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For more than four decades, Fenwick & West LLP has helped some of the world’s most recognized companies become, and remain, market leaders. From emerging enterprises to large public corporations, our clients are leaders in the technology, life sciences and cleantech sectors and are fundamentally changing the world through rapid innovation.  MORE >

Fenwick & West was founded in 1972 in the heart of Silicon Valley—before “Silicon Valley” existed—by four visionary lawyers who left a top-tier New York law firm to pursue their shared belief that technology would revolutionize the business world and to pioneer the legal work for those technological innovations. In order to be most effective, they decided they needed to move to a location close to primary research and technology development. These four attorneys opened their first office in downtown Palo Alto, and Fenwick became one of the first technology law firms in the world.  MORE >

From our founding in 1972, Fenwick has been committed to promoting diversity and inclusion both within our firm and throughout the legal profession. For almost four decades, the firm has actively promoted an open and inclusive work environment and committed significant resources towards improving our diversity efforts at every level.  MORE >

At Fenwick, we are proud of our commitment to the community and to our culture of making a difference in the lives of individuals and organizations in the communities where we live and work. We recognize that providing legal services is not only an essential part of our professional responsibility, but also an excellent opportunity for our attorneys to gain valuable practical experience, learn new areas of the law and contribute to the community.  MORE >

Year after year, Fenwick & West is honored for excellence in the legal profession. Many of our attorneys are recognized as leaders in their respective fields, and our Corporate, Tax, Litigation and Intellectual Property Practice Groups consistently receive top national and international rankings, including:

  • Nearly 15 percent of Fenwick partners named America's Leading Lawyers for Business by Chambers USA and Chambers Global
  • Selected as a "Go-To" law firm by in-house legal departments at Fortune 500 companies in Corporate Counsel magazine
  • Named to The National Law Journal's inaugural "Intellectual Property Hot List" for outstanding patent, copyright, trademark and IP litigation services

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We take sustainability very seriously at Fenwick. Like many of our clients, we are adopting policies that reduce consumption and waste, and improve efficiency. By using technologies developed by a number of our cleantech clients, we are at the forefront of implementing sustainable policies and practices that minimize environmental impact. In fact, Fenwick has earned recognition in several areas as one of the top US law firms for implementing sustainable business practices.  MORE >

At Fenwick, we have a passion for excellence and innovation that mirrors our client base. Our firm is making revolutionary changes to the practice of law through substantial investments in proprietary technology tools and processes—allowing us to deliver best-in-class legal services more effectively.   MORE >

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Victor Schachter

Victor Schacter - Fenwick & West

Co-Chair, Employment Practices

Partner, Litigation

icon partner 650.335.7905

Victor Schachter is Co-Chair of the Employment Practices Group, where he represents employers exclusively in employment law, labor relations, privacy, trade secrets, unfair competition, wage/hour matters, and related litigation. While Vic served as its Co-Chair, the Employment Group has been recognized as one of the “leading go-to employment law practices” in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition, Vic has pioneered the development of training programs for executives and managers, and he is an accomplished advocate and mediator in alternative dispute resolution matters. Vic has previously served as Chair of the firm's Privacy and Information Security Group.

Vic began his career as an attorney with the National Labor Relations Board, and thereafter practiced labor and employment law before federal and state courts, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance, the National Labor Relations Board, the Department of Labor, the California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement, and other federal, state and municipal agencies. Over the years, his litigation practice has expanded into unfair competition, trade secret, wage/hour and privacy litigation matters.

Vic has written articles in employment law publications and spoken widely before management and legal groups on a broad array of employment topics, and he has appeared on numerous radio and television programs including the Today Show, Larry King Live and National Public Radio. He has been chosen by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America for over 20 years, has been repeatedly selected as a "Northern California Super Lawyer" in Employment Litigation and as a "Top Lawyer in the Bay Area," was elected as a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers for "sustained outstanding performance in the profession," and has been listed as a global leading lawyer in Who's Who Legal (2012). Vic also continues to be selected for listing in Who's Who Legal: California and International Who's Who Legal: USA – Management Labour & Employment.

