Katharine Y. Barnes Associate

Save current page as PDF

Katie provides a pragmatic and thoughtful approach to a wide range of labor and employment-related issues. As a litigator, she defends employers facing litigation in federal and state court and arbitration venues including FINRA and JAMS, in wage and hour, wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and FMLA claims, as well as post-termination disputes including restrictive covenant enforcement (on both sides) and promissory note recovery actions.

Katie regularly advises clients on compliance with various federal and state laws and regulations including Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and work authorization requirements under the Immigration Reform Control Act of 1986 (IRCA). She also advises employers regarding employment agreements, employee discipline and termination, handbooks, and workplace policies.

Prior to joining McGuireWoods, Katie litigated domestic matters for a mid-sized law firm, giving her a unique perspective on how best to navigate the various personalities and emotions that come with litigation.

While earning her law degree from Wake Forest University where she graduated magna cum laude, Katie was the managing editor of the Wake Forest Law Review, member of the Moot Court Board, and project coordinator for the Pro Bono Project.


Representative Actions

  • Obtained full defense verdict in favor of large investment firm and individual supervisor following three-day FINRA arbitration of former employee’s FMLA claims for interference and retaliation, common law wrongful discharge, and defamation.
  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of manufacturing company on former employee’s FMLA claim for retaliation and ADEA claim for discrimination, as well as obtaining order during litigation enjoining employee from contacting company executives.
  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of transportation company on former employee’s Title VII claims for discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, as well as negligent training, retention, and supervision claims under state law, which was affirmed on appeal by the Fourth Circuit.
  • Obtained order compelling arbitration of former employee’s Title VII, ADA, and state law claims for discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.
  • Obtained preliminary injunction against former employee for violation of his non-solicitation and non-competition covenants.
  • Regularly represents employers defending against charges of discrimination filed by employees and former employees with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and has experience in all stages of the EEOC investigation process.

Advice and Counsel

  • Conducts management training on the prevention of unlawful employment practices, including harassment, discrimination and retaliation.
  • Conducts workplace investigations into allegations of misconduct, harassment and other issues.
  • Regularly drafts and advises employers on employee handbooks, employment policies, and employment agreements.
  • Provides regular advice and counsel on discipline, discharge, reduction in force, and leave and accommodation and wage and hour issues and practices.
  • Provides regular advice and counsel—in the mergers and acquisition space and otherwise—on employee work authorization issues under the IRCA and applicable state law, including Form I-9 and E-Verify requirements and audit compliance.
  • Conducts internal audits of employer I-9 and E-Verify programs and records.
  • Conducts training on employer I-9 and E-Verify requirements.