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"An impressive trial boutique that provides quality labor and employment advice to an enviable roster of regional and national clients."

—Chambers USA

In recent years, the employment team at WTO has won significant lawsuits for clients including AT&T, FedEx Freight, and the Center for Excellence in Higher Education (CollegeAmerica). Our attorneys have extensive experience handling a comprehensive range of employment litigation issues, including discrimination and retaliation, trade secrets and unfair competition, ERISA disputes, tort claims, and management-side labor disputes.

WTO also excels in complex class and collective actions at both the trial and appellate court levels. The firm frequently disposes of cases at the summary judgment stage and has also succeeded in compelling arbitration of employee claims.

WTO attorneys also represent management in labor issues involving unionized workforces. The firm has successfully represented employers in arbitrations involving complex questions of contract interpretation and grievances challenging disciplinary actions and discharges.

Client Wins

Won an appeal in the 10th Circuit for two mortgage brokers in a noncompete case against a leading financial institution, affirming a district court's prior denial of preliminary injunction.

Client Wins

Defeated an attempt by plaintiffs to convert an FLSA collective action into a hybrid collective/class action through the late addition of state-law class claims.

Client Wins

As national coordinating counsel, WTO implemented new strategy for a national transportation industry leader facing wage and hour claims in California. Thanks to WTO's approach, trial counsel in California filed and won a critical motion.

Client Wins

Won dismissal with prejudice in a Kentucky putative wage-and-hour class action.


