Services & Industries
J.D., Willamette University College of Law, 1987
B.A., Harvard College, 1984
Bar & Court Admissions
Oregon State Bar
Washington State Bar, Litigation and Labor & Employment Sections
District of Columbia Bar
U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
U.S. District Court, District of Oregon
U.S. District Court, Eastern and Western Districts of Washington
Bob is a member of Tonkon Torp’s Labor & Employment Practice Group. He represents companies, professionals, and executives in employment litigation, and provides counseling on a broad range of employment related issues. He has substantial jury trial experience in Oregon and Washington, defending wrongful discharge, discrimination, sexual harassment, wage and hour, and whistleblower cases. He also has defended ERISA lawsuits, been on both sides of post-termination cases with non-competition, trade secret and related claims, and has defended numerous labor disputes in arbitration.
Bob has represented companies in labor negotiations, and in election petitions and unfair labor practice charges before the NLRB. He has negotiated compensation, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment contracts for companies, professionals, and executives.
He also serves as a mediator in complex commercial disputes and in employment and ERISA/benefits cases. Before joining the firm, Bob was a partner at Barran Liebman (1998-2006) and an associate and partner at Lane Powell (1993-1998). Before entering private practice, Bob served on active duty as a captain in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corp, at the U.S. Army Communications and Electronics Command, Fort Monmouth, N.J. and the U.S. Army Defense Appellate Division, Falls Church, V.A. (1987-1993). While stationed at Fort Monmouth, Bob was appointed as a Special Assistant to the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey.
Bob has been consistently listed in the Best Lawyers in America, in the Oregon edition of Super Lawyers for employment litigation and as one of “America’s Leading Lawyers” for labor and employment by Chambers USA, which notes that Bob is “top-notch and quick on his feet, and excellent at building strong relationships with his clients” and “the man to call whenever there is a complicated matter that won’t go away.”
Bob is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) by the Human Resources Certification Institute, and is also designated as a Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) by the Society for Human Resource Management.
Summary judgment granted on perceived disability and contract claims against large paper products company and its union.
Fair Credit Reporting Act
Court granted directed verdict for employer during jury trial where former accounting clerk brought claim under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Numerous summary judgments granted in federal court on a variety of claims, including age, gender, disability and sex discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful discharge, whistleblower, wage and hour, and ERISA.
Summary judgment granted in state court for large retailer where plaintiff had claims for discrimination, wrongful discharge, intentional infliction of emotional distress and assault.
Small local newspaper won jury verdict against employee suing for wrongful discharge and discrimination.
Manufacturing company recovered on counterclaim against former employee.
Won summary judgment to enforce non-compete agreement for the benefit of acquiring company where agreement was signed by seller's employees in anticipation of the sale of the business.
Sexual Harassment & Wrongful Discharge
Obtained a directed verdict during jury trial of claims for sexual harassment and wrongful discharge.
Washington jury issued defense verdict on wrongful discharge and wage claims against real estate management company. The employer also recovered on counterclaim against plaintiff, and the court awarded attorney fees to our client.
Obtained defense verdict on wrongful discharge and whistleblower claims before an Oregon jury. Our client also won a counterclaim for breach of fiduciary duty against its former nursing home administrator.
Sale of Pulp Mill
Represented Wayzata Investment Partners, a private equity fund, in connection with a sale of Halsey, Oregon pulp mill.
Tonkon Torp acted as Oregon corporate counsel for its long-term client The Greenbrier Companies, Inc. in finalizing a 50/50 joint venture with Watco Companies, L.L.C. The venture combines the two companies’ railcar repair, refurbishment and maintenance businesses into a new organization, GBW Railcar Services, LLC.
