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Overview

Steve's practice covers the gamut of employment and labor law. His advice practice is dedicated to helping employers solve problems such as employee discipline and discharge, leaves of absence, discrimination and harassment claims, and threats of employee violence.

Steve enhances employee handbooks and prepares and negotiates employment, confidentiality and non-compete agreements. He also counsels executives and professionals on employment and separation agreements, and assists with corporate transactions such as purchases and sales of businesses. Steve also advises boards of directors, and their executives and boards, on employment, management and governance issues. 

Steve has extensive litigation experience and represents public and private employers in lawsuits claiming discrimination, harassment, wrongful discharge and violations of wage and hour, employee benefits, trade secrets and non-compete obligations. He also appears before local, state and federal administrative agencies and arbitrators in employment and labor matters.

Steve is active in the community and is currently the Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Seattle Theatre Group. 

Community Activities

  • Seattle Theatre Group, President, 2020-present

Experience

Experience

Representative Work: Cases

  • Won jury trial for an employer accused of age discrimination by laid-off union employee.
  • Prevailed in hearing before the U.S. Department of Labor brought by a union business agent who claimed that the company conspired with the union to discharge him.
  • Co-counsel in class action claiming pay for commuting in company vehicle; certification defeated and individual claim resolved promptly.
  • Co-counsel for large employers in two U.S. Department of Labor collective actions claiming that employees worked off the clock; summary judgment obtained in one case, and the other settled favorably.
  • Won summary judgment on discrimination / harassment claims for financial services companies.
  • Obtained temporary restraining orders in two cases where employees refused to return computerized documents and information.
  • Won summary judgment on sex bias claim by male employee of performing arts client.
  • Convinced OSHA that a safety whistleblower on a construction site was not subject to a hostile work environment.
  • Obtained anti–harassment orders against former employees.
  • Defended company in ERISA cases brought by former executive seeking payments under a Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan and by pension funds seeking payment of withdrawal liability.

Representative Work: Transactions

  • Employment and labor counsel in sales of business, including due diligence, drafting of purchase agreement language, preparation of offer letters, executive employment agreements and employee communications.
  • Assistance to client in reductions in force.
  • Counseling of clients facing threat of workplace violence.
  • Creation of documentation for background investigations, hiring, leaves of absence, requests for disability accommodation, last chance agreement and severance agreements.
  • Preparation of policies such as travel pay, use of cell phones and social media.
  • Management training on employment law topics, including avoiding harassment and discrimination, performance management and hiring.
  • Advise to and training of boards of directors on employment and governance issues.

Blog Posts

News & Insights

Speaking Engagements

Past Appearances

Admissions

  • Washington, 1999

Education

J.D., Cornell Law School (cum laude), 1983

B.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison (with distinction), 1978

    • Phi Beta Kappa

Clerkships

  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, Law Clerk for the Hon. John C. Shabaz, 1982-1983

Honors & Recognition

  • The Best Lawyers in America© 
    • Labor Law – Management, 2012-present
    • Litigation – Labor & Employment, 2013-present
  • Best in the Business: Leading Lawyers in the Puget Sound Region, Seattle Business magazine
    • Labor – Management, 2013
    • Litigation – Labor & Employment, 2013
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