Felicia M. Medina

Felicia M. Medina
SF Managing Partner

(415) 795-2024

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Ms. Medina represents executives and employees in confidential negotiations and complex litigation and has successfully obtained results for her clients at all stages of litigation.

I contacted Felicia because she has a stellar reputation as a champion for workplace gender equality. Upon taking my case, it became clear that that reputation is well-deserved; she is a deft negotiator, a veracious advocate, and - most importantly - she knows how to get results. Through her counsel, I achieved a settlement that allowed me to get out of a toxic, discriminatory work environment. We sent a strong message to the company that such unequal treatment of women will not be tolerated in this day and age. Former client and VP of a major technology company

Felicia and Sanford Heisler have taken the pharmaceutical industry by storm. They are shattering the glass ceiling imposed on women by pharma's old boys' club. Sanford Heisler is steadfastly committed not just to its clients, but to the cause of women's equality. That dedication, combined with their remarkable knowledge and skill, allows them to attain the momentous verdicts and results that set Sanford Heisler apart from other firms. Jacqueline Pena, Named Plaintiff in Wellens et. al. v. Daiichi Sankyo, Inc.

Felicia Medina is the Managing Partner of our San Francisco office and the Chair of the Firm’s Title VII practice.  She leads some of the country’s most significant class action and individual employment discrimination cases relating to race, gender, sexual orientation, and other protected classifications, as well as wage and hour collective actions.  Since opening the SF office in 2011, Felicia has managed and mastered all aspects of litigation, including pre-suit settlement, discovery, summary judgment, and trial.

Legal Representation

Felicia has dedicated her career to advancing justice in the workplace.  She has successfully represented clients from all walks of life, including C-Suite executives, attorneys/in-house counsel, service employees, engineers, sales representatives, and working mothers, with discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and wrongful termination claims.  Her expertise extends to a variety of industries, including STEM, pharmaceuticals, finance, defense, manufacturing, retail, and professional services.

Within her first four years as a plaintiff’s lawyer, Felicia quickly stood out as top in the field by helping secure the largest employment gender discrimination verdict in U.S. history in Velez v. Novartis. The presiding federal judge described the case as having been “brilliantly tried.” After the seven-week trial and historic $250 million verdict, the Firm obtained a court-approved settlement of $175 million on behalf of 6,000 women that the judge described as “extraordinary” and “one of a kind.”

Since then, Felicia has continued to succeed, having been involved in hundreds of settlements and more than twenty five class actions.  In July 2016, Felicia secured a rare $19.5 million pre-suit gender discrimination class action settlement with Qualcomm, a leading global technology company. In addition to significant monetary relief on behalf of women in STEM, Felicia successfully negotiated comprehensive programmatic reform within the Company to increase equal employment opportunities for Qualcomm women going forward. The settlement is currently pending court approval.

In 2015, in Wellens et al. v. Daiichi Sankyo, Felicia represented a class of approximately 1,600 sales professionals with alleged gender and pregnancy discrimination claims. She secured the Ninth Circuit’s first ever conditional certification under the Federal Equal Pay Act. This enabled Felicia to obtain court approval of an $8.2 million settlement that included substantial programmatic change within the Company. This $8.2 million settlement was named as 2015’s fifth highest settlement of a private plaintiff employment discrimination class action lawsuit in Seyfarth Shaw’s “12th Annual Workplace Class Action Litigation Report.”

Felicia maintains a robust appellate practice.  Specifically, in Sandquist et al. v. Lebo Automotive et al., Felicia represented a former sales manager in a class action alleging that race discrimination permeated John Elway’s Manhattan Beach Toyota. Before the Court addressed Mr. Sandquist’s claims, the litigation became focused on the interpretation of the company’s arbitration agreement.  In 2014, Felicia won a reversal of the trial court’s 2012 order dismissing Sandquist’s class claims with prejudice. Defendants appealed and in July 2016, the Supreme Court of California sided with Felicia’s team after oral argument. In 2010, Felicia also successfully argued a sixth circuit appeal in Barrett v. Whirlpool, a race harassment case.

Felicia currently represents a class of contract employees in Ha et al. v. Google Inc. et al., a class and collective action alleging that the Silicon Valley giant denied contract recruiters compensation for all overtime worked, failed to pay owed wages upon separation from employment, and did not furnish accurate wage statements.  Felicia is Co-Lead Counsel in Peterson et al. v. Alaska Communication Sys. Grp. Inc., a statewide misclassification matter filed on behalf of sales and marketing employees.  At present, Felicia also represents several employees in pre-suit negotiations against their employers concerning pay, promotion, harassment, hostile work environment, retaliation, and wrongful termination claims.  She has secured numerous pre-suit settlements on favorable terms for her clients.

Professional Recognition

Felicia’s accomplishments have not gone unnoticed.
She was honored as:

  • 2016 National LGBT Bar Association “Best LGBT Lawyer Under 40”
  • 2016 SuperLawyers Northern California “Rising Star”
  • 2016 Law360 “Rising Star”
  • 2015 National Diversity Council “Most Powerful and Influential Woman”
  • 2015 Law360 “Rising Star”
  • 2015 SuperLawyers Northern California “Rising Star”
  • 2014 Law360 “Minority Power Broker”

Board Memberships

As one of the few queer women of color in a leadership position in a national firm, Felicia is a fierce advocate for inclusion within the legal profession and of social justice more broadly. She serves as a board member for the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), the Bar Association of San Francisco’s Justice and Diversity Center (JDC), the Legal Aid Society Employment Law Center (LAS-ELC), and the Foundation for Advocacy, Inclusion, and Resources (FAIR), a non-profit working to increase diversity in the plaintiffs’ employment bar.

