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Gary M. McLaughlin

Partner - los angeles


Legal Expertise

Gary McLaughlin represents employers in all areas of labor and employment law, including representation in wage and hour class action litigation, Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) actions, and discrimination, harassment, retaliation and wrongful termination claims. Mr. McLaughlin regularly advises clients on wage and hour issues, terminations, investigations, family and medical leaves, employee handbooks, independent contractor classification and contracts, and California non-competes and restrictive covenants. His clients include major employers in the health care, retail, food services, insurance, financial services and entertainment industries. 

Representative Matters

  • Prevailed at trial in a PAGA representative action on novel question of California law regarding enforceability of prospective meal break waivers.*
  • Defeated class certification of California meal and rest break, off-the-clock, and expense reimbursement claims brought on behalf of a class of home care aides employed by a national home healthcare company.*
  • Defeated class certification for a national family dining and entertainment chain in a California class action alleging that the company’s general managers were misclassified as exempt employees, and subsequently obtained dismissal of the plaintiff’s PAGA representative action.*
  • Obtained partial summary judgment against named plaintiffs on off-the-clock, overtime, waiting time penalty, wage statement penalty, and expense reimbursement claims for a national chain of veterinary clinics in consolidated California-wide class actions.*
  • Obtained “walk away” settlement and voluntary dismissal of PAGA action alleging overtime and rest break violations after taking the plaintiff’s deposition and filing for summary judgment.*
  • Defeated class certification and obtained partial summary judgment for a major insurance company in a California-wide class action brought by insurance agents alleging misclassification as independent contractors and breach of contract.*
  • Defeated class certification in a California-wide class action against a national grocery chain alleging that employees were denied reporting time pay and underpaid wages when reporting to work for termination meetings.*
  • Obtained dismissal of class action against a national arts and crafts retailer and two of its subsidiaries in which the plaintiff claimed that the companies violated California law and common law by misleading employees about their vacation policy.*
  • Successfully removed and defeated remand of two parallel class actions against a national pharmacy chain which had divided a state-wide class into smaller regional classes in an attempt to avoid CAFA jurisdiction.*

*Indicates matters handled prior to joining MSK

Honors & Awards

  • "Leading Labor & Employment Lawyers in California," Chambers USA (2021-2024)
  • "Leading Lawyer in Labor and Employment" (2017-2018) and "Labor and Employment Disputes (Including Collective Actions): Defense" (2019-2020), Legal 500 US
  • "Top 5% of lawyers in Southern California," Southern California Super Lawyers (2019-2020)
  • "Top Labor & Employment Lawyers in California," The Daily Journal (2015-2017)

Professional, Business and civic Affiliations

  • Friends of the Los Angeles County Law Library, Member of the Board of Directors 
  • American Health Law Association, Vice Chair - Educational Programming (Labor & Employment Practice Group)

Other Career Experience

  • Partner, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP



  • California


  • University of Virginia School of Law, J.D. 
  • University of Virginia, with distinction, B.A. 
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