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Katharine Parker is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the Employment Law Counseling & Training and Government Contractor Compliance & Relations Groups.

Katharine has extensive experience litigating employment disputes of all types, including claims alleging race, age, disability, and sex discrimination, retaliation, sexual harassment, wrongful discharge, violations of wage and hour laws, and breach of contract. She has represented employers in the financial services, media/entertainment, and retail industries in single plaintiff and class and collective actions, in administrative proceedings, and in various arbitration forums.

Complementing her employment practice, Katharine represents employee benefit plans and their fiduciaries and/or service providers in connection with lawsuits arising from single participant benefit claims and class actions. She has litigated the full range of employee benefit-related matters, including claims for medical, long-term disability, and pension benefits, as well as breach of fiduciary duty, in connection with the administration of 401(k) and other benefit plans and investments of plan assets.

Representative litigations include the defense of:

  • A Title VII class action involving claims of race discrimination in promotion and discipline and implementation and defense of claims in complex settlement claims process for a large public transportation provider
  • A Title VII and EPA class action involving claims of gender discrimination involving a large financial institution
  • The Board of Trustees of a public pension fund and a municipality in a 45,000+ person class action litigation involving challenges to actuarial calculations of pensions
  • The trustees and alleged fiduciaries of 401(k) plans, ESOPS and multiemployer welfare plans in a complex ERISA class actions involving claims of breach of fiduciary duty 
  • A multi-plaintiff ERISA action involving alleged breaches of fiduciary duty and benefit claims arising out of change in severance policy 
  • Various companies in single and multi-plaintiff age, religious, disability, race, pregnancy, harassment and gender discrimination matters especially in financial and media industries 
  • An interest arbitration for producers of Broadway theatrical productions 
  • A breach of employment agreement and asset purchase agreement claim against publisher in arbitration 
  • Numerous arbitrations involving claims of wrongful termination, breach of contract, breach of non-competition agreement, discrimination, negligent hiring, and other tort claims 

In addition to litigation, Katharine’s clients regularly call on her to provide advice on compliance with various laws affecting the workplace, including the FMLA, ADEA, Title VII, ADA, FLSA, and state wage and hour laws. She has extensive experience in assisting companies in the planning and execution of reductions in force, mergers, and other organizational changes affecting employees. Katharine assists clients in all aspects of planning and implementing Affirmative Action Plans and Diversity Programs, in conducting self-audits of employment practices and policies and compensation, and defending OFCCP audits. She also is frequently called upon to conduct internal investigations of discrimination and harassment issues.

Katharine is co-editor of Proskauer’s Government Contractor Compliance & Regulatory Update blog, which tracks the developments in the compliance arena for government contractors and sub-contractors, with a particular focus on developments involving the OFCCP and related agencies and departments. She speaks and writes on a multitude of topics, including social media and the workplace, background checks and hiring procedures, federal contractor compliance, glass ceiling and other class litigation, employee privacy issues, reductions in force, mediation of employment disputes, ethics in employment law, ADA, FLSA, whistleblowing laws, and the FMLA. Katharine also conducts management training with regard to EEO and anti-harassment laws, as well as hiring, evaluating, and terminating employees. In addition, she has taught classes on glass ceiling issues for Cornell University's extension program and as an adjunct professor of employment law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. She has appeared on Fox News and WCBS News.