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Kathy Barnard


  • Washington State Bar
  • U.S. District Court, W.D. Washington
  • U.S. District Court, E.D. Washington
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Education and Previous Experience

  • B.A., University of Montana, with honors
  • J.D., University of Montana (Erasmus Scholar)
  • Law Clerk, Montana Supreme Court
  • Law Clerk, Oregon Court of Appeals

Professional Honors & Activities

  • Fellow, College of Labor and Employment Lawyers
  • Fellow, National Trial Lawyers
  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation
  • Martindale Hubble AV ® Preeminent rating
  • Washington Super Lawyer
  • 2014 Imagine Justice Award, Columbia Legal Services

Professional & Civic Engagement

  • Member, AFL-CIO Union Lawyers Alliance and past Member of its Board of Directors
  • Board Member and Past Chair, Washington Employment Lawyers Association
  • Member, American Constitutional Society
  • Member, American Bar Association and its Labor and Employment Section
  • Member, Intake Committee of Legal Voice, cooperating attorney, past Chair of Legal Committee
  • Member, Washington State Association for Justice
  • Member, National Employment Lawyers Association
  • Member, Washington Bar Association and its Labor and Employment Section
  • Past Chair Labor Subcommittee, Pacific Coast Labor and Employment Law Conference
  • Organizer, Washington lawyers' rally and march to protest imprisonment of Pakistani lawyers, and in support of rule of law in Pakistan, 2007
  • Author, Sex Discrimination Chapter, Co-author, Pregnancy Discrimination and Accommodation Chapters, 2017 and 2022 WSAJ Employment Law Deskbook

Kathleen Phair Barnard is a senior partner of the firm. She devotes her practice to advising and representing labor unions in litigation and in all aspects of collective bargaining and representing individuals in employment discrimination and civil rights cases. She has extensive experience in representing unions during strikes and contract campaigns, in subcontracting disputes, and in unfair labor practice proceedings. She has won noteworthy judgments and settlements for individual employees in employment and civil rights cases.

Ms. Barnard is an experienced appellate advocate for labor and employment clients. She often appears as appellate counsel for labor and civil rights organizations, whether they are parties or friends of the court in significant cases. Her cases include several that have established precedents protecting victims of sexual harassment and domestic violence, protecting farmworker organizing, preventing employers from evading compliance with state employment laws, and protecting employees' rights to strike, including to intermittently strike under the Railway Labor Act.

    Recent Presentations

    • 2021 Seattle Journal for Social Justice Symposium: Organizing and Concerted/Collective Action by Immigrant and BIPOC Workers
    • 2020 14th Annual ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law Conference, Recent Developments in Federal Preemption of State and Local Employment Laws in the Airline and Railroad Industry
    • 2019 AFL-CIO LCC Union Lawyers Conference, EEO Update-Cutting Edge Issues to Watch
    • 2018, 12th Annual ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law Conference, Balancing Workplace Safety
    • 2017, AFL-CIO LCC Union Lawyers Conference, Settlement: Strategy For And Recurring Issues In The Settlement Of Employment Litigation And Arbitration

