Sarah Levitan Kaatz

Partner | Monterey

Attorney Insights
Tel: 831.646.1501
Fax: 831.646.1801
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Sarah Levitan Kaatz is a Partner in Lozano Smith's Monterey office. She specializes in labor and employment law and student issues for school districts. Ms. Kaatz spent two years with the U.S. Department of Labor in its Office of Administrative Hearings before joining Lozano Smith.

Since joining Lozano Smith in 1999, Ms. Kaatz has advised K-12 school districts and community college districts with regard to classified and certificated employment issues, labor relations and student related concerns.


Ms. Kaatz has represented clients in numerous administrative proceedings, discipline hearings and appeals, and grievance arbitrations. She negotiates collective bargaining agreements on behalf of school district clients using both traditional and interest based bargaining approaches. She regularly advises clients regarding discrimination complaints, personnel investigations, labor law compliance and related personnel issues.

Presenter Experience

Ms. Kaatz is a frequent presenter to school audiences, including the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) and the California School Boards Association (CSBA), on issues such as sexual harassment prevention, employment discrimination, employee and student discipline, and cyber-bullying. She is also a regular presenter of student and employment topics at Lozano Smith's Central Coast Education Law Consortium.

For four years, Ms. Kaatz was the attorney coach for Seaside High School's Mock Trial Team and took the team to State for two of those years.


Ms. Kaatz's published work includes "Avoiding Settlement Conference Traps," published in the San Francisco Daily Journal, and "Settling the Score" published in the ABA Journal.


Ms. Kaatz earned her J.D. from Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, and was a member of the Moot Court Board. She established roots on the Central Coast while an undergraduate student at the University of California at Santa Cruz, where she earned her B.A. with honors.

Part-Time Playground Positions Now Part of Classified Service for All School Employers

By: Sarah KaatzJanae Castellani-

November 2018 Number 70 Effective January 1, 2019, all part-time playground positions will become part of the classified service of school districts and community college districts, including those K-12 and community college districts that have incorporated the merit system. (For those unfamiliar with the terminology, a "merit system" district is a district that has adopted the systems of rules and procedures set forth in Education Code sections 45240 et seq. (K-12) and 88060 et seq. (com...

New Law Clarifies Limits on Employer Use of Applicant Salary History

By: Sarah KaatzCarolyn Gemma-

August 2018 Number 39 A new law clarifies recently enacted rules prohibiting employers from asking job applicants about their salary history. The changes included in Assembly Bill (AB) 2282, which becomes effective on January 1, 2019, eliminate some ambiguity concerning an employer's limitations with regard to requesting an applicant's salary history information. Background In 2017 lawmakers approved AB 168, which limits what employers, including public entity employers, can request...

Lawmakers Declare April 10 Dolores Huerta Day

By: Sarah KaatzCarolyn Gemma-

August 2018 Number 40 The Legislature has declared that April 10 is Dolores Huerta Day. Assembly Bill (AB) 2644, which dedicates the day to the activist and labor leader, becomes effective January 1, 2019. The new law encourages public schools and other educational institutions to observe this day by conducting activities that commemorate the life and accomplishments of Dolores Huerta. However, the legislation does not create a new mandatory paid holiday. Huerta is known for working...

Employers Prohibited from Deterring or Discouraging Union Membership

By: Sarah KaatzNiki Nabavi Nouri-

December 2017 Number 83 Senate Bill (SB) 285 prohibits public employers from deterring or discouraging their employees from becoming or remaining members of a union. In doing so, the bill closes a perceived loophole in California law regarding union rights and the employer/union relationship. The bill becomes effective on January 1, 2018. Existing law prohibits public employers from using state funds to assist, promote, or deter union organizing. According to the author of SB 285...

Best Practices for Conducting Investigations

By: Sarah Kaatz-

There are many situations in which school districts are tasked with investigating complaints. These complaints may involve employee misconduct, uniform complaint procedures (“UCP”) and sexual harassment, or student matters, to name a few. While different types of investigations will have their own nuances, there are many practices that are essential for all investigations. Since an effective investigation can prevent costly litigation and liability, following the best practices descri...

School Districts that Rescind Certificated Employee Disciplinary Charges After the Hearing is Scheduled May be Liable for the Employee's Attorneys Fees and Costs

By: Sarah KaatzJennifer Ulbrich-

July 2012 Number 35 On June 25, 2012, the California Third District Court of Appeal issued a decision which likely will influence the way school districts proceed with disciplinary charges against certificated employees. In Boliou v. Stockton Unified School District (June 25, 2012) __Cal.App.4th__ (2012 WL 2371061), the court held that once a district's governing board elects to schedule a hearing in a dismissal against a certificated employee, the Commission on Professional Competence (C...

Legislation Creates New Reporting Requirements Regarding Firearms And Explosives

By: Sarah Kaatz-

January 2010 Number 1 CLIENT NEWS BRIEF LEGISLATION CREATES NEW REPORTING REQUIREMENTS REGARDING FIREARMS AND EXPLOSIVES Effective January 1, 2010, Assembly Bill ("AB”) 1390 amends Education Code section 48902 and places new requirements on principals or their designees when reporting firearm or explosives violations to local law enforcement agencies. Under the previous version of section 48902, principals or their designees were, and still are, required to report to local law enfo...