Matthew T. Wakefield

Matthew T. Wakefield

Matthew T. Wakefield, Partner

Encino, CA and Charlotte, NC

T 704-765-1469


Admitted to Practice:

  • California
  • District of Columbia
  • North Carolina

Matt regularly provides counsel to employers concerning all areas of employment and labor law, including human resources decisions, union organizing, employee communications, employment and labor policies, wage and hour challenges, employee investigations, and compliance with state and federal employment and labor laws. He has successfully negotiated collective bargaining agreements for employers throughout the United States and its territories.

Matt has a wealth of experience navigating clients through all forms of difficult negotiations and labor environments, including the use of boycotts, corporate campaigns, media and political pressure, strikes, lockouts, and other economic weapons. He has successfully represented employers in two-thirds of the National Labor Relations Board regions, as well as before the Board itself.

Matt represents employers throughout the United States and its territories, including in Anchorage, Atlantic City, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Reno, San Diego, San Francisco, San Juan, Seattle, and Washington, DC, in matters such as:

  • Negotiating collective bargaining agreements;
  • Arbitration of union grievances concerning employee discipline/discharges and contract interpretation disputes;
  • Discrimination and retaliation charges;
  • Labor and employment matters in asset and stock purchases/sales;
  • Defending unfair labor practice charges;
  • Union representation petitions and organizing campaigns;
  • Wage and hour claims;
  • Layoffs, restructurings, employee terminations, and other sensitive human resources matters.

Court Admissions

United States Courts of Appeals:

  • Fourth Circuit
  • Ninth Circuit
  • D.C. Circuit

United States District Courts:

  • Central District of California
  • Southern District of California
  • Northern District of California

B.S., Business Administration, California State University, Hayward (1984)

J.D., cum laude, University of San Diego School of Law (1994)

  • Order of the Coif
  • Executive Editor, San Diego Law Review
  • Warren Family Endowed Scholar
  • Brundage & Zellman Award for Excellence in Labor Law
  • Southern California Rising Star, Super Lawyers (2004)

Favorable Published Decisions

United States Court of Appeals

  • Venetian Casino Resort LLC v. NLRB, 793 F.3d 85 (D.C. Cir. 2015) (employer’s request that police issue criminal citations to demonstrators and block them from employer-owned sidewalk because of alleged trespass was protected under First Amendment right “to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”)

National Labor Relations Board

  • Sheraton Universal Hotel, 350 NLRB 1114 (2007) (employer lawfully terminated a supervisor for refusing to remove a union pin from his lapel)
  • W San Diego, 348 NLRB 372 (2006) (employer established “special circumstances” to justify ban on union insignia where guests may be present and in the kitchen where it posed a risk of food contamination)
  • Sofitel San Francisco Bay, 343 NLRB 82 (2004) (overturned a narrow election victory for union as a result of union’s misleading campaign materials; union subsequently withdrew petition)
  • Holiday Inn City Center, 332 NLRB 1246 (2000) (petitioned-for unit of employees was inappropriate; union subsequently withdrew petition)
  • Service Employees Local 87 (Cresleigh Management), 324 NLRB 774 (1997) (union engaged in unlawful secondary boycott after employer established reserved entrance for contractor in dispute with union)
  • Refuse Compactor Service, Inc., 322 NLRB 738 (1996) (Board denied General Counsel’s motion for summary judgment on employer’s answer to compliance specification)

National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Decisions

  • Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, 2012 NLRB GCM Lexis 6 (2012) (NLRB General Counsel dismissed unfair labor practice charge challenging employer’s improved benefits for non-union employees while withholding the improved benefits from newly-organized bargaining unit)
  • Century Plaza Hotel & Towers, 2005 NLRB GCM Lexis 38 (2005) (NLRB General Counsel dismissed unfair labor practice charges challenging several employers’ use of lockout and other aggressive bargaining tactics)
  • Hilton San Diego Mission Valley, 2000 NLRB GCM Lexis 64 (2000) (NLRB General Counsel dismissed unfair labor practice charge challenging employer’s handling of Social Security no-match letter)

Labor Arbitration Awards

  • Hotel del Coronado, 10-2 ARB ¶5125 (Bordone, 2010) (employer had just cause to discharge employee who tested positive for alcohol while on duty)
  • La Costa Resort and Spa, 124 LA 964 (Wormuth, 2007) (employer had the right to require restaurant servers to close their own guest checks, rather than rely upon a cashier, and did not have to increase servers’ wage rate)

Speaking Engagements

  • The National Labor Relations Board: A New Agenda for Union and Non-Union Workplaces, Beverly Hills Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Section (2013)
  • Collective Bargaining Challenges, Hospitality Asset Managers Association (HAMA) Conference, Denver, Colorado (2010)
  • Labor-Management Strategies in the Economic Crisis: Allies or Adversaries in Responding to Plant Closings, RIFs, and Layoffs, OC LERA Dinner Meeting (2008)
  • A Full Board and a New General Counsel at the NLRB: A Future Remarkable or Predictable? 24th Annual Labor and Employment Law Conference (2006)
  • Strikes and Labor Disputes in the Early 21st Century, LA County Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Section Meeting (2005)
  • Employee Investigations, Discipline, and Terminations, Employment Law From A to Z in California (2005)
  • California Wage and Hour Law and Litigation, Payment of Wages, Regular Rate and Overtime – California Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) 2015
  • Advising California Employers and Employees, Wage and Hour Laws – California Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) 2015
  • Applying the Federal Labor-Management Law – Valley Lawyer Magazine (SFVBA) 2012
  • Labor Insignia Battle Decided in San Diego – Hotel & Motel Management 2007
  • Employers Must Handle Issues Before Unions Do – Hotel & Motel Management, 2006
  • Flip-Flop on Weingarten Rights for Non-Union Employees – Los Angeles Daily Journal 2004