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Admitted to Practice

  • Oregon
  • Washington
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. District Court District of Oregon
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Washington
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Washington
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit

Carol J. Bernick

Burnick BernickCarol Burnick
Partner-in-Charge, Portland
Carol Bernick has more than 25 years of experience representing employers in complex employment cases, including numerous wage and hour class actions. She has significant jury trial experience in state and federal courts. Carol also counsels and trains employers in preventive employment practices, including ADA and wage compliance; leave, discipline and termination policies; and sexual harassment.

Carol is a frequent speaker on harassment, FMLA, investigations, manager training and EEO compliance.

Representative Experience

Class Actions

Fredrickson et al. v. Starbucks Corporation

Motion to dismiss all individual and class claims with prejudice granted. Plaintiffs alleged Starbucks tip reporting practices violated Oregon’s wage deduction statutes. (D. Or. 2013)

Downey et al. v. FedEx Ground Package System

Convinced plaintiff to dismiss all class claims after only filing an answer in a case involving wrongful deduction of wages arising from miscalculation of garnishment orders. (D. Or. 2013)

Thanane et al. v. Providence Health System

Representing Providence Health System in claim alleging unpaid wages due to the hospital’s rounding practices. (D. Or. Ongoing)

Alvarez et al. v. Legacy Health System

Court approved settlement of wage claim alleging off-the-clock work performed during unpaid meal periods. Successfully petitioned BOLI to approve an exception to Oregon’s meal period statute to allow safety officers to have paid but working meals. (D. Or. 2013)

Gafur v. Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital and Medical Center

Successfully represented health system before the Oregon Supreme Court in action seeking wages and penalties for allegedly missed rest and meal periods under Oregon law. 344 Or. 525, 185 P3d 446 (Or. 2008)

Belknap et al. v. U.S. Bank

Successfully obtained ruling of class action decertification, of wage claim, following five years of litigation. On appeal, obtained affirmance of trial court’s decertification order and obtained reversal of trial court’s attorney fee award to named plaintiffs. 235 Or. App. 658 (2010), rev den 349 Or. 654 (2011)

Bell v. Addus Healthcare, Inc.

Defeated plaintiff's motion for class certification against health care services company involving alleged violations of Washington and Oregon wage and hour laws (3,000-plus putative class members) for denied meal breaks and rest periods, unpaid overtime and unpaid wages; summary judgment dismissal of multiple claims brought by plaintiff. (W.D. Wash. 2007)

Ramos et al. v. U.S. Bank National Association

Defeated class certification in wage and hour class action alleging off-the-clock claims due to alleged faulty timekeeping system. (D. Or. 2010)

Capps, et al., v. U.S. Bank National Association

Defeated class certification of late pay claim. (D. Or. 2010)

McElmurry et al. v. U.S. Bank

Defeated multiple collective action certification motions under the Fair Labor Standards Act seeking certification of claims alleging misclassification of management-level employees and alleging off-the-clock work. Court twice denied certification on each claim. (2004 WL 1675925 D. Or. 2004; 2005 WL 2494932 D. Or. 2005; 2005 WL 249 2932 D. Or. 2005; 2006 WL 3908536 D. Or. 2006). Before the Ninth Circuit on appeal, successfully obtained dismissal of appeal and denial of petition for writ of mandamus. 495 F.2d. 1136. (D. Or. 2007)

Dale v. Sitel

Defeated class certification on behalf of Sitel in a wage and hour class action, which claimed, in part, that Sitel used rounding to force employees to come in seven minutes early to work, and then required that the same employees leave at precisely 5 p.m., so as to never receive a rounding benefit. (Multnomah Cnty. (Or.) Cir. Ct. 2007)

Lussier v. Dollar Tree Stores, Inc.

