David A. Selden
- Georgetown University Law Center (J.D. 1982, magna cum laude)
- George Washington University (M.A., Legislative Affairs, 1976)
- George Washington University (B.A., Political Science, 1973)
- Professional + Civic
David A. Selden is a partner concentrating his practice in representing management in a wide variety of employment law matters, including discrimination, wrongful discharge, employment contracts and agreements, workplace torts, EEOC, ACRD, OSHA, DOL, NLRB, wage & hour, restrictive covenants, noncompetition, trade secrets, workplace violence, and human resources counseling, investigation, and training, employer immigration compliance under federal law and the Legal Arizona Workers Act.
He literally “wrote the law” of wrongful termination in Arizona and has drafted most of the employment laws enacted by the Arizona Legislature during the past 25+ years.
Mr. Selden has successfully defended employers in state and federal trial and appellate courts in Arizona and elsewhere, including The Neiman Marcus Group, Safeway, Troy Corp., Scripps-Howard Broadcasting, Century Surety, the State of Arizona, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, the City of Mesa, Allstate Insurance, Instant Care, Prileo, the Romulus Restaurant Group, Soreo, Yavapai Regional Medical Center, AdobeAir and many construction companies. He has also obtained dismissal of countless alleged OSHA citations, including more than 100 fatality cases, through negotiated resolutions or through hearings.
His commercial litigation experience includes contracts, business torts, construction disputes and alleged defects, real estate conveyancing, secured lending, lender liability, securities fraud, anti-trust, Constitutional law, civil rights litigation, private and government payments for medical and personal/home care services, and more. He has also prosecuted and defended professional licensing matters.
Mr. Selden has extensive experience handling a full array of employment grievances, arbitration, administrative hearings, and litigation in both union and non-union settings. He has conducted numerous contract and settlement negotiations in both the union and non-union context, and is an experienced and skilled negotiator. He regularly handles executive agreements, drug and alcohol policies, counseling, discipline and terminations, and complicated issues arising under the ADA, FMLA, and various leave laws.
Before entering law school, Mr. Selden worked in Washington, D.C., on the staffs of several members of Congress from 1971 through 1982, including serving as a Chief of Staff or Legislative Director for 7 years. Mr. Selden remains active in legislative and administrative matters. He wrote and was the primary advocate to achieve enactment of most of the employment laws that have been enacted in Arizona during the past 25+ years, including:
- The landmark Employment Protection Act, enacted in 1996, to overhaul the law of wrongful termination in Arizona and to codify and limit the exceptions to the employment-at-will doctrine and to make certain statutory remedies exclusive.
- The Declaration of Independent Business Status (“DIBS”)law to give businesses a rebuttable presumption supporting the recognition of independent contractor status for individuals who sign and fulfill the criteria stated in the statute.
- Legislation enacted in 2018 to overhaul the process and prevent the overreaching by the Department of Economic Security in reclassifying independent contractors to be employees, with special protections for medical professionals and the home care industry.
- The Constructive Discharge Act, passed in 1997, to require employees to provide advance, written notice and an opportunity for employers to cure allegedly intolerable working conditions before employees may claim that a constructive discharge occurred.
- Amendments to the Arizona Drug Testing statute to enable employers to take action based on perceived impairment and to designate jobs as safety sensitive, enacted the following passage of the Medical Marijuana Initiative.
- Amendments to the Injunction Against Workplace Harassment statute to enable employers to obtain protective orders to prohibit persons from being in proximity to the workplace if they pose a threat, are harassing, or annoying.
- A law to stop the Department of Economic Security from reclassifying persons and businesses from independent contractors to employees in a way that threatened to end youth and amateur sports leagues in Arizona.
- The Arizona OSHA reform law that transferred the adjudication of OSHA citations to an independent agency, the Office of Administrative Hearings, from the Industrial Commission of Arizona, which also investigates and issues OSHA citations.
- Legislation passed during the early 1990’s, and expanded 20 years later, to provide that workers who receive severance pay are not eligible to receive unemployment compensation unless they are still unemployed when the severance runs out (or for the equivalent number of weeks for a lump sum severance).