Vic has actively participated in the rule of law initiatives promoting alternative dispute resolution and judicial case management in India, Brazil, Turkey, Malaysia and Kosovo. He has served as a Project Director for legal reform programs in New Delhi and Bangalore, and continues to participate in these initiatives and other international rule of law programs. In 2008, Vic was recognized as a California Lawyer Attorney of the Year for his global legal reform work. In 2012, he established the Foundation for Sustainable Rule of Law Initiatives (FSRI), a charitable organization promoting alternative dispute resolution centers to facilitate timely, fair and peaceful conflict resolution across the globe. In 2014, Vic was one of two attorneys honored nationally as a recipient of the Super Lawyer Pro Bono Award.

Representative Employment Litigation Engagements:

  • Gharajehdaghi v. Synopsys, Inc., et al: Jury trial in Santa Clara Superior Court defending Synopsys and several of its managers against claims of pregnancy discrimination, retaliation and intentional infliction of emotional distress, among others. After 17 days of trial, eight days of jury deliberations, and a motion for non-suit and directed verdict, Synopsys prevailed. Judgment was entered in its favor on all claims.
  • Gibson v. Conceptus, Executive: Jury trial in San Mateo Superior Court defending against claims of sexual harassment and retaliation. This seven and one-half week trial presented novel issues in sexual harassment law and the use of electronic evidence — at the end of which the jury delivered a 12-0 verdict in favor of all defendants.
  • Sanford v. LSI Logic: Represented LSI Logic in this Santa Clara County Superior Court trial that began with a claim of wrongful discharge by a terminated Executive with worldwide responsibilities. The Company counterclaimed for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, conversion, conspiracy, indemnity and an accounting. The court found that the plaintiff was properly discharged for numerous breaches of fiduciary duty to the Company, including the diversion of corporate funds, and, after a three and one half week trial, awarded the Company $3.75 million in damages. Prior to trial, the Court granted summary judgment in favor of LSI on the wrongful discharge and other claims brought by the plaintiff. This complex trial, which involved coordination of counsel in Germany, England and the U.S., and document/translation evidentiary issues, is one of the few cases of this nature taken through trial and resulting in a substantial award in favor of an employer.
  • Perez v. California Tennis Club: After a 2-1/2-week jury trial, obtained a defense verdict in San Francisco Superior Court. The jury rejected claims of wrongful discharge, national origin and disability discrimination, retaliation and breach of the implied covenant of good faith.
  • Presley v. IBM: Federal court trial defending IBM Corporation against numerous claims of discrimination, defamation, tortuous discharge, intentional infliction of emotional distress, breach of contract and ERISA violations. Defendant's motion for nonsuit was granted after approximately one week of trial, and the US. District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed the case.
  • Kitcho and Blackhart v. Siemens: Jury trial representing Siemens against claims brought by two employees, claiming constructive discharge, fraudulent misrepresentation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and breach of implied contract. Kitcho's claims were dismissed on summary judgment, and all but one of Blackhart's misrepresentation claims were rejected by the jury after a three and one-half week jury trial in the Santa Clara County Superior Court. Blackhart was limited to a recovery of $20,000, and all punitive damages claims were rejected.
  • Randall v. Costco Wholesale Corp.: As amicus representing the California Employment Law Council ("CELC"), Mr. Schachter briefed and argued this precedent-setting case before the California Supreme Court. The Court upheld CELC's position urging a broad, "attorney-client privilege" protection to advisory opinion letters resulting from compliance investigations conducted by outside counsel on behalf of their corporate clients.
