“Cathryn wasn’t just our trusted legal advisor, but a true partner.”
With 30 years of private and in-house experience, Cathryn is a seasoned labor and employment lawyer. As Alaska Airlines Deputy General Counsel/Staff Vice President for several years, she was responsible for all labor and employment law and labor relations. Cathryn has led high-stakes litigation, guided major corporate restructuring, developed company-wide labor strategy, and closely partnered with boards, senior executives and human resource professionals. She has handled dozens of complex labor, employment and administrative cases.
From large Seattle firm to her own practice, Cathryn has worked with unionized and non-unionized businesses ranging from small and closely held to those on the Fortune 500. With deep roots in aerospace and transportation, her clients now also include food and beverage, healthcare, construction, and technology companies.
An insider in corporate boardrooms and everyday workplaces, Cathryn knows how to translate the law into what matters in business. Her strategic, big picture perspective lends unique insight to employers navigating the delicate balance among operational needs, employee relations, and the law.
Outside her legal career, Cathryn has traveled extensively and enjoys gardening, decorating, and meeting interesting people. She also cherishes time with friends and family including her college-aged son in the Bay Area and 80-something dad who still lives in her Idaho hometown, on Cathryn Avenue.
Representative Employment and Labor Law Work
- For an Engineering Firm, a Power Company, a Custom Label Manufacturer, a Fire Protection Firm, an International Air Cargo Carrier, and a Software Asset Management Company – Serves as exclusive outside employment and labor counsel providing day-to-day advice, drafting policies, procedures and agreements, conducting training, handling grievances, presenting arbitrations, defending administrative complaints.
- For a City Agency, a Beverage Company, a regional Health Care Facility, an Electrical Contractor and several Airlines – Investigated workplace allegations of discrimination, harassment and retaliation, and prepared reports, findings and recommendations. Defended administrative complaints and responded to demand letters.
- For a Construction Company, an Electrical Contractor, a Beverage Company, a Safety Summit, a Staffing Agency, a Non-Profit, a Roofing Company, Airlines and hundreds of Front-line Employees, Supervisors and Executives – Provided training on all aspects of employment and labor law including harassment, discrimination, performance management, investigations, grievances, direct dealing and other topics.
- For a Major Airline, a Regional Airline, an International Air Cargo Carrier, and an International Bottling Company – Presented dozens of complex labor arbitrations involving contract interpretation and discharges with 100 percent win rate for over twenty years. Terminable offenses included sexual harassment, theft, fraud and dishonesty, absenteeism, fighting, sleeping on the job and violation of alcohol and drug policies. Contract cases included scheduling, pay, benefits, training and subcontracting issues.
- For a Major Airline – Led team of attorneys, economists, accountants and industry experts in the strategy, preparation, presentation, appeal and implementation of three interest arbitrations, one resulting in $90 million dollars in annual cost savings. Served as primary legal advisor through major corporate downsizing and restructuring and led strategy and negotiation of multiple rounds of collective bargaining for six union contracts.
- For a Major Railroad— Chief regional lawyer for a dozen employment lawsuits involving alleged race, age, sex and disability discrimination and retaliation. Of those, 70% were dismissed pretrial with the remainder settling favorably.
- For a Grocery Retailer – Served as lead counsel and obtained jury verdict on disability discrimination claim.
Bar Admissions/Admitted to PracticeWashington State Bar/1986
California State Bar/1984
EducationB.A., University of Idaho, cum laude 1976, Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Mortar Board
J.D., Stanford University School of Law 1984, Moot Court Board
Professional Recognition and Honors:Best Lawyers® 2012-2017, U.S. News & World Report
Best Lawyers® 2016 Women In The Law, U.S. News & World Report
Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” 2013 DammelLaw PLLC, U.S. News & World Report
Professional and Community Activities:Pro-bono legal work for nonprofit serving people with disabilities
Volunteer speech coach for middle school program
Advisor to high school State and National Championship mock trial team
Selected Publications and Speaking Engagements:
2016 Handling Employment Discrimination Claims: ANALYZING KEY EMPLOYMENT DOCUMENTS AND EXAMINATION OF WITNESSES
National Business Institute
2015 “CONGRATULATIONS, YOU’RE
HIRED FIRED!” And Lessons Learned Along The Way
Comprehensive Management Services/LeadingAge Washington Webinar
Cathryn is a frequent speaker/trainer on:
• Sexual and other prohibited harassment
• FMLA/ADA/workers compensation
• Investigation techniques
• How to document
• How to have difficult conversations
• Performance and attendance management
• Labor contract grievances and arbitration
• Discipline and termination
• Best practice to avoid employee lawsuits
Practice Emphasis/Service Areas:Employment Law