Community Involvement & Activities
Society of Human Resource Management
1995–Present, Harvard Schools and Scholarships Committee
Oregon Business Association
2006–2016, Business and Economy Committee
Portland Human Resources Management Association
Board of Directors
2013, General Counsel
Oregon Junior-Senior Golf Association
Children’s Cancer Association
2004–2009, Ambassador Board
Oregon State Bar
2001–2003, Procedure and Practice Committee
Multnomah Bar Association
1999–2002, Judicial Screening Committee
American Bar Association
Federal Bar Association
Multnomah Bar Association
Oregon Association of Defense Counsel
Portland Human Resource Management Association
Society for Human Resource Management
The Best Lawyers in America
2009-2022, Employment Law – Management
2009-2022, Labor Law – Management
2009-2022, Litigation – Labor & Employment
Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers
2009-2022, Labor & Employment
2006-2022, Oregon Super Lawyer – Employment Litigation: Defense
Thirty-one Tonkon Torp attorneys in 11 practice areas have been included in the 2022 Oregon Super Lawyers or Rising Stars
Chambers USA has recognized 28 Tonkon Torp attorneys in eight practice areas in its Chambers USA 2022 Guide.
Fifty-three Tonkon Torp lawyers representing 39 practice areas have been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2022
Twenty-six Tonkon Torp attorneys in nine practice areas have been included in the 2021 Oregon Super Lawyers or Rising Stars lists.
Chambers USA has recognized 23 Tonkon Torp attorneys in seven practice areas in its Chambers USA 2021 guide.
The year 2013 brought several changes to employment laws affecting Oregon employers. In this alert, we highlight the key changes of this past year so that our clients are aware of the changes, and have an opportunity to update their employee handbooks, policies and procedures before the New Year.
With the holidays around the corner, many employers organize parties to promote collegial working relationships and foster a pleasant work environment. While the benefits of holiday parties on employee morale are tangible, they may also present legal risks for employers. The first-and perhaps most obvious-risk arises from alcohol consumption. Courts have not hesitated to find an employer liable for accidents caused by inebriated employees leaving a company function.
On October 31, 2013 the IRS issued Notice 2013-71 modifying the “use-it-or-lose-it” rule for health flexible spending accounts (“FSAs”) under §125 cafeteria plans. These modified rules are welcome relief for employers and employees, and can apply as early as the 2013 plan year.
With Veterans Day (November 11) looming in the horizon, Oregon employers should plan to give the day off to eligible veterans in their workforce. Earlier this year, Governor Kitzhaber signed into law Senate Bill 1 that requires companies to provide paid or unpaid time off on Veterans Day to employees who: (1) would otherwise work that day; (2) give at least 21 days’ notice that they intend to take the day off; and (3) present documents that verify their veteran status.
Information gleaned from the filings by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) for its fiscal year 2013, which ended September 30, shows a very decided emphasis on cases arising under the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and cases alleging sex bias, which include sex and pregnancy discrimination. The EEOC filed 134 lawsuits in 2013 (up from 122 in 2012, but down from 177 in 2011). ADA cases made up 36% of those filings, and sex bias claims made up 31% of the filings.
Publications & Presentations
Bob is a frequent speaker at seminars on labor and employment law and provides training for clients on various issues.
“Employment Law Updates,” Construction Industry Conference, Oregon Society of CPAs, May 2022
“Non-Compete Laws: Oregon,” Practical Law Journal, Thomson Reuters, May 2022
“2013 HR Roundup: Checklist of New Employment Laws this Year,” PHRMA News & Views, December 2013
“One Size Does Not Fit All: FMLA Leave and Same-Sex Couples,” PHRMA News & Views, November 2013
“Affordable Care Act Retaliation,” PHRMA News & Views, October 2013
“Protecting Confidential Business Information,” PHRMA News & Views, September 2013
“Legislative Update: OFLA to Provide Leave to Deal with Death of a Family Member,” PHRMA News & Views, August 2013
“Politics in the Workplace,” PHRMA News & Views, July 2013
“The Pitfall of the Unpaid Intern,” PHRMA News & Views, June 2013
“Evaluating the Independent Contractor Designation for Purpose of Wage Claims,” PHRMA News & Views, May 2013
“Play or Pay: Crunching the Numbers on Affordable Care Act Penalties,” PHRMA News & Views, April 2013
“Sick Times in Portland: What You Should Know about Portland’s Sick Leave Ordinance,” PHRMA News & Views, March 2013
“Protecting Your Company’s Competitive Advantage Through Employment Agreements,” PHRMA News & Views, February 2013