Contact Us

Vida
Thomas

Managing Partner

T. 916.306.8371

Workplace investigations give employees an opportunity to be seen and heard, something not often available to them. This drives Vida in her work. She also enjoys the challenge of being compassionate yet impartial, providing a bit of clarity to a confused, emotionally charged situation.

Experience

Vida has practiced law for more than 25 years. She started her career as an employment defense litigator. She also advised employers on all aspects of employment law and human resources management as governed by Title VII, the California FEHA, ADA, ADEA and other federal and state employment laws.

Vida serves as an expert witness in state and federal employment lawsuits and mediates litigation and non-litigation matters. She assisted employers in resolving employment claims, including but not limited to harassment, discrimination and retaliation claims; wrongful termination claims; failure to accommodate and statutory leave violations; whistleblowing claims; wage and hour violations; and invasion of privacy claims. She also serves as a hearing officer in employee discipline appeal hearings.

Vida has conducted more than 200 workplace investigations and is experienced in complying with Title IX, Title 5, the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights and the Firefighters Procedural Bill of Rights. She has considerable experience investigating matters within a union setting and is particularly adept at investigating complex matters involving high-profile employers and individuals. A founding member of the Association of Workplace Investigators, she co-chaired the AWI Best Practices committee and helped establish the AWI Guidelines for conducting workplace investigations.  She frequently trains attorneys, human resources professionals and EEO officers on how to conduct legally effective workplace investigations.

Vida also routinely conducts sexual harassment prevention training — including AB1825 compliance training — for state agencies and private companies. She teaches managers and supervisors how to implement legally effective performance reviews. She has conducted dozens of seminars on the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family Medical Leave Act, employee drug testing and sexual harassment investigations. Clients have complimented Vida’s knack for making the law accessible, explaining complex legal concepts in a way that is both thorough and easy to understand. She believes training is most effective when it provides concrete, useful tips for navigating today’s complicated and highly regulated workplace.

Before joining the firm, Vida was Of Counsel with Stoel Rives LLP and Weintraub Tobin Chediak Coleman Grodin Law Corporation. She began her legal career as an employment litigator at Kronick Moskovitz and then co-founded Carlsen Thomas, LLP, a boutique employment law firm that offered workplace investigations and employee training throughout California for 13 years.

Outside the Office

Vida loves gardening, which helped her survive law school with her sanity intact. She believes there is nothing more “zen” than feeling the soil move through her fingers.

 

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. “— Maya Angelou

“The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.” — Barack Obama

  • Selected for inclusion in Northern California Super Lawyers, 2024
  • Sacramento Black History Month Legacy Award of Excellence “Black History Maker’s From Home,” February 2024
  • Daily Journal “Top Labor & Employment Lawyers,” August 2023
  • Sacramento Business Journal “Women Who Mean Business,” June 2023
  • Selected for inclusion in Northern California Super Lawyers, 2023
  • Best of the Bar award, Sacramento Business Award – 2015 and 2016

Related Publications

Archived Publications

  • “Colleague of San Jose VTA Shooter Feared He Might ‘Go Postal,’” commentary, KRON 4 News, June 10, 2021
  • “Remote Working Hasn’t Lessened Worker Disputes, Lawyers Say,” featured commentary, The Daily Journal, November 13, 2020
  • “Tips for Creating Virtual Anti-Harassment Training During the Pandemic,” SHRM, co-author, August 25, 2020
  • “Conducting Effective Workplace Investigations Without the Workplace,” Bloomberg Law, co-author, August 13, 2020