  • Herndon v. Sun Service, a Division of Sun Microsystems, Inc.: Defended Sun Service against claims of racial discrimination, retaliation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Obtained summary judgment on behalf of Sun Service in U.S. District Court. Plaintiff appealed and judgment was upheld by a unanimous decision after full argument before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Kale v. Integrated Device Technology, Inc., et. al.: Defended Integrated Device Technology against claim of discrimination based on race and national origin. Dismissal of all claims in Superior Court of Santa Clara County after plaintiff failed to comply with discovery procedures. Successfully obtained affirmance by Sixth District Court of Appeal.
  • Fraser v. IBM: Obtained summary judgment in favor of defendant IBM in Santa Clara County Superior Court and a unanimous decision on appeal in the Sixth District Court of Appeal on claims of wrongful discharge, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
  • Kaufman v. Rambus: Obtained summary adjudication in Santa Clara Superior Court in favor of defendant Rambus on all major claims including failure to pay wages and grant stock options, breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith/fair dealing, and retaliation.
  • Phanngavong v. Virgin America Airlines: Obtained summary adjudication in San Francisco Superior Court in favor of defendant Virgin America on all major causes of action for wrongful/public policy discharge, sexual orientation/gender discrimination, defamation, intentional misrepresentation and retaliation.
  • Wilkinson v. Times Mirror, Matthew Bender: Represented defendants before the Superior Court of Alameda County, which enjoined the client's drug testing of job applicants. In one of the seminal decisions regarding privacy law in the workplace, the California Court of Appeal vacated the injunction and found that the client's drug testing procedures were constitutional and lawful.
  • Hill v. NCAA: This precedent-setting case involved multiple challenges to the NCAA's drug testing program under the right of privacy clause of the California Constitution. As amicus counsel on behalf of the CELC, Mr. Schachter briefed in support of the NCAA's program, which the California Supreme Court found to be lawful and constitutional.
  • Reab v. Electronic Arts: Represented the employer in defending a national class-action lawsuit (filed in Federal District Court of Colorado) involving claims brought on behalf of thousands of "volunteer counselors" asserting entitlement to overtime pay under the FLSA and Colorado Wage Act. After successfully narrowing the representative class, and extensive discovery and motion practice, the Company achieved a favorable settlement extended to a very limited class.
  • Freeman v. Terminix International: Client was sued in a nationwide and state class action filed on behalf of thousands of technicians for alleged violation of state and federal overtime pay laws, breach of contract, unfair business practices, and related causes of action. After extensive discovery, motion practice, and mediations over a two-year period, the matter was successfully resolved without trial.
  • Burnley, Secretary of Dept. of Transportation v. Railway Labor Executives Association, et. al.: Appeared as amicus counsel for CELC before the U.S. Supreme Court, briefing in support of mandatory drug testing for employees involved in safety-sensitive jobs. In this case of first impression, the Supreme Court found the drug testing programs in issue to be constitutional and lawful.
  • Former Manager v. Port of Oakland: Represented the Port in defending against extensive claims of sex discrimination, wrongful discharge, and retaliation. After successfully demurring to several causes of action, a motion for summary judgment was filed, and the case was resolved on eve of trial on favorable terms.
  • Former Employer v. Executive/New Employer: Represented Fortune 1000 employer in defending claims of Fortune 500 company that hiring of latter's executive was in violation of non-compete contract (also claims of inevitable disclosure). Successfully defeated TRO and preliminary injunction, after which matter resolved on very favorable terms.
  • Loder v. City of Glendale: As amicus counsel on behalf of the California Employment Law Council ("CELC"), briefed in support of the City of Glendale's program for testing job applicants. The California Supreme Court, reviewing the issue of private sector job-applicant drug testing for the first time, ruled in favor of the City of Glendale, and adopted the arguments set forth by the CELC that the programs were constitutional and lawful.

