Katharine Liao represents employers in the retail, entertainment, technology and manufacturing industries in all aspects of employment-related litigation before federal and state courts and administrative agencies. Katharine’s practice is diverse, multijurisdictional and entails litigation, counseling and training, investigations, and corporate transactions.
Resident in the firm’s New York office, her practice is global with a particular emphasis and extensive experience with California and New York wage and hour class action litigation. Having defeated class certification on multiple occasions, Katharine focuses her practice on defending wage-and-hour class actions involving claims of meal and rest period violations, failure to pay wages and/or bonuses, off-the-clock work, seating claims and employee misclassification.
Katharine also has significant experience litigating harassment, discrimination, retaliation, restrictive covenant, breach of contract and wrongful termination matters.
Katharine utilizes her litigation experience to advise companies of all sizes and in all industries of best employment-related practices in an effort to avoid employment litigation and disputes. For her clients, she is a trusted, practical advisor who provides day-to-day counseling on various employment issues, including employment policies and procedures, diversity, equity and inclusion, pay equity issues, executive transitions, wage-and-hour compliance, leaves and accommodation issues, and employment and commission agreements. Katharine also provides due diligence in mergers and acquisitions and assists with reductions in force or mass layoffs.
Katharine regularly conducts training for company workforces and management teams – from anti-harassment training to diversity, equity and inclusion training.
Having conducted multiple high-profile investigations, Katharine also serves as a third party, neutral investigator into sensitive discrimination, harassment and retaliation complaints.
Katharine has defended clients in proceedings before the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, Public Employment Relations Board, California Division of Labor Enforcement Standards, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, New York Department of Labor, New York Human Rights Commission and US Department of Labor.
Katharine speaks Mandarin and regularly advises international clients seeking to do business in the US on relevant employment issues.
Katharine has done pro bono work for the Clinton Foundation, Communities in Schools of Los Angeles (CISLA), Community Coalition for Substance Abuse, Hollaback! Harassment: Know Your Rights, Leadership Council on Diversity and Feeding America. She served as an adjunct professor at University of Southern California, teaching trial advocacy from 2010-2012.