Related Events

Conducting Effective Investigations – September 11-12, 2024 | CALPELRA - September 11-12, 2024
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AWI 2023 Virtual Training Institute for Workplace Investigators | Association of Workplace Investigators - October 30 - November 10, 2023
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Conducting Effective Investigations – Online Training | CALPELRA - September 13-14, 2023
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Tackling Implicit Bias Around Identity and Intersectionality in the California Courtroom Setting | Practising Law Institute - On-Demand Video
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An Overview of Workplace Investigations (webinar) | University of Cape Town - September 6, 2023
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Ethical Issues in Public Sector Investigations | CLA Labor & Employment Law Section: 2023 Public Sector Conference - April 28, 2023
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Harassment, Discrimination, and More – a New Era of Workplace Investigations | Association for California Governmental Human Resources Professionals (CalGovHR) - March 9, 2023
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CALPELRA Annual Conference 2022 | California Public Employers Labor Relations Association - November 14 - 18, 2022
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AWI Conference Session: Be Curious, Not Judgmental: Lessons from Ted Lasso and Beyond | Association of Workplace Investigators - October 13, 2022
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City Attorneys Conference Panel – Microaggressions vs. Dog Whistle: How to Differentiate and Investigate | League of California Cities - September 7 - 9, 2022
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CALPELRALearn – Conducting Effective Investigations | CALPELRA - September 7 - 8, 2022
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Oppenheimer and Thomas to Teach ‘Workplace Investigations’ Course at the University of Cape Town Law | University of Cape Town - May 18 - 20, 2022
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Practical Tips When Partnering with Outside Investigators | League of California Cities - May 4 - 6, 2022
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Berkeley Law Presents “Preventing Lawyer Harassment: California’s New Regulatory Approach” | Berkeley Law - April 22, 2022
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CalSHRM 2022 California State HR Advocacy & Legislative Conference | California State Council of SHRM - April 20 - 22, 2022
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Understanding Unconscious Bias | Association of Legal Administrators - March 10, 2022
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CALPELRA’s 2021 Annual Training Conference | CALPELRA - November 16 - 19, 2021
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AWI Conference in Denver, CO | Association of Workplace Investigators - October 14 - 15, 2021
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CalSHRM’s HR Advocacy and Legislative Conference | California State Council of SHRM - April 2021
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Amy Oppenheimer, Vida Thomas, and Alezah Trigueros Present at CALPELRA | CALPELRA - February 1, 2017
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Archived Events

  • CalSHRM’s HR Advocacy and Legislative Conference, speaker, California State Council of the Society of Human Resource Management, speaker, February 24, 2021
  • “Dynamex and AB 5: What Do They Mean for the Arts?” for the Wedding Planners International Association (sole speaker) – February 20, 2020
  • “Developments in Sexual Harassment Law” for the Berkeley Center for Comparative Equality and Anti-Discrimination Law (panelist)– February 7, 2020
  • “Dynamex and AB 5: What Do They Mean for the Arts?” for the Capitol Film Arts Alliance (sole speaker) – January 21, 2020
  • “Why I Learned to Love AB 5” for the Sacramento County Bar Association Board & Leadership Retreat (co-presenter with Bryan Hawkins) – January 11, 2020
  • “The Calm After the Storm? Post-Investigation Issues” for the San Joaquin SHRM Annual Conference (sole speaker) – January 8, 2020
  • “Do Generous Leave Policies Contribute to Pay Disparities?” for Northstate SHRM Annual Conference (sole speaker) – October 9, 2019
  • “Removing Inherent Bias from Employment Decisions” for San Joaquin SHRM (sole presenter) – August 14, 2019
  • “Independent Contractor Status and the Arts” for California Lawyers for the Arts (sole presenter) – June 2019
  • “Managing the Underperformer: Discipline and Termination” for Greater Stockton Employer Advisory Council (sole presenter) – February 28, 2019
  • “Supervisors: Train Them or . . . They’ll Cost You” for the Northstate SHRM Annual Conference (sole presenter) – October 2018
  • “Workplace Investigations Basics” (co presenter with Terri Abad Levenfeld), for the Association of Workplace Investigators – April 11, 2018
  • “Beyond the Basics: Advanced Workplace Investigations Techniques” for Central California SHRM Annual Conference (sole presenter) – March 8, 2018
  • “Internal Investigations and Attorney-Client Privilege: How it is Preserved or Refuted”, for NBI, Inc. (sole presenter) – January 2018
  • “The Immigration Landscape for the California Employer” for the San Joaquin SHRM (sole presenter) – February 22, 2017
  • “Behind the Doors of the HR Office,” for the Greater Stockton Employer Advisor Council (sole presenter) – September 18, 2015
  • “Improve Your Workplace Investigations” for Women in Winesense (sole presenter) – September 16, 2015
  • “Conducting Better Workplace Investigations” for the Central Valley SHRM – August 19, 2015
  • “It Was Colonel Mustard in the Library: Workplace Investigations” for CalSHRM Annual Conference (sole presenter) – June 19, 2015
  • “The Basics of Investigating Workplace Complaints of Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation” for the California State Bar Cyber Institute (sole presenter) – January 6, 2011
  • “How to Conduct an Effective Workplace Investigation” for the California Employers Association – August 11, 2010
  • “Workplace Investigations: How to Make Them Legal and Fair” for the California Association of Equal Rights Professionals’ Annual Conference – June 6, 2008
  • “Sending the Right Message: Investigating Workplace Discrimination and Harassment” for the Pacific McGeorge School of Law Alumni Association MCLE Program (co-presenter with Susan B. Carlsen) – January 12 and 26, 2008

