Clifford D. “Seth” Sethness doesn’t just litigate employment law cases—he has tried more than 30 jury and bench trials involving alleged race discrimination, sexual harassment, failure to accommodate disability, retaliation, wage and hour violations, unfair competition, whistleblowing, breach of employment contract, and age discrimination in state and federal courts, in addition to handling dozens of labor and employment arbitration trials.
Seth represents West Coast shipping, automobile, hospital, hotel, and retail industry clients in wage and hour class actions, discrimination and wrongful termination lawsuits, and unlawful employment practices litigation.
Seth is also involved in a range of community service activities. For years he coached inner-city boys’ Little League and basketball teams and girls' basketball and softball teams. He has helped build homes for impoverished families in Tanzania, Honduras, Guatemala, and Malawi, and he taught at an orphanage in Nepal. Seth has served for years on the board of directors for the Espwa Orphanage in Les Cayes, one of Haiti’s largest nongovernment orphanages, and in 2019 completed his tenure as chair of the board.
In 2019, Seth defended a research development company in an arbitration trial where the claimant alleged he was not reasonably accommodated and then was unlawfully fired, securing an arbitration award fully in the company's favor.
In 2019, Seth oversaw litigation strategy in a contentious arbitration trial in which the claimant alleged whistleblowing, hostile environment, sexual harassment, and retaliation. At the end of the trial, the arbitrator rejected in full the claimant’s plea for more than $2 million and issued an award fully in the defendant’s favor.
In 2018, Seth successfully won six straight summary judgment motions in Los Angeles Superior Court, in a case alleging race discrimination, hostile environment, and retaliation—successfully defeating all claims against six different shipping and stevedoring companies.
In 2015, Seth defended Yusen Terminals in a three-week jury trial in Los Angeles Superior Court involving a marine clerk’s allegations that she had been unlawfully retaliated against in her employment at the waterfront. The plaintiff, represented by well-known Los Angeles trial lawyer Mark Geragos, sought millions of dollars in the case. The jury returned a defense verdict.
Seth was involved in the historic Taft–Hartley labor injunction litigation during the 2002 West Coast shipping industry work slowdown. He also was part of the 2008 and 2014 West Coast ports labor negotiations.
Denison University, 1977, B.A.
The George Washington University Law School, 1981, J.D.
Georgetown University Law Center, 1983, LL.M. (Labor Law)
District of Columbia
Awards and Affiliations
Member, Practice Group of the Year, Employment, Law360 (2017)
Fellow, College of Labor and Employment Lawyers
Recognized, Labor Law – Management, Los Angeles,The Best Lawyers in America (2012–2020)
Recommended, The Legal 500 US (2016, 2017)
Recognized, California's Top Labor and Employment Lawyers, The Daily Journal (2015)
Member, Board of Directors, Espwa Orphanage (Les Cayes, Haiti)
Member, Executive Board, Los Angeles County Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section