Felicia is also a former board member and active member of the Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF), the nation’s oldest and largest association of LGBT legal professionals. Felicia often speaks on panels concerning equal pay, trial preparation, diversity in the legal profession, and intersectional identity issues.

Prior to Sanford Heisler, LLP 

Before joining Sanford Heisler in January 2009, Felicia was an Associate at Morrison & Foerster, LLP. She graduated from Yale Law School in 2006. While at Yale Law School, Felicia was involved with the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization and provided civil legal services to Latino and immigrant communities in Fair Haven, Connecticut. Prior to attending Yale Law School, Felicia was a political consultant and a public school teacher.


  • J.D. ,Yale Law School, 2006
  • Editor, Yale Journal of Law and Feminism
  • B.A., USC, Los Angeles, 2000


  • Student Supervisor, Community Legal Services

Bar Admissions

  • California 2008

Court Admissions

  • The United States District Court - District of Nevada as of August 4, 2010
  • The United States District Court - Middle District of Tennessee as of September 17, 2010
  • The United States District Court - Southern District of New York as of January 22, 2010
  • The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit as of October 7, 2009
  • The United States District Court - Central District of California as of June 24, 2009

Overland Solutions Wage & Hour Class Action

Sanford Heisler filed a class and PAGA action on behalf of field inspectors against Overland Solutions, Inc. for willful misclassification, failure to pay wages, and failure to reimburse expenses under California Labor Code.

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Sedgwick Gender Discrimination Class Action

Traci M. Ribeiro, a high-performing, non-equity Partner at Sedgwick, alleges that Sedgwick engaged in systemic pay and promotion discrimination and thereby violated Title VII, the Equal Pay Act, and analogous state laws.

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Oracle Commissions Wage & Hour Lawsuits

Sanford Heisler has filed claims that through the use of a long and confusing set of Terms and Conditions issued to each sales representative with his or her compensation plan, Oracle unlawfully and retroactively reduced the commissions of sales representatives based on grounds, criteria, and methods not defined in a signed commission contract. The case is currently in discovery and continuing investigation.

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Novartis Pharmaceutical Gender Discrimination Class Action – $253 Million Jury Verdict; $175 Million Settlement

In the largest gender discrimination case to ever go to trial, Sanford Heisler successfully represented a class of 5,600 female sales representatives of Novartis Pharmaceutical Company in their gender pay and promotion and pregnancy discrimination claims. A unanimous decision by a jury of nine found Novartis liable for gender discrimination in pay and promotion and pregnancy-related matters and awarded 12 former Novartis sales reps $3.36 million in compensatory damages and the class of 5,600 women an additional $250 million in punitive damages In addition, the verdict from the jury meant that the remaining 5,600 women in the class were also entitled to additional awards of backpay and to seek compensatory damage awards up to $300,000 each. The verdict and the resulting monetary awards was the largest ever in the U.S in an employment discrimination case.

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Qualcomm Gender Discrimination Class Action – $19.5 Million Settlement

In addition to monetary relief, the settlement requires Qualcomm to institute comprehensive programmatic relief, which will ensure that female employees working, for example, in STEM and related positions will enjoy equal job opportunities at the company. The settlement on behalf of a class of approximately 3300 women was reached before Plaintiffs filed suit.

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Daiichi Sankyo Gender Pay, Promotion and Pregnancy Discrimination Class Action – $8.2 Million Settlement

In February 2013, six current and former female pharmaceutical sales professionals filed a $100 million class and collective action gender discrimination lawsuit against Daiichi Sankyo in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleging discrimination in pay, promotion and other terms and conditions of employment based on gender, pregnancy and family responsibilities. The case was settled for $8.2 million in 2016.

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John Elway’s Manhattan Beach Toyota Race Discrimination Case

Case Description Case Type: Race Discrimination Company: John Elway’s Manhattan Beach Toyota Timothy Sandquist is an African-American male, who was a knowledgeable, high-performing, and hardworking employee at John Elway’s Manhattan Beach Toyota for more than 10 years. He started at the dealership as a Sales Representative in 2000 and worked his way up to Sales […]

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Boston Scientific Gender Pay and Promotion Discrimination Class Action

In March 2015, class representatives Denise Fretter and Maria Korsgaard filed a $50 million nationwide class and collective action against the Valencia, CA-based medical device manufacturer, Boston Scientific Neuromodulation Corporation (BSNC), in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The Plaintiffs allege systemic violations of the Equal Pay Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act stemming from the company’s treatment of women who worked in its sales force hierarchy.

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Google, Inc. Wage and Hour Class Action

Former Google contract employee Tymuoi Ha filed the complaint in Santa Clara Superior Court against Google, Inc. and Urpan Technologies (UrpanTech), one of the many staffing agencies through which Google acquires temporary and contract workers. The complaint alleges that Defendants violated the California Labor Code by denying employees compensation for all overtime worked, failing to pay owed wages upon separation from employment and not furnishing accurate wage statements.

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Ma Labs Wage and Hour Class Action

The employees allege that Ma Labs engaged in pervasive time-shaving, whereby it wrote off and refused to pay employees’ pre-shift and post-shift overtime. The company also allegedly failed to provide its employees off-duty, uninterrupted rest and meal periods, as required by California law. The workers are mostly Chinese and Latino immigrants. The court granted class certification in October 2014.

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50 Years of LGBT Rights Under Title VII

“Gay people are the new barometer for social change.” ~ Bayard Rustin On June 20, 2014, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) hosted Pride at 50: The Civil Rights Act of 1964. Almost 100 people from all walks of life attended the program.  It was truly an inspiring event to participate in. Malihe Kigasari, a […]

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