- The Small Business Bill of Rights (applicable to all businesses) to require state government agencies to give notice to businesses of their rights in dealing with each state government agency and to provide for the recovery of attorneys’ fees when successfully defending against unjustified state government lawsuits and administrative proceedings.
Mr. Selden regularly represents clients in administrative matters before government agencies, including Department of Economic Security employment classification proceedings. He defends clients in professional licensing matters, including doctors before the Arizona Medical Board and physician credentialing matters.
While practicing law, Mr. Selden has also served multiple terms on a part-time (mostly pro bono basis) as a Special Federal Employee with duties to analyze and score grant applications for a federal agency that outsources the grant review and evaluation process to outside, independent panels of professionals.
Mr. Selden has been interviewed by and quoted in numerous publications on employment law, including The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, The New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, Associated Press, Chicago Tribune, Denver Post, Arizona Republic, East Valley Tribune, Arizona Daily Star, and The Tucson Citizen.
Appellate, Audits, Bid Protests, Business Torts, Class and Collective Actions, Commercial Litigation, Confidentiality and Restrictive Covenants, Construction, Corporate, Cyber-Hacking and Technology, Drug and Alcohol, Embezzlement, Employment, Employment Agreements, Government Contracts, Government Debarment, Government Relations, Healthcare, Human Resources Counseling and Policies, I-9 and E-Verify, Immigration Visas, Investigations, Labor and Union Contracts, OSHA, Professional Licensing, Special Actions, TROs and Injunctions, Unemployment Hearings and Regulatory Issues, Workplace Violence
Agriculture, Automotive, Banking, Call Centers, Construction, Defense Contractors, Financial Services, Franchise, Government, Healthcare, Homebuilding, Homeowners Associations, Hospitals, Hotels and Resorts, Insurance, Internet, Manufacturing, Media, Medical Practice Groups, Mining, Non-Profit Organizations, Professional Practices, Restaurants, Retail, Technology, Telecommunications, Transportation, Wholesale and Distribution
- Arizona, 1982
- Supreme Court of Arizona, 1982
- U.S. District Court, District of Arizona, 1982
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, 1983
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, 2008
- U.S. Supreme Court, 1985
- Presenter, annual Arizona State Conference, Society for Human Resources Management
- Presenter at about 10 nationally broadcast, full-day webcasts each year, recorded by the National Business Institute, on a wide range of employment law subjects.
- Frequent presenter on employment law for multiple trade associations and industry groups
- Co-editor-in-chief, Arizona Human Resources Manual, 2nd through 18th editions, a 600-page book published by Chamber of Commerce Publishers, Chicago.
- Co-editor-in-chief, Model Policies and Forms for Arizona Employers, a book published by Chamber of Commerce Publishers, Chicago
- Co-editor-in-chief, I-9s, E-Verify and Immigration Compliance, a book published by Chamber of Commerce Publishers, Chicago
- Editor and contributor, Arizona Employment Law, published by the State Bar of Arizona
- Co-Author, Placing SB 1070 and Racial Profiling into Context, and What S.B. 1070 Reveals about the Legislative Process in Arizona, Arizona State Law Journal, Summer 2011, Vol. 43, Issue 2.
- Co-Contributor, Legal Briefs on Immigration Reform from 25 of the Top Legal Minds in the Country, 2010
- Co-Chair (2016-present) and annual Presenter, Employment Law and Legislative Conference, Arizona Society for Human Resources Management
- Dismissal by motion, affirmed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, of a class action claims seeking millions of dollars of compensation for hundreds of employees for time they were “on-call” for emergency duties.
- Obtaining a jury verdict rejecting disability discrimination claims for chemical sensitivity by multiple employees dismissed after of workers compensation leave following an exposure to toxic substances at work.
- Obtaining a jury verdict rejecting the claims of five pharmacists who alleged that their terminations violated public policies regarding safe pharmaceutical practices and approximately 40 other claims.
- Obtaining a jury verdict for a national supermarket chain in an age discrimination trial brought by a 35-year employee with a history of good performance, whose duties were redistributed largely to a woman in her 30’s.
- Obtaining a jury verdict for a national department store in a disability discrimination claim by a long-term employee who was separated because her quality of speech was considered substandard after she developed a neurological condition that reduced the clarity of her enunciation.
