David W. Tyra

David Tyra, manager of the firm's labor and employment group, represents private and public sector employers in labor and employment law actions as well as providing advice and counsel on labor and employment issues. His practice covers all aspects of labor and employment law, including wage-hour actions, employee leave matters, workplace discrimination and harassment, work place privacy, and unfair labor practice claims. His litigation experience includes representing employers in federal and state courts at the trial and appellate levels and before numerous federal and state agencies. He is an active public speaker on employment topics, having presented numerous times before civic and commercial groups.

In addition to his vast experience handling labor and employment matters, Mr. Tyra is experienced in representing owners and contractors in construction actions, including both the prosecution and defense of claims for extra work, acceleration, and delays, as well as the prosecution and defense of construction defect claims.

Legal Experience

Mr. Tyra has been practicing for more than 30 years in the field of labor and employment law. His practice covers a broad range of labor- and employment-related matters. He also represents clients in business and commercial litigation on matters involving contract and construction-related disputes.

His clients include the State of California, numerous media, real estate, utility, and other private sector companies, along with counties, municipalities, and special districts throughout the State.

Mr. Tyra’s practice addresses the spectrum of labor and employment law issues facing employers, including:

  • Wage-hour class actions
  • Employee leave and compliance with regulations, including:
    • California Family Rights Act (CFRA)
    • Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
    • Pregnancy Disability Leave Act (PDL)
    • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • Work place privacy matters, including identify theft
  • Employee benefits, including compliance with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
  • Employee handbooks and other personnel policies
  • Disciplinary actions
  • Employee terminations
  • Discrimination and harassment claims
  • Employment contracts and arbitration agreements
  • Compliance with other state and federal laws, such as:
    • Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)
    • Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
  • Labor Law
  • Collective bargaining
  • Defend against Unfair Labor Practice claims
  • Defend MOU/CBA grievance arbitrations

Practice Examples – Labor and Employment

  • As lead trial counsel, obtained a defense judgment for the State of California, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, California Department of State Hospitals, and California Department of Human Resources in a wage and hour class action brought by a class consisting of approximately 40,000 current and former unionized correctional officers and supervisors. The plaintiff class alleged they were not being paid for compensable time spent waiting in security lines and walking to and from their posts in California’s correctional institutions. Mr. Tyra and his trial team convinced the San Francisco Superior Court that the “walk time” at issue was not compensable under the terms of several Memoranda of Understanding negotiated between the state and the union representing the correctional employees.
  • Served as lead counsel for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the State of California in 38 cases filed by public employee unions challenging Governor Schwarzenegger’s executive orders furloughing California state employees. Mr. Tyra successfully represented the Governor and the State at the trial court and appellate court levels, including appearing on behalf of the Governor and the State before the California Supreme Court in Professional Engineers in California Government v. Schwarzenegger (2010) 50 Cal.4th 989, in which the Court validated the furloughs of state employees based on the Legislature’s ratification of Governor Schwarzenegger’s furlough plan.
  • Represented the State of California in a class action brought by the State’s prison guard union alleging its members were being denied meal and rest breaks. In a published decision, the California First District Court of Appeal ruled that the meal and rest period statutes contained in the California Labor Code, as well as the corresponding provisions contained in the Industrial Welfare Commission’s Wage Orders, were inapplicable to public employers. (California Correctional Peace Officers Association v. State of California (2010) 188 Cal.App.4th 646.)
  • In a second class action brought by California’s prison guard unions, the California First District Court of Appeal ruled in a published decision that the State of California was permitted to use alternative work schedules for its prison guards authorized under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act without incurring overtime liability. (California Correctional Peace Officers Association v. State of California (2010) 189 Cal.App.4th 849.).
  • Served as lead counsel for a Northern California electrical utility in a sexual harassment claim. The case, which was heard by a Placer County civil jury, resulted in a unanimous verdict in favor of the defense.
  • Served as lead attorney in a federal age discrimination case tried in the United States District Court, Eastern District of California. The case resulted in a non- suit for Mr. Tyra’s client with the judge ruling that the plaintiff had not presented sufficient evidence to support the discrimination claim.
  • In a wage-hour class action suit brought against a national health care provider, Mr. Tyra was successful in getting the class action dismissed and negotiating a nominal settlement of the individual plaintiff’s claim.
  • Defended a large media company in a suit alleging fraud and breach of employment contract. Obtained unanimous defense verdict after a 3-week trial.

Practice Examples – Construction Actions

  • Currently represent the City of Lincoln in defense of claim by general contractor for extra work and damages allegedly arising from termination of contract for convenience.
  • Represented the State of California, Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation regarding major construction defect case at Pelican Bay State Prison.  Following arbitration, recovered $20+M in damages, as well as attorney’s fees and costs, incurred as a result of retrofitting all new security detention equipment and maximum security prison after original contractor had installed defective and non-functioning equipment.
  • Represented the Tahoe Truckee Sanitation District in defense of contractor extra work claim arising from unforeseen subsurface conditions during construction of Truckee River bypass pipeline.  Case was resolved through settlement at mediation.
  • Represented the Homeowners’ Association at Cobblestone Glen condominium development in action against contractor developer of project for defective construction.  Recovered $5+M in damages for association.
  • Currently represent the Stockton Unified School District in both defending against and extra work claim and prosecuting a construction defect claim arising out of the construction of Cesar Chavez High School in Stockton, California.
  • Currently represent Reclamation District 2035 in defense of acceleration and extra work claim arising from alleged unforeseen subsurface condition during construction of water intake pumping station on Sacramento River.
  • Currently represent California State University, Sacramento in prosecution of construction defect claim arising from installation of athletic track and synthetic athletic field at Hornet Stadium.

Professional Activities & Affiliations

Mr. Tyra frequently speaks on employment and human resources topics such as wage and hour issues, employee leave matters and pending employment and labor-related legislation. He has presented before local civic groups and several human resources continuing education providers including the Council on Education in Management, Lorman Education Services, Sterling Global Human Resources Consulting, and the National Business Institute. Mr. Tyra has spoken at the annual conferences of the California Public Employers Labor Relations Association, the Association of California Water Agencies, and the California State Bar, Labor and Employment Section.

He is well-practiced in moderating conferences and forums and has coordinated and presented numerous in-house law firm seminars and briefings on employment and labor-related matters. His experience includes moderating more than 30 multi-day conferences and forums for different groups including the South Placer and Foothill Employer Advisory Councils. He has also written and published several articles on employment-related matters such as constructive termination, employee leaves and employment arbitration agreements.

Mr. Tyra’s professional activities and affiliations include:

  • Northern California Super Lawyer (2010-2016)
  • Top 25 Sacramento Super Lawyer (2013, 2014)
  • “Best of the Bar,” Sacramento Business Journal (2013)
  • Chair of Legislative Committee, South Placer Employer Advisory Council
  • Chair of Legislative Committee, Foothill Employer Advisory Council
  • Co-Author, “Religious Practices In The Workplace - Legal or Not?” Sacramento Lawyer (Fallt 2006)
  • Author, “Judicial Hostility,” San Francisco Daily Journal (2001)
  • Member, California State Bar Association, Labor and Employment Section
  • Member, Sacramento County Bar Association, Labor and Employment Section
  • Member, American Bar Association

Admitted to Practice

  • All California State Courts
  • United States District Court, Eastern, Northern, Central and Southern Districts of California
  • United States Court of Appeals, Third and Ninth Circuits
  • United States Supreme Court

Academic Background

J.D. University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, 1984

B.A. University of California, Santa Barbara, 1981