June 2021 | Pride Month
Meet Jenn Protas
Jenn Protas helps employers navigate California’s numerous employment laws and defends employers with an eye toward successful, yet cost-effective resolution. Jenn is a zealous advocate for her clients and a tenacious litigator. She defends employers on matters related to wage and hour law, wrongful termination, harassment, discrimination, and retaliation in single-plaintiff litigation, Private Attorney General Act actions, and/or class actions. Her practice also includes housing discrimination matters, and business litigation.
What thrills you about working at Hoge Fenton?
I clerked with Hoge Fenton during the summer after my second year of law school. It was obvious to me that the firm provided excellent legal services and really cared about its clients. But what really drew me in and has kept me with the firm 15 years later is how much we care about our communities and the people we work with in addition to our clients. Our attorneys bring a plethora of experiences, interests, backgrounds, skills, and strengths, and I love learning from my colleagues and using those strengths to benefit our communities and clients.
Why is Pride Month important to you?
The LGBTQ+ community is as diverse as the world—it encompasses people of all sexualities, genders, races, cultures, national origins, socio-economic class, religions, etc. And while, in recent years, we have seen legal gains and more societal acceptance in the United States, not all members of the LGBTQ+ community have the freedom to enjoy the same benefits. As a white, cisgender, lesbian lawyer, I enjoy privileges that may not yet be accessible to the rest of the community. It’s hard to fully appreciate gains such as marriage equality, for instance, when you are still concerned about your safety to just live your life, like so many transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming folks who experience alarming rates of violence against them. Until 2020, in many states in America, LGBTQ+ employees could still be terminated simply for being LGBTQ+. Pride month, to me, is a time to celebrate the gains we have made but also a reminder of how much more work we have to do so that our entire community can enjoy equality.
How is Hoge Fenton a benefit to the community?
Hoge Fenton has historically given back to its community and continues to do so through, among other things, pro bono efforts and service on boards for various non-profits. The firm not only supports such efforts but encourages them, including helping employees find these opportunities. We are not a firm that happens to be in Silicon Valley, the Tri-Valley, and the peninsula; we are part of these communities and want to contribute to their success.