Mercedes Cruz

Partner

  • location icon Los Angeles, CA
    633 West 5th Street
    Suite 4000
    Los Angeles, CA 90071

Mercedes Cruz is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Lewis Brisbois and a member of the Employment & Labor Practice. Ms. Cruz specializes in defending and advising private and public entities in all aspects of employment law, with a special emphasis on dispute resolution and prevention. Ms. Cruz has extensive experience in employment litigation in Court, as well as state and federal administrative agencies such as the California Fair Employment and Housing Commission, the United States Equal Opportunity Commission, and the California State Labor Commissioner. Her areas of concentration include training, dispute resolutions, internal investigations, advising employers on terminations, discipline, complying with state and federal employment laws, and formulation of policy. Ms. Cruz also defends employers in litigation involving wrongful termination, retaliation, harassment, employment discrimination and related tort actions. Ms. Cruz' clients include municipalities, counties, automotive companies, entertainment clients, corporations, small businesses, nonprofit entities, educational institutions, and Fortune 500 companies.

Ms. Cruz has conducted and overseen hundreds of investigations in both the public and private sectors, and has assisted employers in resolving hundreds of claims and disputes.  Ms. Cruz has also trained thousands of employers and their employees, including law enforcement personnel, in the prevention of harassment and discrimination in the workplace and related employment topics.

As a litigator, Ms. Cruz has defended local, national, and international clients in a variety of litigation and has served as coordinating litigation counsel for two international companies with respect to their litigation and claims within the United States.

Ms. Cruz is a panel member and Former Chair, on the Equity Oversight Panel (EOP) for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and a panelist and rotating Chair on the Los Angeles County Equity Oversight Panel, the panels which oversee internal investigations involving equity and harassment. In these roles, Ms. Cruz has overseen hundreds of investigations, conducted briefings, evaluated initial claims, prepared quarterly reports, made presentations, conducted training and rendered advice on policy and procedures, as well as on preventative measures. She has also served as a consultant to Acting Executive Director for the County of Los Angeles Equity Oversight panel on development of policy and practices.

Ms. Cruz is fluent in Spanish and regularly writes and lectures in the area of employment law.

Related Newsletters

Publications

  • The Use of After Acquired Evidence as a Definition in Discrimination and Wrongful Termination Actions, INTERNATIONAL LEGAL STRATEGY, February 1994 (co-author)
  • The Use of After Acquired Evidence, a Recent Trend in the Defense of Discrimination and Wrongful Termination Actions, THE LEGAL ADMINISTRATOR, January 1994
  • In Anticipation of Litigation - Why Early Warning Programs Can Pay Off (co-author)

Professional Presentations

  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Managing Employees, Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith Employment Law Seminar, 2010
  • Violence in the Workplace, Guest Speaker (prepared for CCFS Management Development Training), 2008
  • Conducting Lawful Investigations from an Employer's Perspective (prepared as guest speaker for class on Investigations at Loyola Law School, 2007
  • Preventing Employment Law Disputes (prepared as guest speaker for risk management), UCLA, 2006
  • Prevention of Employment Law Disputes and Positioning Your Company for a Strong Defense When they Occur, 2005
  • Effectively Communicating Your Anti-Harassment Policy, 2005
  • Sexual Harassment Definitions, Liability Prevention & Investigation, 2004

Admissions

California

Associations

  • California Bar, 1985
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • Appointed to the LACBA Committee on Judicial Appointments, 2009-Present
  • Appointed by Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to Los Angeles County Sheriff Department Equity Oversight Panel, Former Chair, 2005-Present
  • Appointed by Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to County Equity Oversight Panel. Rotating Chair, 2011-Present
  • National Employment counsel to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), 1995-Present
  • Appointed Consultant to Acting Executive Director of County Equity Oversight Panel for the development of  Policy and Procedure, 2012
  • Board Member for Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church, 2008-2010
  • Member of the Elks, 2012-Present
  • Board Member for Alliance for a Better Community, 2013-present
  • Girl Scout Leader
    • Outstanding Leader Award for Service Unit
    • Leader with a Heart Award (2016)
    • Silver Award Trainer/Advisor (2016-present)
    • Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles Appreciation Pin Honoree (2017)

Education

UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law

Juris Doctor, 1985

California State University at Long Beach

Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude, 1981

National Institute of Trial Advocacy (1987)

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