Steven G. Zieff

Steven G. Zieff

Of Counsel
San Francisco, California

In addition to successfully representing individuals in employment matters, Mr. Zieff is at the forefront of enforcing wage and hour laws. He has served as lead counsel in many wage and hour class actions in which he has obtained multi-million dollar settlements and judgments in the insurance, grocery, computer, and services industries. The illegal employment practices challenged by these class actions include: the refusal to pay statutorily required overtime pay; the employer's refusal to reimburse employees for necessary employment expenses; and other illegal pay practices.  Mr. Zieff pioneered the use of the wage and hour class action to enforce the right to overtime pay when he filed and successfully prosecuted Breaux v. Agency Rent-A-Car in the early 1990s, which was the first case to enforce California overtime laws by the use of the class action device.  In 2001, Mr. Zieff obtained the largest overtime judgment in United States legal history in the landmark case Bell v. Farmers Insurance Exchange.  In the Bell case, Mr. Zieff represented over 2400 employees, eventually recovering over $200 million in the Bell case.  Mr. Zieff’s work directly led to what became one of the hottest and most prolific areas of employment law – wage and hour class actions.

Mr. Zieff regularly represents individuals in discrimination and wrongful discharge matters.  He frequently handles claims relating to severance and termination of employment.

Mr. Zieff is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Law, an honorary society, and is a recipient of the 2001 CLAY Award - California Lawyer Attorney of the Year for Employment Law. Mr. Zieff was also named by the Daily Journal as one of the "Top 100" Lawyers in California in September 2002, and is listed in the Best Lawyers in America. He is an active member of the National Employment Lawyers Association and the California Employment Lawyers Association. Mr. Zieff is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center, a member of the Board of Directors of the East Bay Community Law Center, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Social Justice Law Project. Mr. Zieff has written and spoken on a wide range of employment law issues.

Litigation Successes:

Bell v. Farmers Insurance Exchange
(2004) 115 Cal.App.4th 715, prior history at (2001) 87 Cal.App.4th 805
Jury verdict on July 10, 2001 for over $90 million in damages phase of overtime class action against Farmers Insurance Exchange brought on behalf of personal lines claims adjusters, eventually resulting in payments of over $200 million.

Farmers MDL
Lead counsel in nationwide class and collective action under federal and state laws brought on behalf of approximately 2800 claims adjusters working in states across the country, originally resulting in judgments totaling over $52 million which were reversed on appeal and eventually settled for $8 million.

Giannetto v. Computer Science Corporation
$24 million settlement in overtime class action brought on behalf of computer maintenance workers with co-counsel.

Breaux v. Agency Rent-A-Car
Following successful class action trial determining that officers, managers and assistant office managers were entitled to overtime pay; case settled for in excess of $8 million.

Kerr v. Snap-On, Inc.
Class action brought on behalf of employees seeking unreimbursed expenses under California Labor Code Sec. 2802 resulted in a settlement of $8.4 million.

Addvensky v. Corporate Express Delivery Systems, Inc.
$9.75 million settlement on behalf of same-day delivery drivers, raising claims for failure to pay minimum wage, failure to pay overtime and failure to reimburse necessary business expenses.

Stephens v. Coldwell Banker Commercial Group
(1988) 199 Cal.App.3d 1394
Appellate court upheld the jury's punitive damage award to an employee who was discriminated against on the basis of his age.

Keyhea v. Rushen
(1986) 178 Cal.App.3d 526
Injunction affirmed by court of appeal that vindicated state prisoners' right to be free from forced drugging without first being afforded specific procedural protections.

Year Joined Firm

  • 1986

Areas of Practice

  • Employee Rights and Protections
  • Class Actions
  • Senior Executive and Highly Compensated Professional Representation
  • Wage and Hour Law

Bar Admissions

  • California, 1978
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit


  • University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law, Berkeley, California
    • J.D. - 1978
  • Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island
    • A.B. - 1974
    • Honors: With Honors
    • Major: Public Policy Making

Published Works

  • The Former Employee Right to Compete, California Labor and Employment Law Review, Vol. 9, No. 2, Summer, 1993

Honors and Awards

  • Best Lawyers in America, 2006 - 2018
  • Northern California Super Lawyers List, 2004 – 2017
  • California Lawyers of the Year (CLAY) Award, 2002
  • Named to the Hundred Most Influential Lawyers in California by the Daily Journal in 2002
  • Best Lawyers 2015 San Francisco Litigation - Labor and Employment "Lawyer of the Year”

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • National Employment Lawyers Association
  • College of Labor and Employment Attorneys, Fellow

Past Employment Positions

  • San Mateo Legal Aid Society, Supervising Attorney, 1981 - 1986
  • Solano County Legal Association, Reginald Heber Smith Fellow, 1979 - 1981

Pro Bono Activities

  • Legal Aid Society - Employment Law Center, Board Member and Member of the Executive Committee
  • East Bay Community Law Center, Board Member


  • English