Obtained affirmance by the 9th Circuit of denial of attorney fees after remand following removal under the Class Action Fairness Act. 513 F.3d 1062 (9th Cir. 2008)

Miller v. Dollar Tree Stores

Court granted motion to strike all class allegation claims. (E.D. Wash. 2006)

Rivera et al. v. U.S. Bank

Obtained summary judgment dismissing all class action claims in wage and hour class action. Before Oregon Supreme Court, successfully obtained denial of petition for writ of mandamus.(Multnomah Cnty. (Or.) Cir. Ct. 2006) Read more

Lowdermilk v. U.S. Bank

Successfully defeated class action certification and obtained dismissal of class claims with prejudice. (Multnomah Cnty. (Or.) Cir. Ct. 2007)

Hix et al. v. Legacy Health System

Plaintiffs alleged a class action for wage and hour violations and voluntarily dismissed case after receiving Legacy's motions to dismiss. (2004)

Hutson et al. v. U.S. Bank

Represented defendant in class action alleging misclassification seeking additional overtime and penalties after nationwide settlement between bank and Department of Labor. Summary judgment granted. (Multnomah Cnty. (Or.) Cir. Ct. 2000)

Summary Judgments

Larmanger v. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest

Obtained summary judgment on seven claims that included leave discrimination, aiding and abetting discrimination, and whistleblower retaliation brought by patient care manager against major health care employer. (D. Or. 2012)

Teague v. Legacy Health

Motion for summary judgment granted on each of six claims for employment discrimination under the Oregon Family Leave Act, Oregon disability discrimination statutes, and breach of contract. (Multnomah Cnty. (Or.) Cir. Ct. 2011)

Barnes v. GE Security Inc.

Obtained summary judgment in claims alleging workers' compensation retaliation, disability and FMLA retaliation. Judgment for our client on all claims. (D. Or. 2008)

Johnston v. Pets Rx, Inc.

Defended against plaintiff who brought claims of disability discrimination and workers' compensation and FMLA retaliation. The court granted summary judgment to defendant on all but one claim, but limited plaintiff's damages on that claim to a few weeks. The case then settled. WL 2746918 (D. Or. 2007)

Manesh v. Tokyo Electron American

Summary judgment granted in workers' compensation discrimination case. (D. Or. 2007)

Berntsen v. Dollar Tree Stores

Summary judgment granted on eight claims of age, gender and national origin employment discrimination. Jury verdict achieved for defendant on remaining claim for quid pro quo sexual harassment . (D. Or. 2007)

Gamez-Morales v. Pacific Northwest Renal Care Group

Defended against eight claims of disability discrimination, family leave retaliation, sexual harassment and sex discrimination and wrongful discharge. The Court granted summary judgment as to all claims. The case is currently pending on appeal before the 9th Circuit. WL 2850476 (D. Or. 2006)

Prather v. Columbia Helicopters

Summary judgment granted in whistleblower case alleging wrongful termination, breach of contract and statutory wage claims. (Multnomah Cnty. (Or.) Cir. Ct. 2005)

Kuyat v. Applied Materials

Summary judgment granted in case alleging wrongful termination and breach of contract. (D. Or. 2004)

Roque v. Applied Materials

Motion to dismiss and compel arbitration granted in employment discrimination case. WL 1212110 (D. Or. 2004)

Manatt v. Bank of America

Obtained summary judgment in case alleging national origin, race discrimination and retaliation; 9th Circuit affirmed. 339 F.3d 792 (9th Cir. 2003)

Paden v. Bank of America

Plaintiff, a 13-year veteran of the bank, brought claims alleging race discrimination and retaliation. Obtained summary judgment for Bank of America on all claims. WL 31432759 (D. Or. 2002)

Wilcox v. Pitney Bowes

Represented Pitney Bowes in a case alleging claims under the Family Medical Leave Act, the Oregon Family Leave Act, retaliation and pregnancy discrimination. The court granted Pitney Bowes' motion for summary judgment on all claims. WL 31496424 (D. Or. 2002)

Corcoran v. GE Capital

Represented GE Capital Corporation and obtained summary judgment in this case involving disability discrimination and retaliation. (2001)

Haughton v. Bank of America

Defended against bank executive who alleged race discrimination, retaliation and wrongful discharge against the most senior bank officers in Charlotte, N.C., and San Francisco. The court granted summary judgment for Bank of America on all claims. WL 34041894 (D. Or. 2001)


Wedemeyer v. Nike IHM, Inc.

