Michael S. Bernick


Michael S. Bernick

Overview Overview Experience Credentials

Michael Bernick joined Sedgwick in 2004 after serving for nearly five years as director of the California Employment Development Department (EDD), the 10,000-person state department of labor. As EDD director, Michael oversaw the administration of the state’s employer tax collection system, unemployment insurance system and disability insurance system. 

Michael advises employers on issues related to employer taxes, unemployment insurance and disability insurance. In recent years, he has worked with some of the nation’s major employers, staffing companies and industry associations.

Prior to being appointed EDD director in 1999, Michael was a member of the Board of Directors of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system, the regional rail system, for eight years, and served as Board President in 1995. Among his main initiatives as a BART Director was the development of new communities linked to rail transit stations. He continues to be involved in transit-oriented developments in Northern California.

Presentations and Publications

Michael frequently publishes articles and presents on a variety of topics related to employment law in California. He is a regular contributor on employment issues to Forbes. Since 2009, he also has written regularly on employment laws on the California business and politics blog, Fox & Hounds, and the California ideas exchange, Zocalo Public Square. Michael is the author of four books on employment: The Autism Job Club (2015), Job Training That Gets Results: 10 Principles of Effective Employment Programs (2006), Urban Illusions (1987) and The Dreams of Jobs (1984). He is also the co-author with UC Berkeley Professor Robert Cervero of Transit Villages in the 21st Century (1996), which continues to be widely used in university-level classes. In October 2015, the California State Library opened its collection of Michael’s writings and papers, covering nearly 40 years and over 200 essays and articles, primarily on employment law and policy.


  • California


  • J.D. (1979) University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall)
  • Law Review member
  • B. Phil. (1976) Balliol College University of Oxford
  • B.A. (1974) Harvard College

Memberships and Affiliations

Michael has held several academic and research appointments and has served on the adjunct faculty at the University of California Berkeley. His current affiliations include:

  • Milken Institute — Research Fellow, Employment Programs and Policy
  • Growth Sector — Board chair of STEM job training/employment agency
  • Autism Aspergers Spectrum Coalition for Education Networking and Development (AASCEND) — Board member and chair of the autism job club
  • Positive Resource Center, HIV/AIDS job training center — Advisory Board