- Obtaining a jury verdict for a hospital rejecting sexual harassment claims by an operating room nurse arising out of alleged sexual advances by an anesthesiologist during a period of several years.
- Defended the OSHA citations arising out of 19 fatalities of wild land hotshot fire fighters when a wildfire suddenly and tragically intensified and changed directions three times.
- Obtaining a AAA Arbitration award compelling the former President and Treasurer of an LLC to repay compensation they received (approved by the Management Committee) that did not comply with the Operating Agreement,
- Obtaining an injunction prohibiting the seller of a business from proceeding with opening a competing business for four years.
- Obtaining summary judgment through Arizona Supreme Court reversal of lower court decisions, upholding out-of-state choice of law provision in a national publisher’s executive employment agreement that precluded triple-damage claim for severance pay under Arizona Wage Act.
- Obtaining summary judgment, upheld on appeal, rejecting a whistle-blowing claim by an in-house counsel alleging that he was terminated for asserting that the company, during a public offering, failed to set aside sufficient reserves for claims he was defending for the company.
- Obtaining summary judgment, before any discovery, dismissing wrongful termination lawsuit by former long-time evening television news anchor.
- Obtaining the dismissal of more than 1,900 claims in a labor union sponsored Fair Labor Standards Act collective action against a construction company.
- Obtaining the repayment of a substantial portion of the purchase price of a business due to its failure to disclose practices that presented regulatory compliance risks.
- Successfully defending claims by the EEOC, including settlement to dismiss class action by agreeing to facilitate training for construction industry associations to educate other companies regarding respectful treatment of Latino employees.
- Successfully defending employers in unfair labor practice charges before the NLRB.
- Negotiating collective bargaining agreements with labor unions.
- Obtaining injunctions against harassment against former employees, including a former company president, a chief marketing officer, and lower-level employees.
- Obtaining dismissal of claims against a national financial services company for negligent hiring and negligent retention after a worker shot and killed a co-worker and their unborn child on company premises, before committing suicide.
- Successfully defending OSHA citation against general contractor for a subcontractor’s violation of fall protection standard.
- Obtaining judgment against former Company president for taking company information on CDs and laptop and for breach of fiduciary duties.
- Obtaining consent decree for surrender of license by a professional who disclosed confidential information about the principals of a client company.
- Defending class action claims by residents in large condominium project for alleged construction defects. Defending class action litigation for sending unsolicited faxes in alleged violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
- Filing 35 lawsuits against hundreds of investors in real estate limited partnerships and defending against securities fraud and lender liability claims.
- Defending against claims for failure to close $50 million real estate transaction, resulting in dismissal of suit and an award of attorneys’ fees in client’s favor.
- Defending title/escrow company against claims regarding possession and perfection of security interest in negotiable instrument being providing collateral for leveraged lease of oil well drilling rig.
- Defending a public employer from multiple claims arising out of the publication of a public safety officer’s “diary” of his wife’s consensual activities with his fellow employees.
- Representing the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in litigation regarding the ownership and control of the Integrated Criminal Justice Information System used by multiple government agencies.
- Obtaining by motion a 7-figure RICO judgment for a complex investment fraud scheme.
- Representing a government in auditing the legal services and billings of a national law firm and obtaining a summary judgment in favor of the right to audit and a settlement of more than $2 million in legal fees repaid or waived, with debarment of the law firm doing legal work for the government for 10 years due to billing issues.
- Representing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and 10 Arizona business associations in challenging the constitutionality of the Arizona employer sanctions immigration law the Legal Arizona Workers Act (LAWA).
Professional & Community Involvement
- Adjunct Professor of Law, teaching courses in Employment Law and Employment Discrimination Law
- Arizona Chamber of Commerce: Board of Directors, 2004 – present; Chair or Co-Chair, Employment Committee, 1989 – present
- Phoenix Symphony: Board of Directors, 1995 – present; Chair, Lawyers for the Symphony; past Chair, Phoenix Symphony Council
- Arizona State Council, Society for Human Resources Management, Government Relations Director, 2016-18, Deputy Director, 2019-present
- Litigation Counsel of America
- Lorna Lockwood Inn of Court