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Colleen M. McCarthy

COLLEEN M. McCARTHY is a Partner and the Employment Law Practice Group Leader at Ferruzzo. Colleen McCarthy is dedicated to representing and protecting employers with a particular emphasis on risk mitigation through preventative counseling and sound practical advice.  Ms. McCarthy’s objective is to educate employers about the complicated employment laws that impact their businesses to ensure that they are in compliance and to reduce the chance of costly litigation.     

Ms. McCarthy counsels her employer clients on all aspects of employment law including hiring, employee discipline, leaves of absences under state and federal law, proper job classification (exempt versus nonexempt) and independent contractor status, as well as terminations, layoffs, and WARN compliance.  She works with employers to conduct a variety of audits to make sure their practices are legally sound and assist them in policy development, employee handbooks, severance agreements, executive compensation, and commission and incentive agreements.

She has defended employers in civil litigation, both state and federal, involving claims of discrimination, wrongful termination, wage and hour violations, harassment, unfair business practices, and violations of Title VII, FEHA, FMLA, CFRA, ADA, and ADEA.  She has also represented employers in federal and state class action lawsuits and disputes with the United States Department of Labor, California's Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health, and has represented employers before the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board in defense of Labor Code section 132a actions and Serious and Willful charges.

Bar Admissions

  • State Bar of California, Member
  • The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
  • U.S. Supreme Court


University of Southern California
Los Angeles, California
B.A. Degree in English

Pepperdine University School of Law
Malibu, California
Juris Doctorate

Published Works

Employer Watch Blog, https://employerwatch.wordpress.com, January 2015 to Present

“Personal Liability for Wage and Hour Violations Greatly Expanded Under California Fair Day's Pay Act," Orange County Business Journal, December 17, 2015

“Demystifying The Payment & Salary Process For Your Small Business,” CBS Small Business Pulse, November 20, 2015

“5 Things You May Not Know About California’s New Paid Sick Leave Law,” Orange County Business Journal, June 2015

“California Labor Ruling Could Be Start of Cost Shift for Uber,” Limousine, Charter & Tour Magazine, June 23, 2015

“7 ESSENTIALS When Your Company Becomes the Target of a U.S. Department of Labor Investigation,” Orange County Business Journal, November 2014

“Evolving Workplace Issues Dominate Employer and Employee Concerns,” Orange County Business Journal, March 2002 

Classes / Seminars Taught

Speaker, 2015 Corporate and Employment Law Update, Greater California Livery Association, February 2015

Speaker, HR 101:  From Hiring to Termination, Escrow Institute of California, August 2016

Speaker, Leave Administration:  The Challenges and the Solutions, September 2019

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Orange County Women Lawyers Association, Member; Board of Directors (2019 to present)
  • California Women Lawyers, Member
  • OCWLA Foundation Board of Directors (2020 to present)
  • Pepperdine University School of Law, Orange County Alumni Executive Planning Committee (2016 to present)
  • NAWBO, Orange County Chapter (2015 to present); Public Policy Committee (2016-2018)
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent™
  • Orange County Bar Association, Labor & Employment Law Section, Member
  • Society for Human Resource Management, Member
  • Professionals in Human Resources Association, South Orange County, Member
  • ProVisors (2016 to present), South Orange County Executive Committee (2018 to present)