Karen Sutherland is the Chair of the Employment & Labor practice area and a Member of the firm’s Litigation Department.  Her employment law experience includes representing clients on issues such as discrimination and harassment based on age, race, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, religion, and other protected status; ethics and conflicts of interest; theft and fraud; HIPAA violations; failure to follow hiring and promotion processes; retaliation; safety issues; whistleblower complaints; misuse of information, technology assets, trade secrets, and other employer property; hostile work environment; workplace violence and bullying; retaliation; wage and hour laws; employee theft; and property damage by employees.

Karen also drafts employee policies and handbooks; employment contracts and severance packages; noncompetition, nonsolicitation, and nondisclosure agreements; and last chance agreements, collective bargaining agreements, and memorandums of understanding.  In addition, Karen advises employers on a wide variety of issues such as hiring processes; employee performance measures and performance improvement plans; employee discipline; developing ADA-compliant job descriptions; FMLA leave; and reasonable accommodation of disabilities; and layoffs.

Karen has also conducted over 200 workplace investigations on a wide variety of subjects ranging from harassment and discrimination to theft, workplace bullying, and alleged falsification of medical and scientific data.  Karen also conducts employee and management training on topics such as discrimination, harassment, wage and hour issues, change management, ethics and conflicts of interest, HIPAA, and employee documentation and records management.

In addition, Karen serves as a neutral arbitrator for the King County Superior Court and has served as an Ombudsman and Hearing Examiner.  She has also served as an expert witness on matters relating to employment law.

Karen’s litigation experience includes employment law, business disputes, construction law, product liability and other complex litigation.

Practice Areas

Association Memberships

  • Washington State Bar Association
  • King County Bar Association


  • J.D., University of Washington School of Law, 1984
  • B.A., University of Washington, 1980

Professional and Community Activities

  • King County and Washington State Bar Associations
  • Licensed Private Investigator Principal
  • Association of Workplace Investigators
  • Society for Human Resource Management
  • Downtown Seattle Association Residents' Council
  • Friends of Bell Street Park - Steering Committee
  • King County Bar Bulletin Committee - Chair
  • Educurious - Volunteer
  • Highline School District - Volunteer


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