Gregory M. Sato

Kobayashi Sugita & Goda LLP
Gregory Sato protects the rights of employers in all aspects of labor and employment law. Greg has been recognized by his peers for his expertise in labor and employment law.  He has been recognized by Martindale & Hubbell, Chambers and Partners, the Litigation Counsel of America, “Best Lawyers in America” and “Super Lawyers” for his expertise and ethics. In 2013-14, “Best Lawyers” selected him as Lawyer of the Year in the specialty of Management Labor Law. Greg is a frequent speaker.  Recent presentations include “Settlement Agreements Under Attack:  Advanced Considerations and Tax Reporting Issues,” Colorado Bar Association (2015), “Intersection of Race, Ethnicity Gender and Disability Discrimination,” American Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section 8th Annual Conference (2014), “OSHA Theories and Defenses for the Employment Lawyer,” Colorado Bar Association (2014), “Employment Practices Liability Insurance” (Hawaii State Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section, Honolulu, HI 2013), “Missing the Ethical Boat in the Digital Age“ (Colorado Bar Association National CLE Conference, Snowmass, CO 2013), “Employment Law Torts” (Hawaii State Bar Association, Annual Convention, Honolulu, HI 2012), “Punitive Damages and Attorney Fees in Arbitration:  A Case of Form Following Function” (ABA Labor and Employment Law Section, ADR in Labor and Employment Law, Mid-Winter Committee Meeting, Los Cabos, Mexico 2011), and “Selected Ethical Issues for Labor and Employment Lawyers” (Hawaii State Bar Association, Annual Convention, Honolulu, HI 2011). Greg Sato is a contributing author to several publications including “Employment-at-Will: A State by State Survey,” 2013 and 2014-15 Supplement (BNA); “Q&A Labor & Employment State Surveys: Hawaii” 2013 (Practical Law Company); “The Family Medical Leave Act, 2011 Supplement (BNA). Greg has successfully defended clients at both the trial and appellate courts levels in both state and federal court.  Additionally he has appeared in numerous administrative matters involving unemployment insurance, occupational health and safety, employment discrimination, labor arbitration and matters before the National Labor Relations Board.  Greg frequently represents employers in labor negotiations involving the Teamsters, UNITE HERE, and the ILWU. He is well versed in the labor and employment issues arising from the sale or purchase of a business. Significant decisions include the following: Result&transitionType=SearchItem&contextData=(sc.Default)&VR=3.0&RS=cblt1.0Camara v. Agsalud, 67 Haw. 212, 685 P.2d 794 (Hawai'i 1984) (Employer established the Hawaii standard for defining “misconduct” in the unemployment insurance benefit cases). Result&transitionType=SearchItem&contextData=(sc.Default)&VR=3.0&RS=cblt1.0Hawaii Teamsters and Allied Workers, Local 966 v. Department of Labor and Indus. Relations, 110 Hawai'i 259,  132 P.3d 368  (Hawai'i 2006) (Unemployment benefits denied to striking workers due to a “stoppage of work,” even though employer decided not to operate in the face of economic picketing). Result&transitionType=SearchItem&contextData=(sc.Default)&VR=3.0&RS=cblt1.0Snider v. Crimson Enterprises, Inc., 768 F.Supp. 734 (D. Hawai'i 1991) (ERISA pre-empted state's effort to compel employer to provide lifetime medical benefits for a permanently disabled employee, even though employer's failure to provide health insurance violated Hawaii law). Sato received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Southern California in History.  He earned a joint Masters of Management and Juris Doctorate degree from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management and the School of Law. Greg has held a number of leadership position in nonprofit and community organizations including the Local Rules Committee for the United States District Court of Hawai'i (1988-1991), Chair of the Hawai'i Public Employees Health Trust Fund (1999-2003), Director of the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii (2004-2006), a Director of Arcadia Retirement Residence, member and Chair of Hawai'i Public Radio Board of Directors (2005-2011) and former director and chair of the Hawaiian Educational Council 2011-2015). Currently, Greg is a Trustee of Hanahau'oli School.