About Evan

Crafting persuasive stories and arguments for judges and juries

Evan Peña is a litigator and trial lawyer who represents public and private employers in state and federal courts throughout California, in arbitration, and before administrative agencies. Representing businesses of all sizes and in a variety of industries, from small taquerías to tech juggernauts to educational institutions, he focuses on:

  • Employment disputes
  • Education sector disputes

Evan works from the premise that each case presents a unique mix of personalities and events that needs to be untangled, then re-told. He works to tell a client’s story in such a way that the listener – judge, jury, or plaintiff – will have no doubt who was in the right. He can also resolve a matter earlier on by raising unique and easy-to-overlook defenses, drafting compelling briefs, and – when appropriate – strategically negotiating settlement. Evan appreciates the unique challenges that each of his clients faces (and the unique opportunities each has in litigation).

Experience in Action

  • Representing employers in trials and litigation involving the full spectrum of employment claims, ranging from individual whistleblower retaliation claims to large-scale wage and hour claims, including under California’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA).
  • Representing universities in disputes involving education and employment claims.
  • Leading sexual harassment prevention trainings for managers and non-managers that comply with California’s training requirements.
  • Delivering wage and hour compliance trainings that help supervisors and leads spot and avoid mistakes that could snowball into a costly class action or PAGA case.


  • Defense verdict in a bench trial where a former employee claimed the employer breached a contract regarding training and other forms of career support that were allegedly promised.
  • Defense verdict in a bench trial where a former undergraduate student claimed the university failed to accommodate his mental disabilities.
  • Obtained summary judgment in an employee disability case, and then successfully defended that decision on appeal, including arguing before a California Court of Appeal.
  • Defense verdict in a jury trial where an independent contractor claimed he was improperly classified.
  • Unanimous defense verdict in a retaliation jury trial for a California university, including the university’s counterclaim for fraudulent concealment.
  • Bench verdict for client in case brought by the former CTO regarding technology he claimed he developed independently of client.

Professional & Civic Activities

  • State Bar of California, Labor and Employment Law Section, member
  • San Diego County Bar Association, Labor and Employment Section Leadership, member (2015)

Speaking Engagements

Evan enjoys public speaking and leading trainings that pull the audience in. He has spoken at CALPELRA, a large annual conference for public employers, each of the last four years on topics including reasonable disability accommodations, getting back to work after an internal investigation and employee speech on social media.


  • Top Employer Cases for 2021, San Diego Employers Association’s 42nd Annual Employment Law Update, January 2022
  • Top 10 Interactive Process Tips: Tips and Strategies to Better Accommodate Medical Restrictions, CALPELRA, November 2021
  • Mending Bridges: Moving on After a Workplace Investigation, CALPELRA, November 2021
  • Employees as Influences and Unofficial Spokespeople: Navigating Employee Social Media Use, CALPELRA, November 2021
  • Tripping Out: Managing Employees When Recreational or Other Drug Use is Affecting the Workplace, CALPELRA, November 2021
  • I Am Who I Am: Creating an Inclusive Workplace for LGBTQ Employees, CALPELRA, November 2020
  • Watching Your Blind Side: Strategies for Tackling Retaliation and Whistleblower Claims, CALPELRA, November 2020
  • Accommodating Mental Health Disabilities in the Workplace, CALPELRA, November 2019
  • Privacy and Information Security Issues for HR Managers, PPSC Annual Employment Law Seminar, October 2016
  • Data Security and How to Prepare for a Breach or Investigation, San Diego Human Resources Forum, January 2016

News & Insights


Bar Admissions

Court Admissions


Back to Main Content

We use cookies to provide you with the best user experience on our website and to analyze statistics related to our website. To understand more about how we use cookies, or for instructions to change your preference and browser settings, please see our Privacy Notice. Please note that if you choose to reject cookies, doing so may impair some of our website's functionality.