Ryan E. Abernethy




Ryan Abernethy is a shareholder in the Firm’s Labor & Employment and Litigation practice groups.

Ryan successfully represents businesses in a broad range of litigation and employment matters in California.

He is experienced in all areas of employment litigation, including the defense of claims involving workplace discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, wage and hour issues, trade secrets, and class actions. He also regularly counsels clients regarding compliance, risk management, policy preparation, and employee training.

In addition to his employment law practice, Ryan successfully litigates business, entertainment, intellectual property, and consumer class actions, among others. He has obtained defense verdicts in both state and federal courts at the trial and appellate levels. He also regularly achieves positive results for his clients through arbitration and administrative proceedings, and—when possible—by negotiating favorable settlements for his clients.

Before joining the Firm, Ryan was the senior associate at a civil defense firm and also practiced in the Labor & Employment department of a global employment-focused firm. Ryan received a Bachelor of Arts with Highest Honors from Arizona State University and his Juris Doctor from the University of California Hastings College of the Law. He is admitted to practice before all California courts, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, all U.S. District Courts, and the United States Supreme Court.

Stanford Settlement Board of Directors
Former Board Member, Vice President

State Bar of California, Labor & Employment Section

Sacramento County Bar Association, Labor & Employment Law Section

J. Reuben Clark Law Society

Advisory Board Member

Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Sacramento Class of 2019


Northern California Super Lawyers, 2023

Northern California Super Lawyers, Rising Star, 2017 – 2021

Sacramento Magazine’s Top Lawyers List, 2021 – 2023 – Labor and Employment

San Francisco Magazine’s Top Lawyers List, 2017 – Labor and Employment

J.D., UC College of the Law, San Francisco, 2009

B.A., summa cum laude, Arizona State University, Phoenix, 2006

Ryan Abernethy to Speak on Workplace Violence Prevention for Ministry Pacific Insurance Services

On January 25th, the Ministry Pacific Insurance Services will host a webinar titled Workplace Violence Mandates for California’s Nonprofit Sector. Weintraub shareholder Ryan Abernethy will speak at the event on the following topics: Creating a plan to prevent and respond to workplace violence. Identifying people responsible for implementing the plan…

  • When: Jan 25, 2024 10:00 am PST – 11:00 am PST

L&E Seminar: Top 10 Things Employers Do (or Don’t Do) to Get Sued

Managing employees in California is not easy, and the state’s many employment laws are complicated and confusing. On October 18th, Ryan Abernethy, Lukas Clary, and Nikki Mahmoudi hosted a seminar giving guidance on how to protect your organization by avoiding some of the most common mistakes that lead to employee lawsuits.…

  • When: Oct 18, 2023 09:30 am PDT – 11:30 am PDT
  • Where: 400 Capitol Mall, 11th Floor Sacramento, CA 95814

Ryan Abernethy Presents with FEI Sacramento: Employment Law Risk Mitigation Strategies

On September 6, 2023, Weintraub employment attorney Ryan Abernethy will present to the Financial Executives International (FEI) Sacramento Chapter on, “Employment Law Risk Mitigation Strategies: From Class Action Lawsuits to Internal Investigations.” The presentation will cover wage and hour class action and PAGA lawsuit prevention strategies, internal investigations, and independent…

Weintraub Attorneys Present at The Generations Family Business Conference

On May 12 and 13, The Capital Region Family Business Center hosted the Generations Family Business Conference in Sacramento. On day two of the event, Weintraub attorneys  Lizbeth (“Beth”) West, Meagan Bainbridge and Ryan Abernethy presented a case study relating to harassment or misconduct claims against family members in the…

  • When: May 13, 2022
  • Where: SAFE Credit Union Convention Center

FEI Presentation: Return to Work Guidance for California Employers

On March 30, 2022, Labor & Employment attorney Ryan Abernethy presented the seminar titled Return to Work Guidance for California Employers for the Financial Executives International’s Sacramento Chapter. The presentation addressed common issues that employers now face as COVID-19 restrictions loosen, and more employees are returning to work on-site. He also…

