Douglas Darch

Baker & McKenzie LLP


Douglas Darch is a member of the Global Automotive Steering Committee and the former chair of ECL Sub-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 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, wage and hour (FLSA) counseling and litigation, compliance with NLRB dictates for non-union employers, union negotiations and labor contract compliance. 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 concluding retiree health benefits not vested despite language providing benefits were "for life" affirmed.
  • Terracon Inc., 361 F.3d 395 (7th Cir.). Review of union authorization cards not tantamount to union recognition.
  • Safety Kleen, 279 NLRB 1117. Administrative Law Judge can dismiss case 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 ab initio, settled on favorable terms.
  • Prystawik v. BEGO USA, (1st Cir.). Title VII discrimination claim cannot be assigned, case dismissed.
  • 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 employment testers case.
  • Pease, et al. v. Local 707, 386 F.3d 819 (7th Cir.). Multi-plaintiff, multi-count jury verdict for defense, affirmed.
  • Ridings v. Riverside Hospital, 537 F.3d 755 (7th Cir.). Summary Judgment in FMLA interference/retaliation claim.
  • Thompson, et al. v. WMI Medical Waste, affirmed w/o pub. dec. Wisc. Ct App. Summary Judgment in multi-plaintiff, multi-claim matter.

Professional Honors

  • Super Lawyer, Employment & Labor, Super Lawyers Illinois 2016

Professional Associations and Memberships

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


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


  • Georgia Institute of Technology (B.S.)
  • University of North Carolina School of Law (J.D.)


  • English