Douglas Darch

Baker & McKenzie LLP


Douglas Darch is an experienced and creative trial attorney. He has participated in over 150 hearings before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), labor arbitrators, federal and state courts, and administrative agencies, including landmark decisions under Title VII, ERISA, FMLA, and the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). In 2017, he was selected as one of the Top 10 Labor Management Attorneys in Illinois by Leading Lawyer. In addition to his trial work, he has extensive experience in union/labor relations, corporate restructurings, multiemployer pension plans, international framework agreements, mergers, acquisitions, the integration of work forces, melding European-style labor relations to meet U.S. legal standards, and personnel policy development. In 2015 he was recognized by Who's Who Legal: Pensions & Benefits as a "top name" in Chicago for benefit plan modification and ERISA litigation. He is a member of the Firm's Global Automotive Steering Committee and the former chair of the Employment Compensation Labor Practice Group for the Chicago office. Before law school, Mr. Darch served as an Officer in the U.S. Navy.

Practice Focus

Mr. Darch is a strategic and pragmatic counselor to management, addressing: compliance with NLRB dictates for non-union employers, union negotiations and labor contract compliance, confining union picketing, absenteeism, and leave management, Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), sexual harassment, Title VII discrimination (race, age, sex, national origin, and retaliation), arbitration agreements, workforce reductions, severance plans, developing personnel policies, workplace investigations, and wage and hour (FLSA) compliance. Mr. Darch also has experience with benefit plan modification, ERISA (retiree health and withdrawal) litigation, as well as labor injunctions and employment litigation. He is an experienced appellate court advocate.

Representative Legal Matters

  • Maytag Corp. (Whirlpool Corp.) v. UAW, 687 F.3d 1076 (8th Cir.). A five day bench trial concluded retiree health benefits were not vested despite language providing benefits were "for life," affirmed on appeal.

  • Operating Engineers Local 150 v. NLRB (Terracon, Inc.), 361 F.3d 395, (7th Cir.). Manager's review of union authorization cards not tantamount to union recognition.

  • Safety Kleen, 279 NLRB 1117. Administrative Law Judge can dismiss the case at the close of General Counsel's evidence if General Counsel fails to establish a prima facie case.

  • ValleyCrest Landscaping v. Cement Mason's Pension Plan (C.D. Cal.). Suit to void labor agreement as void ab initio, settled on favorable terms.

  • Prystawik v. BEGO USA, (DRI). Title VII discrimination claim cannot be assigned, and the case dismissed, affirmed (1st Cir.)

  • Chicago Parking Assoc., 360 NLRB 132. A four-day bench trial concluded the employers had not unlawfully refused to sign a collective bargaining agreement as there was no meeting of the minds.

  • Kyles v. Guardian Security, 222 F.3d 289 (7th Cir.). Jury verdict for employer in Title VII claim by employment-testers that refusal to hire testers was unlawful.

  • Pease, et al. v. Local 707, 386 F.3d 819 (7th Cir.). Multi-plaintiff, multi-count Section 301 claims, jury verdict for the defense, following a four-day trial, affirmed.

  • Ridings v. Riverside Hospital, 537 F.3d 755 (7th Cir.). Summary Judgment in FMLA interference/retaliation claim, affirmed.

  • Thompson, et al. v. WMI Medical Waste, affirmed w/o pub. dec. Wisc. Ct App. Summary Judgment in multi-plaintiff, multi-claim whistle-blower, union organizing matter.

Professional Honors

  • Recognized Practitioner (Labor and Employment: Disputes – Including Collective Actions Defense), Legal 500 USA, 2017
  • Super Lawyer, Employment & Labor, Super Lawyers Illinois 2016
  • Leading Lawyers 2017

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Illinois State Bar Association - Chair, Employee Benefits Section Council (2018-19)
  • American Bar Association - Member, Developing Labor Law
  • Chicago Bar Association - Member, Labor & Employment Committee (Former Chair)
  • Illinois State Bar Association - Individual Rights Section Council (Former Chair)
  • Illinois State Chamber of Commerce - Executive Committee, Board of Directors
  • Illinois State Chamber of Commerce - Chair, Legal and Judiciary Committee


  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Trial Bar)
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Tennessee
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana
  • Illinois Supreme Court


  • Georgia Institute of Technology (BS)
  • University of North Carolina School of Law (JD)


  • English


Speaker, "Impact of Benefit Cost Increases and Take-Aways on Collective Bargaining Negotiations and Union Organizing," Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI Benefits Forum

Speaker, "Costing The Labor Agreement," Negotiating a Labor Agreement, American Arbitration Association

Speaker, "Labor Law and Collective Bargaining in the New Millennium," Chicago Conference, Loyola University


Co-author, "Anti-Bribery Compliance Traps in International Framework Agreements," Bloomberg BNA, July 2016

Author, "Implementing the Family and Medical Leave Act In a Union Workforce," Quality Cities