  • When: Mar 30, 2022 12:00 am PDT

Webinar: Employment Law Update 2022

On January 12, 2022, attorneys Lizbeth V. West, James Kachmar, Meagan D. Bainbridge, Brendan Begley, and Ryan Abernethy presented part two of a webinar discussing important legal developments from 2021 and reviewing a number of new laws and case law developments impacting employers in 2022. Employment Law Update (Part 2)…

  • When: Jan 12, 2022
  • Where: Webinar

Webinar: Avoiding the Bully Pulpit – Best Practices for Creating an Inclusive Workplace Free of Bullying and Intimidation

Federal and state OSHA laws require California employers to prevent and respond to violence in the workplace.  Federal and state EEO laws require California employers to prevent and respond to harassment and discrimination in the workplace.  But what about bullying?  What is it? Are employers responsible for preventing it? Is…

  • When: Oct 6, 2021
  • Where: Webinar

Webinar: You May Not See Them, But They’re Still Working: Tips to Help Ensure Your Remote Workers are Still Complying with Employment Laws and Policies

On June 30, 2021,  Ryan Abernethy presented this webinar addressing employment and labor code complications that telecommuting naturally presents and offering tips on how to ensure remote workers still comply with company policies. Last year, COVID-19 forced many companies to make spur-of-the-moment telecommuting arrangements with their employees. With the end…

  • When: Jun 30, 2021
  • Where: Webinar

WEBINAR: Employment Law Update 2020/2021 – Part I & Part II

Summary of Program Our Labor & Employment Group presents our annual Employment Law Update where they discuss important legal developments from 2020 and review a number of new employment laws and relevant court cases impacting employers in 2021 Program Highlights – Part 1 of 2 This part will focus on:…

  • When: Jan 6, 2021
  • Where: Webinar

WEBINAR: Get Ready for 2021 – An Overview of New California Legislation

Lizbeth (“Beth”) West, Shauna Correia, Lukas Clary, and Ryan Abernethy of Weintraub Tobin’s Labor & Employment Group provided an overview of California legislation that employers must be aware of as they go into 2021. This seminar was presented and recorded on December 9, 2020. A recording of this webinar can…

  • When: Dec 9, 2020
  • Where: Webinar

Webinar: Understanding & Navigating the Ever-Expanding Web of Leave Laws

Summary of Program On September 17, 2020 Weintraub attorneys Lizbeth (Beth) V. West and Ryan Abernethy provided an overview of various leave laws. Administering leaves of absence in California can be very challenging.   California has a paid sick leave law and numerous other leave laws, reasonable accommodation laws, and wage…

  • When: Sep 17, 2020
  • Where: Webinar

Ryan Abernethy Named Vice President of Stanford Settlement Board of Directors

Weintraub Tobin is pleased to announce that attorney Ryan Abernethy has been elected Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Stanford Settlement Neighborhood Center. Stanford Settlement is a Sacramento not-for-profit social service organization serving neighborhoods where opportunities are limited. The mission of the agency is to help build…

35 Weintraub Attorneys Named to 2021 Northern California Super Lawyers and Rising Stars Lists; Firm Retains Highest Percentage of Sacramento Top 25 List

Weintraub Tobin is pleased to announce that 38 of its attorneys have been included on the 2021 Super Lawyers and Rising Star lists for outstanding attorneys in Northern California.  In addition, 4 Weintraub Tobin attorneys received special recognition on Northern California and Sacramento “Top” lists. Weintraub attorneys represent 16 percent…

33 Weintraub Tobin Attorneys Named to 2020 Northern California Super Lawyers and Rising Stars Lists; Retain Highest Percentage of Sacramento Top 25 List

Weintraub Tobin is pleased to announce that 33 Weintraub Tobin attorneys have been included on the 2020 Super Lawyers and Rising Star lists for outstanding attorneys in Northern California.  In addition, 5 Weintraub Tobin attorneys received special recognition on Northern California and Sacramento “Top” lists. Weintraub attorneys represent 20 percent of…

Ryan Abernethy in Super Lawyers Magazine: Prior Practice

Ryan Abernethy is featured in the 2019 issue of Northern California Super Lawyers Magazine. In a section called “Prior Practice” Ryan discusses his early career in animation and how he uses his creativity in his practice of law. “Being a trial attorney is a bit of a performance that requires…

