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Michael A. Strauss


Michael (Mike) Strauss is one of the two founders of Strauss & Strauss, APC. Mike now devotes his practice entirely to employment mediation and arbitration.


In his long career as an employment litigator, Mike developed a creative approach to resolving employment disputes. The employer-employee relationship can operate much like a family, where strong emotions rule and hurt feelings abound. To account for this dynamic, Mike has a soft touch. He deescalates animosity by projecting calmness, reason, clarity, and understanding. Nevertheless, Mike has never been afraid to stand up for what is right and fair. Having litigated hundreds of cases for employers and employees through trial or arbitration and argued appeals at every level, including the US Supreme Court, Mike draws on his vast experience and calm demeanor to guide cases to settlement. Since 2022, Mike has used his creative approach to resolving employment disputes as a mediator for the very types of cases he litigated as an attorney: wage-and-hour class/PAGA actions and individual disputes involving harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and breaches of contract.


Mike attended his first mediation while in college. From that point on, he knew that becoming a mediator was his ultimate career goal. To achieve that goal, however, would require significant experience as a practicing lawyer. After graduating from law school, Mike went to work at a general litigation firm, where he represented businesses and individuals in real estate, business, and employment disputes.

Within a few years, Mike founded what later became Strauss & Strauss, APC, together with his wife Jenna. The firm was dedicated to representing employees in employment litigation matters. Mike developed a reputation as a class action litigator, becoming lead or co-lead counsel in dozens of class actions involving wage-and-hour violations in state and federal court. Some of these cases resulted in mediated settlements in the eight figures.

Meanwhile, his firm also represented employees in individual actions, such as for discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. In such cases, Mike has won significant victories in court and arbitration. Mike has argued many cases before state and federal appellate courts.​

Many of Mike's cases involved novel legal theories. In a series of cases filed against oil platform operators off the California coast, Mike asserted that California wage-and-hour laws should apply and that the operators were violating those laws with respect to the workers on the platforms. After the federal District Court found that California laws did not apply on the platforms, Mike successfully obtained a reversal at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Then, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari, and Mike litigated the case before the Court. Ultimately, the Court ruled against Mike's clients and reversed the Ninth Circuit. ​

With many years of experience representing employers and employees under his belt, Mike turned to training as a mediator and arbitrator. He has taken numerous classes at the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University's Caruso School of Law.

Mike now mediates and arbitrates the very types of claims he has litigated for years as an employment attorney -- FEHA, wage-and-hour, retaliation, whistleblower, and class action cases. He routinely works as a mediator for the Los Angeles Superior Court's Resolve Law Virtual MSC program and is on the panel of mediators for the United States District Court for the Central District of California and the Conflict Resolution Institute in Camarillo, California.

Mike sits on the board of trustees for a private elementary school and is Chairman of the Steering Committee for the Ventura County Bar Association's Lawyer Referral and Information Service. He previously sat two terms on the Board of Directors of the Ventura County Bar Association. 

Mike is an avid mountain biker, and he is the head coach of a mountain biking cross-country race team for middle- and high-schoolers. He enjoys traveling, camping, and spending time with his family and two dogs. Mike is fluent in Spanish.

Representative Cases

  • Parker Drilling Mgmt. Servs., Ltd. v. Newton, 204 L. Ed. 2d 165, 139 S. Ct. 1881 (2019)
    • Wage and hour class action case of first impression seeking California overtime pay for offshore oil platform workers. Mike represented Plaintiff Newton before the US Supreme Court.
  • Curtis v. Irwin Indus., Inc., 913 F.3d 1146 (9th Cir. 2019)
    • Wage and hour class action case setting standard for LMRA preemption of Labor Code claims. Mike argued on behalf of Plaintiffs before the Ninth Circuit.
  • Mauia v. Petrochem Insulation, Inc., 5 F.4th 1068 (9th Cir. 2021)
    • Wage and hour class action case further expanding the holding in Parker Drilling. Mike argued on behalf of Plaintiffs before the Ninth Circuit.
  • Fritsch v. Swift Transportation Co. of Arizona, LLC, 899 F.3d 785 (9th Cir. 2018)
    • Wage and hour class action case setting standard for CAFA removal. Mike argued on behalf of Plaintiff before the Ninth Circuit.
  • Sarantopoulos v. Shepherd Home Health Care, Inc., No. B267364, 2017 WL 3124059 (Cal. Ct. App. July 24, 2017)
    • Individual wage-and-hour case tried to verdict in favor of employer in Los Angeles. Mike argued before the Second District Court of Appeal, which reversed the decision on all issues, leading to nearly $450,000 judgment.
  • Britto v. Zep Inc., No. A141870, 2015 WL 5657147 (Cal. Ct. App. Sept. 25, 2015.
    • Court of Appeal upheld fee award for Plaintiff's attorneys in the amount of approximately $1.2 million in PAGA action. Mike argued on behalf of the Plaintiff before the First District Court of Appeal.
  • Hotvet v. First Wilshire Sec. Mgmt., Inc., No. B271092, 2018 WL 1165464 (Cal. Ct. App. Mar. 6, 2018)
    • Partially affirming order denying motion to compel arbitration in individual wage and hour/retaliation action. Mike argued on behalf of the Plaintiff before the Second District Court of Appeal.
  • Davis v. Komoto Pharmacy, Inc., No. F073753, 2018 WL 3640555 (Cal. Ct. App. Aug. 1, 2018)
    • Affirming trial court victory for Plaintiff, a pharmacist misclassified as exempt, in wage and hour dispute. Mike argued on behalf of the Plaintiff before the Fifth District Court of Appeal.


  • Bachelor of Arts, University of California, Berkeley, 2001
  • Juris Doctor, Wake Forest University School of Law, 2006

Our Notable Class Action Cases
  • Ayala v. Terminix International, Inc.
  • Bankwitz v. Ecolab Inc. - Territory Manager Overtime Lawsuit
  • Bautista v. Alliance Environmental Group
  • Berry v. DCOR, LLC
  • Bognuda v. Great White Dental
  • Campos v. Ecolab Inc. – California Route Sales Manager (RSM) Lawsuit

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