Gomez & Petitti, PC is a Phoenix-based law firm serving employees, employers, and employee organizations throughout the State of Arizona in all areas of labor and employment law, from contract disputes, discrimination and wrongful discharge, to wage and hour issues and matters under the auspices of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
The Firm represents a broad range of private and public sector employees in a wide variety of workplace matters. We also provide representation to small to mid-size companies and various employee organizations. The Firm has a particular interest in employment issues which arise among executives and mid-level managers. Most often these executives stand in the shoes of the employer in relationship to other employees who are their subordinates and thus can find themselves in a paradoxical position with their employer. Resolving these issues can be difficult for both employee and employer and requires knowledge and understanding of divergent points of view. Our Firm's attorneys have extensive knowledge and experience in handling these complex and sensitive matters.
At the Firm of Gomez & Petitti, you will find experienced attorneys who are truly interested in helping their clients while remaining committed to the goals of achievement, integrity, and excellence.
The Firm has provided sustained, exceptionally high quality professional services to clients. The Firm as well as both attorneys at Gomez & Petitti have achieved the highest possible peer review rating in legal ability and ethical standards, as submitted by their peers and rated by Martindale-Hubbell. The Firm and both attorneys are also listed in Martindale-Hubbell's Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. David F. Gomez and Michael J. Petitti, Jr. enjoy a strong reputation among their colleagues, including judges before whom they have appeared and attorneys on both sides of the aisle.
Gomez & Petitti, PC was founded in 1985 by attorney David F. Gomez, who serves as President of the firm and one of its main practicing attorneys. The year 1985 also marked the start of major developments in Arizona labor law, some of which involved cases litigated by the firm. The firm has remained focused on labor and employment ever since then, and has remained in the middle of events as they unfold, continuing to help shape the legal landscape of labor and employment law in Arizona.
Gomez & Petitti, PC is listed in Best Lawyers in America.
Ford v. Revlon
The "case that started it all" for Gomez & Petitti was Ford v. Revlon, Inc., a landmark decision in the then-new and still-evolving area of sexual harassment law. In this case, a manager made sexual advances to an employee, who rejected these advances. The employee was told "you will regret this" and was repeatedly subjected to touching, offensive comments, and other sexually harassing behavior in the workplace, including a sexually-charged physical assault at a company picnic. Although the employee complained time and again to different levels of management within the company over a period of many months, no action was ever taken to stop the harassment.
The employee later sued the manager and the company for assault and battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED). The jury found the manager guilty of assault and battery, and the company guilty of intentional infliction of emotional distress. This finding of liability on the company was later reversed by an appeals court, which held on principles of agency law that the company could not be held liable for IIED since the manager had not been held liable.
David Gomez appealed this decision to the Supreme Court of Arizona, which held that in fact the company was liable for IIED. The conduct of the company in failing to take any action after notice of the manager's conduct was "extreme and outrageous" and also "reckless." This conduct did indeed cause severe emotional distress for the employee, who at one point was so distraught she had attempted suicide.
This case established the principle that an employer's failure to take appropriate action in response to an employee's complaints of sexual harassment by a supervisor may constitute intentional infliction of emotional distress.
From Disability Discrimination to Union Trust Funds
The firm has also been involved in other important cases in the area of labor and employment law. Jurgella v. Danielson dealt with the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the precursor to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibited discrimination in federally funded programs against otherwise qualified handicapped individuals on the basis of their handicap. The trial court had dismissed the employee's discrimination claim, but David Gomez obtained a reversal on appeal, convincing the court that the employee had indeed established a claim for unlawful handicap discrimination. The language of the statute at hand, regarding the definition of a qualified handicapped individual, was later incorporated into the ADA's definition of a qualified individual with a disability.
In Paul R. Peterson Construction, Inc. vs. Arizona State Carpenters Health and Welfare Trust Fund, Mr. Gomez and Mr. Petitti handled a complicated case concerning an appeal and cross-appeal involving a union fund health and welfare plan subject to the Employment Retirement Security Act (ERISA). The firm successfully defended the trial court's decision based on an advisory jury's verdict in the client's favor on appeal. The successful plaintiff was ultimately awarded not only a money judgment and attorneys' fees but prejudgment interest as well.
Continuing a Strong Tradition in Labor and Employment Law
Gomez & Petitti, PC has been proud to be involved in the development of Arizona labor and employment over the past 25 years and looks forward to continuing its involvement over the next quarter-century. Equally important to the firm is the impact our work has had on the individual clients we represent, who come to our office seeking help and receive a strong commitment to achieving excellent results on their behalf.
Gomez & Petitti PC is listed in Best Lawyers in America