Mercedes Cruz

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Mercedes Cruz is a partner at Leal Trejo. Ms. Cruz specializes in defending and advising private and public entities in all aspects of employment law, with a special emphasis on dispute resolution and prevention. Ms. Cruz has extensive experience in employment litigation in Court, as well as state and federal administrative agencies such as the California Fair Employment and Housing Commission, the United States Equal Opportunity Commission, and the California State Labor Commissioner. Her areas of concentration include training, dispute resolutions, internal investigations, advising employers on terminations, discipline, complying with state and federal employment laws, and formulation of policy. Ms. Cruz also defends employers in litigation involving wrongful termination, retaliation, harassment, employment discrimination and related tort actions. Ms. Cruz’ clients include municipalities, counties, automotive companies, entertainment clients, corporations, small businesses, nonprofit entities, educational institutions, and Fortune 500 companies.

Ms. Cruz has conducted and overseen hundreds of investigations in both the public and private sectors, and has assisted employers in resolving hundreds of claims and disputes. Ms. Cruz has also trained thousands of employers and their employees, including law enforcement personnel, in the prevention of harassment and discrimination in the workplace and related employment topics.

As a litigator, Ms. Cruz has defended local, national, and international clients in a variety of litigation and has served as coordinating litigation counsel for two international companies with respect to their litigation and claims within the United States.

Ms. Cruz is a panel member and Former Chair, on the Equity Oversight Panel (EOP) for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and a panelist and rotating Chair on the Los Angeles County Equity Oversight Panel, the panels which oversee internal investigations involving equity and harassment. In these roles, Ms. Cruz has overseen hundreds of investigations, conducted briefings, evaluated initial claims, prepared quarterly reports, made presentations, conducted training and rendered advice on policy and procedures, as well as on preventative measures. She has also served as a consultant to Acting Executive Director for the County of Los Angeles Equity Oversight panel on development of policy and practices.

Ms. Cruz regularly writes and lectures in the area of employment law.

In addition to the previously mentioned panels, Ms. Cruz also serves on the LACBA Committee on Judicial Appointments and as the national employment counsel to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO)


J.D. University of California, Berkeley, School of Law (1985)
B.A. California State University, Long Beach (1981)

Other Notables

Panel member and Former Chair on the Los Angeles County Equity Oversight Panel for the
County Sheriff’s Department and for the Equity Oversight Panel
Served as a Committee member LACBA Committee on Judicial Appointments
Serves as a Board member for Alliance for a Better Community,