Practices

Primary Industries

Industry Associations

  • California Hotel & Lodging Association
  • California Independent Oil Marketers Association (CIOMA) 

Bar & Court Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • United States District Court for the Central District of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Community Involvement

The Lawrenceville School, Lawrenceville, NJ (Admissions Committee)

Lawrenceville Club of Southern California (Co-President)

National MS Society

The Trevor Project

Education

Southwestern University School of Law, J.D.

University of Southern California, M.A.

University of Southern California, B.A.

Photo of Lara A. H. Shortz

Lara A. H. Shortz

Partner
Los Angeles
T: 310.299.5500
F: 310.299.5600
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Full Bio

A partner in M&R’s Labor & Employment Department and member of the firm’s Hospitality Industry Group, Lara Shortz handles complex litigation and administrative matters and provides advice and counsel primarily within the hospitality and financial services sectors.

A seasoned employment lawyer, Lara has successfully litigated actions involving discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wage and hour, misclassification, executive compensation and related business issues. From pleadings through trial, she has defended countless cases, both single plaintiff and representative matters (class actions and PAGA claims), having developed a particular expertise in driving favorable settlements for clients in decidedly problematic disputes.

Lara is highly sought after for guidance regarding the intricacies of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), among others. Likewise, she advises clients in a myriad of workplace matters, including discrimination and sexual harassment prevention, wrongful termination, workforce reductions, lawful hiring practices, non-competition agreements and wage and hour compliance. Beyond this, Lara handles executive employment contract disputes, and she conducts workplace training and investigations and Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) audits.

In the administrative setting, Lara has vast experience negotiating with the Department of Labor (DOL), Department of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) as well as the EEOC. She is also a skilled advocate in administrative hearings, state and federal.

Outside the area of labor and employment, Lara is a California State Water Resources & Control Board’s Underground Storage Tank (UST) Fund authority. In that capacity, she has defended UST consultants in initial matters brought by the Water Board’s Fraud, Waste and Abuse Unit; been involved in Qui Tam (whistleblower) actions against UST consultants; and coordinated civil defense matters concurrent with criminal investigations by the California Attorney General.

A former Chair of the Women Attorneys of M&R (WAMR), Lara is also a member of the firm’s Recruiting Committee.

Community Involvement

Lara is co-chair of and an admissions interviewer for the Lawrenceville Alumni Club of Southern California.

Education

Lara earned her J.D. from Southwestern University School of Law, where she served as a board member of the Interscholastic Trial Advocacy Honors Program and was a semifinalist in the National Trial Competition. She was also Vice President of the Media Law Forum and a judicial extern to the Hon. Gregory W. Alarcon of the Los Angeles Superior Court. Before law school, Lara received her M.A. in Communications Management from the University of Southern California, where she also earned her B.A. and participated in the Annenberg School of Communication’s Honors Internship Program.

Representative Matters

  • Counseling & Negotiation: Audited approximately 400 positions at major gaming company to determine exempt and non-exempt employment status of workforce.
  • Counseling & Negotiation: Advised hotel client regarding best practices relative to complex and sensitive employee leave (pregnancy and disability) issues.
  • Counseling & Negotiation: Advised mortgage bank client regarding best practices relative to misclassification (exempt/non-exempt employee) issues.
  • Litigation: Successfully defended multiple television and production companies against wage and hour misclassification and related PAGA claims.
  • Litigation: Defended class action lawsuit on behalf of hotel sued for multiple wage and hour violations as well as violation of the Los Angeles Hotel Minimum Wage Ordinance, an issue of first impression.
  • Litigation: Acted as second chair in bench trial representing private high net worth investor in a technology company that created English language learning software distributed to the Chinese market. Recovered multi-million dollar verdict on behalf of client against principal who hid assets overseas and failed to deliver returns on investment.
  • Litigation: Negotiated a highly favorable settlement for hotel client facing a pregnancy discrimination action prosecuted by a former employee.
  • WARN Act: Successfully represented media and marketing business conducting mass layoffs, requiring exhaustive federal and state (California and New York) WARN Act analysis and transition to bankruptcy counsel that led to the ultimate restructuring of the company.
  • WARN Act: Advised large food production company conducting mass layoffs under the WARN Act in coordination with the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.
  • Whistleblower LitigationSuccessfully defended environmental consultant in an employment retaliation and discrimination lawsuit while concurrently defending a Qui Tam whistleblower case that involved a related criminal investigation.

Publications

Past Speaking Engagements