James Moss is the managing partner of Payne & Fears’ Salt Lake City office, and he also works extensively with California clients from the firm’s Orange County, CA, office.

He defends employers in court and before administrative agencies in all areas of employment law, including wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, breach of contract, class actions, and trade secret litigation. He has obtained summary judgment or trial victories in numerous employment law cases.

Jim has extensive experience counseling clients on wage-and-hour issues, family and medical leave, disability accommodation, employee privacy, and various other employment law matters. He also represents clients in traditional labor matters including organizing, collective bargaining, strikes and picketing, and has represented employers before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Jim also represents business clients in trade secret, non-competition, unfair business practice, and general commercial litigation.

Jim frequently lectures on employment law subjects for in-house attorneys and human resource professionals. 


Before joining Payne & Fears, Jim was an associate with Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal (now Dentons) in Los Angeles. He served as a law clerk to the Honorable A. Andrew Hauk of the United States District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles.

Outside of the office Jim enjoys skiing, biking, and traveling with his family.

Representative Matters

  • Defeated a race discrimination case in federal court in Salt Lake City for a major international hotel chain. The employee alleged that his hours were reduced because of his race, and that he ultimately was terminated because the employer hired an employee who was not African-American and assigned him all of his work. After obtaining complete dismissal of the case at the pleading stage in district court, the decision was upheld by the 10th Circuit, and a petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court was defeated.
  • Obtained summary judgment in San Bernardino County Superior Court in favor of a national manufacturing company, in an alleged “whistleblower” wrongful termination case. The Superior Court granted summary judgment, finding that the plaintiff was not a “whistleblower,” but an active participant in the alleged cover-up, and that his own misconduct was the cause of his termination.
  • Obtained complete summary judgment in U.S. District Court in an Idaho case alleging gender discrimination and retaliation, by demonstrating that the plaintiff’s position had been selected for elimination in a market-driven reduction in force based on legitimate business factors, despite evidence that male employees had absorbed the plaintiff’s former duties.
  • Assisted in defeating a multi-plaintiff age discrimination case in a several-week jury trial against a Fortune 100 entertainment company.
  • Obtained summary adjudication for a national golf course management client in California, where the employee alleged that she was sexually assaulted at a golf-related event away from the employer’s premises, by establishing that the alleged conduct was disputed by witnesses, but if it occurred it was not committed in furtherance of the employer’s interests.