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Catherine C. Smith

Catherine Smith is a partner in the firm’s Labor, Employment, and Workplace Safety practice. She represents and counsels employers regarding a broad range of labor and employment issues including employee terminations and performance management, disability accommodation, leaves of absence, background checks and hiring procedures, wage and hour compliance, protection of trade secrets, union avoidance and administration of collective bargaining agreements.

As a member of both the California and Washington bars, Catherine has significant experience advising national employers with operations in California, Washington and throughout the United States.

Catherine represents employers in collective bargaining, union grievance proceedings and National Labor Relations Board proceedings. She assists employers prepare for organizing campaigns and respond to election petitions, counsels employers regarding compliance with federal labor laws, and counsels employers regarding labor matters in mergers and acquisitions.

Catherine has represented employers in state and federal court, mediation, arbitration, labor commission and other administrative agency hearings. She also assists clients with responses to pre-complaint demand letters and administrative agency charges, negotiating early settlements, and drafting cease and desist letters to protect employer trade secrets and enforce restrictive covenant agreements.

Catherine partners with the corporate practice group to assist clients with employment matters related to mergers and acquisitions. She regularly drafts and updates a variety of employment-related documents including employment policies and handbooks, offer letters and employment agreements, incentive compensation and commission agreements, non-compete, invention assignment and non-disclosure agreements, severance agreements, staffing agency agreements and independent contractor agreements.

Catherine has experience representing employers in state and nationwide wage and hour class actions and conducting wage and hour audits.

Catherine also has experience advising motion picture and television producers regarding their obligations under the various guild collective bargaining agreements, including SAG, AFTRA, DGA, WGA, AFM and IATSE.

Prior to joining K&L Gates, Catherine was Counsel at a Los Angeles, California law firm and focused her practice on labor and employment matters.

  • Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® for Employment Law - Management in Seattle, 2024
  • Named to the Washington Rising Stars List, 2015-2019 
  • Named to the Southern California Super Lawyers Rising Stars list, 2009-2011
  • Employment Law 101: What Every Lawyer Should Know About Employment Law, 2019
  • Microenterprise 101, Employment Law, Wayfind, 2015, 2016 and 2017
  • Washington Employment Law Letter, FMLA Master Class, 2012
  • Current Wage and Hour Issues, 2011
  • Labor and Employment Law Breakfast, 2011
  • The Lurking Dangers of California Employment Law, 2011

Catherine externed for the Honorable Justice Carlos Moreno of the California Supreme Court.

Catherine has particular experience representing clients in the retail, hospitality, restaurant, manufacturing, financial service, telecommunications, entertainment, healthcare, pharmaceutical, software and payroll service industries. She has also counseled and represented public school districts and utilities.

Additional Thought Leadership Pages
  • Co-author, “Reversing Claims of Reverse Religious Discrimination,” Employment Relations Today, 2007
  • Co-author, “Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Affirms the Largest Class Action in History,” Employment Relations Today, 2007
  • Co-author, “Employers Required to Proactively Inquire Into Employees’ Eligibility for FMLA Leave,” Employment Relations Today, 2007
  • Co-author, “2006 Supreme Court Year in Review,” Employment Relations Today, 2007
  • Co-author, “The New Court: Predictions About the U.S. Supreme Court’s Future Direction,” Employment Relations Today, 2006
  • Co-author, “The Supreme Court Limits Public Employees’ First Amendment Rights,” Employment Relations Today, 2006
  • Co-author, “When is ‘Unequal’ Pay Not Really Unequal?,” Employment Relations Today, 2006
Additional News & Event Pages
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