Caroline M. Colangelo

Associate—Employment Law

Clients facing challenges in the workplace with their current, former, and potential employees rely on Caroline Colangelo for advice regarding federal and California employment laws and regulations.

Through her strong analytical and writing skills, Caroline assists clients on a wide-range of employment issues, with a primary focus on defending employers in employment litigation, including claims for discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, and wage and hour violations. Caroline also counsels clients to ensure their employment policies, practices, and handbooks are compliant with federal and state laws.

Caroline has represented regional businesses, sole proprietors, and individuals. Her practice involves complex litigation matters, class actions, employment disputes, and administrative claims. She has successfully resolved lawsuits involving claims for unfair business practices, breach of partnership agreements, disability discrimination, racial discrimination and harassment, and Form I-9 noncompliance, among others. While she primarily practices in state court, she also handles cases in federal court and before California’s administrative enforcement agencies. Caroline is involved in all phases of the litigation process including pretrial pleading and motion practice, discovery and depositions, expert disclosure and trial.

Caroline has worked on four different appellate death penalty cases that involved extensive post-conviction appellate review and interviewing witnesses and jurors involved in the original trials. She has also assisted in drafting portions of post-conviction habeas briefs regarding mental retardation and diagnosis and effects of temporal lobe epilepsy. She is currently a mentor to high school students through the McClatchy Law Academy. She enjoys traveling, reading, hiking, and camping, and is also an avid classic rock fan and attends concerts whenever she can.

Assistant: Drew Fredrickson

Representative Experience

  • Assisted regional manufacturer and service provider in complex litigation involving federal antitrust claims under Section 1 and Section 2 of the Sherman Act.
  • Represented client in litigation initiated by former employer for breach of contract, tortuous interference with prospective economic advantage, trade secret misappropriation, and breach of fiduciary duty; drafted successful demurrer attacking the complaint and greatly reducing the number of claims.
  • Represented winery owner in suit brought by a former employee for breach of an alleged partnership agreement involving real property ownership and intentional and negligent misrepresentation.  Developed strategy for negotiating favorable settlement prior to trial.
  • Successfully represented winery and vineyard owner in mediation involving former employee’s claim for age discrimination.
  • Defended California financial institution in litigation involving claims for disability discrimination.  Drafted and argued successful motion to enforce arbitration agreement and oversaw discovery.  The action settled on favorable terms shortly before arbitration occurred.
  • Successfully represented individual in claims for defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy (false light), invasion of privacy (intrusion into seclusion), and stalking alleged against labor union members involved in a labor dispute.
  • Represented local business in claim before the U.S. Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review for allegedly failing to comply with the Immigration and Nationality Act’s requirements for Form I-9 compliance.  Assisted in negotiating favorable settlement and in drafting successful motion against counsel for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to enforce the settlement agreement
  • Defended regional fast-food restaurant in suit brought by former employee alleging discrimination based on race and national origin.  Oversaw discovery and assisted in developing strategy for negotiating favorable settlement.
  • Assisted with preparation of appellate brief to the California Supreme Court regarding new competency standards for pro se defendants in capital cases and mental health issues.

Professional Affiliations

Professional, Community And Pro Bono Involvement
Member, Sacramento County Bar Association, Employment Law Section, 2008-Present
Member, Metro EDGE, Sacramento Metro Chamber, 2012-2013
Member, Sacramento Human Resources Association, 2011-2013

J.D., Cornell University Law School, 2011
B.A., with high honors, University of California at Santa Barbara, 2007

Bar Admissions
California, 2011

Court Admissions
United States District Court Eastern District of California
United States District Court Northern District of California

News & Publications

Speaking Engagements / Events
March 11, 2014
“The Do’s and Dont’s of Employee Handbooks”
Sacramento Area Human Resources Association, Co-Presenter

January 30, 2014
Are You Ready for 2014? Many New Laws Will Affect California Employers
2014 Employment Law Seminar

July 2013
“Bring Your Own Devise Policies: The Benefits and Risks of Using Personal, Electronic Devices at Work,” Sacramento Area Human Resources Association

February 2013
“Employment Law Update: Changes for 2013,” Downey Brand LLP

January 2013
“Employment Law Update: 2013” Greater Stockton Employer Advisory Council

“Employment Law 2012: What’s Your Next Move?” Downey Brand LLP

“To Arbitrate or Not to Arbitrate, That is the Question,” Sacramento Area Human Resources Association

July 2013
“Employers Beware Retaliation Suits May Linger Even After Harassment Claim Dismissed” Co-Author
Sacramento Area Human Resources Association