Caroline M. Colangelo


Delfino Madden   Delfino Madden   

Tallulah Bajar

Practice Areas

Employment Law

Clients facing challenges in the workplace with their current and former 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, sexual harassment and discrimination 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, as well as arbitrations and mediations. Caroline is involved in all phases of the litigation process including pretrial pleading and motion practice, discovery and depositions, expert disclosure and trial.

Caroline’s trial experience includes second-chairing a one-week jury trial in federal court resulting in a defense verdict in a race discrimination claim against a multi-state grocer; successfully defending against the subsequent appeal of the same action; second-chairing a two-week bench trial in superior court resulting in a defense verdict in a disability discrimination, retaliation and failure to accommodate case; resolving a sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation action on the eve of trial based in part on successful motions in limine; obtaining a defense verdict in a multi-week jury trial alleging 14 causes of action including disability discrimination, failure to reasonably accommodate, failure to engage in the interactive process, race discrimination, failure to provide meal and rest periods, failure to pay overtime, failure to pay final wages at termination, violation of the Kin Care law, invasion of privacy and wrongful termination in violation of public policy.

Caroline is deeply involved in the Sacramento nonprofit community, serving as the Co-President of the Board of Directors of Cottage Housing, Inc., the Vice President of Programing for the Board of Directors of the SCBA’s Barrister’s Club and a Board Member of the American River Natural History Association. She has been recognized by Super Lawyers as a Rising Star (2016 to present); San Francisco Magazine’s Top Young Women Attorneys (2020), and by the Sacramento Business Journal’s Best of the Bar.

Caroline has also worked on four different appellate death penalty cases that involved extensive post-conviction appellate review, as well as 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 the effects of temporal lobe epilepsy.

She enjoys traveling, reading, hiking and camping, and is also an avid classic rock fan and attends concerts whenever she can.

  • 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, 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

Speaking Engagements/Events

Employment Law Update 2021
Delfino Madden

“The Do’s and Dont’s of Employee Handbooks”
Sacramento Area Human Resources Association

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

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

Employment Law Update: Changes for 2013
Downey Brand LLP

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


Employers Beware Retaliation Suits May Linger Even After Harassment Claim Dismissed
Sacramento Area Human Resources Association