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 practices employment law, specializing in employee disciplinary actions, claims of gender, disability, race discrimination, and reasonable accommodation claims. She regularly serves as an outside investigator for allegations of workplace misconduct. Ms. Thomas also advises and represents clients in the area of retirement law and benefits. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Thomas worked for CalPERS’ legal office where she advised on retirement benefits issues involving PERS agencies and represented CalPERS in administrative proceedings. Before working for state government, she worked for law firms in the San Francisco Bay Area and Boston, Massachusetts.

Ms. Thomas’ practice areas are:

Workplace Investigations

  • Conducts workplace investigations involving discrimination and hostile work environment claims based on all legally protected traits, workplace violence, retaliation, fraud, theft, and ethical misconduct.  Ms. Thomas is particularly skilled at conducting investigations involving high-level executives, managers, and peace officers and is regularly sought out for her judgment, and distinctive ability to develop rapport with subjects and witnesses.  She is experienced in complying with the POBAR and FOBAR.  Ms. Thomas is a sustaining member of the Association of Workplace Investigators (AOWI).
  • She also trains human resources professionals and attorneys on how to conduct effective workplace investigations.
A representative sampling of her investigations include:
Whistleblower complaintsRace, gender, age, and religious discrimination
Violations of Ethics RulesSexual harassment
InsubordinationRetaliation
Workplace ViolenceFailure to provide reasonable accommodation
Violation of Rules of ConductEmployee fraud and embezzlement
Abuse of drugs and alcoholAncestry and national origin harassment

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 involving claims of discrimination and harassment based on sex, gender, race, disability, and retaliation, age, and reasonable accommodation.  She regularly responds to EEOC and DFEH charges and complaints.

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

  • 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

Administrative Hearings & Arbitration
Appeals & Writs
Employment Law & Litigation
Workplace Investigations

Education

Vanderbilt University Law School, JD

Harvard University, Graduate School of Education, EdM

University of CA Berkeley, BA

Bar Admissions

California

United States District Court, Eastern District of California