Won complete defense verdict. Secured directed verdict from the court in jury trial on former production manager’s retaliation claim. Obtained summary judgment on hostile work environment and disability claims prior to trial. (Washington Cty. (Or.) Ct. 2014)

Gardner v. McCormick & Schmick

Obtained dismissal of statutory claims carrying attorney fees in case alleging whistleblower retaliation, wrongful discharge, and intentional interference tort against corporation and former CEO and CFO. Defended remaining tort claims. (Multnomah Cty. (Or.) Ct. 2013)

Kramer v. Tosco, et al.

Represented Tosco (Conoco-Phillips) in an eight-day jury trial alleging ADA discrimination, wrongful discharge, and retaliation. The jury returned a defense verdict on all claims. The 9th Circuit affirmed. (9th Cir. 2006)

Berntsen v. Dollar Tree Stores

Summary judgment granted on eight claims of age, gender and national origin employment discrimination. Jury verdict achieved for defendant on remaining claim for quid pro quo sexual harassment . (D. Or. 2007)

Freed v. ISITE et al.

Represented client in a 'bet the company' complex commercial matter. Jury returned a verdict for our client on all counter-claims against plaintiff and on all but one claim resulting in a net-positive judgment in client's favor. (D. Or. 2006)

Potter v. BCE Emergis Corporation

Obtained defense jury verdict in a case brought by a former data entry employee. Plaintiff alleged that she was fired in retaliation for utilizing Oregon's workers' compensation system. (Multnomah Cnty. (Or.) Cir. Ct. 2003)

Barira v. Bank of America

Successfully defended Bank of America in this national origin and gender discrimination case in a bench trial. (2000)

Professional & Community Activities

  • Board Member, Metropolitan Family Services
  • Board Member, NW Earth Institute
  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
  • Fellow, College of Labor & Employment Lawyers
  • Board of Directors, Multnomah Bar Association, 2010-2013 
  • American Bar Association
  • Oregon Women Lawyers (OWLS)
  • Oregon Minority Lawyers Association (OMLA)
  • Bar Counsel, Disciplinary Board of the Oregon State Bar, 2001-2006
  • Chair, Judicial Screening Committee, Multnomah Bar Association, 2004-2005
  • Pro bono representation of nonprofits such as Artists Repertory Theatre, Housing Development Council, Mercy Corps, Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette, and Stand for Children

Professional Recognition

  • Recipient, Peter Perlman Service Award, Litigation Counsel of America, 2013
  • Named as one of "America's Leading Lawyers for Business" in Labor & Employment (Oregon) by Chambers USA, 2003-2014; Received "Band 1" ranking, 2012-2014  
  • Co-author, "Labor and Employment Law: Private Sector," Oregon State Bar publication, 2011, awarded ACLEA’s Best Award of Outstanding Achievement, 2012
  • Named Best Lawyer of the Year – Labor & Employment (Portland, Ore.) for 2012
  • Named one of the "Best Lawyers in America" in Labor and Employment Law by Best Lawyers, 2006-present; named in Commercial Litigation, 2010-present
  • Selected to "Oregon Super Lawyers" as one of the Top 10 Lawyers in Oregon, 2010; named as one of the Top 50 Lawyers in Oregon, 2008-2014; and named as one of the Top 25 Women Lawyers in Oregon, Thomson Reuters 2006-2014
  • Joyce Ann Harpole Award for an Oregon attorney who exemplifies a commitment to justice while balancing career, family and community involvement, 2006-2014
  • Exceptional Women in Business Award, Portland Business Journal, 2003
  • Margaret Sanger Award, 2002
  • Willard J. Wright Award for Outstanding Civic Performance, 1999
DWT recognized by chambers USA, read release