Barbara Tanzillo joined GCA Law Partners LLP in April 2004. She specializes in employment counseling and litigation. Ms. Tanzillo works collaboratively with her clients, providing preventive counseling in connection with issues that arise in the employment law arena, including hiring and discipline, employee relations, reasonable accommodation matters, employment terminations, independent contractor classification, wage and hour concerns, severance negotiations, and exempt/nonexempt classifications. Ms. Tanzillo counsels a diverse array of clients in a broad range of employment-related legal services and best practices to foster a harmonious workplace and avoid litigation and also conducts trainings. Ms. Tanzillo regularly drafts, reviews, and assists in implementing employment policies; performs compliance review and planning for federal and state law requirements; advises on hiring, severance, reductions in force, and general termination issues; prepares and reviews employment agreements, commission plans, severance agreements, employee handbooks, and other employment documents; and conducts due diligence in corporate transactions.  A somewhat unique component of Ms. Tanzillo’s practice includes periodically working on site supporting the Human Resources and Corporate Counsel functions at companies ranging in size from start-up to Fortune 100, including a lengthy assignment at LinkedIn Corporation.

Ms. Tanzillo has extensive experience conducting confidential investigations of workplace matters, including issues such as claims of sexual harassment and other discrimination and retaliation. She has been retained numerous times by Human Resources executives, General Counsel, and Boards of Directors as a neutral third-party attorney investigator.

Ms. Tanzillo has a broad range of experience litigating employment and complex commercial matters in both state and federal courts and administrative agencies, including the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the California Labor Commission, and the California Employment Development Department, and in arbitration and mediation. She has successfully argued before the California Court of Appeal for the Sixth Appellate District.

Ms. Tanzillo served as her firm’s managing partner for seven consecutive years, ending in November 2014.

Other Professional Activities and Interests

Ms. Tanzillo has written a number of articles on employment law issues and developments. Articles she has co-authored while at GCA include the following:

  • A Presumption in Favor of ‘California’ Employers, Law 360, November 26, 2014, co-authored with GCA law partner Elizabeth Roth
  • Season’s Greetings and Legal Challenges, The Daily Journal, November 24, 2010, co-authored with GCA law partner Elizabeth Roth
  • The Complications of Overtime Exemption Laws in a Service Economy, Daily Journal, January 26, 2010, co-authored with GCA law partner Elizabeth Roth

Ms. Tanzillo has a strong interest in education and has served as the President of the North Star Academy Site Counsel in Redwood City, California, and is a current member of the Sequoia High School Parent-Teacher-Student Association in Redwood City. She also enjoys traveling with her family and is an amateur travel writer.

Professional Background

Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Tanzillo was an employment attorney at Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich LLP in Palo Alto (acquired by DLA Piper LLP) and was in the employment and general litigation groups at Cooley Godward LLP in Palo Alto, California. Before entering private practice, Ms. Tanzillo was a judicial extern for the Honorable Allen E. Broussard of the California Supreme Court.


Ms. Tanzillo graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in mass communication and a minor in political science from California State University, Hayward, and received her J.D. from Harvard Law School. During law school, Ms. Tanzillo participated in the Harvard – Boalt Hall Exchange Program at the University of California at Berkeley.