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Douglas Darch

Partner
Baker & McKenzie LLP

Biography

Douglas Darch is a member of the Global Automotive Steering Committee and the former chair of Employment Compensation Labor Practice Group for the Chicago office. He represents and counsels management in the areas of Labor and Employment. 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 US legal standards, and personnel policy development. 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). Mr. Darch served as an Officer in the US Navy. He was recognized by Who's Who Legal: Pensions & Benefits 2015 as a "top name" in Chicago for benefit plan modification and ERISA litigation.

Practice Focus

Mr. Darch provides counsel in: compliance with NLRB dictates for non-union employers, union negotiations and labor contract compliance, 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) counseling and litigation. Mr. Darch also has experience with benefit plan modification, ERISA (retiree health and withdrawal) litigation, as well as labor and employment litigation. He is an experienced appellate court advocate, and provides clients with strategic and pragmatic solutions that help meet corporate objectives.

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 case at 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 favourable terms.
  • Prystawik v. BEGO USA, (DRI). Title VII discrimination claim cannot be assigned, 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 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

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

Admissions

  • 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

Education

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

Languages

  • English