  • Defeated conditional certification of an FLSA and state law putative collective action in federal court in Virginia for an international shipping company.
  • After just two days of trial in what was expected to be a two-week trial, obtained an individual settlement favorable to WTO's client and case dismissal.
  • Defeated certification in California federal court of a putative class of more than 5,000 who accused WTO's shipping company client of both misclassification and joint employment and sought recovery under a variety of California federal wage and hour laws.
  • Won a directed verdict on a former senior bank executive's Colorado Wage Claim Act claim and voluntary dismissal of defamation and punitive damages claims for a large regional bank the night before closing arguments after four-plus years of litigation.
  • Defeated certification of two putative classes of almost 30,000 California claimants alleging that WTO's client was a joint employer and liable for a number of California wage and hour law violations as well as for benefits.
  • Defeated certification of a putative class of California claimants alleging WTO's client was a joint employer, seeking compensation for purported "off-the-clock" work. The California state trial court judge agreed with WTO's arguments that the plaintiff's "common" evidence did not show joint employment under California law.
  • Won motion to strike California Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act ("PAGA") representative claim in federal court for alleged meal break violations where WTO's client was a purported joint employer.
  • Successfully negotiated a nuisance value settlement in a putative class action for overtime wages in federal court in Illinois, before WTO's client had to incur any substantial fees or costs in discovery or for significant briefing.
  • Won in the Fourth Circuit for a major shipping logistics company to dispose of class action wage-and-hour claims.
  • Won an appeal in the 10th Circuit for two mortgage brokers in a noncompete case against a leading financial institution, affirming a district court's prior denial of preliminary injunction. The plaintiffs had alleged that their former employees—WTO's clients—had breached noncompete and trade secret agreements when they left the company.
  • Defeated certification of a putative class of 20,000 California claimants alleging that WTO's client was a "joint employer" and was liable for unpaid overtime and other wage-and-hour violations.
  • Won complete summary judgment of all seven claims brought against our client in an employment matter involving unsupported allegations of wrongful termination, retaliation, and age discrimination.
  • Defeated an attempt by plaintiffs to convert an FLSA collective action into a hybrid collective/class action through the late addition of state-law class claims.
  • Won a complete defense verdict following a week-long jury trial rejecting the plaintiff's claim of employment discrimination by a federal agency.
  • Won summary judgment in numerous cases in which plaintiffs alleged some form of employment discrimination or retaliation by a federal agency under Title VII or the Rehabilitation Act.
  • As first chair, won a three-day arbitration for a Fortune 50 company against a former supplier that brought improper termination and breach of contract claims and sought more than $1 million in damages.
  • Won summary judgment for an international shipping company in a putative joint employment class action in federal court in Colorado.
  • Representing a Fortune 50 company facing personal injury and employment claims related to a COVID-19 outbreak.
  • As national coordinating counsel, WTO implemented new strategy for a national transportation industry leader facing wage and hour claims in California. Thanks to WTO's approach, trial counsel in California filed and won a critical motion that will greatly assist in the defense of the case going forward.
  • Won dismissal with prejudice in a putative wage-and-hour class action in Kentucky. After defeating the plaintiff's attempt to obtain nationwide discovery against WTO's client, WTO then filed a summary judgment motion on the plaintiff's claims. Rather than opposing the motion, the plaintiff agreed to dismiss his claims with prejudice.
  • Serve as national coordinating counsel to a major transportation company in FLSA collective action and individual and class wage and hour claims.
  • Won summary judgment for a multinational corporation in a putative class action dealing with employment misclassification issues in New Mexico, thereby ending over two years of litigation. The court also denied the plaintiff's motion for class certification as moot.
  • Obtained a temporary restraining order for a national bank in a case involving a departing employee who stole trade secrets and breached fiduciary duty.
  • Obtained dismissal of all claims against University of Colorado Hospital Authority in a whistleblower case filed in district court in Colorado Springs.
  • Won an extraordinary pretrial motion in a whistleblower case to preclude the plaintiff from seeking recovery for any future damages.
  • Won a defense jury verdict in federal court for a Fortune 500 telecommunications client facing age discrimination and retaliation claims.
  • Won affirmance preserving WTO's trial court dismissal of a wrongful termination lawsuit involving the public policy exception to employment at will.
  • Won a complete defense verdict for CollegeAmerica (aka The Center for Excellence in Higher Education) in a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. WTO attorneys won dismissal of two claims relating to severance provisions in 2014. A federal jury decided for CollegeAmerica on the final claim of retaliation in 2016.
  • Obtained a preliminary injunction for a $1 billion oil and gas client involved in bet-the-company litigation against an executive.
  • Prevailed against allegations of racial discrimination against a tech industry employer in Nevada. Following a two-and-a-half-year investigation, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission concluded that no discriminatory conduct had occurred.
  • Won Tenth Circuit affirmance of a lower court ruling for AT&T in an ERISA dispute.
  • Represented a range of clients in seven recent noncompete cases, resulting in five preliminary injunctions enforcing the clients' noncompete agreements and, in two cases, defeating plaintiffs' attempts to enforce noncompete agreements against our clients.
  • Obtained dismissal with prejudice of a race discrimination case brought against FedEx Freight in federal court in Colorado. The case was dismissed based on the plaintiff's discovery misconduct.
  • Successfully defended a nonprofit organization in a pro bono matter involving claims of national origin and religious discrimination filed by a former employee. The Colorado Civil Rights Division rejected all of the plaintiff's claims and dismissed her charges of discrimination. The organization assists refugees to establish economic self-sufficiency in the U.S. after fleeing persecution in foreign countries.
  • Obtained complete dismissal of a ten-count discrimination complaint against a Fortune 100 client. WTO won the ensuing appeal to the Tenth Circuit, affirming the trial court's dismissal in full.
  • Successfully represented employers in noncompete and trade secret litigation, including obtaining injunctive relief against a former employee of a solar power plant developer for violation of noncompete and nondisclosure agreements.
  • Obtained a preliminary injunction following a full-day evidentiary hearing in a Colorado district court for a large Ohio-based commercial painting company in a case involving trade secrets and a noncompete agreement.
  • Defended the appeal to the Tenth Circuit of a 2010 jury verdict WTO won for AT&T in a high-profile whistleblower case. Law Week Colorado called the underlying trial court victory one of the "Top Defense Verdicts of 2010."
  • Obtained a preliminary injunction enforcing WTO's client's non-competition agreement with a former employee after a two-day hearing in Jefferson County, Colorado.
  • Won a $4.2 million judgment for a renewable energy client involving an executive's embezzlement from the company.
  • Successfully settled three separate independent contractor classification matters in Colorado, including a certified class action and a mass action involving 83 plaintiffs.
  • Obtained summary judgment for a national healthcare food services company in a case alleging wrongful discharge and hostile work environment in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
  • Successfully defended a major engineering firm against an FLSA class action.
  • Represented FMC Corp. in ERISA class actions brought by FMC retirees in Idaho and Indiana, respectively, who asserted that they were entitled to lifetime healthcare based on terms of various collective bargaining agreements. In the Idaho case, plaintiffs stipulated to the dismissal of the litigation with prejudice following discovery and filing of WTO's motion for summary judgment. In Indiana, following the completion of discovery, the Court entered summary judgment in favor of FMC on all claims.
  • Won a defense ruling in a week-long arbitration involving seven-figure damage claims and punitive damages brought by a former CEO and chairman of WTO's client, a securities broker-dealer.
  • Obtained a temporary restraining order to stop the former employee of a healthcare third party administrator (TPA) and his new employer from contacting the TPA's customers. WTO also obtained a declaratory judgment that the TPA's noncompete agreement was enforceable under Colorado law.
  • Obtained injunctive relief in Colorado state court for an international payroll services company, enforcing the company's rights under a nonsolicitation agreement against a former employee who had gone to work for a competitor.
  • Successfully defended a Colorado college before the Colorado Civil Rights Division in one of the first complaints filed under the 2007 amendment to the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, which extended state protection in the workplace to discrimination based on transgender status. WTO established that the plaintiff, a staff member and instructor at the college who had started a gender change from male to female, was terminated solely for her misconduct, not because she was transgender.
  • Represented a major federal contractor in connection with a pattern and practice EEOC investigation relating to alleged gender discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, and glass ceiling issues.
  • Won a temporary restraining order (TRO) and preliminary injunction (PI) for an international software developer in federal court in Colorado. The TRO and PI enjoined two of the clients' former employees from violating their non-compete and proprietary information agreements.
  • Successfully argued that a judgment previously entered against WTO's client was improper. The new order vacated the $500,000 judgment entered against the defendant by a Colorado state court in 2008 in an ERISA matter handled by another firm.
  • Represented non-profit facing employment discrimination claims on several bases, winning motion to dismiss all claims against individually-named defendants.


Michele On-ja Choe
Partner, Diversity & Inclusion Chair
P. 303.244.1926
F. 303.244.1879
View Bio

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