011
  • How to Use Public Sector Litigation Immunities and Privileges to Your Advantage, CALPELRA Annual Training Conference, Monterey, California, November 2011
  • Disability Dilemma: Handling the Three Most Difficult Workplace Accommodation Issues, CALPELRA Annual Training Conference, Monterey, California, November 2011
  • Avoiding Legal Pitfalls, Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology (COGDOP), Charleston, South Carolina, February 2011
  • The Seven Habits of Frequently Sued Managers, CALPELRA Annual Training Conference, Monterey, California, 2010
  • Special Issues in Public Sector Investigations, California Association of Workplace Investigators (CAOWI), 2010
  • Special Issues in Public Sector Investigations, County Counsels' Association of California Employment Law Study Section Conference, 2010
  • Avoiding Legal Pitfalls, Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology (COGDOP), 2010
  • 2011 Legal Update, PPSC Annual Employment Law Update, 2010
  • ]Conducting Workplace Investigations, CALPELRA Annual Training Conference, 2009
  • Public Sector Employment Law Briefing, 2009
  • Working Together to Prevent Workplace Harassment, various PPSC clients, ongoing
  • Bias and Discrimination Training, various PPSC clients, ongoing

Representative Matters

  • Obtained proposed decision in educational institution’s favor in a PERB decision involving contract interpretation issue potentially affecting salary increases for an entire bargaining unit.
  • Prevailed in a pregnancy discrimination arbitration on behalf of an educational institution.
  • Obtained defense verdict  for higher education entity in a harassment/hostile work environment case.
  • Obtained summary judgment for governmental entity in a discrimination case.
  • Obtained summary judgment in a constitutional challenge brought by a group of public employees.
  • Obtained summary judgment for two different public employees on Labor Code section 1102.5 claims, along with attorneys’ fees from one plaintiff for the summary judgment and as a result of a Special Motion to Strike.
  • Obtained summary judgment for higher education entity on thorny tenure denial matter involving allegations of discrimination, which was upheld on appeal.
  • Obtained summary judgment in age discrimination and retaliation case brought by University employee.
  • Obtained summary judgment in gender discrimination case brought by a physician against her employer.
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of an electronics retailer against an employee alleging discrimination, fraud and breach of contract.
  • Obtained summary judgment in another action brought by a physician who alleged gender, marital status and national origin discrimination.
  • Favorable record at appellate stage with appellate court confirming granting of demurrers without leave to amend and motions to dismiss on at least five separate occasions.
  • Favorable record at appellate stage with court confirming motions for summary judgment on at least three separate occasions.

Trials, Arbitrations and Disciplinary Hearings

  • Defense verdict in jury trial for the University of California Irvine Medical Center in which a psychiatric nurse alleged age and disability harassment and failure to engage in the interactive process related to his disability (Orange County Superior Court).