Where Agreements Won’t Work – A Word to the Wise Regarding Strict Wage and Hour Liability and Related Claims

This article was first published in Volume 29, Issue 2, 2023 of the California Trusts and Estates Quarterly, reprinted by permission. I.      SYNOPSIS Ed was a vibrant and healthy 85-year-old. One day, he decided to sign an advance healthcare directive providing that if his physical condition ever declined, he wished…

Safe Harbor from Class-Based Waiting Time and Wage Statement Penalties for Employers with “Good Faith Disputes” That Meal or Rest Period Premiums Were Owed — the Latest Chapter in the Naranjo Saga

Almost exactly one year ago, the California Supreme Court issued its decision in Gustavo Naranjo v Spectrum Security Services, Inc. (“Naranjo”), reviewing a decision by the Second Appellate District (the “Appellate Court”) in 2019. As we discussed in our California Employment News episode at that time (available here on YouTube,…

The U.S. Supreme Court Stays Enforcement of OSHA’s Nationwide Vaccine Mandate Because It Exceeds OSHA’s Authority

As Lizbeth West and James Kachmar wrote in previous blogs, here and here, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the stay of OSHA’s vaccine-or-test mandate that applies to employers with more than 100 employees. Challengers of the mandate sought immediate review by the U.S. Supreme Court. The U.S. Supreme Court held oral…

New California Laws Create Presumption of Workers’ Compensation Coverage for COVID-19 Infections and Impose Additional COVID-19 Exposure Reporting and Notice Requirements on Employers

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Executive Order N-62-20—way back on May 6, 2020—which created a presumption that employees’ COVID-19-related illnesses were caused at work and therefore covered by workers’ compensation. That order covered COVID-19 infections from March 19, 2020 to July 5, 2020, at which time the order expired. To fill the void,…

The CDC’s Updated Guidance Expedites the Time In-Home COVID-19 Patients Can Return to Work

The CDC has issued new guidance for in-home patients diagnosed with COVID-19, including lowering the number of days the patient must remain isolated after being fever-free. The CDC previously recommended that “at least 72 hours” pass since the last fever without the use of fever-reducing medication before ending self-isolation. Noting…

Certain Delivery Drivers Are Exempt from the Federal Arbitration Act and May Proceed with Class Actions

By: Ryan E. Abernethy In this age of expensive class-action litigation, many California companies have found solace in their arbitration agreements. Under certain circumstances, the enforcement of such agreements includes the dismissal of class action claims. This has largely been made possible by the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) which requires…

The California Supreme Court Makes It More Difficult to Classify Workers as Independent Contractors – Assumes all Workers are Employees

On April 30, 2018, the California Supreme Court applied an expansive definition of independent contractor in a ruling that is sure to have a dramatic impact on many California businesses, and the burgeoning gig economy in particular. In the case of Dynamex Operations W. v. Superior L.A. County, a class…

California Employment News: Enforceability of Non-Compete Agreements

New legislation coming into effect in 2024 could have CA employers facing greater risks when it comes to using and enforcing non-compete agreements. Ryan Abernethy and Nikki Mahmoudi discuss the enforceability of non-compete agreements in this installment of California Employment News. Watch this episode on the Weintraub YouTube channel or listen to this podcast episode here.…

California Employment News: The Employment Start-Up Kit for Start-Ups – Part 2

When starting a business, there are many common employment issues to consider. Join Weintraub attorneys Meagan Bainbridge and Ryan Abernethy in Part Two of their Employment Start-Up Kit for Start-Ups series for California Employment News, where they cover employee payroll, HR, and other important things for new businesses to consider to limit liability. Watch this…

California Employment News: The Employment Start-Up Kit for Start-Ups – Part 1

There are many common employment issues that start-ups might face. Weintraub attorneys Meagan Bainbridge and Ryan Abernethy help review these issues in a two-part series for California Employment News. Join them in part one, which covers independent contractor classification and employment exemptions. Listen to this podcast episode here. Find Part Two of this Two-Part Series here. Watch…