Nitasha Kaur Sawhney is an equity partner in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles offices of Garcia Hernández Sawhney, LLP. Nitasha specializes in education, labor and employment law. Nitasha serves as legal counsel to public school districts, community college districts, charter schools and other educational institutions on matters concerning school governance and policy, labor negotiations, employment, educational foundations, public meeting, ethics laws and strategic planning and problem solving.
Nitasha also serves as a Commissioner on the California Commission on Asian Pacific Islander Affairs. She was initially appointed to the Commission in 2006 and was reappointed in 2010 by the Speaker of the State Assembly. The Commission is charged with advising the Governor and the State Legislature on issues impacting California’s Asian Pacific Islander communities.
Nitasha is also active with a number of national and local civil rights organizations. Nitasha currently serves on the Board of Directors of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a national civil rights organization dedicated to raising the voices and perspectives of South Asian individuals and organizations in the United States. Nitasha also serves on the legal advisory council of the Sikh Coalition and as a volunteer with the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF). Nitasha frequently provides counsel on matters involving hate crimes, civic engagement, and employment discrimination. She also speaks on the issues of employment discrimination and sexual harassment prevention, ethics, workplace investigations, school bullying in a post-9/11 environment, hate crimes and was featured as an expert in the award-winning documentary Divided We Fall: Americans in the Aftermath regarding hate crimes in the Sikh Community.
In May 2006, Nitasha was awarded the Spirit in Action Award from the Interfaith Councils of the cities of Garden Grove, Stanton, and Westminster for her work in raising funds and awareness to aid victims of genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan and her dedication to public service. In April 2008, Nitasha received the Public Interest Award from the South Asian Bar Public Interest Foundation of Southern California for her dedicated commitment to community service and public interest work. In May 2011, Nitasha received the Asian Pacific Island Heritage Award for Excellence in Civil Rights from the California Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus on the floor of the State Assembly.
Nitasha received her Juris Doctorate from the University of California, Davis and her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley. Nitasha also received Associates of Art degrees from Orange Coast Community College and Irvine Valley Community College. While attending Irvine Valley, Nitasha served as Student Trustee on the Board of the South Orange County Community College District.