Training

  • Diversity & Inclusion Training, Wescom Credit Union, February 27, 2020
  • Diversity & Inclusion Training,  Diamond Pet Foods, September 2019
  • Two-Day Workshop on Advanced Workplace Investigation Technique, County of San Luis Obispo, July 2018
  • One-Day Workshop on Advanced Workplace Investigation Techniques, California Employment Development Department, March 2018
  • One-Day Workshop on Conducting Effective Workplace Investigations, California Employment Development Department, January 2016
  • One-Day Workshop on Conducting Effective Workplace Investigations, various Weintraub Tobin client event, March 3, 2016
  • Two-Day Workshop on Conducting Effective Workplace Investigations, Santa Clara Valley Transit Agency, July 23-24, 2015
  • One-Day Workshop on Conducting Effective Workplace Investigations, California Employment Development Department, January 2015
  • One-Day Workshop: Mastering the Art of Employment Investigations, Labor and Employment Section of the Bar Association of San Francisco and the California Association of Workplace Investigators, June 1 and 3, 2010
  • Half-Day Pre-Conference Training Program: How to Conduct Employment Investigations, State Bar of California Labor and Employment Law Section Annual Meeting, October 22, 2009
  • Association of Workplace Investigators
    • Board Member, 2011-2012; 2024
    • AWI Teaching Faculty, 2016 – present
    • AWI Best Practices Committee Chair, 2011-2012
  • Pacific McGeorge Law School
    • Diversity & Inclusion Board, January 2019 – present
  • San Joaquin Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
    • Board Member, 2015 – March 2020
  • Sacramento Employer Advisory Council, Board Chair, 2007-2008
  • Pacific McGeorge School of Law
    • Alumni Board Member, 2006-2008
  • Wiley Manual Bar Association of Sacramento
    • Treasurer, 2007
  • Anthony M. Kennedy Inn of Court
    • Associate Member, 2000 – 2001
  • Sacramento County Bar Association
    • Minority Hiring and Retention Committee, Chair, 1998 – 1999; Co-Chair, 1999 – 2000
  • California State Bar
    • Ethnic Minority Relations Committee, 1997 – 1998
  • Chemical Dependency Center for Women
    • Board Chair, 1999 – 2000
  • OIG Attorneys Selected for Inclusion in 2024 Northern California Super Lawyers and Rising Stars
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  • OIG Managing Partner Vida Thomas Named to Daily Journal’s “Top Women” List
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  • Managing Partner Vida Thomas Named “DEI Champion” by the Sacramento Business Journal
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  • Vida Thomas Honored with Sacramento Black Expo’s “Legacy Award of Excellence”
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  • Vida Thomas Named to Daily Journal’s 2023 List of Top Labor & Employment Lawyers
    Read More
  • Two OIG Attorneys Named to 2023 Northern California Super Lawyers and Rising Stars
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  • Sacramento Business Journal Recognizes Vida Thomas as a “Woman Who Means Business”
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  • OIG Names Vida Thomas New Managing Partner
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  • OIG Visits University of Cape Town to Provide Investigations Training
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  • Partner Vida Thomas interviewed by KRON 4 News’ Taylor Bisacky 
    Read More
  • Oppenheimer Investigations Group Launches
    Read More
  • Remote Working Hasn’t Lessened Worker Disputes, Lawyers Say
    Read More
  • Tips for Creating Virtual Anti-Harassment Training During the Pandemic
    Read More

Education

Pacific McGeorge School of Law, J.D.

California State University, Sacramento; B.A.

Areas of Expertise

Investigations

Title IX

Trainings

Coaching

Mediation and Conflict Resolution

Expert Testimony

Climate Surveys and Assessments

Admission

State Bar of California

United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit

United States Supreme Court

Credentials

AWI-CH