Joe Sayas


Recognized as one of California's top employment and labor law attorneys by the Daily Journal, C. Joe Sayas, Jr. has devoted his more than 30-year litigation career to protecting workers' and consumer rights. He has fought for employees discriminated due to disability, race, or sex, including thousands harmed by employer wage theft in both individual and class actions.

In the civil rights area, his efforts led to significant recoveries in labor human trafficking and police misconduct cases.  Seeking justice for consumers, he successfully prosecuted serious personal injuries, insurance bad faith, and unfair business practice actions against insurance carriers and big businesses. Fighting the David v. Goliath battles, he and his team had obtained recoveries exceeding $150 million for clients and their families.

As lead class action counsel, Joe Sayas challenged the Long Beach port trucking industry practice of classifying its drivers as independent contractors.  He successfully obtained a court judgment holding that his client drivers are employees, and helped create a fund of $11.04 million for 500 drivers. This is the highest wage class action recovery for port truck drivers in the port's history.

Joe Sayas' efforts did not stop with the monetary recovery. He fought to have the companies reclassify the drivers to become employees, further resulting in a long term favorable impact at work. The unlawful deductions on drivers' wages ended when they became employees. More importantly, the workers later obtained health insurance, paid leaves, and retirement benefits. Several companies in the biggest port in the country followed this change into the employee model, resulting in benefits to more workers.

In her Order, the Hon. Beverly Reid O'Connell, judge of the US District Court in Los Angeles concluded that the result was an “exceptional recovery”, and noted the significant time and energy that the Sayas Team “skillfully devoted to this case”.

Recently, Joe Sayas led negotiations in a settlement that resulted in a total of $21,557,000.00 in back pay and taxes for over 500 workers. The settlement was reached at the 11th hour before a jury trial in a Los Angeles federal court. The case was heavily litigated by five Plaintiffs' firms and two prominent defense firms.

In recognition of his advocacy for the rights of the underprivileged and the minorities in the courtroom, Joe Sayas is 2018's Presidential Awardee for Outstanding Filipino Overseas. He has been recognized as a Super Lawyer by the Los Angeles Magazine for 10 years. He has also received the Community Champion Award from the Philippine American Bar Association, and the Justice Award from the Migrant Center.

Joe Sayas earned his legal degrees from Georgetown University Law Center and the University of the Philippines. He has traveled extensively with his wife of 34 years, and their two wonderful children.

Recent Blog Posts


  • Unpaid Overtime Pay Coupled with Elder Abuse

    ERNESTO SALAMANTE, 73 years old, worked for eight years as a security guard for a business in Downtown Los Angeles. He lived 24/7 on a trailer that the employer provided for him so he can guard the work premises round the clock. However, despite working long hours and without a reliever, the empl...
  • The Accident that was waiting to happen

    RAMON PETILLA stepped out of an elevator that was not on ground level. He fell on to the concrete and was injured. He hired an attorney because he thought that his rights to medical treatments, including who should pay for past and future medical expenses, and loss of earnings, may become issues....
  • When you Property Insurance breaks their promise

    ERROL SANTOS had a homeowner's insurance policy to protect one of his important assets, his home. He believed that the policy will protect against any peril and contingencies so he does not have to worry about the future and the well-being of his family. Unfortunately, Errol's home sustained som...
  • Working 12-Hour Days means you may be owed Back Wages

    ERIC BALTAZAR worked as a laboratory technician for a company that provides on-site laboratory services at clients' locations.  Technicians travel to and from clients' facilities in company-provided vehicles, transporting specialized laboratory equipment and supplies used to produce specimen slid...

    “…the Court finds that the settlement represents, on the whole, an exceptional recovery. Class members will not only receive a gross settlement amount of $11,040,000, but will also be reclassified as employees, which will prevent similar harm from occurring in the future. When compared to settlem...
  • S.D.B. (Truck driver misclassified as independent contractor)

    “You guys represented us truckers and made a way for me to escape the mess I was in… May God shine on you and continue to walk with you, as you defend the oppressed.”
  • MA (hourly employee misclassified as exempt employee)

    “I never received overtime pay and I didn't know that I should be paid for it. You were able to obtain 4 years of unpaid wages for me. I feel vindicated!”
  • U.S. District Judge M. Morrow (in approving class action settlement for couriers)

    “Given the factual difficulties plaintiffs faced gathering evidence to prove their claims, it appears that counsel achieved an excellent result.”
  • Z.Q.Z. (a healthcare employee who is lead plaintiff in a wage-and-hour class action)

    “You were very patient with my many questions. I appreciated that you kept me in the loop and always let me know how my case was going. I know we made a difference because my co-workers actually called me up to thank me personally for the settlement money they received from the case!”
  • A.R.E. [employee in a wage-and-hour case]

    “Thank you for helping me recover money needed for my medical expenses. I appreciate it immensely.”
  • The O Family (insurance bad faith)

    “Thank you so much for assisting our family in our insurance claims. Your work has made it less stressful for [my husband] and myself . . .”
  • An opposing attorney (in a wrongful death case)

    “I think your excellent result was due to the very aggressive and thorough manner in which you prosecuted the case. . .”
  • An attorney in an opposing claim

    “Your candidness, professionalism, and sense of fairness were infectious.”
  • M.B.P., an employee with a wage claim

    “It is good to see that our efforts resulted in better company policies that are actually now being enforced. I hope you are able to help more people who are victimized as I was.” 
  • E.C. and E.S., a couple with wage claims

    “Mr. Sayas showed his knowledge and expertise of the law so that we did not have any doubt he would take care of us. We are so confident in his abilities that we would not hesitate to recommend him to others who have the same problem as ours.” 
  • A.A., an employee wrongfully terminated due to disability

    I really liked how Atty. Sayas and his staff communicated with me, kept me updated, and satisfactorily addressed all my questions. I appreciated how my phone calls were returned and my emails were answered promptly. . . I am very happy we won, and that I can now peacefully put all these behind me...
  • Buena D, daughter of a woman wrongfully killed in an accident

    You did not only save one life, but 10 lives.… You helped us put a closure to our mother's death. For that kudos to you, can't thank you enough. Now, we can go on with our lives at peace. 

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