PEOPLE

 

Sabrina Thomas

Senior Counsel

t: 916.258.8805
f: 916.258.8801
sthomas@publiclawgroup.com

Experience

Sabrina L. Thomas is a senior counsel with Renne Sloan Holtzman Sakai LLP. She provides general representation and advice to public agencies, including transactions and litigation. She also represents public agencies in all aspects of human resources and labor relations, and counsels agencies on compliance with employment laws, public employee benefits, and independent contractor issues. She serves as an outside investigator for allegations of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and other workplace misconduct. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Thomas worked for CalPERS’ legal office where she provided advice to PERS agencies and represented CalPERS in administrative proceedings. As an associate with law firms in the San Francisco Bay Area and Boston, she has advised clients on a variety of transactional matters.

Ms. Thomas’ practice areas are:

General Public Agency Representation
Provides general representation and counseling to public agencies, including the areas of open meetings and public records laws; public employment and labor relations; public contracting and bidding; and ethics and conflicts of interest.

Retirement Law and Benefits
Advises employers on public employee retirement benefits, including independent contractor status, use of retired annuitants in public agencies, final compensation determinations, and CalPERS membership qualifications. She regularly assist clients in responding to CalPERS audits; and litigates administrative appeals of CalPERS determinations.

Employment Law and Litigation
Counsels and defends employers in employment disputes, including claims of discrimination and harassment based on sex, gender, race, disability, retaliation, age, and reasonable accommodation. She regularly responds to EEOC and DFEH charges and complaints. She also regularly assists clients with the use of retired annuitants in public agencies, in responding to CalPERS audits and litigating administrative appeals of CalPERS’ determinations.

Personnel and Workplace Investigations
Advises and counsels employers on personnel matters, including updating agency policies and procedures. Conducts workplace investigations involving discrimination and hostile work environment claims based on all legally protected traits, workplace violence, retaliation, fraud, theft, and ethical misconduct. She conducts sexual harassment prevention training and trains human resources professionals and attorneys on how to conduct workplace investigations.

Related Experience

Ms. Thomas’ non-legal career includes work for educational and humanitarian institutions both in the United States and overseas. She was a policy analyst with the United Nations Children’s Defense Fund (UNICEF) in Nairobi, Kenya where she provided policy analysis and strategic planning for basic education programs and entrepreneurial projects in 22 African countries.

She also served as the Director of Urban Education Programs for Outward Bound in Boston, MA where she managed the administration of educational services to the Boston Public Schools and to local non-profits and universities.

Publications

  • The Future Role of Retired Annuitants in Light of Recent Legislative Changes 2012 Bender’s Calif. Lab. & Empl. Bull. 336,339 (October 2012)
  • It’s After January 1, 2013…What Should We Do With Our Retired Annuitants? California Public Employees Relations Online Journal No. 209 (September 2013)
  • Are Employers Treating Virtual Businesses and Traditional Storefronts the Same When it Comes to Work Restrictions While on FMLA/CFRA Leave? 2015 Bender’s Calif. Lab. & Empl. Bull. (May 2015)

Presentations

  • How to Avoid a CalPERS Unlawful Post-Retirement Employment Determination, Municipal Management Association of Northern California (August 2017)
  • Living a Life of Fulfillment and Freedom While Practicing Law, Women Lawyers of Sacramento (September 2017)
  • Mind Your Own Business – Using Social Media as an Investigative Tool, Association of Workplace Investigators Annual Conference (October 2013)
  • Conducting Effective Workplace Investigations, presented at seminars and to clients (2013 – present)
    AB 1825 Workplace Sexual Harassment Prevention Training (2015 – present)

Memberships

  • Sacramento County Bar Association, 1st Vice President
  • Wiley Manuel Bar Association, Member
  • Women Lawyers of Sacramento, Member
  • Association of Workplace Investigators, Member
  • Conference of California Bar Associations, Board Member
ph-thomas

Practice Areas

Public Agency Law
Employment Law & Litigation
Training
Workplace Investigations

Education

Vanderbilt University Law School, JD

Harvard University, Graduate School of Education, EdM

University of CA Berkeley, BA

Bar Admissions

California

Massachusetts

United States District Court, Eastern District of California