    Representative Work

    • Air Transp. Ass'n of Am., Inc. v. Washington Dep't of Lab. & Indus., 859 Fed. Appx. 181 (9th Cir. July 291, 2021), cert. denied, 2022 WL 2347630 (2022) (Defeated airline industries’ attempt to evade compliance with Washington’s Paid Sick Leave law).
    • Merlino Construction Co., v. Teamsters Local 174, King County Superior Court, No. 22-2-0239906 (Preliminary injunction granted prohibiting employer and contractors drivers from charging peaceful picketers with trucks and from physically interfering with peaceful picketing).
    • Bernstein v. Virgin Am., Inc., 3 F.4th 1127 (9th Cir. 2021), cert. denied, 2022 WL 2347629 (2022) (amicus counsel for Association of Flight Attendants )(California wage and hour and break laws not preempted by federal law).
    • Martinez-Cuevas v. DeRuyter Bros. Dairy, Inc., 196 Wn. 2d 506, 511, 475 P.3d 164, 167 (2020) (amicus counsel for Familias Unidas por la Justicia and National Employment Law Project) (Exemption of dairy workers from Washington overtime compensation requirement declared unconstitutional).
    • Alaska Airlines Inc. v. Schurke, 898 F.3d 904 (9th Cir. 2018) (en banc), cert. denied, 139 S. Ct. 1445, 203 L. Ed. 2d 681 (2019) (representing Association of Flight Attendants-Communication Workers of America) (RLA did not preempt application of Washington's Family Care Act to flight attendants).
    • Aircraft Serv. Int'l, Inc. v. Int'l Ass'n of Machinists & Aerospace Workers, Dist. Lodge 160, No. 3:17-0167-HRH, 2017 WL 11140352 (D. Alaska Aug. 22, 2017) (denying requested preliminary injunction against potential air fuelers strike).
    • Honneycutt v. Dept. of Labor and Indus., 197 Wn.App. 707 (2017) (Under Washington Family Care Act, an employee's right to use disability benefits to care for family member applied if employer did not provide paid time off for illness, even though it allowed use of vacation and personal holidays for illness).
    • Killian v. Seattle Pub. Sch., 189 Wash. 2d 447, 403 P.3d 58 (2017) (unauthorized practice of law claim against union subsumed in duty of fair representation claim).
    • Planned Parenthood of Great Northwest, et al. v. Bloedow, 187 Wash.App. 606 (2015) (representing co-plaintiff health care providers) (injunction warranted to prevent disclosure of individualized abortion data because the data was exempt from disclosure under the Public Records Act).
    • M & G Polymers USA, LLC v. Tackett, 574 U.S. 427, 135 S. Ct. 926, 190 L. Ed. 2d 809 (2015) (amicus co-counsel for Labor Law and Benefits Law Professors) (In determining whether CBA provides for lifetime vested healthcare benefits, courts should examine the entire agreement in light of industry practice).
    • Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. United Food & Commercial Workers Int'l Union, 190 Wn. App. 14 (2015) (National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) preempted store's state court trespass action against OUR Walmart demonstrations and flash mobs).
    • Familias Unidas Por La Justicia v. Sakuma Bros. Farms, Inc., 2014 WL 2154382, (W.D. Wash) (2014) (Immigration Reform Control Act of 1986 does not support removal of Washington Law Against Discrimination in farmworker housing claim from state court; award of attorney's fees for improper removal).
    • Familias Unidas Por La Justicia v. Sakuma Bros. Farms, Inc., Skagit County Sup. Ct., No. 14-2-00924-3, 2014 WL 3408022 (Permanent injunction issued under Washington's Little Norris LaGuardia Act (LNLA) and Law Against Discrimination requiring employer to consider former farmworker strikers eligible for rehire and requiring employer to provide housing for employees' families during seasonal work); (Permanent injunction issued under LNLA barring employer from restricting and surveilling visitors to farmworker housing and from prohibiting distribution of union literature during non-work times and in non-work areas); (Employer prohibited under LNLA from using discovery process to obtain information concerning worker self-organizing and communications between workers and their union officers).
    • Familias Unidas Por La Justicia v. Sakuma Bros. Farms, Inc., Skagit County Sup. Ct., No. 13-2-01641-1 (2013) (Employer enjoined under LNLA from placing security guards in farmworker housing or within one half-mile of housing, or from following workers or community supporters of workers on public highways or elsewhere).
    • 14 Penn Plaza LLC v. Pyett, 556 U.S. 247, 129 S. Ct. 1456, 173 L. Ed. 2d 398 (2009) (amicus counsel for AAJ, AARP and NELA) (CBA waivers of individual employees' access to courts are enforceable).
    • Danny v. Laidlaw Transit Servs., Inc., 165 Wn.2d 200, 193 P.3d 128 (2008) (Washington State has a clear public policy, in context of tort of wrongful discharge in violation of public policy, of protecting domestic violence survivors and their children and holding domestic violence perpetrators accountable).
    • Oak Harbor Freight Lines, Inc. v. Teamsters Local Union 174, King County Superior Court, No. 08-2-38544-2 (2008) (obtained injunction protecting free speech and picketing rights of strikers, including temporary delay of egress of vehicles in order to communicate with drivers).
    • Seattle School District (IUOE Local 609), Decision 9135-B (PECB, 2007) (union's imposition of internal discipline impaired no labor laws).
    • Hegwine v. Longview Fibre Co., Inc., 162 Wn.2d 340, 172 P.3d 688 (2007) (amicus counsel for ACLU-WA and NWLC) (adverse actions by employers taken against pregnant employees premised on pregnancy-related medical conditions constitute sex discrimination).
    • Andersen v. King County, 158 Wn.2d 1, 138 P.3d 963 (2006) (amicus counsel for 24 labor organizations arguing that the Washington Constitution requires that legal marriage be extended to same-sex couples) (state statute restricting legal marriage to opposite-sex couples does not violate the Washington Constitution).
    • Rangel v. Red Robin, W.D. WA Case No. 20:4-cv-01291 (2005) (denial of summary judgment on claim that Red Robin discriminated against employee by failing to accommodate his religious beliefs, leading to favorable settlement).
    • Nichols v. Azteca Restaurant Enterprises, 256 F.3d 864 (9 th Cir. 2001) (harassment of male employee violated Title VII and WLAD, inasmuch as the harassment derived from perception that employee did not meet gender stereotypes held by harassers).
    • King County v. Washington Public Employment Relations Commission, 94 Wn.App. 431, 972 P.2d 130 (1999) (counsel WSNA) (county was required to bargain over nurses' concern about safety implications involved in full-name badges).
    • Nelson v. McClatchy Newspapers, 936 P. 2d 1123 (1997) (amicus counsel for Washington State Labor Council, Newspaper Guild and Northwest Women's Law Center) (statute prohibits employers from discriminating against an employee on the basis of the employee's political activities; however, the First Amendment prevents application of the statute to newspapers).
    • UPS v. Teamsters Local Union 174, King County Superior Court, No. 97-2-20310 (obtained injunction protecting free speech and picketing rights of strikers, including right to continue picket for short and timed duration in order to communicate with drivers crossing picket).
    • Hume v. American Disposal, 124 Wn.2d 656, 880 P.2d 988 (1994), cert. denied, 513 U.S. 1112 (1995) (affirming jury verdict for Teamster garbage workers who claimed discharge in retaliation for demanding overtime pay in violation of public policy, and holding that those claims were not preempted under federal labor law).
    • Association of Flight Attendants v. Alaska Airlines , 847 F. Supp. 832 (1993) (injunction issued under Railway Labor Act protecting, as a matter of first impression, flight attendants' intermittent strike during contract negotiations).