Representative Publications/Presentations:

  • “Effective Mediation Strategies: Bracketing, Mediator Proposals and Related Techniques to Successfully Achieve Settlement,” presented to the California Employment Law Council, November 14. 2013
  • “A Practical  and Legal Analysis of Social Media Issues,” presented to the California Employment Law Council, November 8, 2012
  • "Workplace Privacy Update: The Latest in Legal Developments And Trends," Silicon Valley "All Hands" GC Conference, December 7, 2011
  • Labor and Employment Roundtable, California Lawyer, November, 2011
  • "Leaves of Absence and the Disabled Worker: Navigating the Legal Maze." Presented to the California Employment Law Council, June 3 and 10, 2011
  • Labor and Employment Law Roundtable, California Lawyer, April, 2011
  • "Road Warriors: Interesting Wage-Hour Issues With Multi-State Employers," presented to the Labor and Employment Law Section of the Bar Association of San Francisco, January 29, 2011
  • "Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Blogging, Internet Access and Email Privacy: What Employers Can and Cannot Do," presented to the California Employment Law Council, November 4, 2010
  • "Posts, Tweets, Texts and Pokes: Emerging Social Media Issues in the Workplace – Best Practices and Policies to Avoid Liability," Fenwick & West Breakfast Series, September 16, 2010
  • "Legal Overview of Social Networking Issues in the Workplace," Presented to the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers (ABA Annual Meeting), August 5, 2010
  • "RIFS, Voluntary Downsizing Techniques, and OWBPA Compliance," presented to the California Employment Law Council, November 5, 2009
  • "Key Practical Steps to Preserve Management Prerogatives in Dealing with Privacy Issues," presented to The Labor and Employment Law Advanced Practices Symposium, March 19, 2009
  • "Preserving Confidentiality/Trade Secrets and Related Employment Issues in a Migratory Work Force" Presented to the ITechLaw 5th International Asian Conference (New Delhi), February 19, 2009
  • "Managing the Disabled in the California Workforce: Update on Key Legal Developments," presented to the California Employment Law Council, November 13, 2008
  • "Legal Update: Electronic Communications, Blogs, Privacy Issues, and Dealing with Pornography in the Workplace," presented to the California Employment Law Council, December 6, 2007
  • "Corporate Collaboration – 10 Tips for Enhancing Counsel Partnerships," Daily Journal, Oct. 23, 2007
  • "Navigating the Complexities of Laws Governing Sales Commissions," Fenwick & West Breakfast Series, June 6, 2007
  • "Emerging ADR Techniques – Alternative Dispute Resolution as Applied in India," Presented to the CyberSpace Camp for Judges (Bangalore), February 10, 2007
  • "The Supreme Court Fuels More Retaliation Claims: What You Can Do to Protect Your Company," presented to the California Employment Law Council, November 16, 2006
  • "Retention of Electronic Documents: What Are Your Obligations?" Presented to The Labor and Employment Law Advanced Practices Symposium, October 12, 2006
  • "Rights of Employers and Employees in the World of Blogs," presented to The Labor and Employment Law Advanced Practices Symposium, November 11, 2005
  • "Legal Update: Electronic Communications, Blogs and Privacy Issues," presented to the California Employment Law Council, November 10, 2005
  • "Blowing the Whistle on Bogus Whistleblowers: Strategies for Avoiding Liability and Managing for High Performance," presented at the Quarterly Briefing For the California Employment Law Council, May 7, 2004
  • "Applying an Old Statute to New Technologies in the Workplace: An Employer Perspective of the Issues," presented to the Labor and Employment Law Section of the Bar Association of San Francisco, February 22, 2004; and published in the California Labor & Employment Law Review, June 2004
  • "Update on Key Legal Developments in Disability Law," presented to the California Employment Law Council, November 13, 2003
  • "Cutting Edge Employment Litigation Developments — Class Action Lawsuits Continue to Explode," presented to the MLER 2003 Advanced Employment Issues Symposium, November 7, 2003
  • "Scandalous Lessons for Employment Lawyers: The Post-Enron Impact on Whistleblower Suits and Document Retention Policies," California Employment Law Reporter, April 2002
  • "The Aftermath of September 11," BNA, Inc. Analysis & Perspective, Privacy & Security Law Report ISSN 1538-3423, February 25, 2002
  • "Drug Testing Strategies for California Employers," The California Labor Letter, July 1997
  • "Compassionate Use Marijuana Law May Effect Employers' Testing Policies," Employment Testing Law and Policy Reporter, April 1997
  • "Lifestyle Discrimination: An Emerging Frontier for Employment Litigation in the 90's," California Employment Law Reporter, April 1993
  • When an Employee Has AIDS, Executive Enterprises, 1989, 2nd Edition
  • "Privacy in the Workplace: Balancing Employee Rights with the Employer's Need to Know," California Business Law Reporter, Vol. VII, No. 6, March 1986
  • Co-Editor and Contributing Author: Employment Practices for the Professional Firm, "Wrongful Discharge and its Impact Upon Professional Firms," Executive Enterprises 1985, 1st Edition

Representative Boards/Professional Memberships:

  • College of Labor and Employment Lawyers
  • The Foundation for Sustainable Rule of Law Initiatives - Founder and President
  • California Santa Clara Superior Court ADR Committee
  • California Dispute Resolution Council – Board Member (2004 – 2006)
  • San Francisco HIV Prevention Point – Founding Chair and Board Member (1993 – 2000)
  • San Francisco AIDS Foundation – Vice President and Board Member (1986 – 1992)
  • The Mediation Society
  • Management Labor & Employment Roundtable
 

About Vic